The author attended Wednesday night’s game — or, at least, the first eight innings of it — between the Class A Midwest League affiliates of the Minnesota Twins (the Beloit Snappers) and Chicago Cubs (the Peoria Chiefs) in Beloit, Wisconsin. Below are some notes on same.
Please note: none of what follows constitutes Official Prospect Analysis.
Regarding Miguel Sano and Jorge Soler
Miguel Sano and Jorge Soler are presently the most high-profile prospects on Beloit and Peoria, respectively, the former having been ranked 27th by Marc Hulet on his (i.e. Hulet’s) midseason top-50 prospect list and the latter having signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs after having defected from Cuba earlier this year.
With a May 1993 birthday, Sano was the youngest player on either roster. He was also (a) close to the biggest and (b) the one with the most home runs (26 of them in 428 at-bats entering play). He did nothing particularly notable with the bat during the game, except for hit a fly ball to right-center (i.e. the opposite) field in the fifth inning that looked more like a major-league fly ball than others. Defensively, two plays perhaps did or didn’t reveal something about him. In the third inning, he made a barehanded play off a broken bat ground-ball thing by Peoria second baseman Wes Darvill. The ball had considerable spin and bounced quite high. Sano both positioned himself nicely to take the ball and grabbed it rather gracefully. In the eighth inning, he demonstrated markedly less grace on a hard ground ball to his left hit by Chiefs first baseman Jacob Rogers. In his effort to field it, Sano was able to manage only a sort of backward stumble and then awkward stab leftward. It’s possible that the grounder would have been a hit at any level; however, Sano’s actions didn’t inspire confidence on this particular play.
Regarding Soler, there’s little to report except perhaps that he swung and missed more frequently than one might expect from a player who entered the game with just three strikeouts in 38 plate appearances. Both right-handed Beloit starter Tyler Jones and left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers induced whiffs on breaking balls either low or low and inside.
Regarding the Game’s Hardest-Hit Ball
The game’s hardest- and second-hardest batted-balls came courtesy of Beloit’s JaDamion Williams on back-to-back pitches off Chiefs starter Starling Peralta in the second inning. The first was a line drive, foul, to right field (the left-handed-batting Williams’ pull side); the second, a line drive/ground ball hybrid just to the Peoria second baseman’s right. Williams, 21, was a 10th-round draft pick out of a Tampa, Florida, high school in 2010. He appears to have demonstrated some — as scouts are wont to say — some “swing and miss” during his minor-league career, having posted a 29.8% strikeout rate in just under 700 plate appearances. Whatever happens to him professionally, he has, at the very least, achieved the distinction of having been celebrated in a mediocre FanGraphs post.
Regarding the Game’s Largest Batter, Who It Was
The largest batter during the game was Beloit designated hitter Kennys Vargas, who’s listed at 6-5 and 215 on his player page at the site, but at 6-5 and 272 on the Snappers official roster. The latter set of figures is likely closer to accurate.
A thing about the 22-year-old Vargas (who, due to an August birthday, is actually in his age-21 season): he was suspended 50 games last season for, as Seth Stohs notes, “trying to get smaller.” Specifically, he tested positive for Phentermine, a banned appetite suppressant. A second thing: he has 10 home runs in 128 plate appearances, giving him the highest home-run rate of all Midwest League batters.
|Kennys Vargas||Twins (A)||21||128||10||7.8%|
|Dusty Robinson||Athletics (A)||22||161||9||5.6%|
|Dustin Geiger||Cubs (A)||20||289||16||5.5%|
|Alejandro Segovia||Rays (A)||22||257||14||5.4%|
|Javier Baez||Cubs (A)||19||235||12||5.1%|
|Jake Lowery||Indians (A)||21||120||6||5.0%|
|Miguel Sano||Twins (A)||19||524||26||5.0%|
|Angelo Songco||Dodgers (A)||23||139||6||4.3%|
|Colin Walsh||Cardinals (A)||22||374||16||4.3%|
|Cameron Garfield||Brewers (A)||21||213||9||4.2%|
Beloit’s Pohlman Field, Footage of Where It’s Located
Beloit’s Pohlman Field is situated very much in the middle of a neighborhood — so much so, that, even within a block of the Field, it’s not entirely evident that there’s a Field only a block away.