In this week’s Saturday Stats Pack, I take a look at the continued improvement from a third baseman prospect who languished last year, a starter making his return from double knee surgery, and a converted shortstop on who is on fire. Remember to check out this week’s major league Saturday Stats Pack where I looked at Nick Markakis‘s tear last week, Jhoulys Chacin‘s debut, and some team stats related to the early struggles this year.
Gwinnett – 7 Games, 11 Hits
Rio Ruiz‘s season got off to an 0-for-4 start, but since then, he’s had at least a hit in each of the next eight games. Over the last four, he’s had exactly two-a-game, giving him a stellar .355 average. The power has also came with a homerun Thursday night, his first at the AAA level. Few Braves prospects had a more disappointing 2015 than Ruiz, when he slashed .229/.331/.318. But he made adjustments and impressed fans and players alike this spring in his brief run with the major league team. While Adonis Garcia is holding down the third base job in the bigs, the Braves may opt to get a look at Ruiz this summer in a platoon role – especially considering Garcia’s defensive limitations.
Mississippi – Whalen Goes Six, Gets First Double-A Win
As surprising as John Gant may have been this spring, he was the “other guy” acquired form the Mets last summer in the Kelly Johnson / Juan Uribe trade. Robert Whalen was the real pick-up and the righty only made three starts before missing the rest of the year and undergoing surgery on both of his knees. After making his debut last week, he ended the week on a strong note with six quality innings Friday night against Montgomery. He allowed four hits, a pair of runs, and induced 8 grounders to just two flyouts. He also struck out five to just one walk. Whalen is easy to forget about in this system, but he could be a fun trade piece or help fill out a rotation if he continues to develop.
Carolina – To the Max with 13 ING, 0 runs, and 14 K’s
Another pitcher who flies a bit under the radar is Max Povse, which is surprising considering his 6’8″ height. The third rounder in 2014 stalled in a five-start performance last summer with Carolina after looking great in Rome before the promotion. His struggles and the fact that injury ended his year early meant that Povse would make a return trip with the Mudcats. The rest of the Carolina League might be hoping the return trip ends with a promotion soon. After six scoreless against Salem last Sunday in which he walked just one and struck out seven, Povse’s follow-up was just as excellent with seven one-hit innings, a walk, and seven K’s.
Rome – RPD Rides Hot Streak to 1000+ OPS
When Ray-Patrick Didder signed out of Aruba, the Braves were high on his collection of tools and they wanted him to play shortstop where he could maximize his value, but they abandoned that hope last year. Still, his bat had some upside even though he hadn’t stood out yet. So far this year, the 21 year-old is standing out in a big way. He’s hitting over .350 with 4 doubles and 2 triples while playing mostly right field. He has yet to homer in 162 professional games and with his slight frame, power will never be his game, but he has a quick swing that slashes the ball to the gaps. To this point, he’s been more of an adventure than a plus in the running game, but he could be an interesting super utility-type to keep an eye on.