It seems like just yesterday that we brought to you the South Atlantic League preview. However, it’s already been 2 weeks as time stands still for no man and baseball is no different. Right off the bat, there’s been several impressive performances in this 14 team, Low-A league. Let’s get right to it with the hitters.
The Hot Hitters
Alen Hanson, 2B Pirates – Age 19 – We caught on to Hanson in our last Touch’em All | GCL article of 2011. He’s sporting a monster .420/.459/.783 triple slash, which includes 7 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 HRs. He also has 4 SB. You could nitpick the 15/5 K/B ratio, but after 16 games we will just sing his praises on such a hot start. The power is probably real, but he could hit for a good average the rest of the season with excellent speed.
Tyler Austin, OF Yankees - Age 20 – Austin jumped onto our Baseball Instinct 360° list at #252° and is threatening to climb even higher with his current showing. He’s 21 for 52 with 6 doubles, 4 triples, 3 HRs, and 2 SB. We said that his power potential was legit and he’s half way to his 2011 HR total in about 30% of his 2011 at bats. It looks like he’s handling the transition from 3B to the OF well. There’s little doubt that Austin will appear on future Touch’em All articles.
Chris Grayson, OF Rangers – Age 22 – The 2011 13th round pick out of Lee College in Tennessee is taking advantage of a league that he’s too old to be in. However, we will cut him a little slack here as he has just started his profession career late last summer. He’s going to have to move fast to have any chance of making it to the majors. His 21 for 53 start will got a long ways towards getting a promotion soon. His speed could carry him.
Rangel Ravelo, 3B White Sox – Age 19 – The soon to be 20-year-old (2 days) has been on our radar for a while now. He appeared at #339° on our Baseball Instinct 360° preview and while it’s early, the power is starting to develop. He’s batting a healthy .386/.413/.561 through 57 at bats. With the bigger hacks have come more K’s, though 10 is acceptable. Where improvement is needed is working the count and taking a walk. He has just 2 BB so far.
Harold Riggins, 1B Rockies – Age 22 – Another player too old for Low-A. Again for the sake of the article we try to show patience with the 2011 seventh round pick. Riggins showed a little bit of pop in the Pioneer league with Casper after a full season at the University of North Carolina. The triple slash of .380/.416/.460 through his first 50 at bats is a good way to start. Again, he’s going to need to move quickly through the organization to be more than just an honorable mention on any of our lists.
Matthew Skole, 3B Nationals – Age 22 – I talked about Skole back in September in our 2011 MLB draft performance review. True to form the Nats sent him to Low-A. The power potential is there, but it’s likely to come with a ton of strikeouts. He’s hitting .370/.463/.630 over his 1st 50 at bats to go along with a 16/11 K/BB ratio. He will be 23 in July and will need an aggressive push to High-A soon to see how he handles pitchers refining their off speed stuff.
Hanser Alberto, SS Rangers – Age 19 – Dear Texas Rangers: You are not allowed to have anymore budding shortstop prospects. Signed, The rest of Major League Baseball. Alberto doesn’t have the same upside as Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar, or former SS and current team-mate, 2B Rougned Odor. He does however have the potential to stick at SS. He’s hitting .357/.403/.464 after 56 at bats. He doesn’t strike out much, but doesn’t walk either. He has a 5/5 K/BB ratio so far, which is an improvement considering he walked just 15 times in his first 366 at bats over 2 seasons.
Gary Sanchez, C Yankees – Age 19 – We like what we’ve seen from Gary Sanchez so far in his young professional career and Tom Belmont thinks he’s a serious power potential as a catcher. While the power hasn’t been display in the early going, Sanchez is hitting a sound .357 with 6 doubles and 5 stolen bases. While Sanchez may not project out with the same potential that former Yankee super prospect Jesus Montero did, he’s got a legit shot at reaching the majors and being productive.
Gabriel Lino, C Orioles – Age 18 – Still just 18 years old for another month, Lino is doing a fine job of catching Dylan Bundy and blasting opposing pitchers. He’s got a triple slash of .340/.404/.560 after 50 at bats, which is awfully impressive for an 18-year-old catcher in the South Atlantic League. Tom mentioned Lino in our Touch’em All | 2012 Sally Preview and he came in #317° on our Baseball Instinct 360° 2012 prospect preview. He may just stick at catcher, but it’s going to be several years before he hits the majors.
Trevor Story, SS Rockies – Age 19 - There’s your pop. Hitting .333/.426/.667 with 4 HRs over his first 51 at bats. He hit a decent 6 HRs over his 179 at bats in his 2011 professional debut in the Pioneer league last season. We like what we saw from Story in 2011 to rank him at #163° on our Baseball Instinct 360° 2012 prospect preview. Despite the increased power, his K/BB ratio is on pace with where it was last season. We said we had expectations for the 2012 sequel to this Story.
Brian Pointer, OF Phillies - Age 20 – The 2010 28th round pick spent all of 2011 in the Gulf Coast League with the Phillies working on his skills. So far in 2012 its paid off for Pointer who is hitting .296/.365/.630 with 4 HRs and 3 SB over 54 at bats. As you would expect from a young player with some pop, it’s come with a high amount of strikeouts. He’s a polished hitter with quick hands and a smooth swing that projects as a 4th or 5th outfielder in the majors.
The Notable Not
Brandon Drury, 3B Braves – Age 19 – Our #341° prospect is off to a .167/.200/.200 start over 60 at bats.
Nick Delmonico, 3B Orioles – Age 19 – Our #168° prospect is off to a .200/.290/.309 start over 55 at bats.
Garin Cecchini, 3B Red Sox – Age 21 – Our #37° prospect is off to a .246/.338/.298 start over 57 at bats.
There you have it. A quick look into what’s going on with some of the hitters in the South Atlantic League. Check back soon as we will bring you the pitchers from the Sally. Check back often for updates on all the leagues in progress.
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