The Eastern League lost three of its bigger names over the past week, and another has changed positions. After launching 23 home runs in just 72 games in Trenton, Peter O’Brien is now in Mobile in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
The Portland Sea Dogs also lost a pair of starts to promotion, as the Eastern Leagues best pitcher, Henry Owens, and one of baseball’s best catching prospects, Blake Swihart, are now in Pawtucket. Owents struck out 126 batters in 121 innings while walking just 47, putting up an ERA of 2.60, and two shutouts in his time in Portland this season. Swihart hit an even .300 while launching 12 home runs and stealing seven bags. Swihart’s production is certainly not limited to his bat, as he threw out 47% attempted base runners in the Eastern League this season.
While Henry Owens may be gone from Portland, another big lefty is still shining. Brian Johnson put in eight scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and walking nobody in his most recent outing, giving him three scoreless outings in his last four games, and one run or fewer in nine of his last ten. His season ERA in Double-A is 1.89 and he is back in the discussion as a legitimate piece of the Red Sox future.
Aaron Nola is certainly expected to be a major part of the Philadelphia Phillies future, and the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft made his Double-A debut Wednesday night, putting in five innings of one run ball and proving to be the quick mover many expected him to be.
With Peter O’Brien out of the league, Steven Moya looks to have a stranglehold on the home run title, and his July certainly played a large part in that. He was named the player of the month after hitting ten home runs and slugging .652 for the month, and raising his season home run total to 28 and slugging to .553.
Quincy Latimore of the Harrisburg Senators was named the best player of the week after hitting nearly .400 and launching four home runs in the week, while Zach Davies of Bowie 13 strikeouts in just over 13 innings last week earned him the honor of being named the pitcher of the week.
Not all was good news on the field in the Eastern League, as Alen Hanson, one of the top prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, has been moved off shortstop after committing 29 errors in 100 games. He has moved over to second base, where he has already committed two errors in four games, but his bat is has flashed good enough to make up for his shaky defense.