Now that August is over and we are entering the stretch run in September, now is the time to look at how OSU alumni are doing. Some are peaking at the right time, while others are struggling and need to pick it up if they want to contribute to their ball club when the pennant chase goes into the final lap of the race.
Jordy Mercer, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
Jordy Mercer has turned in a solid year after a lackluster 2015 season. But hitting just .167/.286/.458 in his last seven games, and a dismal .159/.242/.329 in the month of August, the consistent shortstop is in another August slump. Mercer has always struggled during August throughout his young career, hitting well below his career average during the month. Some suspect it could be a fatigue issue, while others point out that Mercer seems to be swinging harder and trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark instead of sticking with his style of contact hitting. Winner of four straight, the Pittsburgh Pirates are just a mere half-game behind the Cardinals for the second wild card spot. The Pirates desperately need Mercer to return to early season form if they want to have a shot at claiming a wild card spot.
Tim Arakawa, 2B/SS/CF/LF/RF, Los Angeles Angels (Salt Lake Bees, AAA)
Arakawa’s active 2016 year continues. The utility player was recently demoted to High-A Inland Empire after struggling at Double-A Arkansas where he hit only .173/.277/.214. However, Arakawa played only four games with Los Angeles Angels’ High-A team before being promoted again to Triple-A Salt Lake. Known for his defensive prowess and his ability to play multiple defensive positions, Arakawa needs his bat to wake up if he wants to remain in Triple-A and have a chance at landing a September call-up.
Donnie Walton, 2B/SS, Seattle Mariners (Everett AquaSox, Low-A)
Donnie Walton continues to impress during his first year as a professional baseball playe. The switch-hitter has registered at least a hit in eight of his last ten games, and 14 of his last 16 games, producing a slash line of .296/.320/.423. After a month-long home run drought, Walton may have gotten his power swing back with two consecutive games with a round-tripper against the Vancouver Canadians. As long as Walton hits, he should have no problem ascending through the minor league quickly.
Koda Glover, RHP, Washington Nationals
The 23-year-old relief pitcher is getting some unexpected playing time with the Washington Nationals in just his second year after being drafted. Glover has provided the depleted bullpen with quality innings ever since his second call-up to the big leagues, holding opponents to just a .176 batting average in nine innings of work. With numerous pitchers needing rest down the stretch, Glover will continue to get a chance to showcase his skills and help protect a comfortable nine-game lead in the NL East.
Brendan McCurry, RHP, Houston Astros (Fresno Grizzlies, AAA)
The all-time OSU saves leader continues to pitch well at Triple-A Fresno. After struggling in an appearance and picking up his first loss in Triple-A on August 15, McCurry went back to work and has given up one earned run since. During that span, the right-hander has struck out nine batters in just 6 2/3 innings while walking none. McCurry is currently The No. 10 pitcher and No. 21 overall prospect in the Astros’ farm system. McCurry should have a good shot at making his major league debut in September once the Nationals officially claim the NL East and start to rest some of their more important pitchers.
John Farrell, Manager, Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox once again disappointed by not keeping pace with its competitors after finally clawing its way back to the top of the AL East. After losing the last two games of a four-game series against the last-place Rays, the Red Sox came home to Fenway and lost the series against the Royals. Now two games behind the Blue Jays, the Red Sox desperately need to take advantage of a six-game road trip against the struggling Athletics and the Padres. The window for John Farrell and his team to reclaim the AL East title is still there.
Robin Ventura, Manager, Chicago White Sox
After winning three of four against the Seattle Mariners, Ventura and the White Sox are 6-4 in their last ten games and may have a chance of finish August with a winning percentage above .500. When the season ends, Chicago’s first critical decision will involve Ventura, Whether or not they keep the 48-year-old manager would most likely indicate their direction going into the 2017 season.