The month of July is a very important one for many top minor league prospects. More or less the midway juncture of the regular season, prospects who wowed early in the season and perpetuated their success into June are now enjoying the fruits of their labor in the form of a promotion to the next level of the minors. For comparison’s sake, July is essentially the baseball equivalent of Saturdays on the PGA Tour: Moving days.
For many of the Milwaukee Brewers’ top prospects, July 2012 was one we’ll never forget. Following a month where we witnessed a few noteworthy promotions and a colossal and unexpected one in Tyler Thornburg, the July dog-days also produced a number of headlines and superb performances. More specifically, a number of players within the system found an acute amount of success during July, putting up gaudy numbers at a prolific rate and moreover raising their respective stocks within the organization.
The following 10 prospects depict those aforementioned players.
Hunter Morris, 1B (stats)
July Line: 106 AB, .340/.393/.736, 20 XBH (10 HR), 24 K/10 BB (28 G)
There are few players in the system who’s power rivals that of Morris, and that was never more evident than in his stellar July showing. This month, he managed to raise his 2012 isolated power (ISO) rating to a career-best .255. His approach will still need refinement before he challenges for the starting first-base job, though is yield at the plate this month is still nonetheless impressive.
Caleb Gindl, OF (stats)
July Line: 91 AB, .319/.370/.527, 11 XBH (4 HR), 18 K/8 BB (25 G)
Gindl’s otherwise impressive power was nowhere to be found early on in 2012, though he turned things around in a big way in July. The 23-year-old hoarded four round-trippers to go with seven two-baggers this past month, raising his slugging percentage back above the .400 mark for the first time this season. A solid finish to his season could put him in prime position to battle for a roster spot this September.
Wily Peralta, RHP (stats)
July Line: 6 GS, 2.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 42 K/8 BB, .275 BAA (35.2 IP)
Peralta got off to a miserably slow start to his season, struggling to command his pitches and keep batters at bay through 2012’s first two months, so anything better than that would have been viewed as a successful July. However, he turned things around in the big way this past month; he effectively commanded his breaking pitches, striking out well over a batter per inning with a mere eight base-on-balls over six starts. This month could be a big reason he’s called up to the 40-man September roster in a few weeks.
Jose Pena, OF (stats)
July Line: 90 AB, .333/.413/.511, 8 XBH (5 3B), 22 K/13 BB (22 G)
Pena, a non-draft pick free agent who signed in 2010, finds himself with the rookie club in Arizona for the third straight; the only difference between 2012 and the two years previous have been his power at the plate, and that was extremely noticeable this month. With plus-speed at 6’2″, 195 pounds, the Dominican native collected three triples on his way to eight total extra-base hits, raising his wOBA to .422, his ISO to .242 through 30 games this season. Still very raw, this could be a major sign of maturity from Pena and may just cause management to scoot him along through the system.
Nick Ramirez, 1B (stats)
July line: 104 AB, .287/.306/.611, 18 XBH (8 HR), 41 K/2 BB (25 G)
Nearly a consensus top-25 prospect at the beginning of the season, Ramirez performed well below expectations in the season’s first two months, struggling with strikeouts and a power shortage at the plate.
While the former was still of clear concern in July, posting a strikeout rate of 37 percent in 25 games, the latter seems to have improved drastically. Belting eight home runs and 11 doubles this past month, Ramirez raised his season wOBA to .344 and his ISO to .224. While both of those numbers are still well below what management had expected entering the season (his power is his only big-league projectable tool at this juncture), such a profound improvement at the plate this past month should offer up some optimism heading into the season’s final stretch.