There are but three things about baseball that make me sad: Arguments over the All-Star Game, arguments over the Hall of Fame, and when Joey Gallo takes a day off. Unfortunately, Frisco’s be-cleated Bunyan spent last night away from the diamond, and he won’t play again until Thursday. That’s thanks to the Texas League’s all-star break. So while Gallo sits, I’ll be somewhere by myself, in a darkened room, listening, probably, to Gilbert O’Sullivan with tears slipping slowly down my forlorn face, waiting for Gallo to return.
On the first day of his absence, however, plenty of players stepped up to try to fill Gallo’s void. Kris Bryant continued his torrid summer, Peter O’Brien got off the schneid, J.O. Berrios made another case for a ticket to New Britain, Mookie Betts made his own for a short drive to Yawkey Way, and Jose Peraza stayed scalding under the merciless Mississippi sun.
Betts was 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base on Monday, moving his consecutive games on base streak to 23 and setting the meter at three.
Steven Souza, of, Syracuse (Nationals): During last season’s Arizona Fall League, TrackMan registered Souza with the hardest-hit ball, according to exit velocity, in the entire league. That was a 115-mph rocket that went for a double, and he’s spent this season in Triple-A (with a cameo in the majors) proving that the fall wasn’t a fluke. Souza went 3-for-4 yesterday with two runs scored against Durham, and for June is hitting an astounding .382/.467/.618 with six doubles, four home runs and 17 RBIs. The day before, he hit a home run off a rehabbing Jeremy Hellickson that hit the famous Bull at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Pacific Coast League
Kris Bryant, 3b, Iowa (Cubs): OK, it’s clear Bryant has the power portion of the game down to a science. He hit another jack during Monday’s matinee with Albuquerque (A chance to see Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Joc Pederson on one ticket? Awesome.), giving him four longballs so far in Triple-A, and 26 for the year, just one behind Gallo for the lead. Problem is, besides the four home runs, he doesn’t have any other hits in Triple-A. He’s 4-for-18 with four homers, so the calls to get him to Wrigley tomorrow should probably cool until he hits a single or something.
Peter O’Brien, c/1b, Trenton (Yankees): Boy, did he need this. After his early hot streak, O’Brien had found Double-A pitchers a little more difficult than those in the Florida State League. Case in point, in June O’Brien is hitting just .211/.277/.447 and has fanned 22 times in 76 at-bats (28.9 percent) against just five walks. The power, of course, is very, very real, and will more than likely play at the major league level. Right now, however, he needs to adjust to the adjustments Double-A pitchers have made to him, and he needs to find a long-term defensive position.
Jose Peraza, 2b, Mississippi (Braves): This guy is on some kind of tear. He’s hit in every game in June, and has been positively scorching since his promotion to Double-A. With the M-Braves, Peraza is 12-for-23, and went 3-for-5 last night with a home run, three runs scored and two RBIs. Overall this month, he’s 38-for-84, which works out to an unreal .452 batting average. Moreover, he’s 37-for-44 in stolen base attempts, and plays excellent defense.
|HOME RUN TRACKER|
As mentioned above, they had a scheduled off day.
Florida State League
J.O. Berrios, rhp, Fort Myers (Twins): Here at the roundup, we’ve become exasperated with trying to figure out why Berrios is still in high Class A. He dealt again last night, holding the mighty Stone Crabs to just one run on five hits and no walks over six innings. He struck out eight. He’s got 98 punchouts on the year against just 21 walks, ranking him fourth among all the minors, behind Aaron Blair, Ben Lively and Taylor Cole. This month he’s whiffed 46 and walked just four. At this point, we’ll let Jay-Z take over. What more can I say? Guru, play the beat.
Christian Binford, rhp, Wilmington (Royals): The Royals’ unchallenged master of the strike zone was at it again on Monday, limiting Frederick to three runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. He whiffed six and walked zero. If that zero in the walk column looks familiar, it should. He hasn’t walked a hitter in his last four starts, spanning 23 2/3 innings, and has walked just one over his last 30 2/3 frames. He’s issued no walks in eight of his 13 starts this season, and two or fewer in 11 of 13.
D.J. Peterson, 1b, High Desert (Mariners): Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reported yesterday that a promotion of Peterson to Double-A is near. A few hours later, Peterson continued beating on the Southern League’s door. He clubbed his 18th homer of the season (how he wasn’t a Cal League all-star is beyond us), scored twice and drove home two runs. His longball total is one behind Stockton’s Matt Olson for the league lead, and his .615 slugging percentage is the best on the circuit.
South Atlantic League
Hunter Harvey, rhp, Delmarva (Orioles): After a rough last two turns, Harvey got back on track on Monday, spinning six innings of three-hit, one-run ball against West Virginia. He struck out seven and walked two. Harvey operates with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a power curveball that could stand to gain a bit more consistency and a changeup that is clearly his third pitch at this point. He has all the earmarks of big things to come, but there’s clearly a bit of work to be done before he can take the next step in achieving his ceiling.