Myrtle Beach slugger Joey Gallo leads the minors with 18 home runs. Mandatory credit: Robert Gurganus, Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Week in Review: Carolina League


If “dropping the mic” had a baseball equivalent, it probably would look something like the week Myrtle Beach phenom Joey Gallo put together against overmatched Carolina League pitching.

The minor league home run leader padded his lead with five home runs this past week and has 18 on the season entering Tuesday’s games. The pinnacle came during an 11-5 win against Potomac on May 16 when Gallo went 4-for-4 with three home runs, four runs scored and five runs batted it.

Wait, there’s more.

For the week that ended Monday, Gallo hit .563 with seven of his nine hits going for extra bases (two doubles to go with all those dingers). He scored eight runs and drove in eight while drawing six walks for an on-base percentage of .682.

In all, Gallo is hitting .342 with 39 RBIs and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.254. Asked this past week what was left for Gallo to prove before moving on to Double-A, Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News:

“He’s forced the conversation on some level, but there is nothing immediate. He’s doing great and in more ways than just the power. He’s made some strides defensively, with his approach and with plate coverage. When it comes to power, he is just gifted. The day we signed him, he had as much power as anybody in the game, but he’s really made some strides in other areas. … I think June is more likely for some promotions. We’ll get the guys in here from the draft and get through that process and then we’ll talk about things.”

Gallo is getting the job done in virtually every way imaginable. He’s batting .345 against righthanded pitchers and .333 against lefties. He’s hitting .333 with seven homers at home and .351 with 11 home runs on the road. He’s clutch as well, batting .406 with eight home runs when runners are on base.

If you want to nitpick, there is this: Of his 18 home runs, only two have come against lefties … but he has logged only 33 at-bats against them.

In other words, pitchers in the Carolina League probably should continue to keep their heads down until the All-Star break in mid-June.

Gallo was not the only Pelican flapping his wings this past week. For more, read on for who was hot and who was not:

WHO’S HOT

Nick Williams (Myrtle Beach) – Williams is hitting .440 during a six-game hitting streak and more than half of his 11 hits have been for extra bases (five doubles, one home run). He drove in seven runs and now has hits in 13 of his past 14 games.

Kyle Wren (Lynchburg) – The Hillcats’ No. 2 hitter behind Jose Peraza has snapped out of a funk with a seven-game hitting streak. During that span, he has batted .400 (10 of 25) with four runs and four RBIs. The only red flag at the moment is on the basepaths, where Wren was caught stealing four times this past week.

Tucker Nathans (Frederick) – It has been a long and winding road for Nathans, who went undrafted out of Fairfield University and spent the next two seasons in independent baseball, playing for the New York Federals, Brockton Rox and Newark of the Can-Am League and Florence of the Frontier League. He signed with Baltimore this past season and now might finally be making a name for himself after a week in which he matched Gallo’s 9 of 16 performance (albeit with only two doubles). During a five-game hitting streak, he’s batting .500.

Michael Burgess (Frederick) – Talk about coming up big. Burgess is hitting .474 during a five-game hitting streak with four doubles, a home run and nine runs batted in. That’s just slightly better than …

Jason Esposito (Frederick) – Giving the Keys three wicked-hot hitters, Esposito hit .455 (10 of 22) during the past week with a double and two triples. One note of caution with Esposito is his lack of walks. He has none this season.

Oscar Tejada (Potomac) – He’s back in the Carolina League four years after being the MVP of the California-Carolina All-Star Game, which seems like a bad thing. He might find his way back to Double-A soon if he can build on his past four games. In that stretch, Tejada has eight hits in 14 at-bats, including a pair of home runs.

Anthony Gallas (Carolina) – Before Salem cooled him off on Monday, Gallas owned a nine-game hitting streak in which he hit .441 (15 of 34) with eight doubles and a home run.

Kevin Heller (Salem) – This slayer of southpaws is currently on a five-game hitting streak. In that span, he is batting .462 (6 of 13) with three doubles. For the season, he is batting .303 with an extreme split of .382 against lefties and .271 against righthanders.

Tim Anderson (Winston-Salem) – He has seven hits in his past four games including a double and triple and is batting .281 in May after a nearly invisible April.

Jacob May (Winston-Salem) – Very quietly, May has turned the corner on an awful start to the season. He has hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games, batting .303 during that span. It’s not flashy, but when viewed against an April in which he batted .136, it’s difficult not to be excited about recent results.

Justin Haley (Salem) – A reliever for most of the season, Haley took the bump for a start this past week and responded with seven scoreless innings of three-hit, nine-strikeout ball in a win at Carolina.

Corey Littrell (Salem) – What a twin bill that must have been at Carolina on Friday. After Haley blanked the Mudcats, Littrell tossed six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk while fanning eight.

WHO’S NOT

Randolph Oduber (Potomac) – Oduber is the latest to go from hot-to-not in our weekly offering. He mustered just two hits in 22 at-bats this past week.

Jerrud Sabourin (Carolina) – Sabourin accomplishes the same feat as Oduber, tumbling to this lowly spot after previously raking for the Mudcats. This past week, Sabourin outdid Oduber by managing just one hit in 22 at-bats.

Matt Taylor (Frederick) – Taylor has spent much of this season as the league leader in earned run average but the metrics suggested that was a mirage. His (sort of) comeuppance came this past Wednesday when Potomac lit him up for nine hits and five runs in five innings. We say “sort of” because he still won the game, thanks to a bloody appearance by a rehabilitating Washington Nationals starter (more on him below).

LINE OF THE WEEK

Ross Ohlendorf missed all of 2013 with a back injury and finally embarked on his rehabilitation tour Wednesday pitching for Potomac. He failed to get out of the third inning, allowing seven runs on 11 hits, including a three-run homer to Brenden Webb. Not to worry, though. Ohlendorf took his inconsistent delivery to Triple-A Syracuse and ironed it out to the tune of five scoreless innings against Columbus.

 

 

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