I’ve returned to school in Columbia, MO after spending last week in Glendale watching Spring Training. So there won’t be an episode of FutureSox TV this week, but here are some behind the scenes prospect-related items that I took away while running around the minor league fields and the major league ballparks.
- Carlos Rodon is ridiculous and will be in the majors this year and have a legitimate Rookie of the Year shot depending on how soon he is called up. I watched him make the Royals Opening Day lineup (sans Salvador Perez) look like they were the minor leaguers by striking out nine in four innings of work.
- Courtney Hawkins looks like a new man. Seeing him in person I gathered three things; he is a giant of a man loaded with power, has a cannon in right field and he is now showing patience at the plate and abusing what pitchers give him instead of hacking away. If Hawkins can build off of Spring Training, he’ll be in the bigs by 2017 at the latest and mashing big league pitching.
- The organization likes Tim Anderson (duh), Adam Engel, Trey Michalczewski, Brett Austin, Keon Barnum and Danny Hayes. On March 25 those prospects were taking batting practice separate from the rest of the players, who were playing in the AAA and AA games. Austin was called over to big league camp before he could start hitting to warm up with Rodon (his college teammate and roommate) so they could make the Royals look silly. All of the players saw time in that game and some subsequent games and Barnum, our No. 20 prospect, made me look silly when he turned on a pitch and sent it well over the right field fence. Justin Jirschele was also on that back field and saw action in the game, and he got to exchange lineup cards pre-game with his father, Royals’ coach Mike Jirschele.
- Chris Beck will likely be the sixth starter that bounces between the MLB and AAA levels this year. He relieved Rodon against the Royals and didn’t seem to miss a beat, throwing an easy 95 MPH fastball. Beck might not rack up sexy numbers, but he could end up filling the fifth starter role behind Sale-Samardzija-Quintana-Rodon in the near future and be pretty good at it.
- Tyler Danish is that guy that we all had on high school baseball teams – the motivational, intense leader. During batting practice while shagging fly balls, Danish would constantly encourage his teammates to try a bit harder on grounders or pick them up when they made a bad play. While I didn’t get to see him pitch, Danish seemed to have the mentality of a winner.
- Frankie Montas throws easy, easy heat. You could hear the catcher’s mitt pop loudly every time Montas threw a pitch. When I saw him against the Padres he cruised through one winning and was roughed up the next. Montas will likely start at AA but depending on how wild he is, could end up getting a September call up.
That’s all for now. I’ll be touching on some Spring Training stuff in the next FutureSox TV, but these were my main takeaways.
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