Another week brings another Hot and Cold. Dayan Viciedo continues to kill the ball, while another Knight falls deeper into a slump.
Hot Hitter: Dayan Viciedo, 1B/OF, AAA
Dayan Viciedo continues his excellent season with another hot week for the Knights. Viciedo has been one of the few shining lights for the Sox system this year and he has shown good improvements with both his plate discipline and patience. For the week he hit .500/.520/.792 and for the season his line is now at .324/.369/.538, with 11 home runs and 16 BB/45 SO. The walk rate is still lower than you would like to see from a power hitting corner OF, but given the solid contact rate, he has a chance to hit for a high average at the Major League level, which would make a ~6% BB% more tolerable.
Honorable mentions: Brandon Short- .406/.441/.563 and Tyler Kyhn- .419/.455/.484.
Cold Hitter: Eduardo Escobar, SS, AAA
After a relatively solid May, Eduardo Escobar has been struggling mightily in June. For the week he hit a miserable .083/.120/.125 to take his June line to .185/.228/.259 and his season line to 236/.282/.377. Escobar doesn’t hit for much power or draw many walks, so it’s imperative that he puts the ball into play at a good rate in order to give himself a chance to hit for average and be a positive offensive contributor. Escobar struck out just 11 times in 96 May AB’s, but already has 14 SO in 56 June AB’s. That’s not good enough for a player with his skillset.
Honorable mentions: Jim Gallagher- .111/.172/.148, Tyler Flowers- 0/12, .000/.400/.000 and Josh Phegley- 4/25, .160/.160/.280.
Hot Pitcher: Charlie Leesman, LHP, AA
Charlie Leesman has been a pleasant surprise for me this year with Birmingham. He had a good stint with the Barons towards the end of last year, but his K/9 was only at 7.2. This season the K/9 has jumped up to 8.1 and he also has a terrific 2.46 GO/AO. The control, however, has not been quite so good and Leesman has walked 41 batters in 69.2 IP. This week Leesman threw 6 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit. He struck out 7 and walked 3. For the season Leesman has a 3.36 ERA and 63 SO/41 BB in 69.2 IP. He may still be more suited in relief, but given the increase in K%, I’d continue to let him start.
Honorable mentions: Matt Heidenreich- 11 IP, 0.818 ERA, 1 BB/5 SO, Terry Doyle- 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 BB/6 SO and Ryan Buch- 6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 0 BB/2 SO.
Cold Pitcher: Steven Upchurch, RHP, A–
Steven Upchurch made a great start to the 2011 season as a multiple inning reliever for the Intimidators. In 8 appearances (20.2 IP) he had a 1.74 ERA and 17 SO/2 BB. Since making the transition to the rotation he has a 6.23 ERA in 7 starts (26 IP), with 30 SO/12 BB. Don’t be fooled by that 6.23 ERA, his numbers are still very good, he’s just been hurt by a high BABIP (.471 this month). Upchurch has always been a pitcher with good stuff, but he seems to finally be getting the results he deserves. For the week Upchurch gave up 8 ER in 6 IP with 7 SO/5 BB and 13 hits allowed (none of which left the ballpark). And for the season he has a 4.24 ERA in 15 appearances (46.2 IP), with 47 SO/14 BB. He’s also generating a good number of ground balls with a 2.37 GO/AO and has only allowed 3 home runs all year.
Honorable mentions: Andre Rienzo- 5.1 IP, 8.44 ERA, 4 BB/3 SO and Joe Serafin- 12 IP, 9.00 ERA, 3 BB/4 SO.