Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Nats outfielder Victor Robles and Jays righty Jeff Hoffman.
Hitter of the Day: Victor Robles, OF, Nationals (Auburn, SS): 4-5, R, 3B, HR, K.
Robles is a name that you’re going to be hearing about more and more over the next few years. Having just turned 18, he’s already worked his way out of the Gulf Coast League after torching it for a month. He’s immensely talented, with his only real flaws at this point being a general lack of pro experience and a need for the strength that comes with age. As an up-the-middle defender with plus bat speed and already-refined swing mechanics, he’d be atop my acquire list if I were a team talking trade deals with the Nationals, though I doubt they’d have any interest in parting with him.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rays infielder Richie Shaffer and Reds lefty Amir Garrett.
Hitter of the Day: Richie Shaffer, 3B, Rays (Durham, AAA): 2-2, R, 2B, HR, 2 BB, SB.
That’s a great all-around game from a player who’s not all that well rounded. You can ignore the stolen base, as that’s an anomaly: Shaffer is not a very good runner. Power and patience are his calling cards, and the combination helps make up for a long swing that leads to high strikeout totals and will likely be exposed further at the major-league level. Still, Shaffer can put a charge into the ball and should do some damage between the swings and misses.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford and Nats righty Jefry Rodriguez.
Hitter of the Day: J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (Reading, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB.
On the day that fellow Phillies prospect Aaron Nola made his major-league debut, Crawford continued to show that he’s hot on his heels to the big city. He’s not there yet, but he’s closer than perhaps any other shortstop who can’t legally order an adult beverage. The refinement is what stands out about Crawford. In today’s game, we simply don’t see players who walk more than they strike out very often, yet Crawford has done it for his entire minor-league career. Even without significant power, bats like that are rare, and ones that can play a plus defensive shortstop simply don’t exist.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon and Braves righty Touki Toussaint.
Hitter of the Day: Ryan McMahon, 3B, Rockies (Modesto, A+): 2-2, R, HR.
Power masks a lot of flaws, and while McMahon’s overall game doesn’t have too many gaping ones, it alleviates some of the concern that comes with his exceedingly high strikeout rate. There’s more swing and miss in his game than many would like, though his walk, strikeout, and power rates have all stayed relatively stable in the hitter-friendly California League from the year before, suggesting that there’s nothing fluky about his production. Still, his ability to punish fastballs will have to continue to outweigh his inability to track and lay off of offspeed pitches outside the strike zone.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers outfielder Nick Williams and Pirates righty Tyler Glasnow.
Hitter of the Day: Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K, SB.
Say what you will about the small sample size that has been Williams’ season thus far, but hitters as talented as Williams don’t double their walk rate four months into their Double-A campaigns by accident. No one has been harder on Williams than I had been entering this season, and with just cause. He swung at everything, and that held him back. I’ll admit, I didn’t ever think he’d adjust. Once you get to this point in the minors, it’s rare to see hitters adapt their approaches significantly. But Williams appears to have done it, and that’s a testament to his efforts. Whether he can keep it up remains to be seen. The pitching will only get better, and he’s still not exactly patient. But with his ability, he doesn’t have to draw a ton of walks to be successful; he only needs enough of them to keep pitchers honest. Williams has shown the ability to draw an adequate volume this year for the first time, and the dividends have been impressive.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Pirates infielder Jacoby Jones and Rays righty Jacob Faria.
Hitter of the Day: JaCoby Jones, SS, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, HR.
Jones is going to find a place on a big-league roster in some capacity, the only question is what that capacity will be. He’s probably not an everyday shortstop, though he’s better at the position than his somewhat-awkward actions would suggest. He’s got some funk to his swing, too, which leads to lots of swings and misses, but when he finds the barrel, he has the ability to do some real damage. I don’t know if there’s a spot for him in the lineup every day, but he has enough athletic ability to play multiple positions and enough power to do damage if put in the right spots. Those signs point to an oft-used utility player, who could excel with a smart manager who deploys him properly. He has his flaws, but he does enough things well to carve out a very productive niche.
The difference between Futures Game power and Major League power is jarring and important to remember.
Amid the ruckus of a bustling city, the biggest and brightest baseball stars, along with their minor league counterparts, gathered to show off their incredible skills. One flight, four hotel rooms, two states, and seven Ubers later, I made my way into a decked out Great American Ballpark for All-Star Workout Day. The extra flair in and around the stadium, along with the excitement of the crowd, made it easy to forget that a team 15 ½ games out of first place resides here.