With the MLB season slowly creeping towards the all-star break and most minor leagues already there, a handful of former NC State players have been breaking out of slumps and heating up, while a few others have been struggling and are looking to turn things around.
Trea Turner, Shortstop, Washington Nationals
After a slow start in his return from a broken finger that caused him to miss a month and a half from April 2 to May 16, Turner is heating up at the plate as of late, batting .448 with a .931 slugging percentage and eight extra-base hits over his last seven games.
The Pack’s 2014 first-round pick has his batting average up to .289 on the season and has already swiped 11 stolen bases in 31 games.
Carlos Rodon, Pitcher, Chicago White Sox
In his seven games before suffering an arm injury that led to Tommy John surgery, Rodon had a 5.19 ERA in seven games started, struggling a bit with command issues as he walked 17 batters in 34.2 innings pitched.
Rodon is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019 season and likely most of the 2020 season as well.
Andrew Knizner, Catcher/First Baseman, Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals)
After a brief big-league stint with the Cardinals in the first week and a half of June, Knizner was sent back down to Triple-A, where he is hitting .282/.352/.436 with five home runs for the Redbirds.
Knizner appeared in two games for the Cardinals, going 0 for 7 with a strikeout while filling in admirably behind the plate, allowing no passed balls and throwing out the only runner who attempted to steal on him.
Evan Mendoza, Third Baseman, Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals)
Mendoza was called up to Triple-A Memphis on June 9 and has been hitting well in his four games since, going 5 for 16 with a double for the Redbirds.
Mendoza is slashing .252/.303/.315 on the season while splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A and has struggled in the field with five errors in 35 games at third base.
Jake Buchanan, Pitcher, Las Vegas Aviators (Oakland A’s)
Buchanan has struggled during his time with the Triple-A Aviators, pitching to a 5.95 ERA in 65 innings over 13 starts. The long ball has plagued Buchanan, as the righty has already surrendered 15 home runs.
Buchanan is looking to impress and get back to the majors, where he hasn’t pitched since appearing in five games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2017.
Brock Deatherage, Outfielder, Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit Tigers)
Deatherage has been on a tear over his last nine games for the High-A Flying Tigers, hitting .342/.375/.605 with 13 hits. That’s good news for Deatherage, who was mired in a 3-for-25 slump prior to getting hot.
After seeing his batting average dip all the way down to .190, Deatherage is up to .219 on the season and looks to be getting back to how he hit last year, when he impressed with a .326 batting average.
Brett Kinneman, Outfielder, Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Despite playing in the friendly confines of North Carolina again, Kinneman is struggling mightily in Low-A ball, hitting just .160 in 46 games played.
Strikeouts are weighing Kinneman’s numbers down, as the lefty has already racked up 65 strikeouts in just 188 plate appearances.
Joe Dunand, Shortstop, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Miami Marlins)
Similar to Turner and Deatherage, Dunand is showing signs of life after a slow start in Double-A. The 2017 second-rounder is hitting .391/.444/.652 over his last six games.
Dunand has struggled at shortstop, however, with seven errors in 42 games resulting in a move to third base, where he has played 21 games so far this season.
Jon Olczak, Pitcher, San Antonio Missions (Milwaukee Brewers)
The 2015 alum has had a rough go of it in 2019, getting knocked around to the tune of a 7.15 ERA in 15 appearances in Triple-A.
After a strong 2018 season saw Olczak go 10-3 with a 1.39 ERA in 44 appearances, the righty has struggled in the level right below the big leagues.
Jack Conley, Catcher, Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies)
Despite being stuck in a 3-for-33 slump with the Class-A Lakewood BlueClaws, Conley was called up to High-A Clearwater where he went 1-for-4 with two RBIs in his only game so far.
The 2016 draftee is hitting .194/.275/.242 on the season in 20 games played.
Cody Beckman, Pitcher, Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee Brewers)
Beckman is shining back in North Carolina with the Mudcats, posting a 2.67 ERA in 22 relief appearances. The 6-foot-2 righty has done an excellent job of avoiding the long ball, as he’s surrendered just two home runs in 33.2 innings of work.
Tommy DeJuneas, Pitcher, Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros)
After a strong showing in High-A Fayetteville earned him a call-up to Double-A on June 3rd, DeJuneas has looked good in four appearances with the Hooks.
Since allowing three earned runs in one-third of an inning in his first outing, DeJuneas has allowed just one earned run in 3.1 innings of work over his last three appearances.
Other baseball Pack Pros:
Preston Palmeiro, Infielder, Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles)
Tim Naughton, Pitcher, Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore Orioles)
Josh McLain, Outfielder, AZL Dodgers 1 (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Will Gilbert, Pitcher, Stockton Ports (Oakland A’s)
Ryan Williamson, Pitcher, GCL Nationals (Washington Nationals)