It’s been pretty disjointed recently in the farm system. Some leagues had All-Star breaks this week, while injuries and promotions, as they always do around this time, have started piling up, resulting in a lot of makeshift lineups and pitching rotations. And rehabbing major leaguers dot the lineups.
One thing’s a constant, though . . . State College continues to have problems in certain areas of the game. Fortunately, it’s limited to pitching, hitting and fielding. Otherwise, the Spikes are doing fine. Seriously, if a player is with the Spikes, you can assume he belongs in the “Trending Down” section. It’s just not going well there.
Jordy Mercer, SS (AAA): I’m stretching this a bit, because Mercer played only three games in the past week due to the AAA All-Star break. He also missed Sunday’s game after being beaned on Saturday, but the Pirates don’t believe he’s seriously hurt. If you go back to July 8, Mercer is 8-for-23 (.348) with a double and three HRs. He continues to look like a guy who won’t hit for average but may contribute in other ways. So far in AAA, he’s hitting only .235, but has a good .361 OBP and .451 slugging average.
Bryan Morris, RHP (AA): It’s not what the Pirates had in mind when they traded for him, but the move to relief has worked well for Morris and he could appear in Pittsburgh this year. His ERA in relief is 1.07 and in his last nine trips from the bullpen he’s allowed just one unearned run. In fifteen innings he’s given up nine hits and three walks, and fanned seventeen.
Adalberto Santos, UT (A+): Santos is probably not going to be more than an organizational player, but he’s bucking for an upgrade in status. Injuries have increased his playing time and he’s taken advantage of it, going 10-for-22 (.455) in the past week, with two doubles and two triples. Overall he’s hitting 310/390/462. In June and July his OPS has been 1.013 and .957, respectively.
Jose Osuna, OF (R): Osuna is starting to attract attention, helped by an 8-for-16 (.500) showing this past week, raising his OPS to 1.148.
Yhonathan Barrios, IF (R): Barrios was a fairly high-visibility signing for the Pirates out of Colombia due to a line drive bat, but he missed 2010 due to hamate surgery. He’s justifying his rep by hitting .352 so far this year. A 4-for-8 extra-inning game highlighted a 7-for-19 (.368) week.
Orlando Castro, LHP (A-): It’s hard to say whether a 5’11” pitcher will be a prospect, but Castro’s made a good start. In his only start of the week he allowed just an unearned run on five hits and no walks over five innings, with five strikeouts. In five GCL starts he allowed just two earned runs, nineteen hits and two walks in 25 IP, earning himself a promotion to State College.
Gorkys Hernandez, CF (AAA): After getting his average up close to .300, Hernandez has hit the skids. He was 2-for-22 (.091) dating back to July 9, with one double and one walk.
Starling Marte, CF (AA): Just when Marte was starting to garner attention outside Pirate fandom, he hit the skids. He’s mired in a 5-for-38 (.132) stretch, during which he’s fanned ten times, drawn one walk, and had one extra base hit.
Tony Sanchez, C (AA): Sanchez’ season continues to go south. Although he homered on Saturday, the two hits he had that day were the only two in his last six games, covering nineteen ABs. That’s a .105 average. On the season he’s hitting just 235/346/311.
Mike Colla, RHP (AA): After being one of the biggest surprises in the organization in April and May, Colla has struggled, posting a 5.05 ERA since the beginning of June. He never started as a pro until this year, so it’s possible he’s wearing down a bit.
Aaron Thompson, LHP (AA): Thompson was formerly a top pitching prospect, but the emphasis is on “formerly” now. A move to the bullpen in early June hasn’t helped. In nine relief appearances he has a 7.03 ERA, and he struggled in his one start during that time.
Drew Maggi, SS (A): Maggi seemingly turned things around with a big month of June, but in the past week he’s gone 2-for-24 (.083). In July he’s hitting 154/228/212.