Cade Horton – Picture by Todd Johnson

In just a few hours, the first half of the minor league season will come to a close. The second half will begin tomorrow and that should be equally exciting. With those two things in mind, this afternoon’s article will be a two-part piece. Part one will be 10 things I think about the first half and then tomorrow morning I will drop what should be the top storylines of the second half.

So, without further adieu…

Here are 10 things I think about the first half

1. About halfway through May, you could sense something was happening in Myrtle Beach. They used dominant pitching and several breakout performances. But the key to me was when Juan Mora (aka Juan Baseball) arrived back in Myrtle Beach from South Bend and solidified the lineup and provided some leadership for some of the younger players. When Juan arrived, that team took off.

2. Looking at FanGraphs statistics for the first half, it’s clear that starting pitching was quite the thing in the lower half of the system. There were several guys who put up amazing numbers in a little over 40+ settings. & had ERAs of 3.00 and under.

3. There were disappointments. Once Haydn McGeary and Bradlee Beasley went up to Tennessee, South Bend‘s offense began to sputter. And they never got the consistency it had in April and early May. As a result, they faded from first.

4. Pete Crow Armstrong’s first half turned out pretty well. He still has some things to work on. In fact, even when he goes to the majors, he’ll still have things to work on. He’s only 21.

5. Owen Caissie and his display power was fun to watch. But it seemed to come in spurts. I’d like to see him be a little more consistent with his power. We’ll see if that happens as he should be back in Tennessee for most of the summer.

6. Ben Brown… Stud! And based on his performance, it’s now a matter of hurry up and wait for an opportunity in Chicago.

7. Cade Horton….. bigger stud! I have an idea what should happen to Horton here fairly soon. At some point in the second half of July, he needs to find his way to Tennessee.

8. Hayden McGeary turned into one of my favorite hitters in the system pretty darn quickly. Not only can he hit for power, he hits the ball all over the place and hard. He’s not a one dimensional power hitter.

9. Joe Nahas didn’t get talked enough about his first half. He’s been near dominant and unhittable, literally, since the middle of May. He needs to be in Tennessee yesterday.

10. Moises Ballesteros got a lot of compliments for his bat, but I saw a lot of improved defense from him between April and June. He still has to work on several things, but he is much improved, including his release down to second base and calling a game. He still has to improve on plate blocking, but it’s not near what it used to be.

I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about things that we’re going to be covering in the second half here at North Side Bound.