Willy Garcia hit his 15th homer of the season on Thursday, which leaves him one behind JaCoby Jones for the most among Pirates minor leaguers. Garcia is on an impressive 11-game hit streak that has seen him raise his average to .273 and get his OPS up to the .800 mark. What makes the streak even more impressive is that he is still having his strikeout/plate patience issues. During the streak he has just one walk and 12 strikeouts. On the year, he has 14 walks and 117 strikeouts, which is the highest total among Pirates players and those strikeouts were amassed in just 344 at-bats.
That 14/117 ratio and his 32% strikeout rate are numbers that suggest that he’s been “luckier” this year. His BABIP is .366 this season, well above his career average of .332 which includes this year in it. It’s also the highest total on the Curve, besting Elias Diaz by 15 points despite the fact Diaz has a batting average 38 points higher. That points to unsustainable batting numbers for Garcia, who has seen his walks drop and strikeout rate get worse every year. The important thing to remember is that he doesn’t turn 22 until next month and he’s in AA. He also adds value defensively and on the bases, so he isn’t a one-dimensional power hitter.
On Wednesday, Keon Broxton stole home plate. It was his 17th stolen base of the year in 21 attempts. Broxton has 11 homers and is one of three Pirates minor league players with double-digits in homers and steals this year. Shortstops Alen Hanson and JaCoby Jones are the others.
We also have a couple recent defensive players from Jaff Decker. First is this nice catch from yesterday.
And then this throw from a couple days ago to cut down a run at the plate. The pitcher here is Gerrit Cole.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.