Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday's Trip to Lexington

Stopping by Lexington now:

The two starts I haven't mentioned yet this week were from David Duncan and Robert Bono. Duncan was excellent, picking up the victory by lasting seven innings and allowing one earned run. Still, Duncan is an older guy who failed spectacularly in High A ball, so we'll reserve calling him a prospect just yet. As for Bono, he's been good this season, but has struggled lately to be consistent. In his past six starts, Bono has only two who were above average and he's struck out less than four batters in each of his past six starts. Bono's K/9 rate is still at 5.06 and his BB/9 rate is ridiculously low at 1.18, but over those six starts, Bono's rates are 3.20 on K/9 and 1.33 on BB/9. Not great.

One guy that needs to be discussed is Henry Villar, who has appeared in six games this month. The 22-year old has struck out 16 while walking one over 9 1/3 innings. He's also given up nine hits, six earned runs and two home runs. His G/F rate is an even 6/6 while his FIP of 2.88 is half the size of his ERA of 5.79. Villar has 79 strikeouts and 13 walks this season in 60 2/3 innings over 28 appearances and three starts. I'm not sure what to make of Villar and at 5-foot-11, 150 lbs., he's very slight to be such a power pitcher. I'll be very interested to see how he responds to a callup to Lancaster.

Utility infielder Jeff Hulett was called up from short-season Tri City following Ebert Rosario's promotion. The 21-year old has gone 1 for 5 with a walk, an RBI, a double and one strikeout in two games. Hulett started at third base, designated hitter, first base and second base this season, but with second baseman Albert Cartwright batting .161/.268/.323 in 70 plate appearances and none of the other infielders standing out, Hulett may get some solid playing time.

One of the few Lexington hitters doing well this month is Eric Suttle, who's 6 for 15 in his last four games, raising his July line to .263/.333/.298. Suttle has walked six times, scored seven runs and driven in three in 63 plate appearances this month.

Well, the ride had to end some time for Jay Austin, who is 0 for 7 and now 1 for his last 21, lowering his July averages to .337/.368/.518 and his season average to .272/.320/.372. He is still the only Legends player batting over .300 and has 28 hits this month.

The Astros have a pretty stacked system for catchers, with J.R. Towles, Jason Castro and Koby Clemens behind the plate at the top three levels in the minors. Lexington, though, doesn't really have a strong candidate behind the plate. Catcher Federico Hernandez is purported to be a good defensive backstop, but his offense is atrocious, especially for Low A ball. In 50 plate appearances, Hernandez is batting .184/.200/.286 with a triple and a home run among his nine hits this month. His season averages of .223/.256/.323 aren't much better, so it'll be interesting how they handle the position over the next year or so.

Two more relievers making waves are Kyle Godfrey and Pat Urkfitz. Godfrey has appeared in six games this month, pitching 9 2/3 innings and allowing seven hits and two earned runs while striking out 13 and walking none. His G/F ratio is also excellent at 13/3, continuing his upward trend since he left extended spring training. Godfrey is older at 23, but could progress quickly. Urkfitz picked up his fourth victory on Wednesday, appearing in seven games this month. The 20-year old has pitched 8 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out eight and walking one. Urkfitz also has two saves and an 8/9 G/F ratio.

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