Scooter Gennett may be the story of Cincinnati right now after his historic night, but about an hour after the game news broke that the team had agreed to sign Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia for $5M. That will actually cost the organization $10M after they pay the penalty to sign him. I was able to talk with someone about the shortstop yesterday who had some good things to say about him if you’d like to read up on him. It’s the third multi-million dollar signing the team has paid out for a Cuban export in this signing period.
Players turning things around
Early season overreactions are a tradition as old as time (OK, maybe not time – but they are old). Several players got out to slow starts in the minor leagues in 2017, even some big prospect names. One of those guys was Aristides Aquino. On May 10th the reigning Minor League Hitter of the Year was triple-slashing .148/.212/.259 with 43 strikeouts and six walks in 118 plate appearances. To say that’s bad would be the understatement of the century. Over the next 24 games he’s been an entirely different player. In 102 plate appearances over the span he’s hit .301/.363/.581 with nine walks and just 20 strikeouts. While it may not be entirely what fueled his turn around, he did make some changes in his swing/stance in May.
Taylor Trammell, another top position player in the system, struggled in April. He hit .222/.312/.309 in 21 games played. Everything has changed since the calendar stopped reading “April”. The 19-year-old outfielder has played in 29 games since and has hit .306/.402/.559 with eight doubles, seven triples and two home runs. He has also stolen seven bases.
The top prospect in the organization had a bit of a slump to begin the year, too. Nick Senzel hit just .239/.311/.313 in the first 17 games of the season for Daytona. Over the next 37 games he has hit better than you would expect for the league, even for a top prospect in baseball. Over 161 plate appearances, Senzel has hit .333/.391/.537 with 16 doubles, a triple and four home runs. The Florida State League is, and has been for as long as I can recall, been the most pitcher friendly league in baseball.
The 2017 Draft
The draft takes place Monday through Wednesday. My normal articles run on Wednesday here at Redleg Nation, but with the draft taking place on those days my weekly column will be be pushed until later in the week or just skip a week depending on exactly how things are working out. Maybe I can join Chad for a podcast after the draft next week to talk about things (no pressure, Chad…. but, I’ve now put it out there, so, there’s pressure).