Offensive Players of the Week05/10/2010 1:44 PM ET
By Josh Jackson / Special to MLB.com
Juan Francisco, Louisville
.583/.630/1.125, 14-for-24, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 9 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 0 SB
Juan Francisco, who broke through with the Reds during September roster expansion in 2009 and started the 2010 campaign in Cincinnati, is not a fan of April. The 22-year-old third base prospect hit just .227 in the opening month of last year. After starting this season with a 1-for-6, four-strikeout, no-walk stint in the Majors, he was promptly demoted and continued his struggles with the Bats, entering May with a .115 average over 15 games. Francisco emphatically shook that funk off this week. On Monday, he put together a three-double, four-RBI game while going 4-for-5 with two runs scored against the Buffalo Bisons. He added at least two RBIs and one extra-base hit in each of his next four games. On Saturday, he homered, doubled and walked to drive in three and cross the plate three times himself against Rochester.
Pacific Coast League
Brett Pill, Fresno
.478/.538/.913, 11-for-23, 7 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 0 SB
Brett Pill has consistently progressed through the Giants system, playing one full season each at Class A short-season, Class A, Class A Advanced and Double-A. Following the pattern, he'd be in the Majors next year, and if he continues to handle himself at the dish the way he did this week, there will be no objections in San Francisco. Pill was in the midst of a 1-for-8 rough patch when he went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored on Tuesday, which began a hitting streak that he would ride through the weekend. He knocked in three runs and ripped three doubles in Thursday's action, and one in each subsequent game, although Friday's two-bagger was overshadowed by a homer. Aside from Monday and Saturday, Pill also knocked in a run in every game of the week.
Darin Mastroianni, New Hampshire
.483/.543/.793, 14-for-29, 0 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 3 K, 2 SB
Blue Jays prospect Darin Mastroianni, back in the Eastern League after spending the second half of '09 there, started the week on a tear. He tripled and went 3-for-4 to collect four RBIs and a run scored against New Britain on Monday, and on Tuesday, he picked up where he left off, tripling again, plating and scoring another run and banging out four hits. He was 3-for-5 against the Rock Cats on Wednesday, and in Thursday's series finale, he gave them a parting-gift homer to remember him by. Mastroianni knocked in a run on Friday in Binghamton and another one on Saturday, and he enters the new week carrying a 15-game hitting streak.
Corey Smith, Chattanooga
.412/.450/1.000, 7-for-17, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 3 SB
Minor League journeyman Corey Smith, who signed with the Dodgers as a free agent during the offseason, used the week to show what experience at the plate can do. Although he was hitless through Wednesday, he was 2-for-2 with a double, a pair of RBIs and a stolen base in Thursday's tilt and swung that bat impressively through the weekend. He stole another base on Friday, and another on Saturday, and his speed didn't take away from his power. Homering on Friday and Saturday, he combined for six RBIs and four runs scored on the first two days of the weekend. Smith finished the week strong, legging out an RBI triple, scoring and walking in Sunday's game in Carolina.
Pete Kozma, Springfield
.355/.355/.645, 11-for-31, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 4 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 SB
The Cardinals grabbed Pete Kozma out of an Oklahoma high school with the 18th pick in the 2007 Draft, and his ability to drive in runs made him an All-Star at two different levels in 2008 and 2009. He kicked off this week with consecutive four-RBI games, first beating up on the Tulsa Drillers on Monday and then putting up a tough fight in a losing effort against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Tuesday. He was 6-for-11 with a homer and a double between the two games, and he didn't let 0-for-4 games on Wednesday and Friday slow him down. He homered and slapped out a single on Thursday, and he combined for three hits -- two of them doubles -- a run scored, an RBI and a stolen base between Saturday and Sunday.
Jay Austin, Lancaster
.577/.586/1.038, 15-for-26, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 11 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 4 SB
Astros prospect Jay Austin and the JetHawks had Monday off, and the center fielder clearly came back into action with his batteries fully charged. He went 3-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored on Tuesday and repeated the performance Wednesday, this time adding a double. He went yard again on Thursday, his third time in as many games, and once more scored two runs. He stole a base in each game on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday he stole two during a game in which he went 4-for-4 with a triple, a walk and four runs scored. Austin, who stole 23 bases during the whole of 2009, is tied with San Jose's Francisco Peguero for the Cal League lead in that category, with 15 thefts.
Brandon Short, Winston-Salem
.412/.412/.676, 14-for-34, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 9 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 SB
Brandon Short has been a hit machine for the Dash this season, and he ratcheted it up a notch. The White Sox prospect homered, doubled and scored a pair of runs against Frederick on Tuesday, and by the time Winston-Salem left town on Thursday, he'd knocked out three more hits and scored two more runs. On Friday, he clubbed a homer and doubled, scoring two runs against the Salem Red Sox. He saved his best day for Saturday, though, slapping another double, driving in three runs and scoring three runs while going 5-for-6. Short's 26-game hitting streak came to an end on Sunday, as he ended the week with an 0-for-4 outing.
Florida State League
Eric Campbell, St. Lucie
.565/.630/.826, 13-for-23, 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB, 2 K, 0 SB
Try as they might, FSL pitchers couldn't keep Eric Campbell off the bases this week. They were fortunate they didn't have similar problems with many of his teammates -- despite Campbell's five extra-base hits and eight singles, the Mets prospect was unlucky enough to end up with just one RBI and seven runs scored. Nonetheless, a hitter has to be happy with any week that sees him reach base more than sixty percent of the time, and St. Lucie manager Edgar Alfonzo moved Campbell back from sixth to third in the batting order on Friday. Campbell saw action in seven Class A Advanced games last year, hitting .273, and he's showing his comfort level at the plate now. His .340 batting average is good for fifth in the league entering the week of May 10.
Jerry Sands, Great Lakes
.400/.500/.880, 10-for-25, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 4 K, 3 SB
Dodgers prospect Jerry Sands was a Player of the Week for the first two weeks of the season, and after hitting .217 the third week, he's slugged his way back to the top of the list. His 12 homers are the second most in the Minors, and he leads the Midwest League in hitting (.385) and RBIs (29). After beginning the week with his second homer in as many games on Monday, he slipped into an 0-for-8 stretch against West Michigan. He singled, walked, stole a base and scored in the final game of that series on Thursday. A triple shy of the cycle in Saturday's game, Sands did the Loons one better by homering twice during his 4-for-4 party. Over the course of Sunday's doubleheader, he collected two doubles, a single, an RBI, a run scored, a stolen base and three walks. Excluding a nine-game run from April 12-20, Sands hasn't gone more than three games without leaving the yard. It shouldn't be long before he's swinging for the fences in the Cal League.
South Atlantic League
Miguel Velazquez, Hickory
.481/.533/.840, 13-for-27, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB, 3 K, 3 SB
Miguel Velazquez becomes the second consecutive Crawdads hitter to claim Player of the Week honors (Michael Ortiz took home the award last week), and his performance helped Hickory win five of its seven games from Monday to Sunday. Velazquez is playing in his first full pro season, and the Rangers have to like what they've seen out of the outfield prospect so far. He's among the league leaders in batting, homers, RBIs and hits, and he scored at least one run in every game this week except for Tuesday's, in which he was 1-for-4 with two walks and a stolen base. On Wednesday, he homered and drove in three runs, and he went yard again and knocked in two on Thursday. Over the weekend, he was 6-for-13 with two RBIs, four runs scored and a pair of stolen bases.