The Midwest League, home of the Padres Low-A affiliate Fort Wayne TinCaps, is notoriously pitcher-friendly; many a short-season sensation hitter has crashed and burned in the circuit.
The league is at its toughest for hitters early in the year, when cold weather engulfs the Upper Midwest. Nobody wants to swing a bat when it’s 35 degrees outside.
I mentioned earlier today that the TinCaps’ pitching is off to a great start, and, as you might expect, the hitting hasn’t exactly dazzled. Edinson Rincon and Rymer Liriano, the top two hitting prospects on the team, are off to .154/.250/.231 and .133/.188/.267 starts, respectively. The team has only managed one home run thus far.
However, two prospects stand out thus far in the sea of sub-Mendozian batting averages.
The big bopper is first baseman Nate Freiman, a 6’7″ giant of a 22-year-old selected in the eighth round of last year’s draft. Freiman hit .294/.364/.484 in short-season ball last year, bopping 11 homers. He’s got Fort Wayne’s only homer this season, and is hitting .429/.438/.857.
The other prospect of note is shortstop Jonathan Galvez, off to a .333/.429/.417 start.
Freiman and Galvez have only struck out a combined four times in 26 at-bats; an easy way to avoid the .160-.230 batting averages that litter the Midwest League is to consistently put the ball in play, and thus far, they’ve done that very well.
What does this mean? Not much, really; it’s just half a week, after all. It’s good to see that Freiman and Galvez’s approaches have been immediately conducive to success; whether that will continue is anyone’s guess (That rhymed).