With May complete, we present the second installment of our Minor League Players of the Month, in addition to our regular Minor League Players of the Week.

Minor League Players of the Week:

Pitcher:
Andrew Brackman, 24, RHP, A+
6 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 6 H, 0 ER

The much maligned Andrew Brackman makes his MLPW debut courtesy of his May 27th start versus Bradenton, in which he generated 7 groundball outs to 2 through the air. That’s actually been the story of Brackman so far this year (1.80 GO/AO, 55.5 GB%) which isn’t really the approach we heard he had around draft day. He’s pitching more like a finesse guy (6.87 K/9, 1.18 BB/9) this year, and while the improvement in his control is a great step forward, you’d like to see a pitcher with his stuff striking out more batters, especially considering he’s old for his level. There are reports that his velocity is down from last year, which could be the result of Brackman focusing on location instead of blowing people away. It would also make sense given the groundball numbers, as he’s probably trying to work on staying low in the zone.

As fans, we need to exercise patience with Andrew Brackman. He’s a behemoth at 6’10” and it’s going to take a lot of work for him to harness his mechanics. Brackman is only a year out from Tommy John, isn’t pitching terribly, and is making improvements in certain facets of his game. That’s forward progress. We’d all like him to be dominating the Florida State League at his advanced age, but for now we should be happy with baby steps in the right direction.

Position Player:
Brandon Laird, 22, RHB 3B, AA
.448/.448/.862 in 29 PAs

This is Brandon Laird’s second time appearing as Position Player of the Week this month.

Laird managed to post some crazy power numbers this week, trumping the performance from his first award winning week (.414 isoP this week, .280 May 10th – 16th). More than half of hits last week were for extra bases (7 of 13) and he managed to leg out his 7th career triple while sending two out of the park. Laird’s already close to matching his HR from total last year (14 in 2009, 10 so far this season), and he will probably make a run at his career high of 22 from when he was at Charleston two years ago. It’s great to have players, who traditionally struggle with slow starts, find a way to shirk that habit and start really establishing themselves as difference makers. We can only hope Laird keeps it up.

Minor League Players of the Month (May):

Pitcher:
Hector Noesi, 22, RHP, AA
22 IP, 11.81 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, 1.18 WHIP, 2.86 ERA

Hector Noesi has received Pitcher of the Week twice before.

Noesi made 4 official starts in May between A+ and AA (his fifth got canceled due to rain after 4 innings), posting a 2.86 ERA over that span, backed up by strong peripherals (10.23 K/9, 2.05 BB/9). Noesi’s May line is dragged down by his first AA start on the 22nd (5IP, 5ER) and his next game which was aborted due to rain. In that shortened appearance Noesi had gone four scoreless innings with 5 strikeouts and only one hit. If that game were to have become official, his stats for May would likely look even better. Even if it wasn’t an official game, it was nice to see Noesi rebound from that rocky Trenton debut. The guy hasn’t had two bad starts in a row the entire season and is entirely deserving of the award.

Position Player:
Brandon Laird, 22, RHB 3B, AA
.339/.374/.591 in 123 PAs

Unsurprisingly, the guy that wins Player of the Week twice in the month takes home the monthly honors. Laird has the most RBIs in AA ball and the third most in all of the minor leagues, primarily due to his strong May in which he notched 33. He’s also 4th in hits in AA (61). Given the Yankees’ farm system’s lack of position prospects, especially in the upper levels, it’s comforting to have Laird improving his stock.