The 2021 MLB draft ushered in a new wave of MiLB Pack Pros, but the ones already entrenched in pro ball are making waves of their own. With a trio of relievers putting up drastically better numbers in July, let’s have a look at how these MiLB Pack Pros are performing.
Ryan Williamson, left-handed pitcher, Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox)
Making his first appearance in an MiLB Pack Pros article, Williamson signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox on May 20. The lefty was released by the Washington Nationals organization in May 2020, but the White Sox have given him another opportunity in professional baseball.
Following a terrible June in which Williamson put up a 7.27 ERA in 8.2 innings pitched for the Dash, the southpaw is bouncing back in July. In three appearances since July 11, he gave up no earned runs on one hit while striking out six in 4.1 innings pitched. All six of those strikeouts came in his most recent outing, a road game against the Bowling Green Hot Rods on July 16. While his season ERA still sits above 5.00, this recent run of form is a good sign for Williamson's second shot at the show.
Patrick Bailey, catcher, San Jose Giants (San Francisco Giants)
It’s been an eventful few weeks for Bailey, to say the least. After struggling at the plate for the high-A Eugene Emeralds since the start of the season, the backstop was sent down to the Arizona Complex League on June 26. Bailey proceeded to claw his way back up to the low-A level, where he currently plays for San Jose.
Over the course of four games with the San Jose Giants, the switch-hitting Bailey is slashing .263/.250/.526, a significant improvement from his .185/.290/.296 slashline in Eugene. The 22 year old also smashed a go-ahead home run in his most recent game, a 5-4 road win against the Modesto Nuts on July 17. It was his first home run at any level in over two months.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Bailey in San Jose however, as he has struck out six times in 19 at-bats in those four games. Until he can get the swings and misses under control, it is unlikely that Bailey will get promoted back to Eugene.
Jason Parker, right-handed pitcher, Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati Reds)
Though he only has one start to his name since July 6, Parker is showing signs of improvement in his recent games. That most recent start came in the second half of a doubleheader against the Jupiter Hammerheads on July 7. After striking out 10 batters in his previous start on July 1, the righty posted another 10-strikeout performance, allowing only one earned run on three hits and zero walks over six innings.
Parker is shining under the summer sun for Daytona, striking out 38 batters while walking only eight in his last five starts, going back to June 13. Admittedly, the right-hander has also allowed five homers over his last five starts, but if Parker can keep those long balls in check, a minor-league promotion may be in the cards for him.
Evan Mendoza, third baseman, Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals)
Mendoza is another player that is going off in July, slashing .355/.474/.387 on the month. Since July 6, Mendoza has gone 11 for 26 with four RBIs and five walks. The bulk of this production occurred during the six-game hit streak that Mendoza has been on since July 11.
As Mendoza’s bat heats up, going 10 for 20 during this streak, his season on-base percentage has ascended to .352. Considering the fact that St. Louis sits in the cellar of the National League in terms of on-base percentage, Mendoza’s ability to get on the basepaths could earn him a second-half call-up to the major league squad.
Cody Beckman, left-handed pitcher, Biloxi Shuckers (Milwaukee Brewers)
Beckman has only made two appearances since July 6, but that pair of outings was a stark improvement for the 26-year-old lefty. Heading into a home game against the Birmingham Barons on July 8, Beckman shouldered a season ERA of almost 10.00. That figure fell by 0.81 points after Beckman tossed two shutout innings in relief while notching two strikeouts.
The southpaw followed up with another solid performance on July 14, striking out three Montgomery Biscuits while allowing one hit in 1.1 innings pitched. July has been kind to Beckman as well, as his opposing batting average of .353 in June shrinks significantly to .167 in July so far. If the left-hander can keep up his run of form, his season stats could see a departure from his current ERA of 8.65.
Tim Naughton, right-handed pitcher, Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles)
Naughton is another reliever looking for a season turnaround, and his pair of performances since July 6 were a step in the right direction. The righty closed out a 3-2 victory over the Richmond Flying Squirrels on July 9, notching his third save of the year. On July 14, Naughton earned a hold against the Erie Seawolves, striking out two batters without allowing a hit over 1.1 innings pitched in a 4-2 Baysox win.
Naughton’s season ERA still stands at an atrocious 7.71, largely due to an abysmal June where opposing hitters batted .417 off the right-hander, but these recent appearances could spell a second-half surge for the 25 year old if he can maintain his current form.