We have now reached the Triple-A level, as we take a level by level look at how every player we have featured is fairing thus far this year. Many players who have reached this level this year have either made their major league debut in 2015 or have had time back in the majors after reaching it previously.
After starting the 2015 season in the Round Rock Express starting rotation, the Rangers moved Jackson to a bullpen role. Jackson struggled to find the success he had at previous levels as a starter in 15 Triple-A starts covering the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. After an adjustment period to the bullpen, Jackson has begun to find success. The Rangers have used him in both short and long relief and the Florida native has found more success when used in shorter stints. Jackson has improved his ERA from 5.64 as a starter down to 4.19 due to his strong bullpen work. In his 15 appearances in which he has worked one inning he has virtually gone un-scored upon with the exception of a May 17th appearance in Colorado Springs which he allowed three runs. Jackson’s above average offerings have worked well out of the bullpen, in his last 17 innings of work he has struck out 26.
A successful 2014 season at both Bowie and in the winter leagues turned into an opportunity with the Los Angeles Angels in 2015. Hensley started the season with their Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City. In 2014 Hensley had pitched short stints out of the bullpen in high leverage situations but with the Angels he was called upon more in long relief as the Bees staff struggled to go deep into games. Hensley was very successful in short appearances with the Bees but struggled when called upon to pitch two tor three innings. After seven consecutive scoreless appearances from June 20th through July 2nd, Hensley allowed three runs in 2.2 innings against El Paso. After the game the Angels announced they had acquired Ryan Verdugo and that Steven Hensley had been released to make room for Verdugo on the Bees roster. After a few days, Hensley found a home with Diablos Rojos del Mexico who are managed by Hensley’s 2014 winter league coach Miguel Ojeda. Hensley has shined since joining the Mexican League, pitching in seven games and allowing only one run in seven innings of work. Hensley looks to help the Diablos Rojos down the stretch run and into the playoffs.
Marcus Hatley spent his entire career with the Chicago Cubs until the start of the 2015 season. He signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals entering the season in hopes that he would have a better chance of being a part of a major league bullpen. His dreams came true when he made his major league debut on July 1st against the Chicago White Sox in interleague action. Hatley allowed a single but then quickly got three consecutive outs including his first major league strike out of Gordon Beckham to end the inning.
Hatley’s time with the Cardinals was short as he was returned back to the Triple-A, Memphis Redbird’s after two major league appearances. Hatley has been excellent all season long going 4-3 with five saves in 46 innings of work. Hatley hopes to find his way back up to the Cardinals before the end of the 2015 season.
2015 marks the first full year that Jankowski has been used out of the bullpen as the Astros promoted him to Triple-A to start the season. In 47.1 innings, covering 42 appearances, Jankowski has went 5-3 with one save and a 4.18 ERA. Pitching in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, Jankowski has struck out 54 batters to a tune of 10.3/9 innings but has also walked 28 and currently has the highest walk rate of his career (5.3/9). If Jankowski can get back to the control he has shown in his previous three seasons, the Pittsburgh native could become an important cog in the Houston Astros bullpen in the future.
The 25- year old Hoes has had limited opportunities over the last three seasons in the major leagues. In 2015, Hoes has played in eight games with the Astros and in his limited opportunity hit .267 (4 for 15). At the Triple-A level Hoes has once again put up solid numbers warranting more of an opportunity in the major leagues. In 285 at bats, Hoes is hitting .319 and getting on base at a .391 rate. The speedy outfielder also continues to be a threat on the bases with 14 steals this season while 27 of his 91 hits have gone for extra bases.
The true definition of SUPER-UTILITY player, Kleinknecht appeared at 1B (81) 3B (33) 2B (52) SS (37) LF (9) RF (6) P (4) C (3) during his time with Mississippi. As he continued to develop his defensive skills all over the diamond, Kleinknecht worked hard to improve at the plate. During his 2014 campaign the right-handed batter put up some of the best numbers of his career. On the season he showed the ability to hit for power and average, sending nine balls over the fences while hitting .280. In 2015 the Braves promoted Kleinknecht to Triple-A and he has spent the majority of the season first half as Gwinnett’s starting first baseman. The versatile gloveman has also appeared at SS and 3B this season and has made two appearances on the mound. While tied for second on the team with four home-runs, Kleinknecht has struggled to get on base regularly this season only hitting .197 in 239 at bats.
Webb has risen quickly through the Yankees system after being drafted in the 10th round in 2013. In 25 appearances this year out of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen, Webb is 2-3 with two saves and an ERA of 2.84. Webb has averaged a little over a strikeout an inning tallying 41 in 38 innings of work. After making seven straight appearances without allowing an earned run, Webb found himself placed on the disabled list at the end of June. He has not yet returned from his injury but could get a call to the majors by the end of the season if he can return healthy.
The Giants relief prospect has put together a special 2015 season. After starting the year at the Double-A level, Osich worked his way up two levels and made his major league debut in July. Osich dominated batters in the Eastern League through the first half of the 2015 season. In 31 appearances, Osich notched 19 saves in 20 opportunities and held batters to a .185 average. After being promoted to Triple-A in late June, Osich found himself recalled to the major leagues after just two scoreless appearances.
Josh Osich made his major league debut on July 3rd against the Washington Nationals. He entered the game in relief in the bottom of the 8th inning and pitched a scoreless inning. He also recorded his first major league strike out getting Danny Espinosa to strike out in the inning. Osich would go on to pick up his first major league win and pitch a total of 7.1 scoreless innings over nine appearances for the Giants. He struck out six and batters only hit .154 against him. Even with those strong numbers the Giants returned Osich for the time being back to Triple-A and he has yet to allow a run in his five appearances at that level.
Pacheco has spent the majority of the last four seasons in the major leagues serving as a utility player with both the Rockies and the Diamondbacks. He has seen time at every infield position with the exception of shortstop and has even seen a game in the outfield. In 2015 he saw the bulk of his playing time with the Diamondbacks at a catcher, appearing in 18 games behind the plate. Pacheco saw action in 29 games and got 66 at bats, hitting 242 with 2 home runs before he was demoted back to the Triple-A level. With Reno, the Albuquerque native has struggled to find his swing, as he has only hit .188 in his 96 at bats. With a Career batting average of .302 in the minors and .278 in the majors, Pacheco looks to rebound and have another opportunity back in the major leagues.
After making his major league debut in the second half of the 2014 season with the Kansas City Royals, Colon hoped to build on his experience during the Royals magical playoff run in 2015. Colon hit .333 in 45 at bats with the Royals and came up big on a few occasions during the playoffs. In 2015, Colon spent most of the first half of the season serving as a back up infielder for the Royals but only had limited opportunity to show what he could do. In 78 at bats covering 29 games, Colon hit .244 and got on base at a rate of .306. Colon was sent back to Omaha and has performed well since getting an opportunity to play everyday. In 24 games the former number one pick has hit .287 including .343 in his last ten games. Colon looks to get back to the Royals and hopes he can contribute to more post season magic in 2015.