Beltre showcasing power in South Atlantic League

BOX SCORES: SAC / RIC / SJ / AUG

Kelvin Beltre put himself inside the South Atlantic League's top-10 for slugging percentage on Tuesday with his third home run, and 10th extra-base hit of the season. Now slugging .513, Beltre is tapping into power in a place not known for such a display. 

The SAL is of course known to suppress the slugging numbers before prospects in the Giants' system head to California for a league boasting just the opposite. But Beltre is 85 plate appearances in and his numbers have improved drastically from an injury-filled 2016. He's approaching the 40% mark in terms of plate appearances compared to last year, and he's dropped his strikeout rate from 29.2% to 20% and increased his isolated slugging percentage from .156 to .218. 

My guess is Beltre, now having 300 trips to the plate in Class-A ball between 2016 and 2017, will soon promote to San Jose, though the situation will get complicated once he arrives. As it typically goes, the promotions come in waves. If Beltre goes to San Jose, I predict Jonah Arenado will head to Richmond, which will in turn send Chris Shaw to Sacramento. That will allow Dillon Dobson to play more first base in San Jose as Beltre slides into the second base spot.

OTHER NOTES

— One player who isn't enjoying the SAL is Jacob Heyward. He is striking out 36.1% of the time, and amazingly, drawing walks at a 12.5% rate. That means almost 50% of the time Heyward has gone to bat, he's either struck out or walked. He owns just nine hits in 62 at-bats (.145), though five are extra-base hits. 

—What a difference a year makes for Chris Shaw. Just about every stat you look at, whether standard or advanced, Shaw has shown marked improvement from his 256 plate appearances in the Eastern League a year ago. His batting average is up from .246 to .278, his walk rate is up from 7.8% to 14.0%, his strikeout rate is down from 21.5% to 14.0%, his isolated slugging percentage is up from .168 to .208, and naturally his wRC+ is up from 99 to 148. Based on all this, as long as he doesn't dramatically regress, Shaw should be in Sacramento within the next few months.

— Singles machine Brandon Bednar is back at it again with three more one-baggers Tuesday. He's remarkably batting .323 with zero extra-base hits.

TOMORROW'S STARTERS

TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP

  1. Tyler Beede: DNP
  2. Christian Arroyo: 2-for-4, R, SO
  3. Bryan Reynolds: 1-for-4, R, BB, 2 SO
  4. Steven Duggar: DNP
  5. Chris Shaw: 1-for-3, BB
  6. Sandro Fabian: 1-for-3, 2 SO
  7. Heath Quinn: DNP
  8. Joan Gregorio: DNP
  9. Jordan Johnson: DNP
  10. Andrew Suarez: DNP
  11. Ty Blach: DNP
  12. Steven Okert: DNP
  13. Sam Coonrod: DNP
  14. Matt Krook: DNP
  15. Aramis Garcia: DNP
  16. C.J. Hinojosa: DNP
  17. Reyes Moronta: DNP
  18. Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
  19. Austin Slater: DNP
  20. Kelvin Beltre: 1-for-4, R, HR, SO
  21. Dan Slania: DNP
  22. Cory Taylor: DNP
  23. Chris Stratton: DNP
  24. Chase Johnson: DNP
  25. Jalen Miller: 1-for-5
  26. Melvin Adon: DNP
  27. Garrett Williams: DNP
  28. Dylan Davis: 0-for-4, SO
  29. Ryder Jones: DNP
  30. Hunter Cole: 1-for-4, 2 SO

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