C.J. Hinojosa is providing a prime example of why you don't jump to judgment on a player through a rough opening month to begin a season.
The infielder from the University of Texas impressed in his first full season, 2016, splitting time between San Jose and Richmond. He's maintained low strikeout rates and high walk rates while hitting for minimal, but reasonable power. In 302 plate appearances, he turned in a 123 wRC+ in High Single-A before mid-season promotion to Double-A. There was reason for optimism, even though he only slashed .248/.312/.336 in 251 plate appearances for the Flying Squirrels to finish out the year, mainly because he still flaunted a low K% (17.1%) and high BB% (8.0%).
Hinojosa began 2017 on the disabled list with a quadriceps injury and made his debut a month late, on May 8. For the entire first month, totaling 83 plate appearances, Hinojosa batted .222 with only one extra-base hit — a double on May 17. But you could sense that he was bound to come out of the slump considering he only struck out seven times in those 83 trips to the plate.
And given his track record of occasional power (.146 ISO in San Jose), his disappointingly low .014 ISO was due for improvement.
Since the beginning of June, Hinojosa is slashing .345/.392/.496 with nine doubles and three home runs, including a double and dinger he hit in Saturday's game in Bowie. He has his wRC+ up to 113 now on the season thanks largely in part to his spectacular plate discipline. In 216 plate appearances, Hinojosa has more walks (19) than strikeouts (17), giving him a 8.8 BB% and 7.9 K%.
Combining his two half seasons (467 PA) in Double-A, you come out with a batting line of .271/.335/.365 with a 12.8 K% and an 8.4 BB%.
Here's his funky home run from Saturday — a pitch up and away that he Hunter Pence'd out of the yard.
— The Sacramento River Cats participated in a strange doubleheader Saturday where game one was a one-inning game in progress from a suspension earlier in the season. Andrew Suarez "started" the game even though statistically speaking he won't get credit for the start. He allowed three earned runs in 5.1 innings, walked two, and struck out three.
— Starting game two was Dusten Knight, who hasn't ever been a full-time starting pitcher as a pro but has made about a few spot starts since being drafted in 2013. He was certainly impressive in this latest edition, allowing four baserunners (two singles and two walks) in 5.2 innings while striking out six.
— T.J. Bennett his this opposite field homer as a part of three home runs hit in the doubleheader by River Cats batters. Chris Shaw and Justin Ruggiano also went yard.
— Salem-Keizer went crazy with the hits again, cranking out 18 on Saturday. Third baseman Shane Matheny, a recent 23rd-round pick out of Washington State, reached base in all five of his plate appearances (three singles, two walks) and also stole two bases. Malique Ziegler went 2-for-6 with his third triple in just 102 plate appearances while Ryan Kirby remained hot, also going 2-for-6 and adding his Northwest League-leading 10th double of the year.
- Sacramento: Jose Flores (1.82 ERA, 0.92 WHIP)
- Richmond: Cory Taylor (5.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)
- San Jose: Mark Reyes (5.76 ERA, 1.88 WHIP)
- Augusta: Stephen Woods (3.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)
- Salem-Keizer: Julio Benitez (2.61 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Christian Arroyo: DNP
- Bryan Reynolds: DNP
- Steven Duggar: DNP
- Chris Shaw: 4-for-7, 2 R, HR, 2 SO
- Sandro Fabian: 1-for-4, SO
- Heath Quinn: 1-for-4
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Andrew Suarez: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K
- Sam Coonrod: DNP
- Matt Krook: DNP
- Aramis Garcia: 0-for-4, SO
- C.J. Hinojosa: 2-for-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB
- Reyes Moronta: DNP
- Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
- Austin Slater: DNP
- Kelvin Beltre: 0-for-4, 2 SO
- Dan Slania: DNP
- Cory Taylor: DNP
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Jalen Miller: 0-for-3
- Melvin Adon: DNP
- Garrett Williams: DNP
- Dylan Davis: 3-for-4, R, HR, SO
- Ryder Jones: DNP
- Hunter Cole: DNP
- Miguel Gomez: 0-for-1, SO
- Ryan Howard: 1-for-4