Something I love doing is tracking minor league players month-to-month. Yes, I comb through the box scores every night before I go to bed. However, I think there is something to seeing the monthly splits every thirty days. I believe shows the players' progression throughout the season and for me, it's exciting. So, as I did last year and a little the year before I'll be doing monthly summaries on all the minor league affiliates. Along with this comes a little bit of hardware for the top bat and arm on each team. I am posting these separate for each level because I am starting out a little ambitious. I think I have enough to say about each team to necessitate having four separate fanposts. We will see how where I'm at after I write a couple of these though.
AAA is sometimes a little bland as far as prospects go. The leagues tend to be filled with "AAAA" type players, guys who are older and simply not talented enough to play in the majors full-time. However, Houston has a few interesting players in the PCL this year. Two players stood out in the quest to become Player of the Month: JB Shuck and Koby Clemens. I went with Koby Clemens to receive the award. Last month Clemens hit for a good average of .284 however, it was his power that separated Clemens from Shuck. Clemens hit five home runs, with a slugging percentage of .554 and 48% of his hits went for extra bases. The only downside I could find from Clemen's month comes from--no shock here--his plate discipline, 28% of his at-bats finished in a strikeout and he walked only eight times. JB Shuck also had a very good April. His slash line was .307/.402/.360. His average and OBP are very good, even if his power is less than desirable. Also on the positive side for Shuck are his K and BB rates, which are equal. The negatives for Shuck are the aforementioned power, only 13% of his hits went for extra bases--a very pathetic stat and he goose-egged in the home run category. In addition to this his base-stealing was poor because although he stole three bags, he was caught another six times. I want to offer up congratulations to Brian Bogusevic, who was called up to the major-league roster and could be there to stay. His absence will give Collin DeLome more playing time and it also accommodated a call-up for Brandon Barnes (and not JD Martinez), who's month will be analyzed in the AA fanpost. Tommy Manzella had average numbers across the board in April, albeit a high K rate as well.
Jordan Lyles wins the April Pitcher of the Month award. He seemed to have an up and down month however, the good seemed to outweigh the not-so-much in the end. Lyles had a good ERA of 3.67 in April and he had a good BB/9 of 2.0. His strikeouts/9, 6.3, won't wow many, but it isn't too much to be concerned with while facing older, advanced hitters. Lyles did find trouble giving up too many hits: his opponents batting average was .296 and he gave up more than a hit per inning. Overall April was a good month for Lyles, but he could be doing a lot better as well. Sergio Perez is the next best pitcher on my board. He impressed with his BB/9 and K/9, 1.7 and 7.9 respectively. However, he too gave up more than a hit per inning and ended the month with an ERA of 4.44. Certainly nothing to whine about, but not enough to outshine Houston's top prospect. I was impressed with Douglas Arguello's, but he only started two games and therefore found it hard to compare him to the above two players who started two or three more games. Arguello did however, have very good H/9 and K/9 ratios, 6.5 and 8.4. His ERA was a good 3.74. He did walk a few too many guys, 3.7 per nine innings. But he also had a good ground out to air out ratio: 3.4. I'd love to see what Arguello will do over the course of five starts for a whole month. Henry Villar is a prospect a liked coming into the season, but he's disappointed so far. Fernando Rodriguez and Sergio Escalona are two relievers with exceptional K/9 and H/9 stats, particularly Rodriguez who sports a K/9 of 11.5 and H/9 of 4.7, he does counteract these with a high BB/9 of 5.4 though.
There is my breakdown of the month of April for the prospects in Oklahoma City. What do you think? Who's month have you been encouraged by? Discouraged by? Would you have chosen someone else as batter of the month?