Reds prospect Juan Silva has reason to feel like the loneliest man in Bakersfield.
He's played 162 games with the Blaze, and after last week's All-Star break saw six teammates get a promotion to Double-A Pensacola. The left-handed hitting Silva, who plays all three outfield positions and leads the California League in steals (34) while batting .311, stayed put.
Not only that, but Silva had also missed out on a mid-June trip to Wilmington, Delaware, that several teammates made for the California/Carolina All-Star Game.
"We were a bit surprised about a couple of our guys not getting the chance to play in the All-Star Game," said Bakersfield hitting coach Ray Martinez. "We were surprised at Juan, and at Seth Mejias-Brean, and including Carlos Gonzalez, our relief pitcher, but we did have three really good players go."
Mejias-Brean, Gonzalez and outfielder Marquez Smith, like the three Blaze players who did go to the All-Star Game -- Kyle Waldrop and top Reds prospects Jesse Winker and Ben Lively -- are now playing in the Southern League.
But Silva isn't moping about being left behind.
"To be honest, yeah, I was disappointed [to not be promoted], but that's how baseball works," he said. "Sometimes you're not going to get a spot. The good thing is that I'm doing well, and I'm making them know that I'm ready to play at the next level."
"Doing well" is an understatement. Going into the break, Silva notched three consecutive three-hit games, and as of June 23, the 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico has seven extra-base hits over his most recent nine games. His .422 on-base percentage is second among active Cal Leaguers, and his .415 June batting average leads the loop.
"To be honest, I've just been doing my thing. I think I'm a guy that's struggles a little bit in the first month of every year. But if I keep doing my thing, working with discipline, I'll be OK, and when I get hot, I get hot," Silva said.
"I was working a lot to just hit the ball gap-to-gap, and I was struggling a little bit with that the last couple weeks. By the time the season started going [after the All-Star break], I wasn't doing anything different, but I got the ball to go into those gaps."
Silva's early-season "struggles" still had him batting .266 in mid-May, but his team couldn't have picked a better time for him to catch fire. With a 45-25 record, Bakersfield had the best first half in the California League. Through five games since the roster changes, the Blaze are 1-4.
But Martinez doesn't see it as Silva's responsibility alone to buoy Bakersfield in the second half.
"It's important [that Silva keep hitting], but it's important for all of us. The new guys need to hit, too. It's a team effort," Martinez said. "It can't be one guy swinging for the whole team. Hopefully, we'll stay hot. We'll see what happens. All the hitters need to hit. Everybody needs to do his little part to have the team keep winning."
Martinez admits, though, that Silva is a special player.
"The thing about him is his determination. He was here last year, and he feels very motivated to move up," said the hitting coach. "His approach has always been good, and he's determined to push past what he's been doing.
"He's doing his job, and he'll get his turn," at Double-A, Martinez said."If he keeps playing the way he has been, it's just a matter of time."
That hurts: Bakersfield isn't the only Cal League team beleaguered by recent roster moves. Lancaster lost Carlos Correa, who is baseball's No. 7 prospect, to the disabled list following an injury sustained Saturday night. Correa hurt his right ankle while sliding into third for his sixth triple. Although the Astros have yet to release further details, the injury will cause the 19-year-old shortstop to miss significant time.
Stockton sluggers: The Stockton Ports finished eight games out of first place in the Cal League North Division's first half, but they're 5-0 to start the second half. The Ports' recent success is due in no small part to the bats of Ryon Healy and No. 5 A's prospect Matt Olson. Healy is batting .520 since the break, with 13 hits -- including three doubles -- in five games. Olson has four home runs, nine RBIs, nine runs scored and a .400 average in that span. He swatted a game-winning homer in a five-hit performance Thursday.
Never tell him the odds: Plenty has been made of the Cal League as a final resting place for the dreams of young pitchers, and MiLB.com's Ashley Marshall has demonstrated that Visalia's Recreation Ballpark is the third-least pleasant place in the circuit for a hurler to work. Braden Shipley is working on changing the narrative. The D-backs' No. 2 prospect was promoted to the Cal League at the beginning of the month, and despite making three of his four starts at home for the Rawhide, he's 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA. He struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings Sunday.