Blake Swihart, C
The switch-hitting Swihart has been on a bit of a roll lately, with a .341 average in his last 10 games. He hasn't shown a lot of power over that stretch, though, and somehow hasn't drawn a single walk, but as you can see by his season line, that sort of thing shouldn't be much of a concern. He's mixed in far more positive months than negative ones, and August is off to at least a decent start, especially when you consider that Swihart has caught 22 more games this season than he did last year, and is still managing to produce even a little.
He's been better from the right side of the plate, hitting .333/.387/.464 on the season against southpaws, but it's not like he's been bad against right-handers: the backstop has managed a .268/.341/.393 line from the left. The power is the same, with more average against lefties and more walks against righties, but it all evens out into a pretty productive season from a 21-year-old backstop in his second full year in the pros. Remember, too, that the average Carolina League hitter is nearly 23, and hitting .254/.333/.381 -- Swihart is doing well, and should find himself in Double-A Portland next year, once Christian Vazquez moves up a level himself.
Mookie Betts, 2B
You wouldn't even know that Betts had been promoted mid-season if it didn't say as much via distinct stat lines, as he's performing in a very similar manner almost across the board. No one can catch him on the bases still, and he's even ramped up the frequency with which he steals. He's hitting for a tad more power, and while he's drawing walks less often, but he's still getting them nearly 11 percent of the time, and striking out just barely more than that. Here's a guy who has an advanced approach at the plate and a keen eye, and to this point, High-A pitching has not been able to get him out with any consistency.
It's a sneaky breakout campaign for the 20-year-old, who began the year so, so slow for Low-A Greenville, but exploded to resurrect his line before seeing a promotion to the next level. He's stolen 33 bases and been caught just twice, has 44 extra-base hits in 472 plate appearances, and has managed to limit strikeouts to under 12 percent of the time despite his youth and inexperience. He might find himself in Double-A Portland before too long if this keeps up, especially with second baseman Sean Coyle still not quite finished conquering High-A, and both he and Betts requiring consistent playing time.
Mickey Pena, LHP
Pena gets his first turn in our 2013 updates after a couple of promotions thin the ranks at Salem. It's not that he's bad, but he's had something of a quiet year after an intriguing 2012 -- at least, it was quiet once he got back from his suspension for a banned substance. The seasonal stat line isn't pretty, but that's mostly from his first few starts, where he showed a whole lot of rust and posted a 5.71 ERA in four starts.
In his 10 games since, Pena has a 3.81 ERA, with 1.3 times as many ground outs as air outs helping to make up for his sub-par strikeout rate. He's walking too many batters for those strikeouts, but he's keeping the ball on the ground and in the park, and that helps mitigate quite a bit. Plus, Pena is a future reliever if he's anything, so both our expectations and the level of production needed to deem his work a success should be lower. He's got work to do, but he's definitely seeing some improvement after a rough introduction to the level.
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