Minor League Review: June

 

While pitching has not been reliable for the Yankees, their offense has proven to be a big asset.  Ronnier Mustelier continues to make a case for a shot in the majors, consistently landing towards the top of the leader boards for the International League. Russell Branyan has also added some big relief for the Yankees’ offense since joining the team in June.

Trenton Thunder:
Much like Empire State, Trenton continues to perform in 2012.  They went 16-13 in June and find themselves just half a game behind Reading in the standings.  Trenton’s offense has been a big reason for their success.  They lead the league in slugging percentage (.420) and OPS (.755) and second in stolen bases.  Their power has been a big boon, as they have 91 homers – 28 more than the next team.

While the Thunder offense has shown their ability to hit the long ball, their pitching has allowed just 47 homers.  They have the second lowest ERA in the league, at 3.36.  Kelvin Perez has been solid out of the bullpen and while some of the Trenton starters stumbled a bit in June, Vidal Nuno has been stellar.

Tampa Yankees:
Tampa had a particularly tough time with the weather in June.  Rain repeatedly postponed games and they managed to go just 11-12 for the month.  Despite this, Tampa is tied with Lakeland for second in their division, just a game behind Brevard County.

Tampa pitching has allowed the least homers in the league, with just 32.  They are second in strikeouts, but consistency is a problem as they have also allowed the second most walks.  May’s Prospect of the Month, Mark Montgomery continues to hold down the bullpen in Tampa.

While the pitching has been strong for the Yankees, their batting has sat squarely in the middle of the pack.  Ramon Flores and Tyson Blaser provided a lot of the offense for the Yankees in June.  JR Murphy looks like he has shaken off the rust from earlier in the season and Slade Heathcott has returned from his latest shoulder injury.  July will be a telling month for this team.

Charleston RiverDogs:
The RiverDogs boast one of the most exciting lineups in the minors, yet June was a tough month for the Yankees’ Low-A club.  They went 11-14, suffering some of the same weather issues that disrupted Tampa’s month.  They are third, just two games behind Rome.  Perhaps most telling about the RiverDogs’ June was their run differential.  They allowed 142 runs in the month, scoring just 117 of their own.

Despite a tough June, Charleston is still second in batting average, slugging percentage and stolen bases.  Tyler Austin, Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez have all stepped up.  Each had a nice June and it is good to see these prospects taking over.  Cito Culver has a knack of getting on base, but he is still a long way from where you want to see him.

As shown by their opposition’s 142 runs, pitching was the problem for the RiverDogs in June.  Philip Wetherell was terrible out of the pen.  He went 0-1 with a 13.06 ERA over seven appearances.  Bryan Mitchell went 1-4 for the month with a 10.38 ERA.

Staten Island Yankees:
Staten Island had a rocky start to the season, as they faced off against a tough Brooklyn Cyclones team.  The Yankees are 4-10 so far, six games behind Brooklyn.  As a team, Staten Island’s hitting line is a rather abysmal .211/.305/.294.  It is early, but Staten Island has had a few impressive early performances.

Taylor Dugas is hitting .424/.558/.515 over ten games.  Saxon Butler has almost single-handedly run the Staten Island offense at times.  He is hitting .391/.431/.717 with three homers and eleven RBIs.  One of the most intriguing names on the Staten Island roster is Ravel Santana, who is coming off a nasty injury in 2011.  He has started slow, hitting .162/.311/.162.

The Yankees have had some good pitching performances, though they are second in the NY-Penn League in walks.  Taylor Morton has a 2.81 ERA over the first three starts, while Evan Rutckyj has a 2.08 ERA and sixteen strikeouts.

GCL Yankees:
While Staten Island’s start has been slow, the GCL Yankees are looking at repeating their 2011 success.  They are 11-1 so far, three games ahead of the Tigers.  They are hitting .268/.341/.379.  Unfortunately, they have struck out far more than any other team (113 Ks).  They have drawn 43 walks and hit a league leading 29 doubles.  Jerison Lopez has an impressive line of .442/.520/.628 with five RBIs.  Mikeson Oliberto is hitting .343/.400/.629 with a pair of homers.

The Yankees are doing well on the mound also.  They have the second lowest ERA at 2.80 and 92 strikeouts, allowing just 34 walks.  Jordan Cote, last year’s third round pick, has started his first professional season by going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA over three starts.  He has shown great control, striking out thirteen and walking just two batters.