Two years ago Logan Watkins had a very nice season in Double A and placed himself solidly on the radar as a bench/utility role candidate for the majors one day. Last year, though, he struggled through a mediocre season in Iowa and did not impress in a brief trip to Chicago.
So far 2014 has been a different story. Through 115 plate appearances his walk rate is up to 13%, his strikeout rate is at 24.3% (a little high for my taste, but tolerable), and he has a robust slashline of .306/.398/.408. Some of that is propped up by a .420 BABIP that is unlikely to be sustainable, but then his ISO of .102 is on the low end for his career as well.
Watkins still profiles best as a good defensive left handed bat off the bench who can do a little of everything. He doesn’t have great power, but he has enough to be effective in a pinch hit situation or at the bottom of an order. He is a fairly patient hitter, and once he gets on base he has enough speed to do some damage. Defensively he can play anywhere on the infield if needed, and can even handle center field if his manager needs it. Factor in his OPS of .857 against right handed pitching and it isn’t hard to imagine a flexible guy like that finding a home on the bench in the majors.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Iowa scored first and never trailed in this 6-2 win.
Tennessee – The wind was gently blowing out, and the score reflects that. The Smokies lost 17-7.
Daytona – Daytona came from behind in this 4-2 win.
Kane County – Kane County scored in five separate innings in this 8-2 win.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Fans of Javier Baez will be happy to see that he hit his 5th home run. Critics of Javier Baez will be happy to see that he struck out 3 times. Everyone is happy!
- [Iowa] Christian Villanueva hit his 3rd home run. And then he hit his 4th home run. Those bombs were his only two hits.
- [Iowa] Arismendy Alcantara homered for the 4th time as well, and also walked and struck out.
- [Iowa] Eric Jokisch struck out 7 and allowed 3 home runs in his 6 innings of 5 hit, 5 runs (4 earned) baseball.
- [Tennessee] Kris Bryant‘s 12th homer was his lone hit in this one.
- [Tennessee] Wes Darvill hit his first home run. Rafael Lopez doubled and finished 2 for 4.
- [Tennessee] P.J. Francescon had a good day on the mound, striking out two and walking one in his inning of work. Joel Pineiro, Austin Kirk, and Lendy Castillo did not fare nearly as well and allowed 15 runs (9 earned) between them.
- [Daytona] Trevor Graham made his season debut and struck out 4 in 3.2 scoreless innings. He allowed a hit and two walks.
- [Daytona] Albert Almora doubled and struck out in this one. Wilson Contreras (2 for 4) and Gioskar Amaya (3 for 4) also doubled.
- [Daytona] As did Marco Hernandez. Hernandez also homred for the first time this season and finished with those two hits.
- [Kane County] Jacob Hannemann finished 2 for 5, his second two hit game in as many days. Prior to that Hannemann had been in a fairly lengthy slump. He also stole his 13th base.
- [Kane County] Carlos Penalver also finished with a pair of singles.
- [Kane County] Ben Carhart (DH in this one) doubled and walked on his way to a 3 for 4 game.
- [Kane County] Yasiel Balaguert tripled for one of his two hits. Both of Daniel Lockhart‘s hits were doubles.
- [Kane County] Despite walking 4 in 5 innings, Trey Martin allowed no runs on 2 hits and 5 strikeouts. Tyler Bremer struck out 4 and allowed just one hit in his 2 innings of work.
- Anthony Giansanti was the final pitcher in the Smokies blowout loss. The outfielder and sometimes infielder allowed just one hit in his inning on the mound, but that hit was a home run. He also walked four and struck out one. His ERA is now at 22.50.
- Speculation time. Javier Baez struggled for a long time, but now is heating up. Why? Maybe it had something to do with a fairly significant change in his swing. First, watch this video of Baez homering in early April. Notice how much his bat is moving before he swings, and how that movement accelerates as he getting ready to swing. Now, watch this video of his double yesterday. See the difference? The bat is literally on his shoulder, not waiving in the air. He brings it up as the pitcher is into the delivery, and whole pace of the swing is much more measured and less noisy. That is a dramatic difference to be made in just a few weeks. If it sticks, it marks a fairly significant change in approach for Baez. I like that second swing much more than I did the first one.