Fresno third baseman Adam Duvall leads the Pacific Coast League in home runs, and it is not even close.
Duvall has hit 23 home runs — five more than Brooks Conrad of El Paso and Brad Snyder of Round Rock, who are tied in second with 18.
The 25-year-old doesn’t just hit homers, he’s also batting .297 for Fresno and his 67 runs batted in ranks second in the league.
Which raises the question, why didn’t he make the PCL roster for the Triple-A All-Star Game?
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Timing is the answer.
From June 25 to July 3, Duvall spent nine days in the Major Leagues, helping fill in for the injured Brandon Belt of San Francisco. Because he was in the majors when the all-star team was announced, he was not eligible to make the initial roster.
When Belt was activated from the disabled list Thursday, Duvall was optioned back to Fresno. The Louisville, Kentucky, native can still be added to the all-star team as a replacement if one of the other all-stars gets called up or suffers an injury.
Duvall made the most of his time in the big leagues, launching a home run in his major league debut June 26 against Cincinnati starter Mike Leake.
A handful of position players are starting to post decent offensive numbers for the Mariners Double-A affiliate in Jackson, Tennessee. The Southern League is known as a pitcher-friendly circuit, and it can take a while for players to adjust.
Outfielder Leon Landry and catcher John Hicks are two players who are in their second season in the circuit, and are showing notable improvement.
Landry is a 24-year-old left-handed hitter who was acquired along with Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom in the Brandon League trade on July 30, 2012. In his first taste of Double-A ball last year, Landry hit .216 with a .262 on-base percentage — numbers that won’t work for a speed-based player.
Things are much better for Landry this season. He’s boosted his average up to .283, and his OBP sits at .322. The center fielder has stolen 17 bases and scored 33 runs.
Hicks garnered attention in spring training in 2013 with a tremendous showing in the Cactus League, only to tail off dramatically after being sent to Jackson. He batted .236 with four homers last year — a big drop from the .312 average and 15 homers he posted in the hitter-friendly environment of the California League in 2012.
A second tour of the Southern League seems to have done some good for the 24-year-old product of the University of Virginia. Hicks is batting .286 with a .351 OBP in 51 games. Hicks is known for his defensive skills, and he has gunned down 44.7-percent of attempted base stealers this season.