Jose Vinicio, SS
You would think that, now a year older and with a season of experience under his belt, that Jose Vinicio would be breaking out, or, at the least, improving in his second stint at Low-A Greenville. Instead, his numbers remain awful with May now two-thirds of the way finished, and he's hit .138/.219/.207 over his last 10 games.
Vinicio is striking out 24 percent of the time, an awful lot for a light-hitting shortstop, especially when you prop it up next to his six walks. He's very raw offensively, so not blowing people away is expected, but this is a tad concerning. Then again, he's still just 19, and jumped from Rookie ball to Low-A, bypassing short-season Lowell. He's now a .241/.290/.330 hitter, which would be less concerning if he hadn't succeeded before failing, rather than the other way around.
Defensively, he's getting things done, however. He's made seven errors, but we're talking about a shortstop who made 25 of them last year, many of them unforced due to his aggressive style of play in the field. He's still on pace to end up around there, but it's good to see him contribute to 21 double plays already after 44 last year. The rough edges need to be smoothed out here, but he appears to be pointed in the right direction.
There are a lot more questions offensively, but he's still got plenty of room for growth, both in terms of ability and the size he'll need to be taken seriously at the plate.
Francellis Montas, RHP
Montas still has that ugly ERA, but he's pitched much better of late. Over his last four starts, he's logged 18 innings, throwing five frames in three of those. He's struck out 23 batters in that stretch, while limiting opponents to just three walks, and while he's still managed to give up three homers, he's only allowed seven runs for an ERA of 3.50 over those four games. It's not perfect -- he still needs to work on his command to keep the homers from being a problem, and his fastball going too straight doesn't help that, either -- but it's better than what he achieved in his first four starts of the year, and has helped bring his ERA down from nearly eight.
There's a lot to like with Montas. He's likely not a starter long-term, so while the development of his secondary stuff is still important, it's not quite as big of a deal as it is for a starting prospect. He has high-90s velocity with the ability to hit triple-digits, and that's going to be his money pitch. If he can get his slider or change-up to work, he'll be that much better, but for now, figuring out where that heater is going is what matters.
Justin Haley, RHP
Haley still can't string together any consistency besides inconsistency. He did fine at short-season Lowell after he was drafted last summer, but his walks have just skyrocketed -- the fact he's still striking out batters is good and all, but it'd be a lot better if striking out nearly 10 per nine didn't result in only a 1.1 K/BB.
Hits aren't a problem yet, but that's likely because he's not in the strike zone nearly often enough. While not a starting prospect, Haley is 6-foot-5 with sink on his fastball, and that sort of thing can be very appealing in relief. Seeing him struggle is not great, of course, but if he can get through this patch knowing a bit more about his mechanics, his stuff, or how to approach hitters, he'll be better off in the long run.
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