Winning isn’t everything in the lower levels of the minor leagues, but Savannah should be doing better than 9-14 with so many quality prospects on the roster. It’d be great to win the first half division title like they did last year, but it’d be better for some of those prospects to improve upon their April performance.
Cory Vaughn: He has been the Gnats best player, which isn’t surprising because he probably should have started the season up a level. For a guy who has yet to truly take off by all accounts hitting .313 with a .438 slugging isn’t bad. Vaughn has just one homerun, but more should certainly come. He has almost a strikeout per game average, which is likely something he will always have to answer questions about, and is something that would go down a little easier with more homeruns, but all in all, it’s been a solid first month for Vaughn.
Darrell Ceciliani: Only five games played before going down with an injury, which is disappointing, but there’s no need to worry.
Javier Rodriguez: He has hit 3 homeruns, but has struggled to do much else, batting just .211 and has 4 errors in the field. He’s not striking out an obscene amount of times, nor is he helping himself with a lot of walks; he’s just not getting the job done at the plate. Rodriguez was a high draft pick and is no spring chicken anymore; he really needs to hit the South Atlantic League well this year, but so far, that has not happened.
Aderlin Rodriguez: The big guy had a real slow start, but has turned things up as of late. He is currently on an 8-game hitting streak, during which he has 11 RBI’s and has hit all 5 of his homeruns during that span. The strikeouts are prevalent and the walks are nonexistent, but he’s young enough to improve upon that. The fact that in less than a month he has already gone on a homerun tear is real exciting.
Robbie Shields: For a guy who is at least a year or two too old to be in the Sally, Shields has not excelled early on like he should. He has come on as of late, getting his average to .240 and slugging .427. He is also 6-7 on stolen base attempts, but he should be hitting better than he is. His movement in the organization depends on the guys above him, but he is definitely capable of doing more to help Savannah win ball games, at least he should be now that he is healthy.
Wilfredo Tovar: He has the second best average on the team, which really speaks to the team’s struggles, although Tovar’s production should not be discounted. His strikeouts are low, as are his walks and power, but he’s young and has handled himself well with the bat in April. Most importantly, he’s a superb defensively talent.
Sam Honeck: At one point he was hitting .400 and had people scrambling to figure out who he was and where he came from, but he has come back down to earth with only 3 hits in his last 10 games. He is now down to a .279 average and a .407 slugging, but clearly he is capable of doing some good things. The league has obviously made adjustments to him, and the question now becomes can he make adjustments of his own to get back on track in May.
Albert Cordero: He is noticed more for his ability behind the plate than at the plate, but he has handled the bat pretty well. Cordero has yet to walk on the year and is averaging nearly a strikeout per game, both of which will have to change as the season goes on, especially for a guy who won’t hit for a lot of power. At this point, there’s no need to be overly critical of his hitting, as long as his defense is there.
Blake Forsythe: He has already his homerun total of 3 that he had in 30 games for Brooklyn last year in 17 games this year. But even with that power, a .177 average and more than a strikeout per game is not what you want to see from a 3rd round pick that was in college last spring. He and Cordero are platooning at catcher so it may be hard to get in a good rhythm, but they have seen plenty of time at DH to help make up for that. Forsythe can’t afford to let his struggles go too much deeper into the season, because he should be able to hit at this level at his age.
Greg Peavey: He was great on opening day and great in his last outing, but mediocre in his 3 starts in between. The strikeout to walk ratio has been great, but he’s giving up a few too many hits, perhaps a sign of being in the strike zone too much, and giving batters too much of an opportunity, which is why they are hitting .319 against him. All things considered, a promising first month for a high draft pick.
Erik Goeddel: Very similar to what Peavy has done, but with a few less hits and a few more runs. But like Peavy, he has the stuff and should get better with experience.
Chase Huchingson: He has the size and frame to be an intriguing prospect and has done well with it so far. The fact that he is a lefty helps a good deal, and he has shut down guys from that side of the plate, but has also done good work against righties. He did not have a lot of hype coming into the season, but he should be monitored closely going forward.
Ryan Fraser: He’s been solid and a tough luck loser as he transitioned from closer last year to starter, but 11 strikeouts in 24 innings is a ways away from where he was last year and where he needs to be. If he improves in that department he becomes a lot more promising.
Taylor Whitenton: He’s repeating the Sally so he should be doing well, but even considering that he is doing real well. Whitenton has mostly piggybacked starts but has accumulated 16 innings in April, with 25 strikeouts and a WHIP just above 1. His ERA is also just a notch above 1, so it would be nice to see him get a promotion, preferably before the midway point of the season.
In the bullpen: Josh Edgin has 4 saves in 7 appearances this year and has performed well, striking out 12 in 8 innings of work, but has allowed far too many men to reach base. Ronny Morla closed yesterday for Savannah with Edgin setting up for him. Morla, who was taken in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, has earned the closer’s position, giving up 3 runs in over 13 innings pitched, striking out 15. He has been stellar throughout April and he could be in line for a promotion after pitching at the same level in the Cubs organization last year.