Remember Bryce Harper‘s poor start in low-A? Well, his current stat line doesn’t. He’s now up to .323/.425/.645 with 5 HRs in 73 PAs. He’s played mostly RF in his time there, which may indicate that they want to ease him into the CF role, not because of degree of difficulty, but because it is the field general of the outfield. Learning the way the ball moves off the bat in RF will probably help him in CF, where they ball is only really hard to read when it’s hit right at you. But the bat is what’s important anyway, and it looks like it’s not long until he’s moved up to high-A Potomac.
Speaking of remember performances, how about Ross Detwiler and his strong spring? Well, that’s continued into the regular season at AAA. Through 4 starts, he has a 2.22 ERA and he’s pitched 24 1/3 innings with 20 K and 6 BB. He’s letting up a few too many hits (27) but it’s always hard to tell from a distance what kind they are. We know they’re not HRs, though, as he hasn’t given up any of those yet. He has yet to show he can be very good in the majors, but he’s probably dominated AAA enough (2.75 career ERA, 7.3 K/9, 2.37 K/BB) that all he is doing is waiting for a spot to open up in the majors. With the way the starting pitching is going, if it doesn’t happen until this summer after a trade, that’s not the worst thing in the world for the big league club.
Derek Norris, on the other hand, is off to a slow start. After looking great in the Arizona Fall League, he indicated that it was easier for him to hit there because pitchers found the plate more. He’s down in AA now, where apparently they aren’t hitting the plate enough, because he’s hitting .154/.303/.192. It’s real early for him though, he’s only had 33 PAs. His impressive plate discipline hasn’t left him, and I’m willing to bet if we check back in a couple of weeks his numbers will look much better.
Brad Peacock, who looked very good as a reliever in the AFL, is back as a starter in AA, and the 23 year old has continued to impress. He’s been in 4 games, 3 as a starter, and has a 1.50 ERA. In 24 IP, he’s struck out 28 and walked only 3. He’ll probably get some time to show he can keep this up, but if he stays close to this K/9 (10.5) and K/BB (9.3) impressiveness, he should get a chance up in AAA this summer.
Chris Marrero was off to a strong start at AAA in the first week, but he has scuffled a bit since. He’s only hitting .231/.291/.359, although he has hit 2 HRs. Part of this poor performance has been a recent slump, he’s 7 for his last 38, with no walks and his only XBHs were 2 doubles in that time. At only 22 years old, he’s still got plenty of time to figure things out, but it’d be pretty exciting if he finished this season fighting for a spot on the major league roster.
One of my favorites, Tom Milone, has also scuffled in AAA so far this year. The 24 year old who throws in the high-80s was unhittable last year in AA, but this year he is anything but. In 21 2/3 IP he’s got an ERA of 5.40, despite 17 K to only 2 BB (which look impressive). But he’s allowed 30 hits in that time, and 3 of them are home runs, both way to many for the innings pitched. The level of competition is certainly higher in AAA, with less people fooled by mediocre offspeed stuff, so if he can’t get it together here, he’s never gonna do it at the big league level. However, with only 4 starts in Syracuse, it’s way too early to even think about writing him off.