It’s Tuesday, baseball fans and it’s time to take a look at the International League!
24-year-old second baseman Jose Pirela takes the Player of the Week award for the Yankee’s Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Pirela was 13/32 for the week (.406) and hit three doubles and a triple in his six games. In his first season starting off in Triple-A, Pirela is lighting up the pitchers to the tune of a .318/.355/.444 line with 10 doubles, three triples and three home runs.
Rochester Red Wings’ Trevor May has been on fire earning the Pitcher of the Week award in the International League as the culmination of a tremendous May. May (the pitcher) had a 1.47 ERA in May (the month) in 36 2/3 innings spread over six starts that included a complete game shutout on May 13. This week, May made two starts and didn’t allow an earned run (just one unearned) over 12 innings, allowing just nine hits and five walks with seven strikeouts.
The Syracuse Chiefs have overcome the Rochester Red Wings at the top of the standings in the North Division, leading Rochester by just 0.5 games. Syracuse has won seven of their last ten games (tied for the best mark in the IL) while Rochester’s 6-4 mark allowed them to be overtaken. Syracuse is in the middle of the pack for hitting but has the fourth-best ERA in the International League.
The Durham Bulls have extended their lead to 3.5 games over the Gwinnett Braves in the South Division, thanks to a 7-3 record over their last 10 games (and a 4-6 record in that same span for the Braves). Durham has the second-best OPS in the IL, third-best home run total and slugging percentage and are in a virtual tie for the second-best on-base percentage. To go with their high-octane offense, Durham has the second-best ERA and continues to lead the league in strikeouts by a wide margin.
Little has changed in the West Division with the Indianapolis Indians stretching their lead out to 6.5 games over the Louisville Bats. Yes. Gregory Polanco is still playing for Indianapolis . . . for now.
There haven’t been too many eye-popping individual performances in the International League this week but the biggest piece of news today is that Boston Red Sox prospect Mookie Betts has been promoted to the Pawtucket Red Sox. Pawtucket is languishing in last place in the North Division and the addition of his bat could help out the club. Betts has hit .355/.443/.551 in 253 plate appearances for the Portland Sea Dogs in the Eastern League.
Betts’ new teammate, RHP Allen Webster had a very strong outing against Norfolk in his last outing, throwing eight innings of one-run, three-hit, one-walk ball with seven strikeouts.
Stop the presses! Gregory Polanco is no longer the batting leader for the International League. Who’s on top now? None other than Washington Nationals’ outfield prospect, Steven Souza, Jr. of the Syracuse Chiefs. Souza spent a few games in the majors before coming back to Triple-a and he’s hit .362 in 130 at bats with a .468 OBP (25 BB/25 K), .569 SLG (6 HRs) and eight stolen bases.
The stolen base leader for the International League is Ezequiel Carrera of the Toledo Mud Hens (DET) with 22 stolen bases in 28 attempts. The best base thief who has yet to be caught is Antoan Richardson of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders who has stolen 15 bases.
The IL ERA leader, Liam Hendriks (Buffalo) is returning from his stint in the majors to make another start tonight for the Buffalo Bisons. Hendriks has a 1.48 ERA through 48 2/3innings while Taylor Hill (Syracuse) has a 1.57 ERA in 58 2/3 innings.