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At Halfway: Outfielders And Catchers Learn Valuable Lessens During Their First Half

Now that we are starting the second half of the season at all levels of full season baseball we would like to take this time to get caught up to date on what all the players we have featured are up too. We have been updating readers all season long on top pitching and offensive performances on twitter and will continue to attempt to recognize these performances during the second half as well. In the mean time we wanted to recap each of our featured players first half performances.

L.J. Hoes

As the 2012 season began Hoes was  assigned back to AA Bowie and continued his transition to full-time outfielder. With the Baysox, Hoes hit .265 with two home runs and 16 RBI’s in 196 at bats. The Orioles saw enough of Hoes in the field and at the plate that they deemed him ready for the next level. Hoes was promoted to the Norfolk Tides where he struggled in his first few weeks of play. Those struggles are a thing of the past as Hoes has been on fire. Since his promotion, Hoes is batting .319 with two home runs and 19 RBI’s in 160 at bats at the AAA level. Over his last ten games Hoes numbers have been even better, hitting .395 with one home run and 10 RBI’s as well as an OPS of 1.028. If Hoes keeps these numbers up for the remainder of the year there is a good chance he could see a September call up.

Drew Vettleson

2012 marks Vettleson’s first full season in professional baseball. Vettleson has been a regular member of the Bowling Green Hot Rods outfield all season long. He has contributed both offensively and defensively. In the field he leads all of minor league baseball with 16 outfield assists. At the plate Vettleson has been solid hitting .284 with eight home runs and 44 RBI’s. For the season Vettleson has an OPS of .773. The second half of the season will be a challenge for Vettleson to maintain and improve on those numbers as he will be playing more games this season than he has at any other point in his young career.

Jake Skole

When we caught up with Skole he was just coming off the best stretch of his 2012 season. At one point he had went 7 for 7 for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and began to raise his average, which had hovered around the mendoza line for much of the season. Shortly after the hot streak the centerfielders season took a turn for the worst. Following a June 28th game vs Carolina, Skole was suspended for 50 games by Minor League Baseball for violating their performance enhancing drug policy. Skole will now miss the majority of the season.

Justin Bianco

After spending the first half of the 2012 season at extended spring training with the Diamondbacks organization Bianco was assigned to a familiar place as the short season leagues opened up. Bianco was returned to short season Missoula, where he spent his 2011 season. In early action with the Osprey, Bianco has struggled but over his last ten games he seems to be settling in and getting more comfortable at the plate. In those games, Bianco is hitting .278 with two home runs and nine RBI’s which has raised his season batting average over the mendoza line to .208. If the outfielder can continue building off his recent numbers he should finish the season with pretty good overall numbers.

Blake Swihart

Just like Drew Vettleson, 2012 marks Swihart’s first experience playing in a full season of baseball. The Greenville Drive have attempted to keep the backstop fresh all season by mixing in days off as well as giving him a chance to be the teams Designated Hitter. During the first half of 2012 Swihart hit .265 with four home runs and 35 RBI’s. Over his last ten games Swihart has turned it up and has hit .316. Behind the plate the athletic Swihart has played solid defense and has thrown out 29% of attempted base stealers. Swihart is well on his way to a successful first season of professional baseball.

Eric Fryer

After losing a spring training battle for a bench spot on the Pirates, Fryer was sent back to AAA Indianapolis. With an injury to teammate Jose Morales, Fryer was pegged to see the bulk of the playing time behind the plate until Morales was healthy and could contribute. Fryer got off to a hot start in the first few weeks of the season but then fell into an ice-cold slump. Once Morales had recovered from his injury he took playing time away from the struggling Fryer. A mid-season promotion of Tony Sanchez, whom was a first round selection of the Pirates a few seasons ago further limited Fryer’s playing time behind the plate. The versatile Fryer has seen some playing time in the outfield since the arrival of Sanchez. Over the course of the season Fryer has batted .182 with no home runs and six RBI’s.  Even though Fryer has put up disappointing numbers this season the Pirates recalled the backstop when Rod Barajas was sidelined with a minor injury. In limited duty during his recall Fryer did go 1 for 3 off the bench for the Pirates. He also saw brief action in left field during a game which the Pirates had used up all their outfield options.

Tomorrow we will recap the performances of the infielders. Look forward to recaps all week and then we will get back to featuring more great and unique stories that will feature players at all different stages in their chase to the major leagues. Remember to keep following us on twitter for updates on individual player performances each night. You can follow us @CTD_Sypien 

 

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