June is just around the corner and Super-2 arbitration eligibility is going to expire shortly for a number of top prospects. As a result, you could see a few big names in the Majors within the first two weeks of the month. Let’s see how they’re currently doing in the minors.
Stephen Strasburg | RHP | Washington: You know you’re good when people start off a sentence with: “Strasburg actually allowed a run in triple-A…” In nine starts this season split between double-A and triple-A, the right-hander has allowed 22 hits and 10 walks in 45.1 innings of work. He has a 10.42 K/9 rate, as well as a 69% ground-ball rate, which gives a pretty good idea of why he’s been so dominant. The club could definitely use his help, as its best starter (Scott Olsen) is on the DL and Livan Hernandez is not going to keep pitching with a golden horseshoe shoved up his…
Jeremy Hellickson | RHP | Tampa Bay: Brian Joura is looking at the Hellickson situation in a little more depth over at RotoGraphs today. The 23-year-old right-hander has been dealing in triple-A all season long. He’s given up 53 hits and just 12 walks in 58.0 innings. He also has a strikeout rate of 9.64 K/9. A fly-ball pitcher with a 31.5% ground-ball rate, Hellickson has done a nice job avoiding the home-run ball (Just two have left the yard all season). The problem for Hellickson – which is great news for Rays fans – is that there is nowhere to pitch him. The starting rotation is probably the deepest and most talented in Major League Baseball.
Buster Posey | C | San Francisco: The Giants organization and General Manager Brian Sabean clearly don’t think a catcher can improve his defense while playing in the Major Leagues. Either that or it really is about Super-2. This line of thought just might cost the club a playoff berth. Posey’s defense definitely still needs some work behind the plate but he’s not useless back there and he’s hitting .344/.435/.525 with a in 160 at-bats. He’s also creaming lefties to the tune of a 1.222 OPS. Veteran MLB catcher Bengie Molina currently has a wOBA of .332 on the year, which is 14th in the Majors amongst catchers with 100 or more plate appearances (Or in other words, he’s been OK but not great). Why not let Molina catch 60% of the games with Posey handling the other 40%, while also seeing time at first base and/or third base?
Carlos Santana | C | Cleveland: Santana continues to challenge Posey for the title of Best Offensive Catcher in the minors. The Indians prospect is currently hitting .306/.440/.551 with nine homers and five steals in 147 at-bats. He also has 34 walks compared to 28 strikeouts. The switch-hitter swings well from the left side and has a .324 average against right-handed pitching. Santana has also been excellent with runners in scoring position, as his OPS jumps from .875 with the bases empty to 1.269 with men on second and/or third base. Current MLB catcher (and fellow rookie) Lou Marson has a wOBA of .255. Enough said.
Pedro Alvarez | 3B | Pittsburgh: The third baseman caught everyone’s attention early in the season with a power burst but he’s been pretty quiet since that time. Overall, he’s hitting just .248/.333/.497 with 10 homers in 165 at-bats. The left-handed hitter has struggled against southpaws with a .205 average (compared to .264 versus RHPs). Currently third baseman Andy LaRoche hasn’t exactly been an offensive juggernaut. His wOBA is just .311 through 35 games, which is one of the worst rates in the Majors at his position. However, Alvarez’ struggles could keep him in the minors until September.