June is a big month for minor league baseball. Early in the month there’s the draft, in the middle of the month there’s a slew of all-star games and around the summer solstice rookie ball gets underway. Since the rookie ball affiliates, Great Falls and Bristol, are barely underway none of those players will be included in the latest prospects of the month. Instead a number of advanced prospects get featured for putting up big time numbers this month.
From a win-loss standpoint, the Barons had a hot month (18-9) en route to a first half division title. All four full season affiliates posted winning records. The Knights went 16-14 and after a win Friday night, sit just one game below .500. The Dash (15-13) and the Intimidators (14-12) also finished two above .500 for the month. The Voyagers (5-7) and BriSox (5-6) are both under .500 on their young season.
Hitter of the Month: Brady Shoemaker
Stats: .333/.454/.573, 14 RBI, 24 R, 9 2B, 4 HR with 18 BB and 20 K in 96 AB
Eight hitters in full season ball posted an OPS above .900 this month (here are the four that didn’t make the honorable mention list), but Shoemaker stood out this month. He has been solid for the Intimidators all season and has improved each month. The 24-year-old is hitting .309 on the season with an .879 OPS. He put up solid numbers for Kannapolis last year, but for some reason the Sox had him repeat the level. He’s certainly ready for Winston-Salem, but at this point I think he could be stuck in the South Atlantic League for the rest of the season.
Dayan Viciedo: .371/.397/.552 with 5 BB and 25 K in 116 AB
Tyler Kuhn: .396/.442/.515 with 10 BB and 17 K in 101 AB
Seth Loman: .326/.402/.581 with 9 BB and 22 K in 86 AB
It’s the same story for Viciedo, who was recently voted onto the International League’s all-star team. It’s starting to feel the same way for Kuhn, who is leading the Southern League batting race by 42 points.
Kuhn only has one home run, but isn’t a slap hitter. He is top ten in the SL in doubles with 22. The 24-year-old hit .279 for the Barons last year and most current projections of him are putting him in the super utility range category. He and Loman helped guide the Barons to a playoff birth and hot start to the second half.
Pitcher of the Month: Terry Doyle
Stats: 2-1, 1.18 ERA, 25 K, 5 BB, 28 H in 38 IP
Doyle has always been a solid professional pitcher (and that’s not all he does), but I don’t know what’s gotten into him lately. He had a good year last year between two A-ball stops and posted a 2.84 ERA with the Dash in 11 starts to earn a promotion to AA, but what he’s done with the Barons has been awe-inspiring. In three of his four starts since his more permanent move to Birmingham (he made a spot start in late May as well) he has allowed one of fewer runs, including a complete game shutout June 26. Last night’s eight-inning gem continued his seamless transition to AA. The 25-year-old is a fringe prospect due to his age, but that can become irrelevant if he continues to make mincemeat of AA hitters. He is a great control pitcher that gets ground balls and strikes out enough batters to think his success is sustainable.
Addison Reed: 15.1 IP, 1.17 ERA, 23 K, 4 BB, 12 H
Dylan Axelrod: 21.2 IP, 1.25 ERA, 17 K, 4 BB, 17 H
Brandon Kloess: 12.2 IP, 0.71 ERA, 17 K, 1 BB, 5 H
Reed, like Viciedo, has been a frequent visitor to our Hot and Colds and prospects of the month. This month Reed made the move to AA and has continued to dominate (10.1 IP, 1.74 ERA, 14 K, 3 BB, 8 H since promotion).
Axelrod is kind of the AAA version of Doyle. He’s 25, a control pitcher having a great year and moving up the levels to no fanfare. Axelrod was a reliever in the Padres’ organization before the Sox made him a starter and he’s been terrific at every stop. He would be the ultimate sleeper if he made it in the Majors.
Meanwhile, Kloess had an unusual month. He’s been having a good year for the Dash, but spent some time with Charlotte to replace an injury in late May/early June and dominated (6.1 IP, 0 R, 8 K, 0 BB, 2 H).