Cedar Rapids: 60 wins, 36 losses
Carlos Ramirez, C - (26 AB's) .423/.483/.885 with 4 HR's, 5 K/3 BB
This is the guy we praised to high heaven over the offseason. He's been steadily improving since a horrible May (.117/.221/.167), inching closer to respectability with a .232/.350/.394 season line. That said, his splits are alarming: he's hitting a ridiculous .313/.441/.667 against lefties, but only .187/.302/.252 against righties. He handled breaking stuff well in college and rookie ball, but is clearly struggling to pick up pitches against more advanced righties.
Matt Long, CF - (41 AB's) .463/.551/.659 with 6 dbls, 1 trpl, 5 K/8 BB
Long has hit safely in 15 straight games, bumping his season line to .315/.397/.468. The 23 year old Santa Clara alum has three good tools - his bat, his arm, and solid range in the outfield - to go with plenty of polish. Add that up, and you have a very good case for naming him MVP of the prospect-laden Kernels.
Jean Segura, 2B - (53 AB's) .434/.464/.642 with 4 dbls, 2 trpls, 1 HR, 4 SB's, 5 K/3 BB
The Angels' player development folks touted Segura's tools to anyone who would listen entering the season, and now the 20 year old is finally getting a chance to shine in his natural leadoff spot. He blew past the .300 BA benchmark last week and is now hitting .307/.354/.443. Look for him to ratchet up the gap power.
Fabio Martinez Mesa, rhsp - (3 starts) 2 W, 17 IP, 12 hits, 1.59 ER, 19 K/12 BB
This week's trades cleared out most of the "safe" Halos pitching prospects who were good bets to become solid major leaguers. The FO retained the higher ceiling guys - Martinez Mesa, Richards, Chatwood - but they come with the caveat of being a riskier to bet to reach their respective ceilings. So do you feel lucky? Well do you?
Jon Karcich, SS - (34 AB's) .412/.500/.618 with 2 dbls, 1 trpl, 1 HR, 5 K/6 BB
Karcich' red hot July has pushed his OPS up to .812, third best among current Kernels' regulars. He has fantastic patience and some pop in his bat, but his game still needs work. I've harped on his porous defense before, but the offensive potential can't be ignored. Back in 2008, another prospect had a fantastic July in Cedar Rapids, flashing the same tantalizing power/patience combo as Karcich, but then went on to two years of frustration because he couldn't square up better pitching consistently. Any guesses?
Garrett Richards, rhsp - (2 starts) 1 W, 13 IP, 6 hits, 2.08 ERA, 15 K/4 BB
Richards is all Jekyll (or is it Hyde? You know, the good one...) lately, following a bad spell that began the month. Like Martinez Mesa, he's still a high-risk prospect, but if he can string together more than two or three good outings in row, he'll move very, very quickly.
High A Rancho Cucamonga: 56 wins, 45 losses
Clay Fuller, OF - (45 AB's) .356/.438/.733 with 5 dbls, 3 trpls, 2 HR's, 5 SB's, 17 K/6 BB
What sort of stats do you think Hank Conger would put up in the Cal League? Pete Bourjos? Jeremy Moore? I ask because the 23 year old Fuller was drafted in Conger's 2006 cohort, but is even closer in age to 2005 draftees Bourjos and Moore. Fuller's High A stats are great, and remind us that he has an intriguing power/speed combo, but remember that his peers are duking it out against better competition while Fuller keeps K'ing at an alarming rate against A-Ball pitchers. He'll take a second shot at AA next year, potentially his last under Halos control.
Gabe Jacobo, 1B - (60 AB's) .350/.409/.683 with 3 dbls, 1 trpl, 5 HR's, 2 SB's, 13 K/6 BB
Jacobo put up consecutive 2 HR nights for the Quakes last week, and has generally been on a tear. He's now hitting .308/.341/.504 on the season and averaging an HR every 26 plate appearances. Mark Trumbo hit .283/.329/.553 and averaged an HR every 17 plate appearances in his Cal League season. So would you rather have Trumbo's extra HR's, or Jacobo's base hits and superior defense?
Alberto Rosario, C - (39 AB's) .385/.429/.615 with 5 dbls, 1 HR, 3 SB's, 6 K/2 BB
Through 70 AB's, Rosario is hitting .400, reflecting the significant difficulty gap that exists between High A and AA, where he hit just .193. Like Fuller, he'll get another crack at AA next year.
Chris Scholl, rhrp - (3 appearances) 7.1 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 10 K/2 BB
It was right around this time last year that Scholl transitioned from just-another-middle-innings guy into a shutdown, out-spewing machine. Could this be the beginning of another second half surge?