It took all of two days and two games for Jhonkensey Noel to make his presence felt with the Hillcats. While they did score five runs in a loss to Fredericksburg last week, the offense clearly looked better with him in a pair of wins over Delmarva where he homered three times. They did manage to give him a rest in the second game of a double header for his Greek-God level of work, and they even won it. It’s the Jhonkensey difference, clearly.

That, Jaime Arias-Bausita continuing to flourish as a starter and a few other bats stepping up has made the difference lately. More help should be on the way too as Micah Pries is rehabbing in the ACL and could return relatively soon. 

Last week’s results

7/15 L 10-1 vs. Fredericksburg

7/16 W 6-2 vs. Fredericksburg

7/17 L 11-5 vs. Fredericksburg

7/18 L 6-2 vs. Fredericksburg

7/20 W 10-3 vs. Delmarva

7/21 W 7-4 at Delmarva

7/21 W 4-2 at Delmarva

Player of the Week

LHP Jaime Arias-Bautista – 5.2IP, 3H, 2ER, BB, 10K

While it would be more fun to go with the likes of Jhonkensey Noel for hitting 1,000 feet worth of home runs this week in just three games, Bautista continues to be a good story for a Hillcats pitching staff with several other high profile arms coming from it. Xzavion Curry and Daniel Espino have been lost to promotions while young arms like Josh Wolf and Lenny Torres Jr. are working to find their consistency in full-season ball, the 22 year old left hander has really soaked up some quality innings in the rotation after beginning the season as a reliever. He now has 70 strikeouts in 55 innings. 

Who’s Hot

INF Christian Cairo –   6-16, 2 2B, 5 RBI (.375/.524/.500)

An impressive week for the 2019 fourth rounder. He hasn’t done much with the bat this year but his .399 OBP suggests that he’s got a clue in the box so far. That doesn’t mean the hit tool is there and will come along, but he at least isn’t overwhelmed and has an approach that will let him have a chance in the box every time up to work on things to bring it along.

1B/3B Jhonkensey Noel – 5-8, 3 HR, 6 RBI (.625/.667/1.750)

OK, we couldn’t let this section go without mentoning Noel. I mean, he played two games this week and led the team in homers and RBI, and they won both of those games. As we saw earlier this season when Noel was on a tear, the Hillcats usually go as he goes. And Noel is GOING places.

OF Julian Escobedo – 4-12 (.333/.368/.611) 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI SB

Escobedo deserves some recognition. He’s always had an interesting hit tool and some pop as a sleeper OF pick. He’s back healthy and bopped two homers, one in each game of the Hillcats double-header win on Wednesday.

OF Petey Halpin – 6-18, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI (.333/.368/.611)

Think the Hillcats did some damage this week? I could have mentioned Alexfri Planez or Korey Holland, who had great weeks (.886 and 1.323 OPS respectively) but it was good to see Halpin pop his first homer and see more extra base pop from him in general. You’d like to see more walks but his hitting so far is exciting.

Who’s Not

C Andres Melendez – 0-14

 I was admittedly pretty excited about Melendez early in the year when he was showing some pop and plate discipline to go along with his strong defensive skill set. He still has a .310 OBP, which is solid, but the rest of the hitting prowess has quickly evaporated to this point.

SP Juan Zapata – 4.1IP, 9H, 8ER, HR, 4K

In his start this week, Zapata allowed four straight hits to start the game and to five of the first six batters; two doubles and a homer, among them. He allowed five runs total in that first inning. But then three more across his final 3.1 innings that night. He did miss a bat each inning and didn’t walk anyone, and his WHIP remains low. So at least he’s throwing strikes. This week, those strikes just got crushed.


7/15 – OF Cody Farhatt promoted to Lake County
7/15 + OF Julian Escobedo activated from IL
7/17 + INF Landy Pena activated from IL
7/20 RHP Serafino Brito on rehab assignment in ACL
7/20 + INF Jhonkensey Noel activated from IL
7/21 + RHP Hugo Villalabos assigned to Lynchburg 

Up next

7/22-7/25 At Delmarva

7/27-8/1 HOME vs. Carolina 

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