#1 Jesus Montero:
Why He's Here: .520/.556/1.000 (13-for-25), 6 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO#3 Manuel Banuelos:
The Scoop: When Montero was hitting under .220 early in June, many worried that he had suddenly regressed at the plate. But here we are halfway through August and Montero is right back where everyone expected him to be at the start of the year. He's hit .405 since the all-star break and is just a continued hot streak away from getting his average above .300 and his slugging above .500.
But if you're looking for hope that Montero is putting it together as a catcher behind the plate, keep looking. He leads the International League in passed balls (14) and is throwing out 23 percent of basestealers. But if goes beyond that, because his reputation precedes him. Teams are making 1.28 stolen-base attempts per game—second worst among IL catchers with 30 or more games caught.
Why He's Here: 0-0, 0.00, 11 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 18 SOAll good stuff about Banuelos, and I fully expect him to continue to impress next year when he moves up to Trenton.
The Scoop: Had he been healthy all year, Banuelos likely would be in Double-A Trenton right now. His stuff and feel for pitching are too good for Florida State League hitters to handle. Banuelos is expected to finish the season in Tampa, where he has shown the ability to command and mix his pitches to keep hitters off balance. His latest start lowered his ERA to 1.64 with an impressive 56-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
More of the same about Montero; he can hit a ton, but he's nothing behind the plate, and with an aging roster full of potential DH's, you have to wonder where he exactly fits on this team going forward. At least he's mashing the ball again.