Heading into the final month of the season for the full season teams, most of the moves have been made already as the team likes to split the seasons in half for a lot of guys between two levels if they’ve done enough in the first half. Still, there are some guys out there who have done enough at their current level to warrant moving up. Players mentioned here are mentioned because of how they have performed and it has nothing to do with who is ahead of them at the next level. Some guys may be blocked, but this is about talking about players who are performing very well at their current spots.
Marquez Smith | Bakersfield Blaze
Smith is 29-years-old, so on that notion alone he shouldn’t be in the California League, but if we look at his numbers we really get an idea that he shouldn’t be there. The corner infielder is hitting .318/.426/.607 with 22 home runs and 100 RBI on the season. He dominated for the Blaze last season as well and in both seasons he had a brief call to Pensacola. Last year an injury cut things short and this season he just didn’t get much playing time before being sent back.
Brian O’Grady | Billings Mustangs
The Rutgers product has played a little bit of everything this season, spending limited time at first base, third base and right field to go along with 16 starts in center. His versatility would help him get playing time at the next level, but his bat has been more impressive than his versatility. He has hit .298/.411/.544 on the season with 24 walks and 20 strikeouts in 141 plate appearances. He’s also added four steals in four attempts. His offensive game has been very well rounded with the Mustangs and he’s shown he can move around on the defensive side of things as well.
Ty Washington | Billings Mustangs
Washington is in his second season with Billings, this time hitting .305/.328/.461 with five walks and 15 strikeouts in 134 plate appearances. The second baseman has played all over the infield in the past, but has exclusively played at second this year. His hitting has improved, but what has really jumped out has been that he has 16 steals while being caught just twice this season. His 16 steals lead the league.
Gavin LaValley | AZL Reds
The Reds 4th round selection in the 2014 draft has come out of the gates swinging a bit bat. He’s had 130 plate appearances and posted a .319/.400/.469 line to go with 15 walks and 23 strikeouts. The third baseman has had some fielding issues though, with eight errors in 23 games. Still, the bat has been promotion worthy and defense is something that you can work on at any level.
Jacob Johnson | Bakersfield Blaze
The right hander is in Bakersfield for the second year in a row and has been a dominant fixture in the bullpen. Johnson has a 2.44 ERA in 59.0 innings pitched with just 14 walks and 43 strikeouts. The second time around has gone much better as he has made the adjustments to the league and put up strong stats. After a slow start in April, he’s had a 1.84 ERA in 44.0 innings.
Nolan Becker | Dayton Dragons
The Dayton left handed reliever has put together a strong season, although in limited action since he didn’t join the team until the final week of May. Since coming to join the squad though he has posted a 1.09 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched with just six walks and he has struck out 28 batters. Missing bats was not a problem for him in the previous two seasons, but the walk rate has been night-and-day different from past years. In 2012 and 2013 the left hander had 34 walks in 47.2 innings pitched. He’s turned a big weakness in his game into a strength.
Brennan Bernardino | Billings Mustangs
The left handed closer for the Mustangs has a 0.00 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP in 17.0 innings pitched. He has issued just five walks and struck out 24 of the 66 batters he has faced, which is a very impressive 36.4% strikeout rate. He has thrown multiple innings in a few appearances and has racked up five saves as well.
Michael Sullivan | AZL Reds
The 29th rounder in the 2014 draft has been dominant for the Arizona League Reds. He has a 1.04 ERA in 8.2 innings that span nine appearances. The left hander has a 0.92 WHIP to go along with just three walks and he has struck out 16 of the 36 batters he has faced. That is a 44.4% strikeout rate. While the action has been limited due to the schedule for the complex level teams, he appears to be ready for the next step.