Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Road Trip to Lancaster

And now for a quick rundown of Lancaster's last 10 days:
Right-handed starter Chris Hicks has been just as enigmatic as usual in the past 10 days. Hicks had a good start last week, with a game score of 57 and then lasted just 1 2/3 innings in his next start. The 22-year old has struck out eight and walked five in 7 2/3 innings, giving up 11 hits and 10 earned runs, one of which was on a home run. Hicks has a 8/7 G/F ratio and a FIP of 4.77, much lower than his ERA of 11.74 this month. His K/9 rate of 9.39 is excellent as always and his BABiP of .400 suggests his numbers will fall.

Right-hander Leandro Cespedes started just one game this month, but it was a doozy. The 22-year old put up a game score of 79, his highest this season after lasting nine innings in an extra-innings loss. Cespedes gave up five hits and two unearned runs, striking out seven and walking one to get a no-decision. He also had a good G/F ratio of 12/7 and a FIP of 1.98.

Catcher/left fielder Koby Clemens is following up his excellent month of July with a good start in August. Clemens has an eight-game hitting streak currently and is hitting .406/.459/.594 this month. The 22-year old has hit one home run and three doubles, scoring six runs and driving in 11 more. Clemens has struck out nine times but has also walked four times in 36 plate appearances. His 9.6 runs created this month are second on the team.

Center fielder J.B. Shuck is also batting .400 this month, and has created 10 runs so far. In eight games, Shuck is 16 for 39 with two walks, four doubles, one triple, seven runs scored and four RBIs. His line of .410/.439/.564 is the highest on the team and his wOBA of .423 is second only to Brandon Barnes. Shuck also stole his 18th base of the season in his only attempt.

Right fielder Jon Gaston is still struggling a bit this month, going 7 for 30 with two doubles, a triple and a home run. He's driven in just three runs this month and has struck out 12 times. How he was named Astros player of the month for July over Clemens, I don't have a clue; all I know is he's not been as good as his press clippings lately.

First baseman Matt Weston has seen his average stay high this August, but his power has dipped in the past eight games. The 24-year old former University of Houston player is 9 for 31 with five walks and 11 strikeouts but has hit just three doubles. Compared to his July, when Weston hit 21 XBH, this month's total is lagging a bit one-third of the way through the month.

Catcher Jordan Comadena has played more in the past eight games than he has in two months, starting three games and picking up two at-bats in another. Comadena is the backup catcher when Clemens is not starting, but is just 2 for 9 in four games with two walks and one strikeout.

Second baseman Andrew Simunic was promoted from Lexington and promptly went 1 for 3 with an RBI in his first start. The 23-year old undrafted free agent out of Tennessee is hitting .288/.404/.306 in 56 games this season, mostly with Lexington.

Third baseman Ebert Rosario has also thrived once freed from Lexington, going 9 for 31 with a home run, eight runs scored and five RBIs. Rosario has been primarily batting out of two two-hole in the lineup, explaining all the runs and the relative lack of RBIs. Still, Rosario has only struck out three times in 40 plate appearances, which is a talent in rare commodity in Lancaster. His usefulness at the top of the order makes the 22-year old more valuable even though his power has yet to show itself.

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