AA Montgomery Biscuits CF Desmond Jennings began 2009 on an absolute tear. Through June 8, Deezy had a slash line of .347/.412/.551 including 28 extra base hits over a span of 57 games played. It seemed nothing would stop Jennings in 2009 until on June 9, when fellow Southern league All-Star, first baseman Rhyne Hughes was promoted to AAA Durham along with his thenleague leading 15 home runs. This move followed the temporary elevation of fellow outfielder Rashad Eldridge to Durham on May 31. Eldridge would spend 25 days in Durham, doing quite well for himself before being returned to the Buscuits on June 26. Eldridge was largely rested upon his return due to an oblique injury which has since healed.
It turns out if you remove Jennings, Hughes, and Eldridge, the Biscuits were not much of an offensive team. The team slash line independent of those players is .218/.291/.325. From June 9 through the 4th of july, Deezy's slash line suffered at a level of 236/.292/.320 with 5 extra base hits without his buddies Eldridge and Hughes in the lineup.
Reinforcements would be arriving shortly. On June 5, Chris Nowak would be demoted from Durham back to Montgomery where he mashed in 2008. As mentioned above, Eldridge was returned to the Biscuits from Durham. Additionally, catcher Nevin Ashley, promoted on June 3rd from A+ Charlotte, would begin to fare better at the plate in July. Finally, Florida State League All Star infielder Cody Cipriano would be promoted from Charlotte on July 13.
The additions of Nowak, a healthy Eldridge, an adjusting Ashley, and Cipriano should ease much of the offensive burden that was weighing down the fleet footed Jennings. Since Nowak's recall on July 5th, Deezy has posted a slash of .286/.432/.629 with 6 extra base hits in 10 games.
Bios of Deezy's Cabinet can be found below:
Cipriano ended up with a Charlotte slash of .297/.402/.456 with 17 doubles, 3 triples, and 5 home runs. He also posted a 14% BB rate.
The buildup: Ashley was selected in the 6th round of the 2006 draft. The right handed hitting catcher tore up rookie ball with a slash of .333/.440/.477 with 4 HR. He also threw out 12 of 23 base stealers. In 2007, Ashley found himself in A ball where he went for .280/.354/.431 with 12 HR and 20 steals. Ashley was named as a South Atlantic all star representative. He was named as the #26 prospect by BA.
The Prospect: Ashley began to slow down in 2008 at A+ ball where he batted .235/.348./315. He did walk a very nice 13% of appearances but his slugging disappeared.
Where is he Now? Ashley began the year in Charlotte in A+ ball batting .212/,293/.314. He was nonetheless named to the All Star team. However he was promoted to AA Montgomery before the All Star Game. To date in Montgomery he is batting .132/.313/.158. Ashley was been slow to prove he can provide slugging at the advanced levels of the minor leagues. He has also struck out in 12 of his first 35 at-bats in AA.
AA was a rude awakening for Ashley. His OPS for June was merely .532 as he batted .167 striking out in 1/3 of his at-bats. He has shown some progress in July with an OPS of .734 striking out 22% of at-bats. To date with the Biscuits his walk rate is a very nice 15.2%.
Eldridge is a 27 year old outfielder who flirted with AAA in 2006 with the Mets and Rangers, but has toiled in AA since. His AA slash in 2009 is .288/.364/.361. His slash during his 83 AB stint in Durham was .301/.370/.361.
The 26 year old 1B/3B was selected in the 19th round of the 2004 draft by the Rays. Nowak had OPSed between .836 and .877 (2008 in AA) in his 4 previous years in the Minors. He played in AA in both 2007 and 2008 with a 2008 cup of coffee at Durham. He began the year in Durham where he met his match for the time being with a slash of .228/.294/.346. Since returning to his comfort level in AA he has regained his old form with a line of .364/.421/.485. We'll see if he can ever make the next step, but he will certainly help to drive Deezy in while in Montgomery.