Ryan Lavarnway, Pawtucket
.409/.519/1.091, 6 G, 9-for-22, 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R, 5 BB, 7 K
It's not unusual for a player to struggle after a promotion to a higher level. Since arriving at Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-June, Ryan Lavarnway has done anything but struggle -- he's batting .372/.449/.752 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs in 36 International League games. There was no letup this week as he hit four home runs and drove in 11 runs in five games from Monday to Friday. With 27 total long balls this season, he's tied for fourth in the Minor Leagues.
Pacific Coast League
Chris Aguila, New Orleans
.517/.548/1.241, 7 G, 15-for-29, 3 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 11 R, 2 BB, 5 K
The 32-year-old Aguila kicked off his week in style, homering twice at Round Rock on Monday, then going deep against the Express again on Tuesday and Wednesday before ripping Albuquerque for two long balls, a double and four RBIs on Sunday. In four games against the Express, he went 10-for-21 with four homers, two doubles, seven RBIs and seven runs scored. The Zephyrs outfielder was previously named PCL Player of the Week in June 2008.
Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton
.450/.409/1.050, 6 G, 9-for-20, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R, 0 BB, 6 K
Binghamton outfielder Brahiam Maldonado entered the week batting just .191, although he did lead the club with 15 homers. He lifted his batting average 16 points with a torrid streak of hitting that included six hits -- two of them round-trippers -- and six RBIs in a three-game span from Tuesday through Thursday. The native of Puerto Rico, a 10th-round pick in 2005, capped the week with a two-run blast in the B-Mets' 10-1 win at Reading on Sunday.
Ryan Wheeler, Mobile
.400/.444/1.040, 6 G, 10-for-25, 2 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 K
Wheeler, the BayBears' third baseman, ranks sixth among all Double-A batters with 73 RBIs in 96 games after plating 67 in 132 contests last season. The left-handed hitter reeled off five consecutive multi-hit games between July 17 and July 22 and drove in at least two runs in each of the final four outings. He's batting .342 with seven of his 15 homers in 28 games since the Southern League All-Star Game.
Salvador Perez, Northwest Arkansas
.348/.423/.696, 6 G, 8-for-23, 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 1 K
The 21-year-old backstop did the bulk of his damage against visiting Springfield over the weekend, when he went 5-for-8 with two homers and nine RBIs in the Naturals' victories on Friday and Sunday. Considered the best defensive catcher in the Royals system, the Venezuelan-born Perez has already surpassed his previous season mark with eight longballs this season and has driven in 23 runs in 19 games this month.
Brodie Greene, Bakersfield
.462/.444/1.000, 6 G, 12-for-26, 5 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 4 SB
After struggling to a .198 average in June, Blaze shortstop Brodie Greene has terrorized the California League in his last 10 games, blasting six homers and driving in 19 runs since July 14. (He'd hit just four round-trippers in his first 83 games.) The Texas A&M product has scored in nine of those 10 contests, collected an RBI in eight and delivered at least one extra-base hit in seven. Not coincidentally, Bakersfield has won nine in a row to even its second-half record at 15-15, four games behind first-place Stockton.
Abner Abreu, Kinston
.522/.560/1.087, 6 G, 12-for-23, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 2 BB, 7 K
This name may sound familiar, as the K-Tribe outfielder has captured Carolina League Player of the Week honors for the second time in three weeks. He had an extra-base hit in five of his six games this week and went 7-for-8 with two homers, a triple and seven RBIs in back-to-back games against visiting Wilmington on Friday and Saturday. The 21-year-old right-handed hitter was 4-for-4 in Friday's 11-10 win over the Blue Rocks, falling a double shy of the cycle.
Florida State League
Chase Austin, Jupiter
.320/.379/1.040, 7 G, 8-for-25, 3 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB, 6 K, CS
Austin, the Marlins' fifth-round pick in the 2009 Draft, got off to a terrible start this season, batting just .174 in his first 39 games. He's gotten red-hot in July, however, and has packed much of his season's offensive output into his last nine outings. After hitting a solo shot at Tampa last Sunday, Austin went 0-for-3 Monday before erupting for five home runs and 12 RBIs in his next four games. He's collected an extra-base hit in each of his last six games and is batting .292 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 22 games since the All-Star break.
Kevin Rivers, Clinton
.522/.577/1.130, 6 G, 12-for-23, 2 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 4 K, SB
As the LumberKings hit the road this week, outfielder Kevin Rivers hit the ball. On Wednesday in the first of three games at South Bend, he went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles. On Thursday he slugged two solo homers, and on Friday he went 3-for-4 with another longball and three RBIs before the 'Kings moved on to West Michigan, where he went deep again Sunday. Unfortunately for Clinton, each of Rivers' four blasts this week came with the bases empty as the club dropped four of its six games.
South Atlantic League
Evan Gattis, Rome
.435/.481/1.087, 6 G, 10-for-23, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Chipper Jones played two rehab games in Rome this weekend, but the R-Braves didn't really need him -- they had Evan Gattis. A 23rd-round pick in the 2010 Draft, Gattis hit four homers in 60 games with Danville last season. This week he hit five in four games, with back-to-back two-homer games on Friday and Saturday. The backstop is batting .417 during a nine-game hitting streak and slugging .593 in 55 games with the R-Braves this season.
New York-Penn League
Garin Cecchini, Lowell
.571/.640/.905, 7 G, 12-for-21, 4 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 2 SB, CS
After batting just .200 in his first 10 games, the 20-year-old Cecchini has hit .342 in July and ranks second in doubles and fourth in stolen bases in the NYPL with 12 each. The third baseman, Boston's fourth-round pick in 2010, homered, doubled and drove in three runs at Brooklyn on Monday, went 4-for-5 with three runs scored against Vermont on Tuesday and had three more hits against the Lake Monsters on Friday. The Lake Charles, La., native has reached base in each of his last 11 games.
Jared Simon, Tri-City
.385/.484/.692, 7 G, 10-for-25, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB, 9 K
Now in his second season with the Dust Devils, Simon has surpassed his home run, RBI and run output from 2010 in just over half the number of games this year. The outfielder, a sixth-round pick out of Tampa by the Rockies in 2010, has reached base in each of his last 11 contests and collected multiple hits in four of five games between Monday and Friday this week. His hot streak helped Tri-City win five of seven games and capture the Northwest League's first-half East Division crown.
Kevan Smith, Bristol
.412/.545/1.235, 5 G, 7-for-17, 2 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 7 R, 5 BB, 3 K
Smith, a seventh-round pick out of the University of Pittsburgh last month, started off his pro career hot and hasn't let up since. He leads the Appy League in hitting, on-base percentage and slugging, ranks second in RBIs and sixth in home runs. The Bristol backstop turned it up a notch further this week, delivering four longballs in three games between July 17 and July 19, then added a homer, double and four RBIs at Greeneville on Saturday. Smith has failed to reach base in just three of his 26 professional games.
Nick Ramirez, Helena
.385/.370/.962, 6 G, 10-for-26, 3 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 8 R, 0 BB, 6 K
That Ramirez went 0-for-8 over the weekend and still won his second straight Player of the Week award tells you a little bit about his recent play -- and why he was promoted to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the full-season Midwest League today. In eight games between July 14 and July 22, the Cal State-Fullerton product produced six home runs -- he went deep in five consecutive games through Thursday -- and had no fewer than two hits (with at least one going for extra bases) in any contest. He leads the circuit in home runs, and ranks second in slugging and RBIs, with 30 in his first 23 games as a pro.