Heat Of The Season

Aaron Altherr PC: CSN Philly

With the All Star Game behind us the season is officially past the halfway mark. Let's see how your favorite players are doing heading into the heat of the season.


Sam Buelens, Antwerp

Team: DSL Blue Jays

League: Dominican Summer League – Rookie

Parent Club: Toronto Blue Jays - NL

Position: 2nd/RF

2017 Status: After two seasons with the DSL Blue Jays Foreign Rookie team Buelens has been released from his contact with the Blue Jays. He is spending the season in Germany playing for the Mannheim Tornadoes where he had a .360 average in 25 plate appearances over 8 games.


Andy Paz, Toulousain

Team: Midland RockHounds

League: Texas League - AA

Parent Club: Oakland Athletics - AL

Position: Catcher

2017 Highlights: 46 games into his season Paz is batting .248 with 38 hits, including two doubles, and 13 RBIs. He's stolen base 3 times and walked 13 times while striking out 30 times. Defensively, the catcher has a .997 fielding percentage. He's beginning to split his time around the infield as well. Paz has been used as DH in 5 games and spent two innings on the mound for the RockHounds where struck out one while giving up 4 hits and 2 runs - neither earned.


Aaron Altherr, Landstuhl

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

League: MLB - NL

Parent Club: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: OF

2017 Highlights: On the 15th of July, Altherr's was pulled from the Phillies lineup due to a hamstring strain. The problem is reported as minor and Altherr has not been put on the DL. He is listed as day-to-day for the moment. The injury occurred the night before as he tried to reach on his second double of the evening. Until the injury he was posting a .288 average with a .899 OPS. He has 78 hits, including 20 doubles, 3 triples and 14 homeruns, along with 5 stolen bases an 44 RBIs while racking up just 24 strikeouts. With a bat as hot as Altherr's there is no doubt the Phillies will do what is needed to get him back into the lineup before a slump has time to settle in. The Phillies record, which is 29-60 on the season, will work to Altherr's advantage if he needs time to mend.

Pascal Amon, Ingolstadt

Team: Rookie

League: Arizona League

Parent Club: Los Angeles Dodgers - NL

Position: CF

2017 Highlights: Not surprisingly Amon has been moved up to short-season rookie this season. Pascal spent much of the spring in Arizona and that is where he will now remain, working in the Arizona League. In 14 games he's posting a .267 average with 8 runs, 12 hits, including 3 doubles and a dinger, and 5 RBIs. At just 19-years old these numbers really work in Amons favor. It's his first season in rookie ball. If he can keep his average in this range as he grows out of his final teen year, there is a good chance he'll make a playoff roster at season's end for a full-season rookie ball club. Short season rookie plays 56 games between late June and August while full season plays 80 games between mid-June and mid-September. If Amon were to be moved up, he would likely head to the Great Lake Loons.

Edwin Jackson, Neu-Ulm

Team: Norfolk Tides

League: International League

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles - AL

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: Three days after being granted free agency from the Orioles, Jackson signed on with the Washington Nationals on June 16th. He left Baltimore with a monstrous 7.20 ERA over 5 innings of relief. Washington has yet to take a chance with him in a game but opportunity may have just knocked. On the 15th teammate Joe Ross was put on the 10-day DL leaving a hole in the Nationals' rotation.

Max Kepler, Berlin

Team: Minnesota Twins

League: MLB - NL

Parent Club: Minnesota Twins

Position: RF

2017 Highlights: On the All Star ballot for 2017, Kepler did not make the game. Hitting .266 on the season with 80 hits, including 20 doubles, 2 triples and 10 homeruns, Kepler has batted in 39 while striking out 62 times. With a .339 OBP, he's looking more and more like a slugger each day. In fact, he's already played a game at DH this season. On the field he's committed just 2 errors while putting 168 away playing most of his games at right this season.

Nadir Ljatifi, Dortmund

Team: Billings Mustangs

League: Pioneer League – Rookie

Parent Club: Cincinnati Reds - NL

Position: 3rd

2017 Highlights: As expected, Ljatifi has moved up to full season rookie this year. He has played in just 7 games so far and is hitting .077 in 13 plate appearances. July will be a test of his skill and his drive. He'll need to show his value in practice if he expects to earn a regular spot in the lineup.

Bruce Maxwell, Weisbaden

Team: Nashville Sounds

League: Pacific Coast League - AAA

Parent Club: Oakland Athletics - AL

Position: Catcher

2017 Highlights: Bruce has been back and forth between the Sound and the Athletics most of this season. To date, he's played 25 games on each roster. With the Athletics he's batting .294 over 68 plate appearances. In Nashville his average is slightly lower, hitting .286 in 93 at bats. Maxwell is currently with the parent club where he's posting a .400 OBP.

Sven Schüller, Wuppertal

Team: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

League: Midwest League – Class A Advanced

Parent Club: Los Angeles Dodgers - NL

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: As we mentioned in June, Schüller has been advancing at a rapid pace. He started his first full season in A ball this summer where he was posting a 1.49 ERA through 23 games. That was enough for him to get the call and, on July 3rd, Sven was called up to Advanced A ball. He has only pitched 3.0 innings since his reassignment but, with the All Star break now past, we expect to see him settling in to regular play time in California by this time next month.


Marten Gasparini, Ruda

Team: Lexington Legends

League: South Atlantic League - A

Parent Club: Kansas City Royals - AL

Position: OF

2017 Highlights: After nearly a year-long slump it looks like Gasparini's bat has finally found it's swing. Hitting just .225 in May, his average now sits at .260. Last season, he finished in the same league with an average of just .196. It seems that the success he's had at his new position is translating to confidence at the plate. On the 14th of July, it was Gasparini's bat that brought a five hour and 51 minute, 21 inning game to and end. Marten hit a homerun to end the game 7-6 in the Legends' favor. On the season he has 8 homeruns, 3 triples and 12 doubles contributing to his 40 RBIs. On the field he's up to a season total of 5 errors but, considering that he averaged an error every other game at short last season, it is clear that, at least for the time being, outfield is a better spot for this ballplayer.

Alberto Mineo, Gorzia

Team: South Bend Cubs

League: Midwest League – A

Parent Club: Chicago Cubs - NL

Position: C/1B

2017 Highlights: After hitting .296 through the middle of June, Mineo's bat has cooled off, every so slightly. He's down to a .275 average over 66 games. His average continues to be strong without extra base hits. On the field he's splitting his time on the infield between1st and sitting behind the mask. As long as the club continues to keep him in A ball he's on a good path, growing his toolkit while maintaining his average. It would be surprising not to see him moved up by year's end if he keeps this pace. Given that they've expanded his playing area, chances are the club is already prepping for the move.


Dovydas Neverauskas, Vilnius

Team: Indianapolis Indians

League: International League – AAA

Parent Club: Pittsburgh Pirates – NL

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: Since last we checked in on him Neverauskas has been living in Indianapolis once again. He's stayed with the Indians since June 10th and is currently posting a 3.32 ERA over 32 games and 38 innings of pitching. Throughout his season in AAA he's given up 37 hits and 18 runs, 14 of them earned, while striking out just 36 batters. Baring injury, we'd expect to see Neverauskas remain in Indiana through the end of summer potentially being added to the Pirates roster in the unlikely event of wildcard play.


Vadim Balan, Tiraspol

Team: GCL Twins – Rookie

League: Gulf Coast League

Parent Club: Minnesota Twins - AL

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: With opening day just two weeks behind them Balan has pitched in 6 games for a total of 8.1 innings. He's given up 6 runs, none of them earned, walking 4 and hitting 2 while striking out 6.


Paul Brands Photo Courtesy of MiLB

Paul Brands, Haarlem

Team: GCL Pirates

League: Gulf Coast League - Rookie

Parent Club: Pittsburgh Pirates - NL

Position: C

2017 Highlights: In his first 12 games of the season, Brands is hitting .255 over 47 plate appearances. The catcher is also responsible for 72 putouts and 6 assists while committing no errors. If he keeps up this level of play we would expect to see him moved up to full season A ball in 2018.

Taylor Clemensia, Amsterdam

Team: GCL Twins

League: Gulf Coast League – Rookie

Parent Club: Minnesota Twins - AL

Position: LHP

2017 Highlights: 20-year old Clemensia did some growing in the off-season. This could account for the slight increase in his ERA which presently sits at 2.79. His season has only just begun however with just 9.2 innings of play so far. We'll have to see a few more innings to make a determination whether the change is due to growth or simply a slow start to the season.

Sir Didi Gregorius, Amsterdam

Team: New York Yankees

League: MLB – AL

Parent Club: New York Yankees

Position: SS

2017 Highlights: Sir Didi was on the 2017 All Star ballot but did not make a roster this year. It wasn't for lack of trying. The knight was playing his part during the campaign performing good deed in exchange for votes. He gave away umbrellas and took tourist photos before swiping fans through the NY subway system on his metrocard. On the field he's batting .286 with 39 RBIs, 10 homeruns, 12 doubles and 74 total hits while maintaining a .992 fielding percentage.

Matz Schutte, Almere

Team: GCL Twins

League: Gulf Coast League – Rookie

Parent Club: Minnesota Twins

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: Schutte began his third season in the minor leagues on the same GCL Twins bench. He his currently posting a 6.52 ERA through 4 games with 9.2 innings under his belt. At this point the 19-year old needs to take steps to gain serious forward momentum or this will, no doubt, be his final season in the minor leagues.

Kingdom of the Netherlands

Nelmerson Angela, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: DSL Mets2

League: Dominican Summer League - Rookie

Parent Club: NY Mets - NL

Position: LHP

2017 Highlights: Nelmerson's career is certainly stuck in the mud. This year he's with a different team but the move was lateral. At the end of last month his ERA was half what it is today. Currently posting a 2.13 ERA is very respectable, however he's played just 4 games, pitching 12.2 innings, in nearly a month and half of play. This does not show a lot of faith in his skills from management. He's going to need to take steps during practice to show his worth if he hopes to gain the play time necessary to advance through the system to the next level.

Xander Jan Bogaerts, Oranjestad Aruba

Team: Boston Red Sox

League: MLB - AL

Parent Club: Boston Red Sox

Position: IF – SS, 3B

2017 Highlights: Bogaerts was another European who missed the All Star game this season. He's had his chance before and, will no doubt, be there again. In the interim, he's spending his nights with Boston and it suits him just fine. The 24-year old is hitting .302 over 331 plate appearances so he likely appreciated a week off. Through the first half of season he'd accumulated 100 hits including 20 doubles, 4 triples and 6 homeruns to bring in teammates 42 times, giving him a .441 slugging percentage. On the field, he's not having as perfect a season but he's holding his own. He's responsible for 111 putouts and 198 assists with 8 errors at short. If he keeps pace we'd guess another Silver Slugger Award, and likely a shot at the biggest game of the season, are in his very near future.

Rachid Engelhardt, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: DSL Orioles

League: Dominican Summer League – Rookie

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles - AL

Position: OF

2017 Status: Engelhardt has been released from his contract with the Orioles. This summer he made an appearance at the World Port Tournament with the national team.

Kenley Jansen, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

League: MLB – NL

Parent Club: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: For the second year running Kenley Jansen was in the NL lineup at the All Star game. Selected by the players, he received the most votes of any NL reliever beating the 2nd in line by 20 ballots. He is currently posting a .93 ERA with 22 saves and 58 strikeouts over 38.2 innings of work. Having walked just 2 all season, his strikeouts to walks ratio is the best in his career.

Ryan Oduber (front) sporting the Star Wars Jersey PC: Ryan Oduber Twitter

Ryan Oduber, Oranjestad Aruba

Team: Lowell Spinners

League: New York-Penn League - Short A

Parent Club: Boston Red Sox - AL

Position: LHP

2017 Highlights: In his first season of A ball Oduber is doing well. The 19-year old is currently posting a 2.64 ERA over 5 games where he's pitched 14.0 innings. He's given up 5 earned runs while striking out 13 and walking just 2.

Jurickson Profar, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Round Rock Express

League: Pacific Coast League - AAA

Parent Club: Texas Rangers

Position: Utility

2017 Highlights: Profar has spent the last month straddling the line between AAA and the majors. Sent down to the PCL on June 16th, he was recalled by the parent club on the 5th of July before being sent back three days later. Profar currently sits on the Round Rock bench where he has a .297 BA over 209 plate appearances. This is a stark contrast to his .172 in 58 at bats for the parent club. It is clear that Jurickson is continuing to struggle with his swing in the bigs and that, while being in the minors may be better for everyone's stats, it won't do much to improve Profar's overall issues with the lumber.

Jonathan Schoop, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Baltimore Orioles

League: MLB - AL

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles

Position: 2B

2017 Highlights: All Star superstar Jonathan Schoop had an amazing break. Elected to the game as an alternate he was the only player to make it in the game from the bench. He doubled in his first at-bat and scored the only AL run of the game. His regular season stats aren't so bad either. He's hitting .296 on the season with 97 hits, including 24 doubles and 18 homers, with 54 RBIs while walking 19 times. On the field he's struggling with errors at 2nd, having committed 10 this season, but he's still posting a .977 fielding percentage.

Sharlon Schoop, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Norfolk Tide

League: International League - AAA

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles - AL

Position: SS

2017 Highlights: The hits just keep coming for Schoop. Demoted once again on June 19th, Sharlon is now on the International league AAA roster but even that wasn't the worst this season had to offer him. Only July 12th Schoop was placed on the 7-day DL. Depending on how you look at it, and what the injury is, this is either a good or a bad thing for the shortstop. He started the season three teams higher than he is today. If the injury has been there all along, then there is a reason for the poor performance. At 30 years old, and his current level of play however, he's not likely to stay on the roster if the injury is serious. This has been a rough road back for Schoop who was given a second life in the MLB following his WBC performance earlier this year.

Andrelton Simmons, Mundo Nobo Curaçao

Team: Angels of Anaheim

League: MLB – NL

Parent Club: Angels of Anaheim

Position: SS

2017 Highlights: Simmons missed the All Star train this season but the break may have worked in his favor. Just pulling out of a slump heading into the game, the break does not appear to have slowed down the momentum he was gaining. His average has jumped another 16 points giving him a 36 point leap since the middle of May. He's now hitting on-par with his WBC performance at .286 with 99 hits, including 22 doubles, 9 homeruns and a triple, while walking 27 times. Andrelton still struggles with the Ks, with 42 this season, but that is rather normal for a slugger and most of those were already on the books heading into the 2nd half of the season. On the field he's also keeping a better grip on the ball. Having committed no further errors in July, he's brought his fielding percentage up .06 points as well.

Chadwick Tromp, Oranjestad, Aruba

Team: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

League: Southern League – AA

Parent Club: Cincinnati Reds – NL

Position: Catcher

2017 Highlights: On June 29th Tromp was called up to AA. Considering he was hitting .311 in A-Advanced, this is not a surprising move. His current average with just 24 plate appearances is .125 but Chadwick is a catcher. He's already had 3 hits, including a double, and 4 RBIs while striking out just twice so this is not a cooling off period for his bat. Most catchers take their first round of at-bats as an observation time before swinging, even if they are sluggers. We can expect that his average will increase as he gets a better look at what he's facing throughout the coming month.

Next month we'll already be looking to playoffs. Expect the shifting to begin once again as teams put themselves into the best spot for advancement.

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