Results tagged ‘ Asheville Tourists ’
By Sam Dykstra
We’ll be the first to admit it. We entered the year with some expectations for certain players based on their histories and other things you can read in a scouting report. But now that we’re about a month into the season, it’s fun to look through the stat sheets and see who is off to a better start than most of us could have imagined. So with the caveat that there is plenty of season left and that we’re only looking at these players through the lens of the first 30-plus games, here’s who we think has been the most surprising with the bats at this early juncture.
International League: Josh Thole, catcher, Buffalo – The 27-year-old didn’t do much damage with the Mets last season (.234/.294/.290, one homer, 21 RBIs in 104 games). After being sent to the Blue Jays organization in the R.A. Dickey deal and losing out on his new team’s backup catcher job this spring, he’s found a bit of a resurgence with the bat in the early going with Buffalo. His .420 OBP ranks third in the IL while his .940 OPS is ninth. His four homers in 27 games already represent his highest total since 2008 when he went deep five times for Class A Advanced St. Lucie. Even with the demotion, no one expected Thole to thrive quite like this with the bat.
Pacific Coast League: Dean Anna, second baseman, Tucson – A lot of 26th-round picks don’t even make it as far as Triple-A, but the Tucson second baseman is thriving in his debut at the Minors highest level. His 14 doubles in 37 games almost match his 129-game total of 16 from last season at Double-A San Antonio while his five home runs are half the 10 he blasted last year over a much smaller span. If he were to continue at his current rate, Anna’s .321 average and .537 slugging percentage would be 41 and 97 points higher respectively than his career highs entering the season. (more…)
Prospect Q&A: Rockies Shortstop Trevor Story on Stealing More Bases, Following Tulo’s Lead and Facing Dylan Bundy
Texan shortstop Trevor Story (bio, stats here)– the Rockies’ No. 3 and baseball’s No. 99 prospect entering his third pro season in 2013 — adjusted to the long bus rides last season, if only because he appreciated wearing the Class A Asheville unis and playing in some of the South Atlantic League’s shining ballparks. Given his last name, he was also expecting to be a part of one of the whacky promotions that embody the fun, for-fans spirit of Minor League Baseball. It didn’t happen. ”No, it hasn’t. I figured it would,” he said Thursday from his home state. “Those are fun to do.”
Well, check in with my colleague Ben Hill (@bensbiz and Ben’s Biz Blog), the master of MiLB news and constantly on the promotions beat, to get that conversation going. Where there’s a Wil (Myers), there’s a way … to get this (Trevor) Story going.
Now onto some real baseball talk below. Enjoy.
On his offseason: “I have been getting to work out at Athletes’ Performance down in Frisco and really taking advantage of that, trying to get bigger, stronger and faster. It’s been working out for me. We do a lot of agility stuff and free runs and a lot of velocity-type stuff like ladders. I’m also working on the right way to run.”
On his 2012 season at Class A Asheville: “I thought I had a good season. There is always room for improvement — I feel like I could have done better — but it was good seeing that kind of competition. I knew I could compete…”
On his 15-steal campaign on the bases: “Well, I wasn’t too surprised by [any of my numbers]. The one thing I know I’m going to work on is stealing even more bases because I felt like that was part of my game that I should have taken more advantage of. I really didn’t do [enough base-stealing], so that’s something I’m going to [focus on] this year. A lot of it was because we played in a — I mean, our lineup was stacked. We had a lot of great players that could score from first on an extra-base hit. I also just wasn’t very aggressive, didn’t really attempt enough. That’s something I’ll get more comfortable doing that. It’s a combination of experience, getting out there, reading pitchers, getting good jumps, learning when to go, but also getting faster and quicker. That’s also a big part of it. You don’t have to be fast to be a good baserunner. I think it’s [an underrated part of my game]. I really do.”
On his production as a hitter in ’12: “I felt like I gave away some at-bats, swinging at pitches I shouldn’t be swinging at. I felt like I struck out a little too much, but that’s something myself and the Rockies have talked about, and that’s one of our goals, to cut down on those and make more contact and be a better two-strike threat. A big part of is it when you get your pitch, you can’t miss it; can’t let those get away. And then you got to hit a pitcher’s pitch, and that’s not always easy.”
Welcome “Prospect Flashback.” Click here for past editions.
Caption 1: Asheville Tourists second baseman Russell Wilson swings at a pitch during a game against the Rome Braves at McCormick Field on June 23, 2011 in Asheville, North Carolina. The Tourists won the game 10-4.
Caption 2: Asheville Tourists second baseman Russell Wilson makes a throw to first during a game against the Rome Braves at McCormick Field on June 23, 2011 in Asheville, North Carolina. The Tourists won the game 10-4.
Photographer: Tony Farlow/Four Seam Images
Wilson’s NFL rise is no surprise to Rockies
Russell Wilson never pulled any punches.
From the first day Colorado Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt talked to him, Wilson was up front about his long-range plans.
“He wanted to be Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Brian Jordan,” said Schmidt. “He wanted to play in the NFL and in the Major Leagues.”
Schmidt always has had a penchant for taking a shot in the First-Year Player Draft on football players, including Michael Vick after his junior year at Virginia Tech. And he was willing to give Wilson the opportunity to fulfill the baseball portion of his dream, signing Wilson as a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina State University in 2010.
Some day, Wilson may make good on the baseball part of the equation.
Read the rest of MLB.com’s story here.