When the Diamondbacks traded top prospect Trevor Bauer to the Indians two offseasons ago in large part due to perceived attitude problems Arizona catcher Miguel Montero had some very harsh words:
When you get a guy like that and he thinks he’s got everything figured out, it’s just tough to commence and try to get on the same page with you … He never wanted to listen … Good luck to [Indians catcher] Carlos Santana.
Six months later the Diamondbacks are a mess and Bauer has a 4.35 ERA with 101 strikeouts in 108 innings for the Indians as a 23-year-old, including eight innings of two-run ball against Montero and company last night.
To his credit, after the Diamondbacks loss Montero took the high road when asked about Bauer, telling Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:
That’s the best I’ve ever seen him. I hope he continues to do that. It was really impressive. I tip my hat. He did a great job. I’m honestly happy for him. I hope he’s figured it out because he has an opportunity to be a really good pitcher in the big leagues.
He’s a good guy. He has a different personality, but not everybody has the same personality. But once again, I’m happy to see the way he threw the ball today. If he throws the ball like that every five days, he’s got a pretty good future.
Piecoro notes that Montero and Bauer ran into each other before the game and “exchanged pleasantries.”
The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.
At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.
Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.
From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.
Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.