Mickey Pena, SP
Somewhere along the line I missed the memo where Miguel Pena was Mickey Pena -- possibly because every one of his stat pages lists him as Miguel. So, if you were similarly unaware, this is the same pitcher as before. And that particular pitcher has been very successful in 2012.
He's striking out almost 10 batters per nine innings, keeping the ball in the park, and limiting walks at a ridiculous rate. He has six innings of a combined no-hitter under his belt (and his six frames were of the perfect variety), SAL Pitcher of the Week honors because of it, and the lowest ERA among starters who have been with Greenville all year (i.e., not Matt Barnes).
He threw 33 innings in May, striking out 40 batters while walking just five, allowing one homer and just seven earned runs. This is impressive, but it doesn't mean his future has changed much just yet: he'll need to bring this success to another level and maintain much of it before his prospects take a leap forward.
Henry Owens, SP
Owens has seen his walk rate fall and his hit rate climb the past few weeks, but overall, things are looking up. The 19-year-old threw 20 innings in May, striking out twice as many as he walked, and this time without nearly as many free passes as innings pitched. He also went the entire month without giving up a home run, a streak broken by his first start of June.
Owens has much to learn, especially if you assume his increased hit rate has something to do with his being in the strike zone more often. Of course, he's just 19, and his needing experience was never questioned heading into the season. He's the kind of arm that just might stick at Single-A for more than a year, getting a promotion sometime during 2013 instead. There's no rush with someone this young, and while he has a ton of raw ability, that's basically what he's been getting by on to this point, too.
Blake Swihart, C
Last time we checked in on Blake Swihart, his performance merited a "catching is hard" speech in the middle of the update. That's because Swihart was hitting .202/.263/.311 as a 20-year-old, switch-hitting catcher in his first full year in professional baseball. That's a whole lot on his plate to deal with, and, like the switch-hitting catchers Boston has familiarized themselves with over nearly all of the last 15 years, it's not going to come to him all at once.
In the last 10 games, though, Swihart's done quite well for himself. He's hit .400/.422/.600 with a homer and three doubles in his last 40 at-bats, raising his line to .252/.303/.384. He's not there yet, but that's far less unsightly than what he was toting around just 15 days ago. It's also good to see that he's whiffing just 16 percent of the time on the season, even with the low batting average.
Swihart's bat should come around consistently eventually, but for now, enjoy this course-correction outburst.