Outfielder Dan Robertson may not any one carrying tool, but he has done nothing but get on base since the club drafted him in the 33rd round in 2008. Even by the standards he’s set, a .362/.456/.521 line in 25 games is fantastic. The undersized righty had more walks than strikeouts and almost as many extra-base hits in the month. Robertson also provides value on the base paths, where he has eight stolen bases in nine attempts, and defensively in center where he has enough range and strong instincts to go get the ball.
Dean Anna may not be a name anyone recognizes, but the versatile infielder has established himself as a potential utility player if the big league club needs some depth. The 26-year-old’s .558 slugging percentage in April was impressive even in the thin air of the Pacific Coast League, and he provided sold defense at shortstop. Fellow infielder Jonathan Galvez was streaky through the month, but at 22 years old, continues to flash an impressive bat when he doesn’t try to do too much at the plate.
April Player of the month: Dan Robertson
While the Missions’ pitching dominance in April was to be expected, the Missions’ league-best offensive production is a shock. Much of the early success comes courtesy of a pair of forgotten outfielders. Former second rounder Everett Williams came out blasting over the first two weeks before cooling off later in the month. He finished April at .307/.369/.360.
Rey Fuentes was strong the entire month. The “other guy” left from the Adrian Gonzalez trade posted a .347/.422/.505 line, good for one of the best park-adjusted OPS totals in the Texas League. With a reworked swing and more strength than he’s shown before, Fuentes – still just 22 years old – has been the revelation of the system through the first month.
The offense took a big hit when they learned Tommy Medica will be sidelined until June with a strained rib cage muscle. Medica’s .639 slugging percentage was good for second in the Texas League when he went down, and he had a system-best six homers. Rico Noel’s experiment with switch hitting continues to be a struggle, but when the man gets on base, he is as dangerous as anyone in professional baseball. Despite hitting only .196, he swiped 14 bases and was able to score 13 runs.
April Player of the Month: Rey Fuentes
On a roster filled with highly-regarded position prospects, an unknown first baseman led the charge for the Storm in April.
Lee Orr was unstoppable at the plate for two weeks in the month, riding the stretch to a .378/.433/.707 line overall. The big right-hander had eight doubles, five homers and a pair of triples to pace the hitter-friendly Cal League in slugging. Orr was a 13th-round pick from McNeese State in 2011, where he teamed with supplemental first-rounder Jace Peterson.
Table setters Travis Jankowski and Cory Spangenberg both got on base at a good clip through the month. Once they arrived at first base, they didn’t often stay long, combining for 25 stolen bases in 28 attempts. The 2012 and 2011 first-rounders had nearly identical lines with a .721 and .708 OPS respectively, though Jankowski had a much more sustainable 14:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Yeison Asencio continues to make hard contact, slugging .511 through 22 April games. However, while in the past he’s managed to make up for a microscopic walk rate by avoiding strikeouts, he struggled to make contact frequently enough early in the month. That will need to change if he is going to become the offensive threat he’s capable of. Highly regarded catcher Austin Hedges struggled to a .693 OPS and surprise Cal League starter Duanel Jones scuffled even more, managing only two extra-base hits in 20 games.
April Player of the Month: Lee Orr
At the plate, Dane Phillips owned the club’s top OPS even though he has split time at catcher evenly with Dutch teenager Rodney Daal. The Padres’ second-round pick last year, Phillips hit .340 to go with a .596 slugging percentage, an impressive feat in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League.
Outfielders Corey Adamson – already in his fifth year in the organization as a 21-year-old Australian – and Mallex Smith provided strong support in the lineup as well. Smith set the table well with a .370 on-base percentage, and has helped keep the pressure on opponents with nine stolen bases in his first 19 games. Adamson, who looks completely different than the teenager who often had the bat knocked out of his hands in previous attempts at the Midwest League, went .319/.429/.449 with more walks than strikeouts.
Jankowski’s teammate at SUNY Stony Brook, Maxx Tissenbaum, had an impressive showing as well. Splitting time between second and shortstop, the 21-year-old Canadian had the best average among qualifiers, hitting .325. The left-handed swinger rode a 9:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio to a stellar .465 on-base percentage.
April Player of the Month: Corey Adamson
April MadFriars Player of the Month
With a number of strong candidates, Danny Robertson gets the nod for his production at the highest level, just edging out Rey Fuentes and Lee Orr.