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Stars and Scrubs, June Edition

Hooray! I'm finally on time with something! And a bonus- seven stars and seven scrubs for a total of 14 players (4 more than the usual 10).

Here are June's stars and scrubs- 7 memorable and 7 forgettable performances this month. As always, my numbers come from Minor League Splits and First Inning. And remember- these are June performances only. Good players that have rough monthly performances can easily make the Scrubs list one month and Stars list another. Also, keep in mind that the samples used are small in size, so we can't draw big conclusions based on these performances- but the trends should be able to help us determine how a player is doing.

STAR: Giovany Soto, LHP, Class A West Michigan

Previous mentions: April (star), May (star)

At this point, my love of Soto should be well known. An unknown coming into the year, he's put up eye-popping numbers for West Michigan- including a FIP of 2.78 for the month of June. Factor in the 23 strikeouts in 25 innings and the low walk rate (3.20 per 9, great for such a young player) and you can see why I love him so much. Of course, his injury yesterday puts a damper on my enthusiasm. Hopefully he gets back soon- with a deep arsenal and projectabilty, he has the potential to stay a starter.

SCRUB: Gustavo Nunez, SS, Class High A Lakeland

Previous mentions: April (scrub), May (scrub)

He's striking out in 16% of plate appearances. He's walking in a mere 2.9. He's not hitting any line drives (11%). He doesn't hit for power (.222 slugging). I really do hate to rag on Nunez (he of the .196 wOBA in June) but when you're putting 65 percent of the balls you hit on the ground, I can't really feel sorry about it.

STAR: Jamie Johnson, OF, Class A West Michigan

Previous mentions: April (star)

Yes, he's 23, which is way too old for A ball. But his pedigree is high (he was a 7th round pick in 2009) and his performance is second to none. I could talk about his .432 wOBA. I could note that his walk rate sits around 15%. I could note that he hit .384 in June (driven by a high BABIP but still). Instead, I will repeat what I said in my last recap. Promote him. Sooner rather than later.

SCRUB: Ramon Lebron, RHP, Class A West Michigan

Previous mentions: May (honorable mention)

A 7.79 FIP is incredibly ugly. And it's not that Lebron has a bad arm- it's that he doesn't know where the ball is going once it leaves his arm. Walking more than 10 batters per 9 is not a way to make it to the big leagues. I still like Lebron going forward- it's hard not to when he's striking out over 10 batters per 9 on the year and even in a down month almost 8 per 9, but his future is probably in the bullpen as a flamethrowing (albeit wild) righty.

STAR: Jeff Larish, 1B/3B, Class AAA Toledo

Previous mentions: April (scrub)

Random trivia: Larish was my first favorite prospect. I loved the power and the patience combo, and the unusual swing (he has no timing mechanism) was fascinating. That's why I'm so happy to see him doing well this month. A .412 wOBA (though I don't think that includes his last game- FI hasn't updated it yet) is incredible, and he's not only hitting for power (ISO of .295) but he's getting on base a ton (thanks to a walk rate that's almost at 14%). If he can build on this June and the Tigers let him get some reps at third base, he could be a decent replacement for Brandon Inge (as a stopgap at 3B) or a good four corners reserve for the Tigers.

SCRUB: Cale Iorg, SS, Class AA Erie

Previous mentions: April (scrub), May (scrub)

Ugh. Trainwreck. Still. From all reports, the defense is great, but the strikeout rate is killer. The good news is that it came down in June from 35% to 22%. Iorg also hit more line drives- 15.7%, a 2.5% improvement over last month. His June saw him as a victim on balls in play, and if he manages to preserve that low strikeout rate.... well he might be less mediocre. For Iorg, that would be a step in the right direction.

STAR: Adam Wilk, LHP, Class High A Lakeland

Previous mentions: May (star)

He walked 2 guys in June. That really should be all I have to say. But I'll go ahead and heap some more praise on Wilk. His strikeout rate is low (5.24 per 9), and he's a flyball pitcher, but the lack of walks is so incredible it keeps his WHIP at 1.02 even with an average BABIP against of .311 (hell, as a flyball pitcher, that might even go down). He doesn't have a high ceiling (probably a #4 starter) and I think he's slightly old for level at 22, but the Twinkies have succeeded by pumping out dozens of pitchers just like this. I'll take him.

SCRUB: Audy Ciriaco, 3B, Class AA Erie

Previous mentions: none

It's a stretch to call Ciriaco a prospect- at 23 in AA he's really more of a tools bust. But everybody keeps paying him attention. I can't figure out why- his wOBA for June is .236 and he's never had a wOBA over .305. This month he struck out 17 times and walked only 3. 17 strikeouts in 80 plate appearances- that's almost a quarter of the time! And yet that's only one of the problems. He also has no power (.362 slugging in June, .398 overall this year). And he used to be... Detroit's shortstop of the future! I'm being sarcastic, but what is it with Detroit's shortstop prospects all pancaking?

STAR: Charlie Furbush, LHP, Class AA Erie

Previous mentions: May (star)

His first AA start (last Saturday) didn't go too well, but Furbush still put up really good numbers in June- a 3.13 FIP and just over 9 strikeouts per 9 with a walk rate closer to 2 per 9. He lets up a lot of homers (9 on the year) and he's gotta prove himself in AA, but he's a good prospect to have around.

SCRUB: Billy Buckner, RHP, Class AAA Toledo

Previous mentions: none

The return in the Dontrelle Willis trade, Buckner is really more of a depth player. But Baseball America did rank him 8th in the D-Backs farm system in 2009, so he has upside. Of course, he doesn't have upside if he's putting up a FIP of 5.97 (that's with Toledo and Reno combined). The strikeout rate sucks (under 5 per 9), the homer rate sucks (almost 1.70 per 9 innings) and the 20% line drive rate can't help either. He had potential when he was with the Royals (2 organizations ago)- maybe they'd take him back.

STAR: Andy Dirks, OF, Class AA Erie

Previous mentions: none

I'm going to proceed to make a big deal out of a .383 wOBA, if you don't mind. The reason Dirks made the list this month is not so much because he's doing well, but because he's doing so much better. His walk and strikeout rates have been all over the board this year (this month it's 9 strikeouts to 7 walks) but his overall numbers are a huge improvement over what he did in Lakeland last year that he merits mentioning. His strikeout rate has improved, as has his ISO. I'd call that enough to put him back on my radar as a potential fourth outfielder type (he was drafted as a center fielder).

SCRUB: Casper Wells, OF, Class AAA Erie

Previous mentions: May (scrub)

I hate to do this again, but a line of .192/.238/.374 is no way to improve your stock. Part of that is due to poor luck on balls in play, but when your luck adjusted line is .218/.263/.410, you have some problems. The big problem is that the walk rate is going the wrong way. If that continues to happen, Wells loses tons of value, and he doesn't have the room to do that. I still like him, but getting the walk rate to rise is an absolute must. Man cannot live on power alone (even if it's 80 power like Marcus Thames had) and expect to start in the majors.

STAR: Jacob Turner, RHP, Class High A Lakeland

Previous mentions: none

It's kinda funny that I haven't yet mentioned Turner (still the #1 prospect, and with Crosby injured, he's built himself quite an edge). But his June FIP of 3.41 deserves mentioning, as does his recent promotion. His June peripherals aren't great. The strikeout rate is down to about 7 per 9 and the walk rate is down below 1 per 9, but both of those are outliers. Call this placement a friendly reminder that Turner is still really, really good, even if he's not putting up eye-popping numbers.

SCRUB: Brent Dlugach, SS, AAA Erie

Previous mentions: none

Good grief, we have no shortstops in this system. The epitome of an empty batting average, Dlugach hit .292/.316/.407 for a wOBA that sits in the low 300's. The power has dropped off quite a bit and he's not walking. And the only thing keeping up that high average is an unsustainable BABIP that sat at .413 for June. Not good at all.