Lehigh Valley Report

The ‘Pigs complete their four game series in Columbus this morning and the first three games haven’t been pretty, losing all three falling to 15-17, in 5th place of the Northern Division on the International League, 4 games out of first place.  Coming up this weekend, Lehigh Valley moves along to Toledo to finish up their 9 game road trip where they currently sit with a lone win and four losses.  The ‘Pigs return home on Monday for a seven game home stand against Syracuse and Toledo.

News and Notes: After leading the International League in hitting in April (.271), the ‘Pigs are hitting just .213 in May, including .152 in the current series against Columbus.

–Over their last 8 game, the ‘Pigs have not scored a run after the 6th inning.

–RP Severino GOnzalez had a 9 inning scoreless streak snapped in his last appearance.

–P James Russell was forced to make a spot start on Monday and did a great job throwing four shutout innings.

–RP Edubray Ramos has made 2 appearances since his promotion from Reading and has thrown 3 scoreless innings, striking out 3.

–Over his last 15 games, OF Cedric Hunter is hitting .298.

–C Andy Knapp had 2 hits including a HR(4) last night, snapping a long 4-34 slump.

Alec Asher has made two starts since being promoted from Reading and has been outstanding in both throwing a total of 15.2 innings and allowing just 3 runs (all unearned)on 5 hits. He has walked 2 and struck out 10, looking like a completely different pitcher commanding all his pitches well.

–After hitting .357 in April, INF Tyler Featherston is hitting .167 in May and has had significant issues in the field of late as well.

‘Pigs Prospects: Jake Thompson didn’t allow an earned run in his last outing during which he threw 5 innings and allowed 7 hits, but he did allow a 2 out grand slam which cost the ‘Pigs.  Thompson continues to have an inconsistent start to the season with a 1-4 record to go along with a 4.06ERA and a 1.35WHIP.  The opposition is hitting .265 against him and hitting a troubling .353 with RISP.

Zach Eflin had a bumpy outing in his last start, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits in 5.1IP.  The 22 year old has a 3-0 record with a 3.13 ERA spanning his five starts and is holding the opposition to just a .211 avg while compiling a very impressive WHIP of 0.92.

Nick Williams has hit safely in 13 of his last 16 games (.338, 2HR 11RBI) continuing to hit well after his slow start.  On the season, Williams is hitting .282 with 2HR 15RBI and 2SB.  Against LHP, WIlliams is at .240 and against RHP Williams is hitting .299.  Fielding can get very sloppy at times.

Tommy Joseph is hitting .352 on the year to go along with 6HR and 17RBI and continues to be the primary offensive catalyst on the team.  Over his last 10 games, Joseph is hitting .297 and has begun to see more regular playing time at 1B as opposed to his primary role as DH earlier in the season.  Joseph has made 3 errors in his 14 starts at 1B.

Next Week: Asher, Perkins, Knapp, Appel

League Leaders: Cameron Perkins is 5th in triples(2); Tommy Joseph is 5th in HR(6), 2nd in Slg (.626) and leads the league in avg. (.352); Zach Eflin is 5th in wins(3) and has the 5th best WHIP (0.92); Mark Appel is 6th in wins(3); David Buchanan has the 4th worst ERA (5.34); Edward Mujica is 6th in games (13) and leads the league in saves (8)

Transactions (Comings) Edubray Ramos (From Reading)

Transactions (Goings) Gregory Infante (to Reading)

Probables: Thur: Asher; Fri: Eflin; Sat: Buchanan; Sun: Thompson


8 thoughts on “Lehigh Valley Report

  1. I think in the coming weeks we’ll see the following in this order: TJ to Philly, Knapp to first base, Alfaro to Lehigh, Perkins to Philly, Cozens to Lehigh, Williams to Philly.

    1. I think David Buchanan and Severino G. could victims of the DFA if TJ and or Perkins are moved to the 40 for Phillies call-up, and Mario Hollands is also activated in a few weeks.

    2. I think TJ is very close to a promotion. If he continues to hit well, I think it will be another 2 or 3 weeks – I’m sure they want him to get in at least 150 ABs

      Rarely do good prospects get blocked, but I think Alfaro’s stay in Lehigh will be made longer by Knapp – you don’t take a guy (even one who is struggling presently) from a position where his bat plays up well and move him over to first (where he’s just another guy) because he’s not doing well in his first month. It’s going to be a tight situation at catcher, but I’d be loathe to move Knapp out of that position permanently. They are going to have to feel their way through this thing, but moving Knapp to first base right now (or soon), is not, to my mind, a beneficial strategy.

      On Perkins, he might be promoted in the coming months, but he’s just another place holder. Not really a strong prospect at this point – not enough power or OBP. I think he’ll have a very tough time with big league pitching.

      Cozens is probably another couple of weeks to a month away from being promoted and, frankly, I don’t think Quinn is that far behind – he is surging in a big way and looking like the prospect we expected from the beginning.

      Williams is not ready for a promotion in my view – as tempting as it is, I’d rather see him dominate AAA for a 100 ABs before he gets the call and work on his outfield routes. He’s doing fine, but I think he could use some more time in the minors.

      1. I look at Knapp and his little slumping as comparable to Swihart and his struggles this year…only hitting singles with the big club..
        They both are considered good hitting catchers first and foremost and both needed to work more on their defensive side of the game.
        Sometimes that affects the hitting.
        Prospects have these swoons.

  2. In Reality things RARELY happen as fast or even faster than we would prefer. Patience isn’t an American pastime. And as long as the big club is in the hunt, so to speak, they’ll make very few personnel moves as much as we might yell and scream for an injection of new young energy, especially on offense.

  3. Having watched both of them live many times, I think Knapp and Alfaro will both stay put for the time being. Alfaro missed a bunch of time with the injury, and they both need to improve behind the plate. Add in that they’ll need breaks from time to time, and I think they take their time. If JP Arencibia has a June 1 opt-out (speculation from the radio broadcast) then perhaps some shifting occurs there, but not necessarily the two prospects.

    Cam Perkins has cooled off tremendously in the last week, since his 15-game hit streak was broken. He’s not playing every day. As much as I want him to get his shot, I don’t think anything is imminent.

    They now have Tommy playing every day (they didn’t to start the year) and 5/7 at 1B as opposed to DH. He could be the one to move soon as it seems they’re really getting him ready to field that position. I still predict 5/23 for AL road trip where DH is in play.

    The only position player I’d move from Reading is JP Crawford, long about June 1. And, not because he’s tearing it up but because I think he needs a challenge. His body language has been poor of late, and while that’s not a reason for a promotion, I’m taking it as a sign that he’s bored. He’s proven he can handle AA, let’s see what he can do in AAA.

    1. I’d like to see Crawford dominate his level to force his promotion rather than just ‘put in his time’.
      Not that I believe he is bored with baseball, but if his is then he will not be the future heart of the franchise I hope he will be.

      I want to see a real fielding improvement before he reaches the majors.

  4. Tommy Joseph deserves a call-up, but his fielding is a liability at First Base. Considering the competition is from Ruf, fielding has been a major factor in those one-run victories, although his hitting has been brutal.

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