ANGELO GUMBS HAS been painfully young at each stop of his professional career, thanks to being a 17-year-old high school senior when the New York Yankees plucked him in the second round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft.
The second baseman has seen the team’s expectations for him adjust downward over the years, due to a sub-.250 career batting average and an alarmingly poor contact rate. Still, that hasn’t stopped the Yankees from progressively pushing Gumbs up the ladder.
This year as a 21-year-old in the Florida State League, Gumbs has at least caught the organization’s attention. This past week saw Gumbs push his batting average to .325, thanks to a 13-game hitting streak (it came to an end Thursday night).
Gumbs has hit .364 in his last six games. Impressive as his past week has been, he was far from the league’s hottest hitters and wasn’t even the hottest hitter on his own team. Panning out to a bigger picture, not only did the Yankees represent this week, their crosstown rival shot of a few fireworks of their own at their St. Lucie launchpad. Let’s get to it, then: Who was hot and who was not during the third week of the Florida State League season?
1B Zach Wilson (Tampa) – The Yankees converted Wilson from third to first this season and started him at Double-A Trenton before returning him to Tampa, where he spent half of 2012 before injuries limited his 2013 season to just four games. He has hit at a .458 clip, included a 4 of 4 night most recently against Lakeland. The move to first base was born out of desperation as the Yankees are decidedly thin at the position and have already gone through five of them in New York.
2B T.J. Rivera (St. Lucie) – The Florida State League’s batting leader boosted his average to .392 thanks to a 12-hit week. He is a player to root for after signing with the Mets as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He has hit everywhere he has played but finds himself at a crossroads at 25 years old with a logjam of top prospects surrounding him at the position in the organization.
OF Brandon Nimmo (St. Lucie) – While Rivera is the Mets’ feel-good story, Nimmo is the golden boy. A consensus organizational top-10 prospect, the Mets are expecting the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft to take a big step forward in 2014. So far, so good. He leads the Florida State League with a .490 on-base percentage through Wednesday’s games. He leads the league with 19 walks and picked up eight of those passes this past week.
OF Nick Martini (Palm Beach) – Martini was just a shade behind Wilson this week with a .455 batting average. Six of his 10 hits went for extra bases (three doubles, three triples) as he drove in seven runs. He was a seventh-round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Kansas State in 2011.
OF Chad Wright (Lakeland) – The ninth-rounder out of Kentucky made the Tigers organization look good this week by extending his hit streak to 11 games. He hit .364 this past week despite an ugly night against Clearwater on April 18, when he was 1 of 7 with four strikeouts. He has raised his batting average to .290.
SP Marco Gonzales (Palm Beach) – the 19th overall pick in last summer’s draft bounced back from a rocky start the week before to pitch six innings, allowing one run on three hits while fanning seven in a no-decision against Nimmo, Rivera and those hot-hitting Mets. He is 1-1 on the season with a 2.04 earned run average
SP Scott Lyman (Jupiter) – How is it possible for a pitcher with a 0.39 ERA and a nearly invisible 0.68 WHIP to be just 1-1 after four starts? This 2011 10th-rounder has surrendered just one earned run in 25 innings and it was that run that tagged him with a loss. He has permitted just 13 hits and four walks and hitters are batting .151 against him.
SP Jose Berrios (Fort Myers) – This former first-rounder embarrassed rookie-league hitters 2012 before a rollercoaster 2013 season at Low-A revealed his great potential was in need of seasoning. This season, Berrios is learning talent alone will not be enough to advance. In his lone start tis past week, he was tagged for eight hits and seven runs in two innings against that pesky St. Lucie squad.
SP Jon Prosinski (Clearwater) – In their own way, each of Prosinski’s four starts have been progressively worse. This past week, the 10th-rounder out of Seton Hall surrendered seven hits and five runs in four innings against Daytona. He now sports the league’s second-worst ERA (7.78) and has given up the second-most hits (32).