Originally Posted by duncan_idaho
Not sure what was going on in that Lexington game, because they struck out 19 times as a team last night. Very weird game.
Starling is lost at the plate right now, though. We've talked about it a lot in here already, and I don't think there's much to add other than... his swing mechanics look awkward. And the longer they look bad, the more it looks like it is about him and not about a new batting stance/approach/mechanics.
Mondesi's stats don't matter that much. He's a 17-year old in full season league. For comparison, when Profar was that age, he OPSed .696 in the Northwest League. The scouting reports are what you have to rely on with him (and so far, they still glow).
I would expect young hitters to struggle in the Carolina league (High-A Wilmington). That's a terrible hitters park, and the league is full of them (it also is extremely cold up there for baseball).
So I wouldn't put much stock in the overall numbers of guys in Wilmington. I believe that includes Cuthbert and Bonifacio. That's a tough environment, and both of those guys are STILL young for that league. Especially Bonifacio.
I'm a little surprised Calixte hasn't taken off at AA, after a strong year at Wilmington in 2012, but he typically has been a slow starter. I'll give that another 15 games, at least, before I start worrying about him.
Sum: Starling is really the only hitter I'm concerned about at this point, and maybe a little with Cuthbert. It's still too early to take much from the hitting stats. Unless they're striking out in half their at-bats. Which is always bad...
On the flip side, the Royals pitching performances have been pretty great so far. Still a small sample size, but...
Will Smith has been excellent so far in this tough pitcher's league (23 Ks in 16 IP, 23:6 K:BB), and Chris Dwyer looks to have found himself all of a sudden (He's walking guys at only a league average rate - 3 per 9 - which has always been his issue. If that improved control sticks around...)
Yordy Ventura has been outstanding so far, and Noelle Arguelles has been surprisingly effective (seems to have recovered some of his lost velocity.
Again, this is a pitcher's league, but the Royals have received great returns.
Kyle Zimmer has been dominant, which was expected. Kyle Smith has also been dominant, which probably was not expected. John Lamb is pitching well so far and still is building up velocity. Angel Baez has control issues, but his results and stuff are dazzling. And Sam Selman has also been very good, though the walk totals are dangerously high.
Bryan Brickhouse seems to be finding himself at Lexington, and pitching well, and early returns on Miguel Almonte have been GLOWING (Baseball Prospectus saw him this spring and proclaimed he was equivalent to Zimmer as a prospect afterwards).
Side note: I feel like I should mention something about Fred Ford, who is also at Lexington. Late-round pick out of a mid-MO JUCO is Starling's mirror from a physical standpoint (6-5, looks like a stud) and has been the superior hitter so far at each level (They've come up together). He doesn't have the hall of fame upside Starling does (not a GG-level defender or super-elite athlete), but if he continues to hit, that takes some sting out of potential failure from Starling.
Will be fun to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.