|HOME RUN TRACKER|
In today’s roundup, a Yankees second baseman heats up in Triple-A, two Cubs bombers do their thing, Joey Gallo distances himself from the pack (note the tracker on the right side of the page), Jose Peraza doesn’t miss a beat, and another great prospect is lost to a serious injury. Dang it, inherently dangerous nature of sports!
The point of this meter, originally, was to measure Betts’ day-by-day success as he continued on his epic streak, which stopped in May at 66 games. In theory, we could have phased it out after it was over. Instead, we kept it around. Good thing, too, because he’s streaking again. Since drawing the collar on May 29, Betts has reached base in 22 straight games, or a third of the way to matching his original streak. The odds are long he’ll be able to match it, at least in the minors. If he keeps going like he is now, he’ll force his way into Fenway in no time. Long live the meter.
Rob Refsnyder, 2b, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): The kid can flat-out hit. He’s a got a wonderfully quick swing and is excellent at staying inside the ball. He started a little slowly at Triple-A, but has caught fire of late. He was 6-for-10 this weekend, including a pair of doubles and his first home run at his new level. He’s still learning how to play second base, but his bat could force the Yankees to consider him at some point. He also might be an interesting trade chip as we near the deadline.
Pacific Coast League
Kris Bryant, 3b, Iowa (Cubs): Since earning a promotion to Triple-A, Bryant has collected just three hits. All of them have been home runs. He hit two more bombs on Sunday, pushing his season total to 25, or just two off the pace of Frisco’s Joey Gallo. There’s zero reason to worry about Bryant’s ability to hit. That much is unquestioned. For now, Cubs fans, just sit back and enjoy while Bryant does his best to push himself into the minor league longball lead.
Blake Swihart, c, Portland (Red Sox): Forget the offense, although he did collect three hits this weekend, including his ninth home run of the year. That’s all well and good. Swihart nabbed two more runners trying to steal, pushing his season total to an awesome 52 percent. Forty-two runners have attempted to steal on Swihart, and 22 have been gunned down. That’s really impressive. Now add his zero passed balls this year. Then add his .297/.339/.493 line to that mix. Finish the equation with his ability to switch-hit. That’s a heckuva prospect.
Jose Peraza, 2b, Mississippi (Braves): Another guy who got promoted after his league’s all-star break, Peraza hasn’t missed a beat. Since moving from Lynchburg to Mississippi, Atlanta’s sparkplug second base prospect has hit in all four games with the M-Braves and is 9-for-17 in all, including a 4-for-5 masterwork on Sunday. He hits righties and lefties well, and has stolen 37 bases in 44 tries. He also plays excellent defense.
Joey Gallo, 3b, Frisco (Rangers): Entering this weekend, Gallo had 60 RBIs and 60 walks. That’s pretty astounding. Exiting the weekend, he collected four more RBIs--and two more home runs. Those were his fifth and sixth homers in Double-A, and his 26th and 27th of the season. To put it in perspective, Chris Davis, who led the majors in longballs last year, had 24 homers in his first 70 games last season. Gallo has three more than than through as many games this season. Dang.
Florida State League
Luis Severino, rhp, Tampa (Yankees): Yes, he took the loss, but overall it was a fine high Class A debut for the most electric arm in the system. The righthander, who has been up to 98 mph this year and brings a plus changeup and developing slider to the table, fanned eight and walked just one over 4 2/3 innings of five-hit, three-run ball. Overall this season his strikeout-to-walk ratio is nearly 5-to-1, which is pretty darned good for a pitcher in his first full season outside of complex ball.
Carlos Correa, ss, Lancaster (Astros): Normally, this space is reserved for the player who performed the best in the Cal League. This time, we’ll defer to Correa, who had to be carried off the field on Saturday after hurting his right ankle. In a vacuum, Correa’s injury could be a terrible, crushing blow for one of the game’s best farm systems. In the real world, it’s just another hard-to-swallow setback in an absolutely awful year in the minors. Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jameson Taillon, Kyle Zimmer and now Correa have been dealt significant injuries. Whether you’re a fan of these players’ teams or just of the game, these are crushing blows.
Omar Narvaez, c, Winston-Salem (White Sox): From the organization that brought you Adrian Nieto, major leaguer, comes Omar Narvaez, sneaky prospect. He makes a ton of contact--he struck out in just 7.7 percent of his plate appearances with Kannapolis--but has little power. So little, in fact, that he collected just three extra-base hits with the Intimidators. He’s got four hits in his first three games with the Dash, and he’s caught two of the first three runners trying to steal on him. He was cutting down runners at a 43-percent clip before the promotion, which was done, in part, to make room for new draftee Brett Austin.
South Atlantic League
Nomar Mazara, of, Hickory (Rangers): The sweet-swinging 19-year-old had himself a weekend. He was 6-for-13 with a double, a triple and a longball in three games against Rome. After a pedestrian first two months of the season, Mazara has been on fire in June, putting together a .351/.438/.662 line with six doubles and half of his 10 homers for the season. Yes, he’s repeating Hickory, but he still more than bears watching.
Kyle Schwarber, c/of, Kane County (Cubs): Not quite as torrid a clip as he put up in his brief stop in the Northwest League, but Schwarber has kept right on hitting in the Midwest League. Chicago’s first-rounder has hits in all four of his games with the Cougars, including a longball on Friday against Cedar Rapids. If the Cubs decide to treat him like they did Kris Bryant (and if he performs in the same manner, obviously) don’t be surprised to see him zoom through the system.