The time has come for Brendan McKay to continue his ascent towards Tampa. The Rays #3 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, was promoted to the A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League on Monday 5/14/2018. There is the opportunity for a University of Louisville baseball reunion in the Rays organization at the AA level with the Montgomery Biscuits already having Grant Kay and Nick Solak on the roster.
Another promotion included Indianapolis native Jared Ruxer to AA this week and is now pitches for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. A different type of move involved Drew Harrington moving out of the bullpen and back into a starting role where he has put together two solid starts.
I’ve had some people ask what does WHIP stand for and why is it something that I include in my reports. WHIP is a combination of Walks, or base on balls + Hits + Innings Pitched. Essentially, it is a metric used to show an average of how many baserunners get on base each inning that a pitcher is on the mound. The great pitchers hover around a 1.00 WHIP. Take Clayton Kershaw for example, he is the active career WHIP leader and is sitting at a perfect 1.00.
The all-time career leader in WHIP, Addie Joss, finished with a 0.97 WHIP. A WHIP that begins to creep northwards of 1.45 is indicative that a pitcher is struggling to keep runners off the base paths when he is on the mound. Wins and Losses only share a small sample size of how effective a pitcher really is because a lot of those numbers depend on the other guys supporting him. However, WHIP, ERA, strikeouts, walks, and the ratio between strikeouts and walks really help to understand just how well a pitcher is throwing.
Stats are from 5/6-5/13/2018
Adam Duvall hit his first ever walk-off home run in the Major Leagues this past week against the Met’s in a 10 inning affair that helped secure the series for the struggling Red Legs. In the past week, he collected 5 more hits, including the walk-off. Even though he is not at his All-Star pace of a few seasons ago he is striking out less and is on pace to have his best season-long strikeout totals. Through Mother’s Day, Duvall is hitting .176/.264/.638 with 17 RBI’s, 8 doubles and 6 home runs.
Adam Engel collected 4 hits this week in 4 games, including a 3 hit ball game on Saturday the 12th against the crosstown rival Cubs. One of those 3 hits on the 12th was another double improving his total to 3 on the season. It has been a steady climb for Engel to reach that .200 mark for his average and after hitting .280 so far for the month of May he is now slashing .193/.265/.250 with 5 stolen bases and 8 RBI’s.
Chad Green appeared in 4 games this week for the Evil Empire compiling 4.2 innings, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk and 2 earned runs. Other than the one pitch that left the park on the 9th, Jolly had another great week. Through 18 games he is the model of bullpen dominance with 5 holds, 0 inherited runners allowed to score, 31 strikeouts in 22 innings, just 5 walks, and an ERA of 2.45 and WHIP of 0.95.
Matt Koch had yet another strong start for the Diamondbacks but unfortunately was tacked with the loss against the Nationals. He went 8 innings, struck out 3, but did give up 2 home runs for a total of 3 earned runs. At this point in the season, Koch has pitched in 6 games with the Diamondbacks, making 5 starts with an ERA of 2.43 and a WHIP of 0.99, to go along with 20 strikeouts in 33.1 innings pitched.
Nick Burdi: The Pirates have placed Nick on the 60-day Disabled List to start the season
Kyle McGrath pitched in 2 games this week and went 2.2 innings with 5 strikeouts, but gave up 2 earned runs. McGrath continues to rack up the strikeouts this year, 20 between the Padres and the Chihuahuas in 18.1 innings, but he has also been plagued by the long ball as he has given up 5 already this season compared to 8 in his first 3.5 years of professional baseball. In 10 games with the Chihuahuas, McGrath has an ERA of 5.02 and a WHIP of 1.26. The walks are still low, only 3 on the season, so look for McGrath to get back to his dominant ways that helped get him to the Big Leagues.
Josh Rogers dominated again in his lone start this week for Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He picked up the win after cruising through 7 shutout innings, striking out 5 and only walking 1. Rogers is a perfect example of why a win-loss record for a pitcher does not tell the whole story. To this point in the season, he is 3-3 through 7 starts, with one complete game shutout*. Across those 7 starts, he has thrown 41.1 innings, struck out 41 batters to only 11 walks, and has an ERA of 2.61 with a WHIP of 1.16.
*His most recent start was a shortened 7 inning game.
Chris Dominguez was placed on the 7-day Disabled list on April 23rd.
Zack Burdi is starting this season on the Disabled List as he recovers from Tommy John Surgery.
Jeff Arnold was assigned to the Richmond Flying Squirrels on the 12th and has not played a game yet with the AA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. In 2 games this past week with the AAA club, Arnold got 1 hit and 1 RBI. Between 2 levels this year he is slashing .169/.260/.476 with 3 doubles and 5 RBI’s.
Derek Self threw in 3 games this week going a total of 4 innings. His first two outings of the week he was lights out, striking out 3 in 2 innings, but in his 3rd appearance, he gave up 4 earned runs on 5 hits in 2 innings. Self has appeared in 11 games this season and only given up runs in 3 of those appearances. He has totaled 13.2 innings with 15 strikeouts and 3 walks to go along with an ERA of 4.61 and WHIP of 1.10.
Jeff Thompson appeared twice this week and had almost polar opposite outings. In his first outing, he did not record an out after walking 2 and surrendering two earned runs. In his second appearance, he did not give up a hit in 2 innings while striking out 3. Walks are starting to become a struggle for Big Jeff as he has 12 free passes in 16.2 innings. In that time he does have 17 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.78 with a WHIP of 1.98.
Cole Sturgeon is continuing his torrid pace to the season collecting 11 hits in 7 games that included 2 doubles, 1 home run, and 5 RBI’s this week. In his last 10 games, Sturgeon has 5 multi-hit games and 15 total this year. His ability to hit for power, average and draw walks is evident early on. I am still wondering when the Red Sox will pull the trigger and move him up to the next level; he is certainly deserving. To this point in the season, he is hitting .365 /.421/1.001 with 9 doubles, 6 home runs, 18 RBI’s, 12 BB’s, 5 stolen bases and a very low 20 strikeouts.
Kyle Funkhouser’s struggles continue with the SeaWolves after he gave up 4 earned runs this week in a 4 inning start that saw him walk 4 and give up 8 hits. In 6 starts this season, Funk has a record of 0-3 with 27 strikeouts and 18 walks in 28 innings pitched, and an ERA of 5.46 and a WHIP of 1.86.
Nick Solak played some outfield this week and hit safely in all but 1 game. His 8 game hitting streak ended on the 9th but he has picked right back up and is on a 4 game hitting streak at the moment. In 7 games this week, the Illinois native had 9 hits including a double and two home runs. Through 35 games this season, Solak is hitting a strong .318/.409/.897 with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs and 20 RBI’s, along with 19 BB’s and 6 stolen bases. At this pace, Brendan McKay may not be the only Ray’s Prospect moving up.
Corey Ray had another strong week that included a double and home run amongst 8 hits. He continues to put up great power numbers starting this year that include 11 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs and 14 RBI’s. His average does not jump off the page at .250 but his ability to get on base and slug with an OBP of .331 and OPS of .757 are numbers that the Brewers must like out of their 2016 first rounder.
Dean Kiekhefer has moved nicely into the closer role for the Midland Rockhounds with 2 saves in 2 opportunities. This week he appeared twice pitching 1 inning each. While he did not strike anyone out in either outing he did only surrender 1 hit. Between two different teams, Kiekhefer has gone 11 innings, walked 2, struck out 12 and given up 1 earned run to go along with an ERA of 0.82 and a WHIP of 1.00.
Jared Ruxer was promoted to AA on the 12th and is now pitching for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Before being promoted, Rux threw in 1 inning and allowed 1 hit. In 19.1 innings this season in A Advanced, Ruxer had totaled an ERA of 4.19 and a WHIP of 1.24, while striking out 14.
Grant Kay was placed on the 7 day DL at the start of the season.
Dace Kime, with the Akron Rubberducks of the Eastern League, is currently on the 7-day Disabled List.
Will Smith was placed on the 7 day DL on May 8th.
Joe Filomeno was released on 4/23 by the Texas Rangers.
Drew Ellis’ 8 game hitting streak came to an end on Mothers Day. During that streak this week he tallied 6 hits in 5 games that included a couple of doubles. He continues to hit well at the A Advanced level, especially since this is his first full year in professional baseball. In 32 games, Ellis has totaled 10 doubles, 4 home runs, 20 RBI’s, 16 BB’s and a slash line of .246/.344/.782.
Brendan McKay is moving on up to the Florida State League and will be joining the Charlotte Stone Crabs. In 6 starts this season with the Bowling Green Hot Rods he went 2-0 with 40 strikeouts to just 2 walks in 24.2 innings. On top of that, he had an ERA of 1.09 and an obnoxious WHIP of 0.41. My created player on MLB the Show doesn’t even post numbers like that. As we have come to love with Brendan McKay that is only the half of it, he also dominated at the plate. McKay the hitter leaves the Hot Rods batting .254/.484/.817 with 2 doubles, 1 home run, 16 RBI’s, and 28 walks to 13 strikeouts in 21 games.
Blake Tiberi added 3 more hits including a double in 5 games this week with the Columbia Fireflies. At UofL, Tiberi was used as a 3rd baseman but this year has made the switch across the diamond to 2nd base where he has continued a strong campaign after missing last season due to injury. A month into the season he is hitting .295/.429/.813 with 7 doubles, 1 home run, 10 RBI and a stellar 26 BB’s.
Drew Harrington put together two solid outings this week after moving to a starters role. He did not factor into the decision in either start but he only let up 1 earned run in each and struck out a total of 5 across 7 innings, 3 innings in the first start and 4 in the second. Both of these strong starts also helped out his season ERA of 5.14 and WHIP of 1.62 to go along with 13 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.
Lincoln Henzman continues to be strong as a starter for Kannapolis giving up 2 earned runs in 6 innings while striking out 2 and walking 1 this week. In 7 starts this year he is 3-2 with an ERA of 2.61 and a WHIP of 1.08 with 28 strikeouts to just 4 walks in 38 innings.
Colby Fitch got 1 hit in 3 at-bats this week to bring his season totals to .237/.338/.796 with 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs.
Devin Hairston has hit safely in 12 of 13 games to start the season and added 5 hits this week. Hairston has an incredibly smooth glove for a middle infielder and if he can continue to hit at a proficient rate it gives him a great chance to advance up the ladder. In 13 games so far this year he is batting .292/.382/.694 with 1 double, 9 RBI’s, 7 BB’s and 1 stolen base.
Kade McClure started twice this week, the first being a dominant 9 strikeout performance in 7 innings, but the second start ended in .2 inning and a trip to the 7 day DL.
Logan Taylor has been assigned to start the season at Rookie Level but he has not played in any games to this point.