I would assume that, if you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the fact that the Royals core of offensive prospects at High-A Wilmington have struggled mightily in 2019. Here is the current team stats leaderboard in the Carolina League:
Wilmington’s team OPS is 48 points lower than the next worst team, and 120 points lower than Fayetteville. That’s uhh, pretty awful. In fact, no team in the Carolina League has posted a team OPS as low as Wilmington’s 2019 mark of .605 since at least 2005. The second worst team mark comes from Wilmington, ironically enough, with a mark of .626 back in 2014.
Wilmington is frequent to the bottom of the offensive leaderboards in the Carolina League, but this year has been a different kind of struggle. Let’s take a quick look at some season numbers for some key guys in this lineup, then we’ll get into more recent trends.
- Nick Pratto:
- 8 HR, 16 2B, 1 3B
- 10.4% BB%, 34.5% K%
- 71 wRC+
- MJ Melendez:
- 7 HR, 21 2B, 2 3B
- 10.3% BB%, 39.5% K%
- 72 wRC+
- Kyle Isbel
- 5 HR, 8 2B, 2 3B
- 5.5% BB%, 20.2% K%
- 94 wRC+
- Seuly Matias
- 4 HR, 10 2B, 4 3B
- 11.3% BB%, 44.3% K%
- 66 wRC+
- Brewer Hicklen
- 6 HR, 10 2B, 6 3B
- 12.8% BB%, 29.8% K%
- 120 wRC+
- Dennicher Carrasco
- 8 HR, 21 2B, 2 3B
- 7.7% BB%, 27.9% K%
- 97 wRC+
- Michael Gigliotti
- 1 2B, 1 3B
- 6.4% BB%, 20.5% K%
- 56 wRC+
That is a frightening collection of numbers. I don’t even really know what to do with that except maybe it’s time to move the High-A affiliate if you’re KC, just to give your kids a fresh look.
Here is a collection of more recent trends from these guys.
- Posted a season best .753 OPS in the month of June with 10 XBH in 25 games.
- Has a .771 OPS since the Carolina League All-Star Game, which isn’t great, but it’s an improvement.
- After posting a .795 OPS for the month of June, Melendez hit .155 in the month of July.
- Kyle Isbel has missed most of the year with injury so we won’t spend much time here, but he’s hitting .077 over his last 10 games after rejoining the Blue Rocks offense.
- After really turning it on over a two-month span in May and June, Hicklen posted just a .667 OPS in July.
- Hicklen is hitting .091 over his last 10 games.
- Much like Brewer Hicklen, Carrasco really lit it up in May and June, then took a mighty tumble in the month of July.
- Hitting .182 over his last 10 games.
Things appeared to be taking a turn for the better in June. Pretty much everyone in the Blue Rocks lineup seemed to find something heading into July and then, well, they lost it again. I know we keep harping that we don’t really know what to make of all these struggles, but it’s the truth. I wish we had something more definitive or concrete to share with you but, we don’t.
Here’s the good news: these kids, particularly Pratto and Melendez, have plenty of time to figure things out. Pratto and Melendez are among the youngest players in the entire league in 2019. Wilmington has been known to give young hitters fits and the Royals front office has been up to this task before. I would’ve loved to have seen some of these hot streaks carry through the last month of the season, but I’m not going to slam the panic button in 2019. There will need to be some improvement in 2020 though if these guys want to hang on to their prospect status.
Photo Credits: Ryan Griffith (@ryanrgriffith)