Hitter of the week: C Moises Ballesteros (19 Years Old)
.234/.352/.312 13 BB, 11 K, 6 2B, 5 RBI, 5 R, 3-4 SB
If you’ve read everything to this point, I want you to disregard it because I’m going to change my perspective. Results do matter, especially the closer you get to the majors. However, when you’re looking at a 19-year-old catcher in A-Ball, you have to look at the overall body of work and get a little speculative.
What do we dislike about the stat line? Personally, a .234 batting average isn’t good and neither is a .312 slugging percentage. When you combine the two of those stats and look at the fact that in a month’s worth of play, he only managed five runs scored and five RBI, it makes you wonder what I could have possibly been looking at to consider him the position player of the month.
First of all, he’s 19 years old. Even though mlb.com points out that he is significantly heavier than his listed 5’7, 195 pound frame, there’s still room for him to mature physically.
Secondly, even though he’s struggled defensively as a catcher in years passed, he’s played the position significantly better this season. He’s already caught more runners trying to steal on him (15) than he did all of last season (13). The passed balls are a problem as he’s allowed three of those so far this year but the improvement is there.
Third, he’s stealing bases? I’m not sure how he’s managed to go 3-4 in stolen bases this month, but I’d venture a guess that it’s the same reason that Asante Samuel was such a good cornerback in the NFL: he knows what to look for. Asante Samuel was a converted quarterback and so he could read the offense and understand what the quarterback would be looking for and would bait them into throwing it to where he wanted them to throw it. Seemingly, Ballesteros is doing the same thing. He knows what he’d call for a pitch in a given situation and he lulls the pitcher and catcher into a false sense of security before he pounces and pilfers a base.
Finally, Ballesteros has an incredible feel for the strike zone. In the month of May, he walked more often than he struck out. That’s something you get to say about some of the premier college players in the PAC-12, not something you get to say about a 19-year-old catcher that is up against professional pitchers. I’m glad Miguel Amaya is back on track, and I couldn’t be happier that Pablo Aliendo is mashing at AA, but Ballesteros legitimately has the potential to be the best of the bunch and that’s why he is on this list.