Are these guys dudes? Can these guys help the Rangers win big league games? Or are they simply off to rocket-fueled starts this season? Let’s find out.
Andy Ibanez homered just as I’m typing this. Couldn’t make that up. It’s his 5th of the season for Round Rock, in this, his 46th game. He had 8 homers last year in 82 games for Frisco. So power is up a bit. Plus for you, Andy. And he’s always been a fella capable of putting the bat on the ball. The Cuban is K’ing in 15% of his ABs this season, which would be a career high, but the heavy note comes with a light sprinkling that he’s walking considerably more this year (12.9% vs 7.2%). That’s good. Not wasting ABs and putting a plug in the pill is gonna be key for Andy. He’s got an absurd .352 BABIP, but the reports I’ve heard all indicate he’s hitting the ball harder than he ever has. He’s off to a great start: but is he a dude? Andy’s been playing more 3B this year, which is great. What’s not great, is Andy’s ability to play 3B. Or 2B, where’s he’s normally been stationed in his stateside pro career. Don’t get me wrong, he ain’t a butcher, but it ain’t baby-backside smooth either. At 25, he’s a year older than Rougie, the same age as Jurickson, and 2 years older than IKF. And here’s the skinny: what does he do better than those guys? He has a better hit tool than Rougie, but far less power. He can hit and slug with Pro, but the glove is a 1st round KO. The leather eliminates the IKF comp too and I’ve yet to see Andy play catcher or shortstop, so that duel goes to the Hawaiian Hustle for the moment as well. But what if Andy keeps hitting and getting on base like this? What if he’s servicable at 3B, while putting up 15 HRs and an OPS of .750? Dude? Hmmmm.
Here’s Andy and his quick, short swing:
Andretty Cordero is hitting. Cuz Andretty Cordero has pretty much always hit. He’s never been an easy out. And most folks have never heard of him. The Kinston Duck just turned 21 and he’s currently sporting a .300/.348/.468 in 2018. He Ks around 20% of the time and he can put a charge into it. Not mega power, but maybe 60 power. There’s more raw than actual wallop, but maybe someday all of the muscle starts bubbling to the surface between the lines. That’s the good. Here’s the rub. Kid is a DH. Or a 1B. He’s played 3B a few times for Down East, but the words I’ve gotten from a scout on that experiment were “Very long way to go. 3B is a no for me with him.” But hey! I’m all in favor of keeping that experiment going. Andretty’s also gotta stay healthy. This is his 5th season of pro ball and his high games played currently stands at 56. He’s already played 40 in 2018, so he should blow by that mark in short order. So keep an eye on Andretty. If he hits and hits and hits and hits and hits, they’ll find a place for him. And he’ll be a dude.
Andretty: when the stick talks:
John Fasola is a dude. Yep. Dude. But I wanted to wedge him into this piece because I think he’s gonna get a chair in the Texas bullpen, maybe at some point later this season. Most of you are aware of John, but for those who aren’t, he’s a hard throwing righty who lives off an estimable FB/SL combo. John’s a little unique in that his SL is hard. Usually the slide piece registers a number within a digit or two of 87. It’s hard and it tilts like the head of a confused Labrador. Usually you like a bit more velo separation, but John makes the SL work against his 93-95mph FB, cuz it breaks late and isn’t often squared up. That said, on the occasion he hangs one, it’s bad news, but he doesn’t do that very often. (He’s thrown nearly 1,700 pitches and given up a salty 10 HRs) John missed the 2017 season after having his torn UCL repaired, not with full-blown Tommy John surgery, but a fancy new procedure called “primary repair” or as it might be forever known, “Seth Maness surgery”. [Google it. I’m a blogger whose medical knowledge consists of taking my kids’ temperatures, and self-diagnosing sinus infections.] Anyways, John is healthy now and getting after it. He’s walking more guys than normal this season, but having stayed back in Extended and getting a late start on the season, that’s no biggie. He’s averaged 2.3BB/10.8K in his 147.1 pro innings and he’ll stay aggressive. That’s maybe the thing I like most about the Ohio native and former Kent State Golden Flash. He pitches with intent. He’s 26 and has been sidelined for a year with an injury. He’s got a big league arm, and he can practically smell the Ritz-Carlton room service. He’s not throwin’ away his shot.
Johnny don’t like hitters. He even warms up with energy and intent:
There’s 3 names of guys who oughta be on your radar. Or someone’s radar. They’re on mine, but my radar is really weird. Whatever. This seems like a good time to mention Anderson Tejeda, Hunter Cole, Eric Jenkins, Jeffrey Springs, Chuck Leblanc: we see you. You ain’t unnoticed. Go become dudes of high order.
As Always, Enjoy Baseball!