With C.J. Eldred signing with the Kansas City Royals, Iowa baseball will have 11 former players in professional baseball once he and Nick Gallagher start playing. Former Hawkeyes are currently scattered from rookie ball to triple-A, with Matt Dermody recently being recalled to the majors for a short time. With September call-ups quickly approaching, now is a good time to look at how former Hawkeyes are performing.
1B, Jake Adams, A-: 37 G, .183/.288/.405, 8 HR, 18 RBI
Things have yet to turn around for Jake Adams. He’s still hitting below .200, isn’t drawing walks, and his 40.5 strikeout percentage needs to drastically improve if he wants to move through the Houston Astros’ organization. Despite having a three-game hit streak last week, Adams is only hitting .200 (7-for-35) with two home runs over his past 10 games. That said, his strikeout percentage is down to 25 percent over his past five games and he leads the New York-Penn League with eight home runs. Adams’ power will never be in question, but he needs to show his stellar batting average at Iowa wasn’t a fluke. Although, maybe the best, or at least coolest, news is that Adams has a baseball card:
— Todd Brommelkamp (@ToddBrommelkamp) July 26, 2017
SS, Mason McCoy, A-: 30 G, .323/.429/.510, 31 H, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 3 3B
Mason McCoy started his career as a platoon player, but he’s quickly become an everyday player for the Aberdeen Ironbirds. If he had the at-bats to qualify, McCoy would rank third in batting average and on-base percentage, and fourth in slugging percentage in the New York-Penn League. He’s still tied for third in triples, though, and has driven in as many runs as Adams in 34 fewer at-bats. Consistent playing time should continue for McCoy as he is currently on a five-game hit streak, including recording a hit in eight of his past nine games and reaching base in nine straight games. McCoy also hit his first minor league home run on Monday to leadoff the game for Aberdeen against Adams' team. The biggest concern is McCoy’s .953 fielding percentage, but shortstop is one of the most error-prone positions on the diamond. Also, it’s hard to question McCoy’s defensive capabilities after watching him make Web Gem plays for Iowa over the past two seasons. McCoy's season has been rewarded with an All-Star selection, too.
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) August 9, 2017
RP, Ryan Erickson, R: 9 G, 11.2 IP, 9.26 ERA, 2.40 WHIP, 12 K
The Arizona League White Sox have used Ryan Erickson scarcely. Erickson has yet to surpass two innings in an outing and he hasn’t done much to persuade them to give him more innings, either. Opponents are hitting .429 against him and Erickson has given up a hit in each outing, including multiple base runners in eight of nine games. His best game came on July 23 when he threw two shutout innings, striking out three and allowing one hit. However, he followed it by allowing four runs on eight hits in an inning of work. Erickson’s ERA will continue to hover around 10.00 if he doesn’t find a way to limit hits.
OF, Joel Booker, A+: 33 G, .211/.260/.268, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 7 SB
Finding any playing time for Joel Booker in Winston-Salem has been a tall task. He’s battling for playing time with the White Sox No. 2 prospect Eloy Jimenez, No. 20 prospect Luis Alexander Basabe and No. 27 prospect Jameson Fisher. That makes all of Booker’s starts extremely important. Despite all those stars, Booker was the hero on July 23 when he hit a walk-off single in the 11th inning, which helped turn his high-A season around. Booker has multiple hits in each of his past three games, including his first home run, and a hit in five of his past six games. Evidenced by his 20.3 strikeout percentage, Booker usually puts the ball in play, which allows him to capitalize on his speed. It’s worked over his past 14 starts, as he’s hitting .280 and has raised his batting average by 40 points.
Joel Booker is the walk-off hero in a game that had so many stars.
: Ray Marsden pic.twitter.com/el7g3I2F4O
— Winston-Salem Dash (@WSDashBaseball) July 23, 2017
SP, Blake Hickman, A: 13 GS, 73 IP, 4.19 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 49 K
Blake Hickman has returned to his normal self after giving up 15 earned runs in three starts. In his five starts since, Hickman has a 3.33 ERA and two six-inning shutout performances. He also set career-highs with an eight-strikeout and nine-strikeout game. While Hickman has an impressive 1.27 WHIP and has held his opponents to three runs or less over five-innings minimum in eight starts, the White Sox are still easing him back after his Tommy John surgery. He has only reached 90 pitches three times, 100 pitches once and has thrown 85 or fewer pitches in three of his last five starts. Not overusing him is the right move, but Hickman’s potential will truly start to show when he’s allowed to pitch more than six innings.
— K-town Intimidators (@Intimidators) August 9, 2017
RP, Matt Dermody, Toronto Blue Jays: 5 G, 4 IP, 15.75 ERA, 2.50 WHIP
Matt Dermody was optioned to triple-A to make room for Nick Tepesch, but being recalled for a second time this season is a good sign for Dermody. After owning a 2.76 ERA over 16.1 triple-A innings in 2016, Dermody has a 3.29 ERA over 41 innings this season. He’s caught Toronto’s eye, but he’ll need to pitch better if he’s recalled a third time this season. Dermody owned a 12.00 ERA over three major league innings last season and gave up five earned runs in 0.1 innings of work earlier this season. He pitched much better this time, including picking up his first major league win when he tossed three innings of one-hit ball, giving up one unearned run against the Angels. Overall, he gave up two earned runs in 3.2 innings (4.92 ERA). While it’s nothing spectacular and is a small sample size, it’s better than what he’s previously shown and should instill some confidence in Toronto’s coaching staff. He should be a September call-up candidate for a second straight year.
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 30, 2017
SS, Jake Yacinich, A+: 72 G, .265/.322/.349, 66 H, 4 HR, 23 RBI
Things escalated quickly for Jake Yacinich a couple of weeks ago. Despite never playing above high-A, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim promoted Yacinich to triple-A. He went 5-for-20 with three RBIs in six games before the Angels demoted him back to high-A. Yacinich also went 3-for-5 and 1-for-3 in his final two games in triple-A, following it with two multi-hit games with the Inland Empire 66ers in his first five games back. Even though the former eighth round pick is in his fourth minor league season it seemed a bit aggressive for him to jump all the way to triple-A. Considering he split time between single-A and high-A in 2015, then solely played in single-A during 2016 and then was promoted to triple-A in 2017, there’s no way to predict where he could end up next.
P, Tyler Peyton, A: 14 G/4 GS, 55.1 IP, 3.74 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 38 K
The Chicago Cubs don’t seem to know what they want to do with Tyler Peyton. After being used as a long relief option out of the bullpen for most of the season, Peyton has started two straight games – he allowed one earned run in 5.1 innings and one earned run in five innings of work. He’s been effective in each role, too, as he has a 4.19 starters ERA and a 3.50 ERA coming out of the bullpen. Either way, he will continue to pitch four-to-five innings in each outing.
SS, Nick Roscetti, R: 26 G, .295/.321/.448, 31 H, 1 HR, 9 RBI
Nick Roscetti is hitting well, but being 23-years-old in rookie ball likely has him being overlooked. Roscetti has appeared in just 26 of the Helena Brewers’ 45 games this season. However, he has a hit in all but five games and has two hitting streaks of at least six games. Roscetti needs to keep performing well when called upon, but it doesn’t seem like more consistent playing time will follow.