I recently got to see the South Bend Cubs take on the Bowling Green Hot Rods, and what follows is a report on some of the position players that caught my eye.
CI’s Todd Johnson checked in on Mitchell last week, but I wanted to add a little more to his update. As noted, Mitchell has definitely seen an increase in his strength and is beginning to fill out his frame. He takes long strides in the field and has good anticipation of the ball. His arm fits in all three outfield spots, with RF being his most likely destination.
Mitchell struggled during the plate appearances I saw, mostly with offspeed pitches. The organizational right-hander the Hot Rods sent out only threw Mitchell curveballs and changeups in his first two at-bats, and Mitchell swung and missed at several of them. Then he was very late on an 87 mph fastball. Mitchell knew what was coming, yet he still couldn’t get a read on the curveballs. He has 10 home runs this year, so the power potential is there. I just want to see him adjust better to off-speed pitches.
The 20-year-old outfielder has really improved since the beginning of the season, and his bat is starting to show some pop. Short in stature, Wilson sets up very straight with the bat head a little out in front of him. Wilson begins his leg kick once the pitcher winds up (earlier than what is commonly seen) and times pitches well. He has a very quick bat through the zone, which led to hard contact in the plate appearances I saw.
Already at 11 home runs this year despite being injured for a portion of the season, it is easy to see Wilson hitting for double-digit home runs in the majors. The approach is starting to come together and he could be a real menace for pitchers once he learns to use the opposite field more. Here is a bomb off the scoreboard I was able to see live.
In the field, Wilson combines plus speed with good instincts, tracking fly balls well and having the ability to make the acrobatic play. Already filled out pretty well, Wilson has the chance to be a ball-hawking CF, and I project him to be able to play there in the majors. The only downside is his arm, which is slightly below average and could force a move to left field if he loses a step in the future. Although Wilson’s batting line doesn’t jump out, he’s had a great first year of full-season ball.
Converted from pitcher to a first baseman/outfielder, Pieters is much more athletic than the prototypical first baseman. In both games I saw, he had Little-League home runs thanks to some horrendous defense in the outfield. Considering his size, though, it was impressive to see Pieters blitz around the bases.
He has a strong swing and I could see him developing more power in the future once he learns to use his body more. He also has a good feel of the strike zone, although he really struggles with offspeed pitches. The soon-to-be 23-year-old has to continue developing at the plate if he wants a chance to stick in the organization, but he’s an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on.
Since the last time I saw him, Monasterio still has not developed any semblance of home run power. He has a good approach and can spoil strikeout pitches, but pitchers aren’t afraid to attack him due to his lack of power. He has a body that can put on muscle and strength training should be a priority for him this summer.
Where I was really impressed with Monasterio was in the field, as the SS/3B made an MLB play diving to his right and then delivering a strong throw to get the runner out at first. He has a chance to stick at short, and if that’s the case, the bat can be below average for him to reach the majors in a utility infielder role.
Farewell Isaac Paredes
Although he was recently traded, Paredes is a big-bodied middle infielder who is most likely going to move to third base down the road. He showed impressive footwork turning a double play at shortstop and he has a strong arm. His defensive package leads me to believe he could become an above-average defensive third baseman.
Paredes tracked pitches well and showed a propensity to make contact. He adjusted to offspeed pitches well, particularly with a curveball on the outer third of the plate that he muscled into shallow right-center for a hit. The bat is very advanced for an 18-year-old and he also possesses double-digit home run power. His loss certainly hurts the system, but he helped to bring back two key big league pieces to the Cubs roster