The Altoona Curve played in six games over the past week due to a rain out and off-day. In those six games, the Curve scored 27 runs.
The Altoona Curve’s offensive output as well as the lack thereof helped Altoona make it through the week with a 3-3 record good enough to keep them three games above Akron for the Western division lead.
While the 14 run outburst was a pleasant surprise, the ups-and-downs the Curve offense have gone through so far this year have been normal given the length of the minor league season with players coming in and going out seemingly weekly.
Let’s take a look at those who have both been a surprise and disappointment for Altoona to date so far.
Much has been been made about hitting prospects Kevin Kramer, but what about other players who have hit surprisingly well for the Curve this season? What about for the pitchers?
Hitters: Wyatt Mathisen has done nothing but hit, hit, hit so far for the Curve in 2017. The third-base prospect has continued to rake the ball throughout the first two and a half months of the season to the tune of a .307 average while knocking in 16 runners and walking 21 times.
As Mathisen continues to grow into the mold of being a quality professional hitter, his prospect status should rise and rise drastically as he inches closer to being called up.
Pitchers: Alex McRae went 8-6 with a 4.79 ERA in the 16 games he appeared in for Altoona last season while his second go around in the Eastern League has served to be much better for the right handed starter. In 14 games in 2016, McRae is 6-2 with a 3.71 ERA as he leads the team in wins so far this season.
What has proven to be an even better surprise than McRae’s performance on the mound, is McRae’s ability to bounce back after a tough start and have success in his next outing having done so three times so far this season.
Hitters: Kevin Newman came into Double-A mid-way through last season and hit .288 during his 61 games with Altoona, however, this year through 59 games, he’s hitting a mere .241. Comparing Newman’s 2017 campaign to his 2016 campaign, one finds the biggest statistical drop off is his walks which can also be attributed to now being a leadoff hitter.
Newman sits eight hits less than the 67 he had through 61 games this season and has dealt with some minor injuries as well this season. The shortstop prospect has been nothing short of spectacular in the batter’s box throughout his time in professional baseball, but this season, so far, has been a disappointment.
Pitchers: Brandon Waddell was supposed to be the top pitching prospect in Altoona this season with the possibility of a call-up to Indianapolis very likely should he have the continued success he’s been accustomed to, but this season has been full of disappointment for the lefty.
Waddell has twice spent time on the disabled list with a nagging left forearm injury this season and while the severity of the injury has not been announced, it is quite alarming this has been an ongoing issue for the entire season.
The second-year Curve pitcher out of the University of Virginia has appeared in only eight games sandwiching his two DL stints. Waddell has an 0-2 record with a 4.05 ERA in those eight games but has failed to get through six innings in seven of his outings.
Waddell’s upside is still present when healthy as opponents are only hitting .208 off him in 2017, but Waddell needs to get healthy and stay healthy to help bolster the Altoona Curve rotation for their playoff run.