RHP Neil Ramirez, Hickory - Mr. Up And Down of the Texas system is up right now - way up. Another excellent start Sunday (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K) makes three in a row and gives him a composite line of 18.2 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 0 HR, 6 BB, 19 K during that stretch. For the season he’s improved his 2009 K:BB ratio of 56:41 to 51:18, almost three-to-one. He is repeating Low A, he just turned 21, and he’s going to have to do this for a good while before most will believe he’s turned a corner. But this is a former supplemental first round pick with a good arm and a curveball with a lot of potential, so there is reason to watch intently as he attempts to gain consistency.
LHP Martin Perez, Frisco - Perez began the season with six starts in which he never allowed more than two runs or five hits and allowed just one home run total. He had a few high walk games and didn’t always miss loads of bats, but things seemed to be generally going to plan for a 19 year old pitching at the Double-A level. He has really struggled in his last four outings, however, as he has been completely unable to miss bats or locate his pitches consistently. He’s given up 19 runs in 16 innings, allowed loads of base runners (27 H, 9 BB), and struck out more than two just once. His locally televised start Sunday was painful to watch in part because of the woeful defense played behind him but also because he was not fooling Tulsa hitters at all. The organization is taking good care of him by keeping his outings short (in good times and bad), and Perez has the personality to fight through his issues, but he is not taking a complete game to the mound right now.
RHP Michael Main, Bakersfield - Entering the 2009 season Main appeared to be the big mover in the system. His repertoire had seemed to improve by the month, and he was coming off of a fall instructional league in which he dazzled observers. But a difficult-to-diagnose virus sapped his energy and chewed up most of his season in Bakersfield. Back at the High-A level in 2010 he’s looked more like Michael Main. A 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 7 K game on Saturday was possibly his best of the season and moved his K:BB to a solid 43:14. Since Main does not keep the ball on the ground, the Cal League is particularly cruel to him, as he has allowed 11 HR in ten starts. He could see Frisco soon, and we will be able to read more into his ancillary numbers at that point.
OF Mitch Moreland, OKC - All signs point to Moreland turning a corner at the Triple-A level. After an April in which he hit .221 and failed to control the strike zone for the first time in his pro career, he has posted a more recognizable .287/.367/.460 May with an 11:13 BB:SO. He is eight for his last 16, and eight of his last 12 hits are doubles. He has to hit enough to overcome his lack of defensive value, but two months into 2010 he finds himself in an organization that can use a quality bat - any kind of quality bat - at the major league level.
3B Chris Davis & C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, OKC - The two veteran demotees are in Triple-A for different reasons, but the offensive lines for each can be described as nice but somewhat uninspiring. Davis homered twice over the weekend, but after a sizzling start in Oklahoma City he’s slowed to a merely respectable May (.291/.342/.456). He also isn’t controlling the strike zone, as evidenced by his 9:33 BB:SO ratio. Ditto almost every word of that for Saltalamacchia. After lighting things up in 32 April at bats, his May line is .258/.290/.455. He also homered twice over the weekend, but those were his only hits in the past week, and his 7:22 ratio suggests the same issue with the zone. Both of these guys have hit in Triple-A previously, but Davis is not showing the kinds of improvements that Nelson Cruz did in his last stint before establishing himself in the majors, and even if Saltalamacchia puts his throwing yips behind him, he still needs to show maturity in his approach and the ability to make more consistent contact.
RHP Omar Beltre, OKC - Has made three starts in a row, culminating with his longest and best outing of the season Friday: 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K
RHP Alexi Ogando, OKC - In that same game Ogando had his worst outing of the season: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K
RHP Pedro Strop, OKC - Basically dominating AAA right now - after another nice game Friday his season line is 20.2 IP, 14 H, 1 HR, 6 BB, 24 K, 2.8 GO/AO
RHP Cody Eppley, Frisco - He keeps dominating, so I guess I’ll keep mentioning him - another perfect inning with 2 Ks Saturday.
LHP Chad Bell, Hickory - Rangers liked this guy enough to give him 450k late last summer, only issue so far out of the pen is a bit of a walk problem: 20 IP, 14 H, 9 BB, 20 K but has settled that down after early struggles (4 BB in his last 17 IP)