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Hitter of the Day: Jake Bauers, 1B, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 2-5, 2 R, HR.
Before his promotion to Double-A, Bauers was the best first baseman in the Florida State League. His power production might not scream “prototypical 1B,” but the thump is there and he has a swing geared toward unleashing it. The hit tool allows the entire package to play up, and he’s doing it all as a teenager in Double-A, showing that you can produce despite being exceptionally young for your level (he’s younger than Raul Mondesi).

Pitcher of the Day: Frankie Montas, RHP, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 5 K.
By now you’re likely well aware of Montas’ powerful arm. He can hit 100 mph with ease. For Montas, it’s about not overthrowing and exhibiting command. Montas is a living embodiment of why there’s so much more to pitching than throwing hard. Despite his velocity, when he misses his spots, Montas can become very hittable as his fastball straightens out. When he’s on, however, he can dominate in a way only the game’s elite throwers can. The ceiling is high for Montas, but it’s important to keep it in perspective.

Best of the Rest

Willy Adames, SS, Rays (Charlotte, A+): 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, BB, K. I mentioned Adames among the collection of the best shortstop prospects in the game on this week’s episode of Raw Projection, mainly because he’s gotten better every time I’ve seen him this year. There’s no doubt that Adames will remain a shortstop, and his arm is a legitimate asset on the left side of the diamond. At the plate, he’s going to hit for more power than he’s shown thus far, but the impressive part is how he has improved the competitiveness of his at-bats as the season has progressed. He’s getting better with each viewing, and that’s one of my favorite things to report about on a prospect.

Billy McKinney, OF, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 2-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB, K. I’ve been a fan since I saw him in A-ball last year, and he’s done nothing but hit as a professional. The power production hasn’t come along as quickly as I had hoped, but it’s important to remember that he’s not yet 21 and is already in Double-A. He’s held his own impressively at every level despite being exceptionally young. The power will come, and while it will likely never be his calling card, when coupled with his hit tool and on-base abilities, he should have enough to offset having to move to a corner spot.

Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 2-4, R, 2 2B. Andujar offers solid power and surprising athleticism for his frame, but he’s still learning how to tap into his impressive collection of tools. His skills still show up more frequently in batting practice than in game action, but he’s showing signs that they might begin to translate more often.

Nick Plummer, OF, Cardinals (GCL Cardinals): 2-6, 2 R, 3B, 2 BB, K (DH). Plummer has shown some strong skills in his professional debut, but his short swing and contact-oriented approach has limited his overall impact potential. Ignore his strikeout numbers for now, as a large portion of them are due to a patient approach and having a better eye than GCL umpires. But he doesn’t drive the ball consistently just yet, and his swing has shortened up to the point of preventing him from hitting for any power. He’ll need to find a happy medium in order to be a productive hitter.

Luis Encarnacion, 1B, Phillies (GCL Phillies): 5-5, 2 R, 2B, SB. It’s been a tough profile from the start for Encarnacion, who signed with the Phillies for an unprecedented (for their organization) $1 million in 2013 despite his defensive limitations as a teenager. Encarnacion offers big-time power, though like most teenagers, he’s still learning how to use it. Despite being limited to first base, however, he does show some aptitude there. Still, he’ll need to hit and hit for power in order to play.

Notable Prospect Starters

  • Keury Mella, RHP, Reds (Daytona, A+): 4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 6 K.
  • Ashe Russell, RHP, Royals (Burlington, R): 4 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 6 K.
  • Franklyn Kilome, RHP, Phillies (Williamsport, SS): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

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Bellinger or Bauers better 1B?
Is it me or is their a crop of 1B upon us? And I'm only talking about the designated 1B because we all know a few will come from physical growth and lack of athleticism.
Reed, Davis, Bellinger, Bauers, Kepler (crazy for his athleticism w/15 SB 3CS at first go around at AA), Peterson, Dom, etc...
Re Montas: when pitchers miss their spots with fastballs, the fastballs become very hittable because, of all wacky things, they have missed their spots, not because they "straighten out." That sort of significant within-game or between-game variation in fastball movement just doesn't happen.

Pitch/fx data has revealed that human beings are completely incapable of judging vertical fastball movement by eye. What is perceived is entirely an illusion, essentially propagated backwards by the result, i.e., position of the bat relative to ball.

Significant reductions in FB movement over the course of multiple seasons do happen, and they generally go entirely unnoticed until they become so extreme as to start changing the results. At which point they are then spotted largely by people looking at the pitch/fx data.