Gregor Blanco- ATL- Rise Value- Blanco has been getting increased playing time as a result of his hot bat. However, his .364 average is getting some major assistance from a huge .478 BHIPx. His .78 Batting EYE is very close to the .72 he put up last season at AAA Richmond, where he batted .275, so it doesn’t look like any new-found sense of strike zone control is contributing here. Expect Blanco’s playing time to drop when his bat cools.
Bob Howry- CHN- Cold- Howry’s 7.30 ERA is far from impressive. There are reports that his arm strength is not where it should be and this has resulted in a significant drop in his velocity from the mid-90s to the upper-80s. It doesn’t help that Howry has been extremely unlucky this season, with a BHIP% of .548. On the plus side the factors underlying his poor performance are probably reversible. Some conditioning can fix the former and regression to the mean is likely to turn around the latter.
Bronson Arroyo- CIN- Caution- Arroyo finally eked out a quality start in his 6th time to the mound this year. He pitched the minimum 6 innings and allowed the maximum 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 6. This start may not be the real turnaround Arroyo needs, though. Of his 113 pitches, only 61 were strikes so he definitely had control issues. Also, Arroyo followed up a 116-pitch outing in his prior start by getting tagged for 8 runs on 10 hits in 3-2/3 IP, so there may be some carry over the next time he pitches. Not all of Arroyo’s woes can be blamed on him as a large .544 BHIP% indicates a significant impact of luck, but there is enough other stuff there to say that Arroyo needs to get his act in gear and not wait for his luck to change.
Cameron Maybin- FLA- Cold- Maybin is at AA Carolina to master hitting the breaking ball and learn plate discipline to get him back on the fast track to a permanent major league job. So far, with a .222 batting average and 36 Ks in 81 ABs he has not done either. Long term, this is not necessarily a bad thing. A setback at AA ball can result in an improved game and ultimately better success in the majors. In the short term, Maybin will not be patrolling the Florida outfield soon.
Geoff Jenkins- PHI- Cold- Unlike teammate Ryan Howard, who is being impacted by a low BHIPx, Jenkins cannot blame his early season poor performance largely on luck. His .245 mark is not that bad. More telling is a walk rate that has steadily declined over the past couple of years and a Batting EYE equal to last year’s .28 mark. Jenkins has also lost the pop in his bat, hitting just a single homer this year. That is actually not as worrisome as he tends to be streaky in that department. Jenkins hit only 2 homers in 3 separate months of the 2007 season, yet still finished with 21 for the year. Overall, though, the signs appear to be there that the 33-year-old is on the down side of his career.