Updates on Francisco Lindor, Dansby Swanson, and more.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians (Triple-A Columbus)
It doesn’t take long to see why Lindor’s defense draws rave reviews and why people believe he’s a prospect who can impact the game in the a big way, particularly with the glove, for many seasons to come. Watching Lindor take infield prior to batting practice not only reveals a set of highly polished defensive tools, but also an attitude and approach to his craft that gives confidence there isn’t any resting on his laurels despite being so advanced with the glove. The 21-year-old’s defense has been heavily documented around these parts, so the objective heading into my latest chance to watch the player centered on putting the isolated camera on the bat, and getting a feel for where things are, now that he’s one step from The Show.
I came away impressed with how Lindor handled himself in the batter’s box against high-quality competition, along with the quickness of his wrists. The latter served him well getting the bat head out in front of good velocity, especially on the inner third of the plate, and putting the ball into play with a charge when he squared it up. The shortstop can certainly turn a good fastball around, which leads me to believe this won’t be a hitter who ends up getting the bat knocked out of his hands with frequency.
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Updates on Miguel Sano, Francisco Lindor, Kyle Schwarber, Joey Gallo and others.
Friday Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K. It’s been a slow start to the season for Sano, but this is to be expected after he missed the entire 2014 season. It takes some time for the in-game timing to return, but the positive sign is that in the meantime Sano has shown the same patience at the plate and his trademark prodigious power. Even with timing issues, Sano is still able to be an impact hitter, and once he gets back to where he was (which shouldn’t take much longer), he’ll get back to terrorizing minor-league pitchers. He’s always going to have issues with strikeouts, thanks to a big swing and deep counts, but he should do plenty of damage in between.
A hot April is one thing, but how real are these prospects' strong starts?
Last week, we took a look at some of the players who had gotten off to poor starts in 2015 and whether or not we should be concerned by their inauspicious results.
This week, we’re putting on our positivity caps—sort of—and taking a look at some prospects who have gotten off to surprisingly hot starts. Is this just a case of hot starts from flawed prospects, or a sign of bigger things to come?
Updates on David Dahl, Lucas Giolito, Billy McKinney, and more.
Hitter of the Day: Victor Roache, OF, Brewers (Brevard County, A-): 4-6, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 2 K. In a repeat of the Florida State League, Roache is beginning to show signs of figuring things out. He’s striking out more than ever, but in between, he’s making better contact, drawing more walks, and hitting for more power. The reactive hitter who expands the strike zone is no longer as prevalent in his second go-round in the league, and his improved approach is showing, though his numbers are fueled by a ridiculous .437 BABIP.
Updates on Jose Berrios, Gary Sanchez, David Dahl, Joey Pankake, and more.
Hitter of the Day: Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Blue Jays (Lansing, A-): 4-5, 2 R, 3 2B, HR. We’re getting glimpses of what Tellez can do on nights like these. He’s driving the ball better this season as he learns to use his size, which is considerably less than it was but still likely bigger than you. His strikeout rate has jumped this season, which is to be expected in his first taste of full-season ball, but it hasn’t jumped to significant red-flag levels. There is still a lot of development in front of the recently turned 20-year-old, and he’ll have to continue to work to keep himself in shape, but the power profile is intriguing.
Updates on Daniel Robertson, Nomar Mazara, Dominic Smith, and more.
Hitter of the Day: Daniel Robertson, SS, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 7-9, 3 R, 3B, BB (DH). Robertson’s future in the field may be up in the air, but whether or not he can hit is not. I’m not sold that he’ll be able to remain at shortstop, as he could outgrow the position, but even if he is forced to slide over to third base, he should provide enough offensive production to be an everyday player at the position. Robertson took advantage of the hitter-friendly California League last season, but he’s continued to drive the ball this year
At the plate, Santana’s calling card is power, which he has to all fields. In the five games I’ve seen him play, he’s bashed three homers, including two over the right-field fence on elevated fastballs on the outer half of the plate. Unfortunately, the rest of the tools play down due to poor pitch recognition, a willingness to expand the zone, and a questionable approach. The last part was evident in a game I saw last Sunday.
Updates on Robert Gsellman, Dalton Pompey, Jorge Alfaro, and more.
Hitter of the Day: Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians (Lake County, A-): 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, K. The Midwest League was an aggressive assignment for a high-school, third-round pick from last summer, and the results haven’t been shining—though even before Monday’s breakout game there were a few things to feel good about. Bradley has controlled the strike zone well thus far and hasn’t swung and missed excessively. As it warms up in the Midwest, it will be important for Bradley to continue to show off this kind of power, as the bar is high for first base prospects.
Berrios is the most impressive arm I've seen through the season's first month. In Friday's start against Jackson, his fastball was 92-95 and touched 96 with late riding life. He paired it with two present above-average secondaries that flashed plus potential.