Jose De Leon: De Leon had a strong start, going six innings while allowing just one run and striking out seven. On the year, he has a 2.50 ERA in four starts with 26 strikeouts and five walks in 18 innings.
Chris Anderson: Anderson is coming off his worst start of the season as he lasted just three innings while allowing six runs on seven hits and issuing four walks. His control had looked improved prior to this start, so hopefully it doesn’t start a trend.
Zach Lee: Lee also had two starts last week, producing a quality start on Tuesday before getting roughed up on Sunday. Lee hadn’t allowed a home run in his first three starts of the season, then allowed three solo shots on Tuesday and another bomb on Sunday.
Lee’s ERA still resides at a comfortable 2.79 and he’s struck out 26 in 29 innings, so this looks more like a blip on the radar rather than a sign of things to come.
Surprise Player: Yadir Drake
Drake was quietly signed last August out of Cuba as a 24-year-old outfielder. I saw him in Spring Training but he didn’t really stand out. However, his hot start to the season is too hard to ignore.
Drake began the season with Great Lakes and only lasted a week there, batting .310 with an .895 OPS in seven games. He was quickly promoted to Rancho, where he was even better, OPSing 1.019 in another seven games.
This led to a promotion to Double-A Tulsa, his third team in less than two weeks, where he homered in his debut. Through through games, he’s batting .500 with the Drillers. Drake reminds me of Marlon Byrd due to his size, setup in the box and skillset. He’s listed at 6’ and 200 lbs, though I’d bet the over on each, especially his weight.
Drake doesn’t run as well as Byrd did at the same age, but isn’t a liability in the outfield. He offers some power, as evidenced by his eight doubles in 17 games. Most impressively, he’s drawn 11 walks and struck out just seven times.
It’s difficult to project how good Drake can be, since he’s played the majority of these games against much younger competition. However, the early returns should give fans and evaluators hope that there’s some value here that shouldn’t be ignored.
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