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Pack Pros: Mid-June Baseball Edition

Dunand gets a cup of coffee; Wilson gets promoted to AAA

Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

NC State has 30 31 former players playing professional ball this spring summer (or at least rostered) with Carlos Rodon, Trea Turner, and Andrew Knizner leading the way at the MLB level. Let’s take a look at how they’re all doing.

MLB

Carlos Rodon (2012-2014) - LHP - San Francisco Giants

5-4, 3.18 ERA, 65.0 IP, 54 H, 25 BB, 3 HBP, 83 K

Rodon has cooled off since his hot start, but he’s still pitching like a top-of-the-rotation arm. He had one really bad start in mid-May (3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 ER), which is why his ERA jumped so much. It was Rodon’s only outing this year allowing more than 3 earned runs and one of only two outings that he didn’t go at least 5.0 innings. In his last start, he went 6.0 shutout innings against the Dodgers and...

Trea Turner (2012-2014) - SS - Los Angeles Dodgers

.298/.352/.471, 14 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 32 R, 47 RBI, 21 BB, 48 K, 1 HBP, 13-15 SB

In the above mentioned matchup against Rodon on June 12th, Turner did manage one of the Dodgers’ five hits in the game, but none came against his former Wolfpack roommate. In case you’re wondering, Turner is 1-for-6 with a 2B and a K against Rodon. All told, Trea has been back to producing at his normal All-Star level. After a slow (for him) first month to the season, Turner has been killing it. He put together a 26-game hit streak that spanned across May and early June and has hits in 35 of his last 36 games during which he’s slashing .331/.385/.556.

Andrew Knizner (2014-2016) - C - St. Louis Cardinals

.198/.283/.257, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 R, 11 RBI, 10 BB, 27 K, 2 HBP, 0-0 SB

Unfortunately, unlike Turner, Knizner has cooled off considerably since his hot start to the season. The Kniz was hitting .269/.364/.358 on May 25, but is mired in an 11-game funk right now, hitting just .059/.111/.059 in that span over 37 PA. He’s still getting consistent playing time, but he’ll need to break out of the grossness soon.

AAA

Joe Dunand (2015-2017) - 3B - Miami Marlins Atlanta Braves

MLB: .300/.364/.700, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 0-0 SB

AAA: .244/.349/.389, 7 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 21 R, 13 RBI, 12 BB, 36 K, 3 HBP, 2-2 SB

Had I done this update a few weeks ago I could have put Dunand up in the MLB section as he was promoted to the Marlins for a brief time and appeared in three games. He even homered in his first MLB game, in his first at bat. Unfortunately, the MLB experience was short-lived and the Marlins put him on waivers at the end of May to make room on their 40-man roster. He was claimed by the Braves and is currently playing with the Gwinnett Stripers.

Scott Manea (2015) - C/1B - Houston Astros

.159/.270/.214, 5 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 R, 16 RBI, 19 BB, 43 K, 1 HBP, 0-0 SB

Manea, who plays for the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, has had a pretty rough go of it this year. He’s splitting time across catcher, first base, and designated hitter. Hopefully his bat will come around and start producing like it did in AA last year.

Evan Mendoza (2015-2017) - SS - St. Louis Cardinals

.217/.330/.319, 7 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 31 R, 13 RBI, 26 BB, 24 K, 1 HBP, 8-8 SB

Mendoza had a great April (.278/.355/.500) that had him looking like a candidate to join Knizner on the big league club, but a horrendous May (.167/.313/.197) put a squash on that right, quick, fast, and in a hurry. June has been better, buoyed by a current four-game 6-for-13 run. Mendoza’s 26:24 BB:K ratio will carry, and he’s had an extreme amount of bad luck (.237 BABIP) this year that’s suppressing his numbers. He’s circled on a lot of team’s Rule 5 Draft lists for this offseason if the Cardinals don’t pull the trigger.

Tim Naughton (2016-2017) - RHP - Baltimore Orioles

0-1, 0 SV, 3.38 ERA, 16.0 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 12 BB, 2 HBP, 22 K

Naughton wasn’t going to keep up his hot start to the year, but he’s keeping the strikeouts going (13 K in his last 8.0 IP). The homers (2) and walks (7) have also been an issue during that span. He’s currently on the 7-day IL and has been since June 3. Hopefully he’ll be activated soon.

Jon Olczak (2013-2015) - RHP - Houston Astros

2-0, 0 SV, 3.14 ERA, 28.2 IP, 31 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 11 BB, 1 HBP, 36 K

Can someone just please give this man a shot in the bigs?! My Phillies need all the help they can get in the bullpen, so can they go get Jon? Interestingly, Olczak has reverse splits, having better numbers against LHH (.241/.288/.315) than against RHH (.316/.388/.544).

Will Wilson (2017-2019) - 2B/3B/SS - San Francisco Giants

AAA: .286/.286/.429, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HBP, 0-1 SB

AA: .233/.347/.505, 4 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 22 R, 18 RBI, 18 BB, 31 K, 0 HBP, 1-2 SB

Wilson missed almost all of May with an injury, but hit well enough in the 10 AA games when he returned to get moved up. He was promoted to AAA on June 14 and has a hit in both games since getting bumped up to the Giants top affiliate. Wilson primarily played SS in AA, also seeing time at 2B and 3B. So far in AAA, he’s played one game each at SS and 2B.

AA

Jack Conley (2016-2018) - C/OF - Philadelphia Phillies

.237/.344/.378, 6 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 13 R, 14 RBI, 20 BB, 36 K, 2 HBP, 1-1 SB

Conley seems to be constantly stuck behind top catching prospects everywhere he goes. He was behind Andrew Knizner as a freshman at State, then in came Patrick Bailey his junior year. Now he’s on the same team as top Phillies catching prospect Logan O’Hoppe. Thankfully, the Phillies have let Conley play outfield instead of just sitting as the backup catcher, and the results have been great. In 113 PA since May 1st, Conley is hitting .263/.354/.424. He also has 7 outfield assists in 33 games in the outfield, which is pretty impressive. He’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts, but everything else will play.

Evan Edwards (2018-2019) - 1B - Miami Marlins

.197/.314/.394, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 R, 13 RBI, 13 BB, 39 K, 0 HBP, 1-1 SB

Edwards has been on the 7-day Injured List since mid-May. It was unfortunate timing, as he had hit .357/.375/.714 in five games with the Montgomery Biscuits prior to hitting the IL. Here’s to hoping Edwards can get off the injury list quickly!

Preston Palmeiro (2014-2016) - INF - Los Angeles Angels

.258/.365/.417, 14 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 22 R, 27 RBI, 27 BB, 37 K, 1 HBP, 0-0 SB

Palmiero has shifted almost evenly between 1B, 2B, 3B, and DH with the Rocket City Trash Pandas this year. His bat has gotten progressively hotter as the season has moved on and he’s hitting .385/.429/.513 so far in June. That kind of offensive production and defensive flexibility could have him moving back up to AAA soon.

A+

Patrick Bailey (2018-2020) - C - San Francisco Giants

.206/.311/.357, 4 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 18 R, 19 RBI, 20 BB, 36 K, 0 HBP, 0-1 SB

Bailey had a very nice month of May (.265/.351/.510), but it’s been sandwiched by a pair of dud months in April and June. There’s still time to pull June from the scrap heap and the peripherals are there to say that he will: 9:10 BB:K ratio with a .366 OBP so far in June. Like Evan Mendoza, Bailey’s numbers have been hurt significantly by bad luck (.241 BABIP), but he could also afford to cut down on that 24.3% K rate.

Alec Barger (2019) - RHP - Atlanta Braves

2-0, 1 SV, 4.81 ERA, 24.1 IP, 24 H, 14 BB, 2 HBP, 32 K

Barger was having a great year until this past Wednesday when he gave up 6 runs (all earned) in 0.2 innings. Prior to that he had a 2.66 ERA. Everyone has a bad outing every now and then, and if Barger can shake this one off, the 24-year-old may get a shot at AA before the end of the year.

Michael Bienlien (2017-2019) - RHP - Detroit Tigers

1-2, 0 SV, 6.63 ERA, 19.0 IP, 26 H, 15 BB, 0 HBP, 24 K

The walks are really what’s killing Bienlien this year. He’s issued multiple free passes in six of 15 games, but also gone free pass free in seven games. Go figure. In his last outing, he struck out 6 and walked none in 2.1 scoreless frames for the West Michigan Whitecaps against the Lansing Lugnuts and...

Jonny Butler (2019-2021) - OF - Oakland Athletics

.265/.321/.378, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 12 R, 17 RBI, 9 BB, 22 K, 0 HBP, 3-3 SB

Butler, who was one of the strikeout victims of Bienlien in that above referenced outing, is having an okay year. His power has certainly not translated to wood bats, but that may come with time. Butler’s biggest issue right now is that lefties are killing him. He’s hitting just .100/.259/150 against southpaws while feasting on righties to the tune of a .308/.342/.436 line. Maybe it’s that the Midwest League just doesn’t have as many lefties, but it already appears that the Athletics are treating him like a platoon outfielder.

Nolan Clenney (2018-2019) - RHP - New York Mets

2-3, 0 SV, 5.74 ERA, 31.1 IP, 30 H, 12 BB, 0 HBP, 32 K

Clenney should maybe get a look as a starter. He made two starts in mid-May and went a combined 9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K before being promptly moved back to the bullpen where things have not gone nearly as well. Clenney never made a start across his 47 appearances in a Wolfpack uniform and those were the first two of his minor league career (he did start 4 games in Indy League ball), so maybe it’s worth a shot. Oh, and today is Nolan’s birthday! Happy Birthday, dude!

Tommy DeJuneas (2015-2017) - RHP - Houston Astros

0-0, 0 SV, 3.38 ERA, 2.2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HBP, 5 BB, 1 K

DeJuneas has been on the 7-day IL since May 14th. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and he can bounce back soon.

Evan Justice (2018-2021) - LHP - Colorado Rockies

Justice is still on the 7-day IL and has yet to make an appearance this season.

Tyler McDonough (2019-2021) - 2B/OF - Boston Red Sox

.243/.336/.413, 10 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 37 R, 34 RBI, 26 BB, 70 K, 5 HBP, 10-13 SB

Strikeouts continue to be a huge issue for McDonough, although his BB% has bounced back up from an oddly low number in April. He’s killed LHPs (.364/.382/.606) but has only had 34 PAs against southpaws versus 218 against righties (with a .223/.330/.380 line). McDonough is mostly playing LF, but also getting work at 2B and some CF. Over his last four games he’s hitting .353/.400/.588, but also with 6 Ks.

Austin Murr (2020-2021) - 1B/OF - Detroit Tigers

.228/.309/.311, 14 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 20 R, 18 RBI, 20 BB, 28 K, 0 HBP, 4-4 SB

Like McDonough and Palmeiro, Murr has shown some defensive flexibility this year, mostly playing LF and 1B, but also seeing time at the other two OF spots. You knew the ability to work walks would translate to the next level (and it has). His numbers should get a bump with a regression towards an average BABIP (he’s currently at .271 for the year). Like all State fans, Murr is loving June, crushing a .409/.409/.546 line over 6 games.

Jose Torres (2020-2021) - 2B/SS - Cincinnati Reds

.241/.297/.412, 6 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 26 R, 18 RBI, 12 BB, 39 K, 2 HBP, 10-11 SB

Torres cooled off after a hot start to the year, but he’s been doing just fine while splitting time fairly evenly between SS and 2B. Most surprisingly has been his 7 HR since the biggest question mark for him entering pro ball was whether the bat (and namely the power) would translate. It has, which is great, but he needs to improve the BB% (6.5) and K% (21.0) to make the jump up to the next level.

Nick Swiney (2018-2020) - LHP - San Francisco Giants

1-2, 4.08 ERA, 35.1 IP, 23 H, 15 BB, 5 HBP, 45 K

For some reason, Swiney was allowed to throw 112 pitches in his season debut, but was immediately pulled back on pitch counts and didn’t hit 80+ pitches until his last outing (83). Speaking of that last outing, it was a pretty good one: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 9 K. Swiney’s stuff is great and he should continue to chew through A+ batters. Pretty sure he should be getting bumped up to AA sometime soon.

Terrell Tatum (2018-2021) - OF - Chicago White Sox

A+: .284/.393/.474, 7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 17 R, 19 RBI, 16 BB, 29 K, 1 HBP, 8-11 SB

A: .320/.528/.400, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 R, 1 RBI, 11 BB, 11 K, 0 HBP, 6-7 SB

Tatum was promoted back up to A+ ball immediately after our last Pack Pros update. He had just 1 hit over his first 5 games at the level, but has since been slashing .366/.451/.620 over his last 19 games with a 10:13 BB:K ratio. At the very least, he’s showing that he’ll start 2023 in AA if he doesn’t get there sooner.

Luca Tresh (2019-2021) - C - Kansas City Royals

.244/.323/.413, 8 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 24 R, 28 RBI, 19 BB, 56 K, 2 HBP, 1-4 SB

Now would probably be a good time for the Quad Cities River Bandits to stop trying to steal bases with Mr. Tresh. After a torrid start to the year, Tresh has cooled off considerably. He’s feasting on lefties (.320/.375/.640), but needs to cut down on the strikeouts against all pitchers. He had a nice little 6-game hitting streak earlier in June and can hopefully carry that forward.

A

Reid Johnston (2018-2021) - RHP - Cleveland Guardians

1-3, 0 SV, 3.07 ERA, 41.0 IP, 39 H, 11 BB, 1 HBP, 42 K

Johnston worked out of the bullpen over his first seven appearances this year while working up his pitch counts (and posting a 3.12 ERA over 26.0 IP with 21 H, 6 BB, and 26 K). He’s since moved to the starting rotation for his last four outings (3.00 ERA, 15.0 IP, 18 H, 5 BB, 16 K).

Vojtech Mensik (2019-2021) - 3B/SS - Los Angeles Angels

.203/.321/.526, 3 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 22 R, 16 RBI, 17 BB, 38 K, 6 HBP, 10-13 SB

Mensik continues to feel out pro ball. So far he’s done better up the middle (2B, SS) than at 3B, although he seems to have settled in as his team’s 3B for the time being.

Jason Parker (2019) - RHP - New York Yankees

Parker is still on the 60-day injured list. Get healthy, man!

Independent Leagues

Cody Beckman (2014-2017) - LHP - Atlantic League

1-1, 0 SV, 4.96 ERA, 16.1 IP, 9 H, 11 BB, 0 HBP, 16 K

Beckman is keeping the dream alive while playing for the Long Island Ducks. The Ducks will be playing in High Point tonight.

Other

John Creel (2019) - RHP - Seattle Mariners

A: 0-0, 0 SV, 4.76 ERA, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 5 K

AAA: 0-0, 0 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 HBP, 1 K

ROK: 0-0, 0 SV, 2.45 ERA, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 0 HBP, 6 K

Creel was bumped up to AAA for one brief appearance on Cinco de Mayo, striking out the only hitter he faced. He was moved to the Arizona Complex League shortly thereafter and has not made another appearance.

Cory Wilder (2014-2017) - RHP - Cincinnati Reds

0-0, 0 SV, 9.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 HBP, 2 K

Wilder’s story is pretty, err, wild. Dude last pitched for NC State in 2017, went undrafted, and never signed with an MLB club. He never even pitched in the independent leagues. Nothing. He’s been a pitching coach for Tread Athletics, a private pitching development company. In late February, Wilder posted a video of him tossing in the bullpen, cranking 95-96 mph with his fastball and getting some crazy run on it, while also displaying a breaking ball with some really good spin rates. This apparently got the eye of the Reds who signed him and stuck him in rookie ball. He made his first professional appearance ever on June 9th.