Pettit might have been the hottest hitter in all of professional baseball last week. His season average now stands at .438, tops in the PCL. It's no fluke either - after finally recovering from an injury plagued '08, he hit .359 over 145 at bats in the AFL. PCL ballparks were built for this guy - they reward his contact skills and gap power while masking his relatively modest homerun pop.
Wilson continues to hit for average and OBP. He was also perfect in shutting down the running game, erasing Las Vegas' leadoff hitter Buck Coats on consecutive nights. Those were the only two steal attempts all week - opposing teams don't seem to be challenging him much anymore.
The Halos signed both these guys as minor league free agents last winter, and they've pitched well in the PCL so far. Hopefully, they'll provide the same stability that Shane Loux and Giancarlo Alvarado lent the Bees last year; and, given the Angels' rotation woes, either might be the next man up in Anaheim.
Hank's bat came alive this week. He's now hitting .273 on the season, which is perfectly decent considering the present focus on his catching duties - he played in 5 of 6 games this week, catching 3 of them. While he gave up a couple of stolen bases without nabbing anyone, opposing teams haven't run on him much lately, perhaps reflecting a growing respect for his arm.
26 year-old Sutton and 28 year-old Corey Smith have provided veteran leadership and consistent production for what is otherwise a very young and thus-far inconsistent Travelers' team. This week it was Sutton's turn to shine, providing excellent OBP in a lineup that's struggled mightily to get men on base.
Rembisz has yet to yield a run this season. His groundball ratio in April was off the charts, so that's helped to limit the hits. On the other hand, his K/BB isn't anything special. So does the scoreless streak stems entirely from luck on balls in play, or is it something else? His '08 track record at Rancho was good: he had a 3.44 ERA over 36 and 2/3's in innings, a better than 5 to 1 K/BB, and a decent groundball rate. Rembisz was never drafted - he signed out of an independent league last summer - yet nevertheless he's climbed to AA in just one year. He's also listed at a mere 5'8", so here's to hoping that he's bucking the age-old baseball prejudice regarding pitcher size and becoming something special. Anyone out there seen him pitch?
What can I say - Arkansas has really struggled to support their pitching staff.
Navarro's bat has come alive of late, and he's now up to an .818 OPS on the season. He's knocking in runs too, which has been especially important given Matthew Sweeney's recent slump.
Moore was on fire this week, giving the Quakes another option both at the top and in the middle of the order. His season OPS is now .829, but his 23 K's to 6 walks is a red flag. One clue regarding Rancho's struggles this year - Moore is tied for the most K's on the Quakes with both Clay Fuller and P.J. Phillips. They're all on pace to K in nearly a third of their plate appearances this year.
The good - Romine is getting on base at a .380 clip so far in '09. The bad - after a season where he stole 62 bases at a 78% success rate, he has stolen only 5 bases in 11 tries this spring. I can't tell from the stats, but I'm also very interested in knowing if his defense has looked as good this year as it did in '08 and '07.
Amarista came within a game of ending April with only one strikeout; alas, he ended the month with two. He proceeded to rack up 4 more K's in May, but as you can see above, it didn't hurt his production. Amarista is currently 3rd in the Midwest League in batting average and fourth in total bases - not bad for a 5'8", 150 lbs middle infielder who celebrated his 20th birthday less than a month ago.
I bumped Flores up on this list because he threw an additional 9 shutout innings today as of this writing (not included above because I flip the weekly stats on Sun). A little background - Flores was signed out of Venezuela and pitched well as a 19 year old in the DSL in 2006. It took the lefty the next two summers to master the ASL, but he's looked great so far this spring. He'll be 22 in June.
Yes, I know - his best week at the plate so far resulted in only a .739 OPS. But he was the Kernel's third best hitter over that time, which is pure gravy considering his outstanding work behind the plate. Not only did he nab 63% of basestealers, but he caught 27 innings of Chaffee, Chatwood, and Flores while those guys combined to yield just one unearned run. Oh, and he ground out 15 innings of catching in a marathon on Friday night. Dude's had a big week.
Glad to see our number one and two picks from last summer's draft going strong. I threw a lot of attention their way in fanshots last week, so I won't dwell - but I'm really, really hoping that one of them pitches in the July 2nd game against Beloit that I just committed to attending.
In other Cedar Rapids news, lhsp Will Smith is on the DL for a strained hamstring and Michael Kohn's scoreless streak came to an end yesterday after 14 dominant innings. Don't blame Kohn - he'd already pitched 4 innings of lights out relief over the previous three days. Then, Cedar Rapids decided to dump him into an already explosive situation in the sixth inning. He gave up a couple of runs, but returned the next inning and pitched a scoreless frame. Maybe it's just me, but using Kohn five and a third innings over 4 games seems pretty reckless.