HHP: Minors Musings – RZNJ

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Cedric Mullins seems to be back up to speed with 2 homers and a .298 average over his last 10 games. Cedric has 8 homers in 30 games or a 30+ homer pace over a full minor league system. He still has a chance for 20. He currently has a .939 OPS and if he can keep it in the high 800’s for the season, you’d have to at least consider him in next year’s ML plans.

Ademar Rifaela continues to hit at Frederick. The 22 year old outfielder has 13 homers and an .861 OPS. In most years we’d be talking about him more but he’s been overshadowed by Hays, Mullins, and Mountcastle. He strikes out too much 68 in 221 AB’s but he’s not too old and he is producing. Not a top prospect but interesting.

Preston Palmeiro may or may not be a prospect but he has certainly played against his label as a good hitter with little power. At Delmarva Palmeiro has 27 extra base hits out of 62 total hits. That’s good power. His OPS is up to .766.

Coming into this season, I was happy to hear that Alex Murphy was giving up catching and moving to 1B. I expected his bat to play up without the physical rigors of catching. Instead he went into the tank and was hitting terribly with high strikeout rates and little production. Finally, Murphy has started to hit. In 18 games in June, he has a .306 average and an .877 OPS. He’s also cut down in his strikeouts. After striking out 49 times in his first 141 AB’s, he’s only struck out 13 times in his last 62.

Toby Myers and Brendan Hanifee both had great starts at Aberdeen to kick off the season. I’m not going to get excited yet but a few more would do the trick.

Hector Guance is a 21 year old Dominican originally signed by the Nationals and apparently let go after the 2014 season and signed by the O’s. He has size, listed at 6’6 and 200 lbs. He had a good first start. Don’t know if he’s any kind of prospect though.

Brandon Bonilla is 23 years old and had a reputation for a great arm with no control. He struck out the side in his first appearance with no walks. It will be interesting to see how he does. I’m rooting for Jaylen Ferguson, Alex Torres, and Seamus Curran to have good seasons at Aberdeen. All 3 are still just 19 years old.

I am not down on Sedlock, Akin, or Dietz even though their seasons have been disappointing. Sedlock had 4 good starts to begin the year. Akin has had his moments. Dietz reportedly has a mid 90’s fastball and has thrown strikes (22 walks and 48 K’s in 69 IP). It’s a big transition getting acclimated to the professional routine and although some make the transition easily, I am just concerned with these 3 getting their innings in and staying healthy this year.

Poor Josh Hart. Tony and some others like to poke fun at me for staying on this kid’s bandwagon but he looked like he was finally going to have a decent season and he just can’t stay on the field. On May 24, he had a .313 average and a .871 OPS. He then went 0-13 and onto the disabled list. He has 21 hits on the year and 9 were doubles and 1 home run so half of his hits were for extra bases. He played a game in ST last year and looked good to me. I am not giving up on you Josh. Still 22 years old.

Adrian Marin deserves a mention. Although his ceiling is probably a utility IF at the ML level, he’s changed his approach (apparently) and has improved his game. Marin seems to have accepted that he’s a little guy without much power. His extra base hits are down but his average is way up.

Adam Brett Walker has tremendous power. He’s been waived by about 4 teams so far this year, including the Orioles but they got him back and they have him at Bowie in AA after he spend all last year in AAA. In 2015, Walker struck out 195 times in 502 AB’s in AA. Even this year before the O’s got him back, he struck out 23 times in 49 AB’s. He also struck out 202 times in 478 AB’s in AAA last year. That there is a lot of strikeouts. Now, it’s only 41 AB’s so it’s probably nothing. However, Walker currently has 11 strikeouts in 41 AB’s for the Baysox. That could skyrocket to his usual levels with a few bad games. Still, it’s fun to dream on a guy with his power. He has 18 hits in 41 AB’s with Bowie with 5 doubles and 5 home runs and a 1.392 OPS. The dreamer in me hopes that Walker realized his career was in a downward spiral, hit rock bottom, and maybe made some adjustments. We’ll see.

Steve Wilkerson continues to have a breakout season at Bowie after starting the year at Frederick. He’s old for AA at 25 but I’ve seen him and he looked very good defensively to me at SS/2B. If the bat is passable he has a decent shot as a utility guy at the ML level.

Drew Dosch, in 32 away games, has 11 doubles and 5 home runs and an .831 OPS. In 25 home games at Harbor Park, he has 5 doubles, 1 home run, and a .695 OPS. Could be another LH hitter affected by the tough home park for the Tides. He’s definitely an under the radar guy but the just turned 25 year old could at least be a long shot candidate for a future opening at 3B at the ML level.