The High-A Stockton Ports have seen several of their top names promoted to higher levels, between their starting rotation (Puk, Meisner, Graves) and lineup (Murphy, Ramirez). Fortunately, a couple of new leaders are emerging in the second half.
Chief among them is outfielder Brett Siddall. The 2015 draft pick (13th round) wasn’t on the radar entering the year, and he struggled to a 57 wRC+ by the middle of May. But in his last 63 games (263 PAs) ...
Siddall, since 5/15: .349/.411/.600, 15 HR, 6.5% BB, 20.5% Ks, 170 wRC+
Siddall, since 7/1: .396/.459/.613, 5 HR, 7.4% BB, 20.5% Ks, 187 wRC+
Siddall, last 7 gms: .556/.576/.889, 2 HR, 6.1% BB, 9.1% Ks, 278 wRC+
He’s only getting hotter. Granted, there’s some fortunate BABIP mixed in to all this, and the power has dropped off since the beginning of the stretch. But at some point he’s been pounding the ball for two months straight, to an extent that has to be at least a little bit real (season: 142 wRC+). Probably time to see what the 22-year-old can do in Double-A. (Click here for more on Siddall, from Oakland Clubhouse.)
Next up on the hot list is 1B Sandber Pimentel, who is putting up the best numbers of his career so far at age 22 (and repeating High-A from last year). His season got off to a late start because of injury, but he hasn’t stopped hitting in 44 games since his return to the lineup. His power and patience remain intact, and he’s still striking out a lot, but now he’s hitting for a good average for the first time. Whether that’s a sign of a step forward or just a couple months of batted ball luck (.392 BABIP) remains to be seen, but it’s been a nice showing from a guy who has always hovered around the fringes of the Community Prospect List just waiting for a breakout.
Pimentel, 2017: .298/.379/.497, 8 HR, 11.5% BB, 28.0% Ks, 135 wRC+
Finally, 3B Sheldon Neuse took about a week to get going after his acquisition from the Nationals. But in his last two contests, on Friday and Saturday, he went off: 7-for-10, 2 HR, 1 BB, 6 RBI. Welcome, new guy!
(Note: All three of these hitters homered on Sunday during this writing, not included in the above stats.)
Norge Ruiz has been off to a decent start for Stockton, after the Cuban signed a relatively big free agent contract last winter. His FIP (5.98) is a bit high because of home runs, but the 23-year-old has managed acceptable strikeout and walk rates. In five starts, he’s been good twice and bad twice, but it’s what happened the fifth time that has earned the biggest headline.
In Ruiz’s outing on Monday, he was ejected in the third inning “after a foreign substance was found on his left arm.” The next day, he was suspended 10 games by the league for doctoring a baseball.
I’m not going to offer any hot takes until we have more information. For now, this is a thing that happened.
Going back to the lineup, the whole group had quite a day on Saturday. Check out this box score, part of a 15-5 victory over Modesto.
Every player had multiple hits. Six had extra-base hits. Two had four-hit days. Everyone scored, and all but one drove in a run. It’s beautiful.
A few other players we’re watching.
- Members of the Mediocre Hitting Stats club: OF Skye Bolt (106 wRC+), 2B Nate Mondou (106 wRC+), and SS Eli White (94 wRC+). Would love to see one or more of these up-the-middle players break out in the final weeks of the season.
- Slow starts for OF Luis Barrera (53 wRC+) and IF Edwin Diaz (-24 wRC+) since their promotions from Single-A Beloit. Diaz in particular is 4-for-42 so far, with one extra-base hit and 15 strikeouts. Barrera has at least hit a couple homers. No rush, though, as these guys have only played a couple weeks’ worth of games at their new level.
- RHP Logan Shore is back from the DL! The 2016 2nd-round pick has been knocked around in both of his outings since returning, but at least he’s healthy and active again.
- Three more pitchers from the 2016 draft: 6th-rounder Brandon Bailey has an ugly ERA but promising peripherals (6.05 ERA, 27 Ks, 4 BB, 4 HR, 16.3% SwStr); 9th-rounder Dalton Sawyer has mediocre results through seven games (4.08 ERA, 5.20) but a strong strikeout rate at least (9.4 K/9); and 14th-rounder Nolan Blackwood is 11-for-12 in save opportunities out of the pen (3.21 ERA, 4.21 FIP, 7.50 K/9).
- The Ports have an interesting new member: LHP Brandon Marsonek, who signed as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama A&M this summer. This past season, in the (admittedly weak) Southwestern Athletic Conference, he struck out 137 batters in 111⅓ innings, albeit with 60 walks. He threw two innings in his High-A debut on Thursday, allowing one unearned run.
Triple-A Nashville: LIVE, Ben Bracewell vs. Salt Lake
Double-A Midland: Won 8-1, Grant Holmes vs. Corpus Christi
High-A Stockton: LIVE, Evan Manarino vs. Modesto
Single-A Beloit: Won 5-0, Kyle Twomey vs. Burlinton
Low-A Vermont: Won 5-2, Argenis Blanco vs. Tri-City
Nashville is on the verge of losing, after allowing a 10-run inning in the 6th.
As for Stockton, Manarino has been lights out while Siddall, Pimentel, Neuse, and Barrera have all homered. Despite Manarino’s strong day, this has been a disappointing season for one of my favorite pitching sleepers -- he washed out of Double-A quickly and has been hit fairly hard in High-A as well. His K/BB is still as brilliant as ever (8.00), but he entered the day with a 5.08 ERA.