If it seems like Santiago Espinal is always on-base recently, that’s probably because he is. The shortstop is currently riding a 13-game hitting streak. A 0-for-4 is the only thing sitting between that and a seven-game hitting streak.
There’s nothing to scoff at in his stat line either. The right-handed hitter is slashing .313/.363/.480 with 14 doubles and three triples, as well as seven home runs. He’s driven in 32 runs and scored 52 more while stealing eight bases in nine attempts. Seriously, I was being serious – there’s not much to critique about the 23-year-old’s performance at the plate.
Espinal isn’t the only hot-bat in Salem though. Brett Netzer is currently rocking a seven-game hitting streak.
Netzer has just one home run on the year (and in his career) but the second baseman’s 17 doubles and two triples make up for it. As does his .311 average and 32 RBI. Kid’s got a PHD in hitting.
C.J. Chatham got cold for a little bit but is back to that whole “terrorizing pitchers” thing. Chatham is up to .303 in Advanced-A with 18 RBI and 15 runs scored over 122 at-bats. The right-hander is clearly playing his way to Double-A this season.
Bobby Dalbec is on a six-game hitting streak at the moment and has boosted his average to .225 on the year. He has 18 doubles and leads the entire Carolina league in home runs (14) and RBI (53).
Something that will be continuously mentioned in these articles is the age of Bryan Mata. He turned 19 in May and has a 3.00 ERA in Advanced-A. The right-handed pitcher has a problem with walks (47 in 57 innings) but that’s where the criticism ends. He picks up strikeouts at a decent rate (50) and has gone at least five innings in seven straight outings. Meanwhile, he’s holding opponents to a .211 batting average and just one home run on the year.
Darwinzon Hernandez and Tanner Houck are both in the Red Sox top-10 prospect list. Hernandez ranks at number seven and Houck is number three. Both aren’t having the best seasons, but have shown their obvious upside.
Hernandez has a 5.13 ERA in 14 starts this year. The 21-year-old also has 56 strikeouts over 54 1/3 innings though. Meanwhile, opponents are hitting .237 against the left-hander with just one home run.
Houck has a 5.19 ERA over 60 2/3 innings this year. The 21-year-old has had some electric starts this year though. One of those came just this month (June 14) when the right-hander twirled six no-hit innings. It’s obvious he has the stuff to pitch at a high-level, he just needs some time to refine everything. Remember, Houck only has 83 innings under his professional belt.