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.
J.R. Davis, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
J.R. Davis is having himself a great start to his professional baseball career. The St. Louis Cardinals took the 22-year old California native in the 15th round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. With an eight-game hitting streak, Davis has four different hitting streaks of at least five games in only 46 games. As a prospect who didn’t turn many heads on draft night, Davis will need to develop his tools and athleticism to reach full potential if he wants to move up quickly in a crowded Cardinals’ farm system.
Donnie Walton, 2B/SS, Seattle Mariners
.289/.316/.444 in August
After finishing August with an impressive batting average, Walton continues to swing a hot bat, getting on base at least once in each of his first four games in September. The young switch-hitter helped the Everett AquaSox clinch the Northwest League North Division second-half title, homering in a 9-2 win against the Vancouver Canadians this late August. With nine errors in 37 games, the former three-time All-Big 12 player will need to work on the defensive aspect of the game if he wants to develop into a complete player.
Koda Glover, RHP, Washington Nationals
2.63 ERA, .143 Opp BAA
Four days after picking up his second hold of the season in a 4-1 Nationals win, Glover was awarded his second win of the season after pitching a perfect relief outing against the Braves. Having appeared in the eighth-inning for five straight games, Glover, a hard-throwing right-hander, appears to have gained the trust of his manager. Although the 23-year old’s big league career may have just started, Glover is going to be an intriguing bullpen option when playoffs come around.
Brendan McCurry, RHP, Houston Astros
3.29 ERA, 16 SV
McCurry couldn’t land a September call-up despite pitching a dominant season in the minors for the Triple-A Fresno. Excluding three or four bad outings that inflated his ERA to a deceptive 3.83 ERA, McCurry has pitched consistently well in the minors. McCurry exceeded expectations after being asked to shoulder an above average workload for a reliever this season (80+ innings pitched). The 24-year old won’t make his major league debut in 2016, but look for him to showcase his electric stuff in spring training next year.
Jordy Mercer, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
.294/.314/.517 in last eight games
Jordy Mercer continues to be a bright spot in midst of a demoralizing eight-game losing streak for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Contrary to his teammate’s struggles, Mercer seemed to hit his way out of an August slump, slashing .310/.333/.483 during his recent seven-game hitting streak. The Pirates’ playoff hopes are diminishing, and they find themselves 4.5 games behind for the second wild card spot. The fifth year shortstop’s offensive resurgence this season should be a positive note moving forward regardless of the Pirates’ playoff destiny.
John Farrell, Manager, Boston Red Sox
78-61, 1 game lead in A.L. East
As a manager under pressure and scrutiny for much of the season, Farrell is shutting up all the critics, keeping the Red Sox within striking distance of a first-place finish in the competitive A.L. East. The Red Sox finally leapfrogged the Blue Jays with a 7-2 win over the Padres on Wednesday night to take sole possession of first place in the A.L. East. With a league-leading offense and a pitching staff that is performing to expectations, the other contending A.L. East teams should be worried because the Red Sox are peaking right now.
Robin Ventura, Manager, Chicago White Sox
67-72, 13.5 GB in A.L. Central
Ventura addressed the uncertainty of his future earlier this week. The manager of a struggling White Sox team is trying to stay positive despite another sub-par season filled with promises early on. Ventura and the front office should wisely rest its starting players down the stretch, so this will be a great opportunity for the young players to get a taste of the big leagues. With the Sox on pace for their fourth straight losing season during Ventura’s five-year tenure in Chicago, Ventura will be on the hot seat when the season ends.