After April’s successful vote that named Patrick Leonard and Peter Bayer the organization’s player and pitcher of the month, we’re back for the May edition with mostly new choices.
There may be some tough omissions, so I left an option for other if there’s someone you feel I really made a mistake not including. For pitchers, I tried to include a few relievers so it’s not just starters.
Please vote using whatever criteria you want to. If you prefer a top prospect gets extra credit, vote that way. If you don’t care about a player’s prospect status, ignore his prospect status. It’s all for fun.
OF Jake Bauers: 110 PA, .266/.373/.468, 17 R, 4 HR, 13 RBI
Bauers may have cooled off significantly at the end of the month, but the young hitter still improved significantly on his first month with Durham. Power has always been a question with him, but when he hit 11 extra-base hits in May, he didn’t have to give up his patient approach.
SS Lucius Fox: 107 PA, .340/.387/.443, 14 R, 7 2B, 8 RBI, 5/8 SB
Some of Fox’s success may have been BABIP-fueled, but hitting seven more extra-base hits than he did in April showed he was probably hitting the ball harder too. He had multiple hits in 10 of his 23 May games and closed the month with a six-game hitting streak.
OF Cade Gotta: 120 PA, .346/.408/.542, 15 R, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 9/12 SB
Gotta’s April stint with Durham didn’t go well, but he went back to Montgomery in May ready to hit. He led the organization with 37 hits in the month, and his nine steals were second to only Mallex Smith. He was hitless in just four of his 28 games of the month.
IF Grant Kay: 99 PA, .274/.374/.548, 15 R, 15 XBH, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 4/5 SB
After getting five hits in his pro debut in 2014, Kay’s pro career has mostly been nondescript. His defensive flexibility has helped him continue climbing the ladder, and he was an asset at the plate for the Biscuits in May.
2B Brandon Lowe: 109 PA, .308/.413/.626, 17 R, 16 XBH, 6 HR, 14 RBI
An injury delayed Lowe’s pro debut by half a year after the Rays took him in the third round in 2015, but so far, he has been worth the wait. He already has more doubles and home runs than he did in 2016 with Bowling Green, and he has more walks than strikeouts.
OF Shane Peterson: 73 PA, .319/.356/.551, 13 R, 4 HR, 12 RBI
With some of the injuries the Rays have had in the majors and upper minors this season, Peterson has done an admirable job filling in, especially in the minors. He’s only 11th on the team in plate appearances, but he leads the Bulls in homers.
C Brett Sullivan: 98 PA, .323/.357/.473, 13 R, 8 XBH, 12 RBI, 4/4 SB
Sullivan is one of the minors premier hitters at putting the ball in play — only eight hitters strike out less than he does, and he’s not just a slap hitter. Only one of those hitters has a higher ISO than he does.
IF Robbie Tenerowicz: 79 PA, .333/.418/.652, 11 R, 6 HR, 13 RBI
Tenerowicz was a non-factor offensively at Cal until his junior season in 2016, and that success has carried over into his professional career. His six home runs in the month were tied for first in the organization with Brandon Lowe. He has played at four different positions for the Hot Rods this season.
RHP Blake Bivens: 22 1/3 IP, 2.82 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 22.0 K%, 7.7 BB%
Fatigue reportedly landed Bivens on the DL recently, but Charlotte’s righty isn’t expected to miss much more time. In all three of his starts not shortened by inclement weather, he threw at least seven innings.
LHP Brock Burke: 30 1⁄3 IP, 1.48 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 24.4 K%, 6.7 BB%
Burke, a former third-round pick, has been one of the most effective pitchers in not just the Midwest League, but all of minor league baseball this season. Maintaining his lower walk rate has been key.
LHP Genesis Cabrera: 36 2⁄3 IP, 1.72 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 24.3 K%, 11.4 BB%
Cabrera’s strong stretch of play for Charlotte has lasted longer than the month of May. After allowing 10 runs over his first two starts, he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last nine outings.
RHP Diego Castillo: 17 IP, 2.12 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 31.4 K%, 7.1 BB%
Despite not being particularly effective for part of the 2016 season with Charlotte, Castillo was bumped up to Montgomery by the Rays for 2017. He throws hard, throws strikes, strikes batters out and gets them to hit the ball into the ground. That’s not a bad combo.
RHP Yonny Chirinos: 38 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 22.1 K%, 3.6 BB%
Chirinos made his Bulls debut to open May and made all six of his appearances of the month with Durham. After a rough go in his debut, he limited batters to a .473 OPS over the rest of the month, including throwing a shutout against Toledo on May 13.
RHP Ethan Clark: 28 2⁄3 IP, 2.20 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 25.2 K%, 8.7 BB%
Aside from one outing that saw him get hammered, Clark was effective bouncing between the rotation and bullpen in May for Bowling Green. After that start, he closed the month with perhaps the best game of his career, striking out six in six scoreless innings in a Hot Rods win.
RHP Ian Gibaut: 15 1/3 IP, 1.17 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 28.1 K%, 12.5 BB%
Although he walked seven more batters than he did in an effective April, Gibaut was still very tough on Southern League hitters. He had a hiccup late in the month allowing runs in back-to-back outings, but he wasn’t charged with any runs in his seven other appearances in May.
RHP Neil Wagner: 13 2/3 IP, 1.32 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 21.2 K%, 7.7 BB%
Wagner, a veteran of 52 major league appearances, has been trying to get back to the big leagues the last couple seasons with the Rays. He’s been more effective this season compared to last, and he could get another shot at some point.