Posts Tagged ‘Taylor Cole’
With the end of the minor league season this past week, it seems like some players let up and stopped playing as hard while others somehow excel. In the latter group this year is Elliot Johnson of the Columbus Clippers of the International League (AAA). Johson was 8 for 15 last week (.533) with a home run, 5 walks, 3 runs scored and 6 rbis. Johnson improved his minors record for the season to a .236 average over 314 at bats.
A bit behind Johnson last week was Brett Pill, who plays for the Kia Tigers of the Korean League. Pill was 10 for 22 last week (.455) with a home run (his 17th), 4 runs scored and 5 rbis. Pill’s season average is up to .317. Adam Law also improved last week, hitting 7 for 22 (.318), helping him finish with a .273 average.
One by one the Mormon players drafted two years ago have been promoted this year from class A to A+. The lone holdout among the position players is Marcus Littlewood, who again made the case for his promotion this week. Littlewood, a catcher, was 8 for 19 (.421) last week with 7 runs scored, 5 rbis, 6 walks and 2 home runs–and in the process he pushed himself onto the Midwest League leader board with a .348 OBP (tied for 21st in the league).
His performance for the season aren’t that bad either. He is hitting .251 with 41 rbis and 38 walks and a .348/.398/.745 slash line. But as a catcher Littlewood’s performance must also be judged on how he called the games. Unfortunately, his progress in that area isn’t available as a statistic and isn’t something I can judge.
The Sacramento River Cats’ Shane Peterson (Pacific Coast League – AAA) has been really good this season. He has been hitting over .300 all year, and is high on the leader board of the Pacific Coast League in multiple categories. And he played in the AAA All Star Game. And then there was last week.
Peterson’s performance last week was easily the best of his season so far. He was 12 for 25 (.480) and scored 10 runs and earned 9 rbis, based on 3 home runs. If it seems like the single walk he managed last week is low, its because he got so many hits. There seems little chance that Peterson will not be in the majors by the roster expansion on September 1st.
Adam Law’s numbers should put him among the leaders in the A+ California League. His 11 for 29 (.379) and 6 rbi performance last week pushed his season average up to .322 over 146 at bats. But the strength of his numbers hasn’t put him on the leader board yet. He is about 2 weeks short of the number of plate appearances needed to qualify—mainly because he was injured and out of the line up for several weeks earlier in the season. But Law’s numbers are otherwise strong enough to place him among the top 10 batters in the California League. Watch here to see where he ends up once he qualifies.
Law wasn’t the only Mormon in the minors who was hot at the plate last week. Jaycob Brugman continued to make his case in the Midwest League, where he was 9 for 23 (.391) with 4 rbis, 5 walks and a stolen base. Brugman does qualify for the leader board in his league, and appears there in OBP, SLG and OPS. And in AAA the Sacramento River Cats’ Shane Peterson is also very strong, hitting .310 last week (9 for 29) with 5 rbis and a home run, bringing his season average up to .296. He is in the PCL’s top ten in runs scored, hits and walks.
Returning from hip surgery, veteran pitcher Clayton Mortensen, who has spent parts of the last 5 seasons as a reliever in the majors, pitched two steller games last week. Over a total of 11 innings, Mortensen shut out his opponents while giving up just 6 hits and 3 walks and while striking out 10. He finished the week with a 1-0 record, a 0.00 era and a 0.82 WHIP. I’m sure he will be trying to keep up that level of play during the rest of the season.
Mortensen wasn’t the only stellar Mormon pitcher in the minors. Taylor Cole (Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League — A+) also shut out his opponents in a 7-inning start, giving up just 3 hits and no walks while striking out 9. He remains at the top of the league in strike outs (with 82) and 3rd in the league in WHIP. His numbers are so good that it seems likely the Blue Jays are just waiting for a spot in AA to open up.
Harper has been hot so far this season. No, not Bryce Harper — he’s on the DL in the majors. His older brother Bryan Harper, currently a relief pitcher for the Potomac Nationals in the Carolina League (A+). Bryan has a 1.62 era in 16.2 innings of work–which would lead the league if he had pitched the number of innings needed to qualify (32 innings so far). Although he is a reliever, he has appeared in just 10 of Potomac’s 40 games this season. Read the rest of this entry »
How long do you have to play well in the minors before you are promoted? You might think that after a player is clearly dominating in a league that promotion would swiftly occur. And according to that logic, right now Marcus Littlewood might be justified in such expectations. Littlewood is dominating the Midwest League (A), leading the league in batting average (.361) and sporting a strong slash line that is either 3rd or 4th in the league. This is coming after a strong season last year. So why not promote him?
A similar argument could be made for Adam Law, who was dominant in both the Arizona League (R) and Pioneer League (R) last year and has done well this year in the California League (A+), with a .309 average (tied for 18th in the league) and 5 stolen bases (tied for 20th). It might be early to promote Law again, so I expected that he would stay in California.
Nope. Law was demoted last week, back to the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League, whose season doesn’t start until June 16th.
The Round Rock Express’ Adam Rosales started to make the case for a return to the majors last week, going 8 for 18 (.444) at the plate with 7 walks. The walks alone are quite stunning—he nearly doubled the number of times he walked for the season, and jumped to 6th in walks in the AAA Pacific Coast League. For the season, he is batting .254 with 4 home runs, 13 runs scored and 10 rbis in 71 at bats—perhaps not enough to get him back to the majors immediately, but certainly the beginning of an argument for his return (should there be an opening).
Rosales isn’t the only Mormon in the minors who excelled at the plate last week. He was followed closely by the Beloit Snappers’ Jaycob Brugman, who was 9 for 23 (.391) with a home run and 4 walks, and by Rancho Cucamonga’s Adam Law (California League – A+), who was 11 for 30 (.367) with 7 runs scored and 3 rbis. For the season Law’s .325 average is close behind that of Marcus Littlewood, who continues to dominate the Midwest League (A) with a .395 average (1st in the league).
Its easy to get excited with the statistics in the initial weeks of the season, when extreme performances haven’t yet been tempered by the passage of time. Still, several Mormon players, such as Memphis Redbirds’ pitcher Boone Whiting, already are turning in great statistics. Whiting currently leads the AAA Pacific Coast League with 20 strike outs. He also has a 1.98 era in 13.2 innings over 3 starts.
And Whiting isn’t the only outstanding Mormon pitcher in the first couple weeks of the season. Taylor Cole, of the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League (A+) is also leading his league in strike outs (with 16), and sports a 0.51 whip and 2.31 era in 11.2 innings. Both Whiting and Cole could end up advancing if they keep up this performance—to AA in Cole’s case, and to the majors in Whiting’s case.
Its the playoffs. Bottom of the 10th. Two out. Your team gave up 4 runs in the top of the 10th. You’ve already done well, 1 for 2 with 2 walks and no strike outs. If you can just get on base, maybe your team will find a way to tie, or win the game.
And then you get a perfect pitch. You swing, and watch as the ball sails out of the outfield.
For most of us that is a fantasy. We’ll never even be in professional ball, let alone pull off end-of-the-game heroics.
For Marcus Littlewood that was yesterday.