I am not at all competent to judge the prospects in the minors. But I can at least look at the stats and say who’s having a good year.
Not many, in Richmond. The best hitter on the R-Braves so far has been minor league journeyman Michael Ryan; there’s no hope in help from that direction, and with his .409 slugging percentage he isn’t actually hitting well. The only respectable power source on the team has been Scott Thorman, if you call two homers respectable. That doesn’t seem like much, but it’s 40 percent of the team total.
Carlos Duran might be able to come up and be Charles Thomas for awhile. Maybe not. He’s hitting .300/.364/.367, which gives you some idea of his problem; major league pitchers will knock the bat out of his hands. Also he’s hurt, or has been hurt.
Having the most disappointing season is James Jurries, who’s hitting .235 and slugging .314, though he’s drawing walks at a good clip. The best pitcher in Richmond has been Travis Smith, so we can pretty much rule out any help there either. Anthony Lerew has been horrific and is probably hurt. Macay McBride has thrown three innings in three appearances so far, struck out three and allowed one hit and one walk.
Saltalamacchia update: So far, good but nothing spectacular (.258/.364/.485, 3 HR). As expected, he’s been the best hitter on the team. Eddie Perez has, in some sort of cruel joke, hit .360 in limited ABs and somehow convinced the Braves that he can still play baseball. Yunel Escobar has shown on-base skills but no power (.250/.348/.276).
A player I had high hopes could surge, Matt Esquivel, hasn’t played particularly well so far (.230/.278/.351); Luis Hernandez is being Luis Hernandez (.200/.250/.400), but Gregor Blanco is playing better than he has in years (.282/.407/.408) and might actually have a future if the walks (a team-high 14) are for real and not a fluke.
You’ve probably heard about Will Startup’s great early work in the pen (16 K 1 BB 0 R); I’d prefer it if he got a full minor league season in before he’s declared the future of the pen, though… Ryan Basner (not a prospect) somehow has a 6.32 ERA even though he’s struck out 20, walked 2, allowed no homers, and has a 1.09 WHIP in 15 2/3 IP.
It’s so hard to hit in Myrtle Beach that I won’t judge the guys who have .330 slugging percentages harshly. Brandon Jones is doing pretty well in limited PT (I guess he’s been hurt) .314/.359/.429. Barbaro Canizares has a great name and a .381/.409/.524 line, but that’s in only six games; Pelicans Field will bring him down too.
I was hoping for some absurd pitching lines in answer, but only reliever Arthur Santos (0.75 ERA in 12 IP) stands out. Jake Stevens has been even worse than Lerew, considering the level and the park — 0-4, 11.02 ERA, 12 K 15 BB.
The best hitter (.333/.459/.683) in Rome has the best name, Kala Kaaihue. He’s a little old for the level so let’s see what he does when he moves up the chain. Myrtle Beach awaits; if he can hit there he can hit anywhere. Max Ramirez has been keeping pace (.320/.417/.540); he’s a few months older than Kaaihue and also probably should move up pretty soon.
Elvis Andrus is very young for the level and has been overmatched so far (.221/.284/.279); there’s nothing to be concerned about there. Jamie Romak is hitting .176, but with on-base of .306 and slugging of .412; he might rise in a hurry.
Best freak pitching line is Michael Nix, 0.00 ERA, 17 K 1 BB in 7.1 innings. That means he’s only gotten five outs not by strikeout. Beau Jones has a nice ERA (2.13) but his K/BB of 11/7 worries me. Better Tyler Bullock’s 13/4.