Down on the Farm: The Best and Worst Batters of April

April is officially in the books and our prospects have finally provided us with a decent size of data to chat about. At the beginning of every month I will discuss the last months best and worst prospects briefly to keep you the reader advised. I plan to break the monthly review down into two parts, batters first and then pitchers. Keep in mind that one month of data is an extremely small sample of data so don’t get to excited or to concerned this time. I am just doing my part to keep you advised on what’s going on down on the farm.

Low-A West Michigan Whitecaps:

WHO WAS HOT

  • C Rob Brantly hit .339 with 4 doubles, 1 homerun and 12 RBI in 59 at-bats in April. The 21 year-old will force the Tigers to promote him to Lakeland if he continues to hit and West Michigan continues to struggle.
  • 2B/SS Hernan Perez hit .329 with 3 doubles, 1 homerun and 5 RBI in 70 at-bats in April. The 20 year-old Venezuelan also racked up 6 stolen bases last month.

WHO WAS NOT

  • 3B Nick Castellanos had a forgettable beginning to his pro career batting just .197 in April. In 71 at-bats Castellanos managed to walk just 4 times and he struck-out 22 times. He had just 3 extra base hits–one of which was his first homerun over the weekend. Let’s all relax a bit though, he just turned 19 and we are only talking about 71 at-bats folks!
  • SS Dixon Machado is kinda in the same boat as Castellanos so far this season. Dixon is also just 19 years old and has struggled a bit out of the gate. His 6’0 140 lb frame doesn’t project much power but Machado has zero extra base hits so far this season. He batted .222 in 63 at-bats and had 4 stolen bases in five attempts.

Advanced-A Lakeland Flying Tigers

WHO WAS HOT

  • SS Gustavo Nunez hit .333 with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 2 homeruns and 5 RBI in April. He was 4 for 7 in the stolen base department and he drew 7 walks while striking out 10 times. His defense appears much better this season–perhaps I just watched his bad games last year. While I don’t see Nunez continuing to bat above .300 this season, .275-.280 seems easily obtainable and pretty solid if his defense continues to improve.
  • 3B Wade Gaynor hit .305 with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homeruns and 10 RBI in April. He drew 12 walks but struck-out 20 times in 82 at-bats. Gaynor has played better defense at the hot corner than I expected. He will need to cut down on the strikeouts though this season.

WHO WAS NOT

  • OF Daniel Fields is unfortunately not on the right list to start the season. Fields is batting just .194 with a double, a triple, a homerun and 8 RBI in 72 at-bats. He has struck out 29 times and has just 1 stolen base. Beyond the numbers I am still very impressed with Fields. He is just 20 years-old in a very aggressive assignment for the second straight season. The tools are there so don’t give up on Fields people.
  • OF Avisail Garcia got off to a terrible start this season but is starting to dig his way out. Garcia has 14 hits his last 8 games which has raise his average to .242. The first three weeks were unbearable watching him at the plate though. Garcia has just 2 walks and 25 strikeouts in 95 at-bats this season. To his credit though he flashes moments of brilliance and is pretty amazing in the outfield. Much like Fields, I do not anticipate that Garcia will be on this list again.

AA Erie SeaWolves

WHO WAS HOT

  • 3B Bryan Pounds hit .314 with 4 doubles, 2 homeruns and 8 RBI in 51 at-bats with Erie. His production and the injury to Danny Worth yielded Pounds a promotion to AAA-Toledo. Since the promotion, he is bating .400 with a double and a homerun in 20 at-bats. The only blemish was his horrendous strikeout numbers last month. In 70 at-bats, Pounds got rung up 20 times while walking just 4 times.
  • C Bryan Holaday finished April batting .278 with 2 doubles, 2 homeruns and 8 RBI in 54 at-bats. His value is predominately  behind the dish were he has been tabbed the organizations top defensive catcher. However, he is holding his own at the plate despite the aggressive assignment. Unfortunately Holaday had just 1 walk while being struck-out 16 times in April. He struck out in 27 % of his at-bats last season so hopefully he continues to work on his plate discipline.

WHO WAS NOT

  • 3B Francisco Martinez struggled hitting just .169 with 20 strikeouts in 71 at-bats.
  • SS Audy Ciriaco managed to hit just .230 in 74 at-bats. He struck out 13 times and walked just four times.

AAA-Toledo Mud Hens

WHO WAS HOT

  • 2B Scott Sizemore hit .408 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homeruns and 15 RBI in April. His 12 walks helped him achieve a .495 on-base percentage and he stole 3 bases. Whether you’re a fan of Sizemore or not, the numbers are very impressive. If he keeps this up, the Tigers will almost be forced to call him up for a third chance.
  • OF Andy Dirks hit .340 with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 6 homeruns and 16 RBI in 94 at-bats in April. As if that wasn’t enough, Dirks was also a perfect 10 for 10 in steals. If you thought that his amazing spring training was a fluke then perhaps you might need to reevaluate his game.

WHO WAS NOT

  • OF Clete Thomas finished April batting just .173 in 75 at-bats. The former Detroit Tiger hit 3 homeruns but struck-out a team high 24 times!
  • SS Cale Iorg hit just .243 in 74 at-bats in the moth of April. The “shortstop of the future” also committed a league high 9 errors in the field.

-Stay tuned for The Best and Worst Pitchers of April later this week!

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    Topics: Andy Dirks, Audy Ciriaco, Avisail Garcia, Bryan Holaday, Bryan Pounds, Cale Iorg, Clete Thomas, Daniel Fields, Dixon Machado, Down On The Farm, Francisco Martinez, Gustavo Nunez, Hernan Perez, Nick Castellanos, Rob Brantly, Scott Sizemore, Wade Gaynor

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