Commenter SonicBOOM asks about a laundry list of prospects and wonders if we’re surprised by their hot starts.
So let’s see.
Jesus Montero, .273/.333/.580 — I’ve been planning a full post on Montero, but, short answer, not surprised. The guy was hitting at an advanced level at 19, before heading down into assorted quagmires. Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better. It’s getting better.
Ji-Man Choi, .394/.500/.545 — Well, the BOOMer is late to the Choi party, except that the cops showed up right when it was really swingin’. Gordon Gross, Lonnie of MarinerCentral and I have been pumping up our man Ji-Man for years now, though back surgery and everything. But we weren’t the only thing pumping him up. Korean supplements (knowing or not) got Choi suspended for 50 games. Job security for Justin Smoak, with his two nearest minor-league challengers both PED-suspended in the last two years.
Chris Taylor, .358/.402/.578 — I have a soft spot for all my fellow U.Va. dudes, but I don’t give them a free pass (see Proscia, Steven or Carraway, Andrew). But I will take some credit regarding Taylor. He came out of the draft reported to be a glove-only guy. I was one of the first to take his hitting stats as legit. And he hasn’t stopped. The notion of Taylor displacing Brad Miller is still unlikely, but not utterly impossible. And no one can deny he looks like a major-league player.
Cole Gillespie, .362/.456/.741 — Now in the majors, of course. I don’t give credit to what Gillespie’s done as an older AAA guy, but some of his early stats indicated he might have been a guy who “fell through the cracks.” It’s still possible. 2-for-12 so far in four MLB appearances.
Nathan Melendres, .304/.328/.446 — I have made note that Melendres is a guy the organization likes in a utility role. He’s played all three OF spots, plus 2b and 3b and even three games at short. If he gets anywhere it will be in that utility role.
Ketel Marte, .310/.366/.372 — Early last season, it was clear that Marte was on the fast track, and was giving the M’s yet another interesting shortstop prospect. Marte is completely different from Miller, Franklin and Taylor, though. He’s a glove wizard with minimal offensive impact. But he doesn’t get himself out, and his speed ought to give a decent amount of singles. At High-A at 19 and now at AA at 20, and holding his own, indicates Marte has a high chance of success.
Brock Hebert, .338/.379/.488 — Hebert and Jamodrick McGruder were guys I thought had a shot at role-player status. I liked McGruder a bit more, but he got released. Hebert’s on my Watch List, but I don’t have high expectations.
Jordy Lara, .312/.372/.550 — Lara has yet to hit enough to convince me he could make it as a corner guy. Current SLG is High Desert-inflated to my eye.
Aaron Barbosa, .288/.422/.329 — Barbosa is a “pet project” of mine. He’ll play center and get on base, but he’ll have to do better than 6-of-11 on steal attempts. Still, I love his chance to be a Lenny Dykstra-disruptive-type except not a jerk.
Ian Miller, .267/.333/.383 — Miller is not a guy that I’ve touted. He has three triples (interesting), but nothing else is jumping out at me.