Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch 6/22/11

PLAYER PROFILE: GORKYS HERNANDEZ

Last year, Gorkys Hernandez got off to a horrible start, only to turn things around once the month of June came around.  Hernandez hit for a .306/.369/.414 line in 184 at-bats from June 2010 until he broke his finger in early July, an injury that ended his season.  This year, Hernandez started off with some major struggles in the first two months of the season, after making the jump to the AAA level.  Once again, Hernandez is starting to take off in the month of June, currently hitting for a .338/.346/.494 line in 77 at-bats this month.

Looking at that stat line, the big thing that can be noticed is that there haven’t been many walks.  In fact, there’s only been one walk.  In the past, Hernandez has struggled with his walk totals, walking just 7.4% of the time in his career.  He’s just over 6% this year in Indianapolis, and obviously his June numbers hurt that figure.  What’s encouraging is that Hernandez is putting up a good average for the second month in a row, and this time around he’s hitting for some power.

The power from Hernandez has come in the form of extra base hits.  He’s got ten of those this month, after combining for six in the first two months.  To date, he doesn’t have a homer, spanning over 200 at-bats.  Hernandez is very strong defensively, and has some speed, making him a threat on the base paths.  That combination, plus the lack of power, makes him more of a center field/leadoff type hitter, and he only has value there if he can manage to hit for average and get on base at a good rate.

I’m not ready to proclaim Hernandez has turned things around, or suggest he should be in the majors any time soon.  He’s basically a fourth outfielder at this point, and unless he can manage to consistently put up a strong average, or improve his on-base skills, he won’t exceed that projection.  The important thing to note is his age and experience.  Hernandez is only 23 years old, and is in his first tour at the AAA level.  We had written Neil Walker off at a much older age, with much more AAA experience, and with worse numbers, and he managed to make the proper adjustments for his career.  That leaves time for Hernandez to do the same.  Perhaps his .292/.342/.391 line this season is a sign that he’s starting to make those adjustments.  If he could do something like that in the majors, it would make him a decent starter, when combined with his speed and defense.

DAILY SUMMARY

Top Pitcher: Nick Kingham, RHP (0-2, 6.75) – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Rodriguez, 2B (.233) – 3-for-3, 2B, BB, 4 RBI

Home Runs: Aaron Baker (9)

AAA: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS (37-37)

Rodriguez went 3-for-3 in his first game with Indianapolis.

Box Score

Result: Indianapolis 10, Lehigh Valley 5

Starting Pitcher: Rudy Owens, LHP (5.33) – 2.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Rodriguez, 2B (.233) – 3-for-3, 2B, BB, 4 RBI

Other Notable Performers

Alex Presley, LF (.330) – 2-for-4, 2 BB, 2 SB

Eric Fryer, C (.288) – 2-for-4, BB, 3 R

Gorkys Hernandez, CF (.292) – 2-for-5, 3B, 3 RBI

Justin Wilson (9-4, 3.82) – 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Presley and Chase d’Arnaud each stole two bases tonight.  They now each have 17 on the season.  Gorkys Hernandez is now 13-for-27 on this current seven game road trip, and is hitting for a .333/.342/.472 line in June.  Rudy Owens was hit in the hand with a line drive, and was replaced with Justin Wilson.

AA: ALTOONA CURVE (34-36)

Altoona was postponed tonight.

A+: BRADENTON MARAUDERS (30-40)

Baker went 1-for-3 with a homer.

Box Score

Result: Bradenton 5, Jupiter 4

Starting Pitcher: Brett Sinkbeil, RHP (1-2, 4.56) – 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Aaron Baker, 1B (.280) – 1-for-3, BB, HR

Other Notable Performers

Jarek Cunningham, 2B (.269) – 1-for-4, SB, RBI, 2 K

Game Notes: The homer for Baker was his ninth of the season.  Robbie Grossman walked three times.

A: WEST VIRGINIA POWER (35-33)

West Virginia was off today for the SAL All-Star break.

A-: STATE COLLEGE SPIKES (1-5)

Check out my live recap from the game here.

RK: GCL PIRATES (3-0)

Trepagnier pitched four shutout innings in his 2011 debut.

Box Score

Result: Pirates 4, Tigers 0

Starting Pitcher: Bryton Trepagnier, RHP (0.00) – 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Yhonathan Barrios, 3B (.538) – 2-for-5, RBI

Other Notable Performers

Rinku Singh, LHP (1-0, 0.00) – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Miguel Mendez, RHP (0.00) – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Gregory Polanco drew two walks in his only two plate appearances, and stole his third base of the season.  Trepagnier made his 2011 debut, after pitching 19 innings in the GCL in 2010, with a 4.74 ERA.

RK: DSL Pirates (13-6)

Box Score

Result: Rays 5, Pirates 2

Starting Pitcher: Francisco Vilchez, RHP (0.00) – 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Ortiz, C (.238) – 1-for-3, 2B, BB, RBI

Game Notes: It’s odd that Vilchez got the start tonight, as he’s from Venezuela, and has pitched for the VSL team already this year.

RK: VSL Pirates (20-12)

Box Score

Result: Pirates 8, Rays 2

Starting Pitcher: Oderman Rocha, RHP (2-0, 4.18) – 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Dilson Herrera, 3B (.310) – 2-for-4, 2B, 2 SB

Other Notable Performers

Ulises Montilla, CF (.367) – 2-for-5, 2B, SB

Game Notes: Herrera has been batting in the bottom half of the order for most of the season, but was the leadoff hitter tonight.  He now has ten stolen bases on the season.  Montilla, who also stole a base, has 10 on the season.

  • I was at the game last night and the ball didn’t exactly jump off Fryer’s bat plus the Iron Pigs ran at will against him. He still needs some work. It is better to let him develop than rush him because he is not ready.

    As far as Owens he looked horrible and was hit in the leg solidly before the line drive off his hand which caused him to be removed from the game. Is there any word on his condition?

    After Owens went out Justin Wilson was very strong hopefully he has worked out whatever was wrong with him earlier this year and he join the rotation. Perhaps taking the place of Owens who needs either to go the pen to work things out for himself.

  • Eric Fryer, C  deserves a shot at bigs if our only other options are Dusty Brown and this McKelvy guy. 

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