Another game, another grand slam for Vlad Jr., this time coming in the ninth inning and it was a true no doubter at Kaufman Stadium. Early in the game he got on the board with a single to center to drive in a run. And later in the game, he hit his 11th home run of the season to knock in five total runs.
Vlad is truly getting it going, that’s no joke. He looks like a completely different hitter in terms of attacking good pitches to hit. And the fact he’s just scratching the surface is down right scary.
Furthermore, this marked the beginning of Bo Bichette in the lead-off spot for Toronto. And does this guy look toolsy. He had a couple knocks, and Sean Reid-Foley picked up his first victory. While I don’t think he’s an arm that sticks long-term, he has a fastball with serious upside.
The Royals on the other hand just aren’t working with much.
Reliever David Phelps was traded in the afternoon to the Chicago Cubs. Toronto continues to stockpile minor leaguers by the day, by getting a pitcher named Thomas Hatch. It sounds like he’s a literal lotto-ticket – and Toronto is yet to add a major haul for anyone shipped out on current trades.
Hatch, a 24-year-old right-hander, has posted a 4.10 ERA in 73 minor-league starts since he was selected by the Cubs in the third round of the 2016 draft.
The product of Oklahoma State University, where he was named the Big 12 pitcher of the year in 2016 and a third-team all-American on Baseball America’s list, is repeating Double-A for the second year this season, where he has 93 strikeouts to 37 walks in 100 innings.
He has not pitched out of the bullpen since turning pro, but issues with control and pitch sequencing have him projected as a middle reliever, according to MLB Pipeline, who ranked him 29th among the Cubs’ top 30 prospects. He was not ranked on Baseball America’s most recent top 30 prospect list.
If everything goes perfectly, Hatch could be another David Phelps; however probably not. But their current core is a lot to get excited about as 2019 winds down and turns into 2020.