Mood Music - The Trooper by Iron Maiden
Two Minor League Mondays ago, I put Brandon Laird in my "Three Down" section and asked him to "Start hitting again, please." With the lack of corner bats in the system, Laird can be a big asset to the team in the near future, but to start the season, was mired in a dismal slump.
While Laird had already started hitting the ball much better before that post, in the 13 games following his MLM scolding on the 23rd, Laird has hit .392/.404/.569. Keep hitting, please.
In some more good news, Austin Romine has been quite productive for Trenton, despite a notoriously offense suppressing home ballpark, currently sitting at .298/.362/.421. As the season progressed last year, Romine's bat disappeared, but hopefully he can keep it going in 2011.
I have to say bad things about Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.
They are both walking way, way too many people (BB/9, Betances - 4.37, Man-Ban - 5.01). While wildness has always been what has held back Betances, who is a fire-balling strikeout machine, the major uptick in walks for Banuelos is largely out of character.
Throughout his minor league career, Man-Ban has been a ~3 BB/9 pitcher, relying on sharp command in addition to his good stuff. As he has matured and strengthened (he just turned 20, remember), Banuelos has seen an increase in velocity, but his good command has been a casualty of this added power.
While they have both pitched around their walks effectively (Robertson-esque), it remains a major impediment to their moving up to AAA or the majors, where the hitters will be even more selective. I hate patience as much as the next red blooded American, but the B's still have a lot of work to do in the minors.