With the MLB season already a quarter done, we're taking a second look around the baseball landscape at all of our former Wahoo baseball players who are currently playing pro ball. Monday, we looked at the major leaguers. Today, we'll run around the minors.
For these guys, we'll go in alphabetical order.
David Adams, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays - Nearing 30 years old, Adams may be beyond the point at which he is still a prospect. He's back in AAA after spending most of the past 2 seasons in AA. He's playing reasonably well, batting .265 with a 721 OPS. He's not playing every day though, as the Blue Jays are focusing on younger players. If the Jays suffer a couple of injuries in the infield, it's not impossible that he reaches the majors again. But it is unlikely.
Stephen Bruno, 2B, Chicago Cubs - After spending the first 6 weeks of the season on the DL, Bruno is active again. He's played in 6 games, and is batting .154 with a 621 OPS. That's over just 15 plate appearances, but it isn't that far below his performance in AA the past two years. He needs to get healthy first, but if he's ever going to reach AAA and/or the majors, he'll need to start hitting this year.
Branden Cogswell, SS, Oakland Athletics - Cogswell is hurt and hasn't yet played this year. He's assigned to the Stockton Ports of the California League.
Brandon Downes, OF, Kansas City Royals - The everyday CF and cleanup hitter for the Wilmington Blue Rockets of the Carolina League, Downes is currently batting .260 with a 717 OPS. He's hit 2 HRs, driven in 19 and stolen 4 bases.
Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros - Last year, Fisher moved through two levels of the Astros farm system and raked at both levels. He hit 22 HRs in just 123 games. He also stole 31 bases. This year has been no different, as he's got a 862 OPS in 38 games at AA Corpus Christi in the Texas League. He's got 8 HRs, 25 RBI and 19 runs scored. He's batting just .259, but he has a .359 OBP. He has just 4 steals, though. He could well see AAA this year.
Reed Gragnani, 2B, Boston Red Sox - Gragnani is yet another guy who was hurt at the beginning of the season. He's still hurt and hasn't yet played. He's assigned to the AA Portland Sea Dogs of the Eastern League.
Nick Howard, RP, Cincinnati Reds - I saw a report last week that mentioned Nick Howard having "The Yips". Based on Howard's numbers, this seems an accurate diagnosis. Howard has pitched 11 innings over 15 appearances and has walked 17 batters. He's also struck out 11. His ERA is 6.55 which is not good, but actually not that bad considering his 2.55 WHIP. This was a guy who walked 14 (versus 60 Ks) in nearly 40 innings during his final season at Virginia. Clearly, something is amiss.
Danny Hultzen, SP, Seattle Mariners - Hultzen has not yet pitched a competitive game this season. He's been assigned to the Jackson Generals of the AA Southern League. He's rehabbing there and hopes to pitch at some point this season.
Nate Irving, C, Pittsburgh Pirates - Irving is with the West Virginia Black Bears, a short season A-ball team. Their season begins on June 17th.
Nate Kirby, SP, Milwaukee Brewers - Kirby underwent Tommy John surgery back in September and is currently rehabbing at the Brewers minor league complex. He isn't expected to pitch this season.
Branden Kline, RP, Baltimore Orioles - Kline is in the same situation as Kirby, although he's older than Kirby. Tommy John surgery in September and rehab this season.
Artie Lewicki, SP, Detroit Tigers - Pitching in High-A ball this year for the first time, Lewicki has continued to pitch well. He's 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He's started once and come out of the pen twice. He's struck out just 10 batters in 13.2 IP, but he's walked just 4. The Ks need to go up if he's going to advance to the upper minors.
Whit Mayberry, RP, Detroit Tigers - Mayberry hasn't pitched anywhere this season. He did have one outing for the Tigers in spring training. Not sure where he is right now.
Joe McCarthy, OF, Tampa Bay Rays - Playing for the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Low-A Midwest League, McCarthy is putting up some good numbers. He's batting .276 with a 923 OPS and has 2 HRs, 17 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 24 games. He's been playing mostly 1B and has moved around the batting order quite a bit.
Mike Papi, OF, Cleveland Indians - Papi is finally putting it together in High-A Lynchburg. Through 38 games, he's batting just .227 but has 7 HRs and 17 RBI and an 817 OPS. What's keeping his batting average down is the strikeouts. He's K'd 38 times in roughly 160 PAs. He has walked 30 times, which is good.
Josh Sborz, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers - Back where he finished last season, in the High-A California League with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Sborz is continuing to pitch very well. He's 3-2 with a 3.42 ERA over 8 starts. He's thrown 50 innings and has 44 Ks and 10 walks. He's got a 1.04 WHIP. He will probably see AA this year.
Kenny Towns, 3B, Los Angeles Angels - Towns was aggressively moved up to High-A ball this year, and though he's played just 5 games and has just 14 ABs, he has just 2 hits and a 286 OPS. After just a handful of ABs in Rookie League last year, this was a big jump. Hopefully, Towns can get it together with some more playing time.
Brandon Waddell, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates - After starting the season in Bradenton, Waddell has already moved up to AA Altoona. He was dominating in High-A and hasn't been much worse in AA. At Altoona, he's 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. In Bradenton, he was 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA and 0.52 WHIP. Chances are, he'll remain at Altoona for a while, as there is no reason for the Pirates to rush Waddell.
Cody Winiarski, SP, Chicago White Sox - Here is another guy who hasn't yet pitched this year due to injury. He was shut down last summer and hasn't pitched since, though I can't find any details on the nature of his injury.
If I missed anybody, please let me know if the comments. Otherwise, we'll check back sometime around the All-Star break.