It's the minor league All Star Break for most of baseball, so I figured that this would be a good time to look at the highlights and disappointments of the first half. I'll go team by team and look at the players who have impressed, and those who haven't. The good news is that when I went through all the teams, I found way more highlights than disappointments.
Albuquerque Isotopes Highlights
Trayvon Robinson - OF - So much has been written about Robinson lately that I don't think I need to say a whole lot. He's obviously been on fire of late, and has been especially surprising with his 16 home runs. That being said, he is playing in an extreme hitter's league and also has a relatively high strikeout rate, so I'm very curious to see how his success will translate in the MLB.
Trent Oeltjen - OF - I know that Oeltjen is currently with the big league club, but when you look at his AAA stats they really are pretty amazing considering how much he flew under the radar. His average was .339, his OPS was 1.012, and he had a .429 OB%.
Dana Eveland - RHP - I think a lot of people forget that Eveland is still just 27 years old. While Dana's peripherals aren't great, he has been the Isotopes best pitcher and has a solid ERA of 3.66. If another Dodger pitcher goes down before Garland gets back, will Ely and his 5.93 ERA get the call or will it be Eveland?
Albuquerque Isotopes Disappointments
Travis Schlichting - RHP - I wouldn't call Schlichting's season terrible, but he's been pretty bad so far in 2011. He was removed from the 40 man roster, and currently has a 6.30 ERA. His career isn't over, but it's possible that he may have seen his last major league game.
Carlos Monasterios - RHP - What happened to him? He was supposed to spend this season getting some additional seasoning, but instead he hasn't pitched since April 8th.
See AA - LoA after the jump
Chattanooga Lookouts Highlights
Kyle Russell - RF - Russell still strikes out a lot, but he's put together a very consistent season and has really come alive in June. He's on pace for yet another 25+ homer season, and he continues to display solid defense. He's also a .304 hitter against right handers this season, and at the very least I think he can be a be a left handed power bat off a big league bench.
Scott Van Slyke - OF/1B - For the first time in his career, Scott Van Slyke has hit somewhere other than the California League. He only has 6 homers, but his OPS is .924 thanks to 22 doubles, which is tied for 2nd best in the league (with fellow teammates Russell and Silverio).
Alfredo Silverio - OF - Through May, Silverio had been good, but not great. Over the past 3 weeks, however, Alfredo has been on fire and put his name back on the prospect radar. His .324 average is among the Dodger minor league leaders, and he even has 9 SB's to boot.
Nate Eovaldi - RHP - Eovalid has finally turned into the prospect I envisioned back when he signed in 2008. He'd put up decent stats before the season, but in 2011 he's really put it all together. His strikeout rate has spiked, and he's been able to minimize damage against him. He's also continued to keep the ball in the park, and has a FIP of 2.47 for the year.
Cole St. Clair - LHP - St. Clair is putting up numbers like he's back in college. With a 0.83 ERA and a 0.69 FIP, Cole has apparently found his groove. He missed a few weeks due to a undisclosed injury, but he's been back recently and is better than ever.
Chattanooga Lookouts Disappointments
Pedro Baez - 3B - Baez is down with another injury and hasn't played since May 10th. He's also had a disappointing season so far, hitting just .210 with a .659 OPS. He's getting further and further away from being the Dodgers 3rd baseman of the future.
Justin Miller - RHP - Miller strung together a great season in 2010, albeit without many strikeouts. Well the contact has caught up with Justin in 2011 as his ERA has skyrocketed to 7.23 and his WHIP is above 2. I guess his sinkerball just isn't working.
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Highlights
Blake Smith - RF - I'm not at all surprised that Smith is having a big season in the California League, but it is certainly a highlight to see him doing so well. His average is still a bit low, but he's crushed 14 home runs and has really turned it on over the past month and a half. In addition, he has an absolute gun for an arm and already has a ton of outfield assists.
Angelo Songco - LF - Songco's hitting has slowed down a bit as of late, but he's still batting above .300 and has 10 homers. He'll never be known for his strong defense, but he's shown to be a complete hitter this year and probably has the most raw power of anyone on the team.
Griff Erickson - C - Erickson was drafted way back in 2006, but in his previous 4 professional seasons he'd only really hit in one of them. That's changed with the Quakes and the switch hitting catcher is having a solid season at the plate. He's shown outstanding plate discipline, and after flirting with a .400 average for a while he's hitting .307 with a .894 OPS. His 5 jacks have also already tied a career high.
Allen Webster - RHP - Webster has continued his rise through the Dodgers system in 2011, and really breezed through his 9 starts in the California League. In 54 innings, Allen had a K/9 of 10.3 and an ERA of 2.33. Since getting promoted to AA, you can argue that Webster has been even more impressive as his batting average against with the Lookouts is a microscopic .165 through 24 innings.
Steven Ames - RHP - Ames actually has thrown more innings in AA, and while he's been outstanding in Chattanooga so far, he was absolutely filthy with the Quakes. In 15.1 innings Ames had a K/9 of 16.4, a FIP of 0.75, and a WHIP of 0.78. The most impressive thing about Ames, however, is his strikeout to walk ratio, which is 44 K's to 3 BB's this year, and 139 K's to 12 BB's for his career.
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Disappointments
Ethan Martin - RHP - You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger disappointment than Martin, who was pulled from the Quakes starting rotation earlier in the month yet continues to struggle out of the pen. Let it be said that I'm still not giving up on Ethan, as I still believe he has excellent stuff as evidenced by his 10.2 K/9, but I did think that he would have turned things around by now. I do think that it's at least partially a mental problem, and if he could get over that he still has a chance to be very dangerous.
Greg Wilborn - LHP - A lot of people starting talking about Wilborn as a legitimate prospect after he tore through the Pioneer and Midwest League in 2010, but he's found things much more challenging in 2011 with Rancho Cucamonga. He's been hit hard both in the rotation and out of the bullpen, and at 24 years old he's going to have to turn it around fast.
Great Lakes Loons Highlights
Garrett Gould - RHP - I've always loved Gould as a prospect, and this year he is showing off way. He currently leads the Midwest League with his 1.54 ERA, and he has a WHIP under 1.00. He also has regained his velocity this season and has repeatedly hit in the mid 90's with his fastball. The other thing to remember is that Garrett doesn't even turn 20 until next month.
Shawn Tolleson - RHP - Even with the success he had last year, I'd have to say that Tolleson has been the biggest surprise this season. I actually could have put Tolleson with 3 different teams since he's played at 3 different levels, but the Midwest League is where Tolleson really made a mockery of hitters as he had a ridiculous K/9 or 19.8 while with the Loons. Overall, in 37 innings Shawn has a 0.49 ERA, a 1.42 FIP, and a .147 batting average against.
Angel Sanchez - RHP - Sanchez literally came out of nowhere, yet has already found success with Great Lakes. He was signed by the Dodgers in July of last year, but contrary to what the Dodgers Media Guide says he didn't play at all in the DSL. Instead the 6'3" 21 year old came straight to the Midwest League and has managed to hold opposing hitters to a .165 average in 29.1 innings, and has struck out more than a batter per inning. it will be interesting to see if he keeps this up in the 2nd half.
Jonathan Garcia - RF - Garcia was able to bookend his 1st half with player of the week awards, although in between he had a terrible May. But despite his bad month, you've got to be impressed with what the 19 year old has done in the historically tough hitters league. Jonathan led the league in homers for the better part of April, and was on a tear last week to give him 12 bombs for the season. He's also shown off a solid outfield arm, and again is still extremely young.
Great Lakes Loons Disappointments
Nick Akins - LF - Akins ranks second on the Loons with 6 homers, but unfortunately he is hitting just .217 for the year and has struck out in over 30% of his plate appearances. He also hasn't played since May 18th due to a broken bone in his wrist, so that further adds to his disappointing season.
Leon Landry - CF - After hitting .349 for Ogden in 2010, a lot of people couldn't wait to see what Landry would do in 2011. Well things haven't been quite as rosy this year as Leon has an average of just .224 through 63 games with just 1 homer run. He's been even worse recently, batting .119 over his past 10 games. His lone bright spot is his 16 SB's, but even then he's been caught 6 times.
Derek Cone - RHP - Cone hasn't been terrible, but he's been a bit of a disappointment after Baseball America ranked him as our 29th best prospect heading into 2011. He has a 5.68 ERA, a 1.78 WHIP, and a 5.55 FIP in 25.1 innings. He's also injured right now, so hopefully he turns things around when he returns.