Minoring in British – May/Early June

It’s been a month since we checked in on the Brits rocking the Minor Leagues. Ample time for everything to have either picked up or gone wrong, right? Here’s what’s happened.

Triple A

Michael Roth of the Giants remains the only Brit in AAA at time of writing. Having spent Spring Training in the Giants pen, he’s now a fixture in the Sacramento Rivercats rotation, holding a 4-4 record and an improving ERA of 4.44 (down from 5.73 at our last visit). Roth has managed to get his WHIP under control and stabilised his season. There’s still optimism that he’ll see time in the bigs should the Giants move on Johnny Cueto or Jeff Samardzija at the deadline.

Double A

Poor old Jake Esch‘s season has gone from bad to worse. Last time we wrote he’d just slid onto the Padres Minor League DL with forearm tightness. He’s not pitched since, and was waived by the Padres earlier this week to make way for Phil Maton on the 40 man. Hopefully things can only get better.

P.J. Conlon‘s season at AA Binghamton continues to be stable, the lefty starter hasn’t carried over his electric take on High A from last year, but is holding a solid 3.38 ERA which is backed by a decent strikeout rate and above average performance with runners in scoring position.

Conlon’s Binghamton teammate, center fielder Champ Stuart is what he is now – a low average, contact hitter with elite defensive traits and base running skills. His average remains at the Mendoza line (.206) but he’s up to 20 steals in only 42 games. It’s a shame that the hit tool isn’t there, as it makes Stuart much harder to dream on. He won’t make the playoffs as a disruptive base runner with this year’s Mets, either sadly.

High A

Jordan Serena‘s white-hot start at High A has, somewhat unsurprisingly, not lasted. His OPS has levelled out by over 400 points and he’s listed with a lacklustre wRC+ of 69 (nice) at Fangraphs. This is Jordan’s first year at High A, so it’s unsurprising to see some growing pains. His plight isn’t helped by a troublingly low walk rate which suggests poor strike zone command. Fingers crossed he puts it together soon.

Single A

Jasrado Chisholm isn’t putting it all together just yet, but the signs are positive. He’s recovered his average and is showing elite plate discipline to translate to a .325 OBP. He still strikes out a lot (31%) and is having a degree of BABIP luck (.371), but it’s becoming easier to see why he has the highest forecasted ceiling of any GB player in the minors.

Todd Isaacs has fallen off somewhat since our last check-in, his torrid start having been held in check. Although his line is still positive he’s clocked in only a further three stolen bases and six RBIs in the last month, suggesting that the league may have figured out how to pitch him. Most concerning are his high strikeout numbers (37%!) and the lack of adjustment to his groundball pull tendencies – players with that profile in A ball usually don’t make the Majors without significant adjustments.

Columbia Fireflies starting LHP Blake Taylor is being killed by bad luck, holding a 0-6 record in 9 games started despite an excellent K/9 ratio of 8.75. He’s been on the wrong side of the BABIP curse (.314) and is troubled by high walk numbers – 24 in 42 innings and high fly ball tendencies, he’s given up just 6 homers but these have come in rough spots with men on base. He’s holding an ERA in the mid 4s, so the promise is till there for a very young guy.

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