Today I uploaded videos of Jeff Gelalich and Seth Mejias-Brean on the RedsMinorLeagues Youtube channel, where apparently no one goes anymore (I posted a Jesse Winker video last week and it hasn’t even reached 100 views yet despite posting it on twitter, facebook and the website). The videos are from four different games in Dayton during April.
Last season Jeff Gelalich struggled in his debut as he played through an injury and hit .244/.336/.378 with Billings while walking 14 times and striking out 42 times. He is off to another slow start, hitting .264/.322/.330 but his plate discipline has been much better with 10 walks and 21 strikeouts in just 23 fewer plate appearances. Compared to last season, and it is still rather early, he is hitting a lot more ground balls (55% this year, just 43% last year). Looking at him, his swing passes the eye test from the point that I think he will hit for some average, but I am not sure where he is going to generate much power from and power is what is holding him back right now. His strikeout rate is way down from 2012, which is good, but despite playing with an injured hand, he still had 11 extra-base hits in 86 balls in play (including home runs). So far in 2013 he has just 6 extra-base hits in 89 balls in play. Dayton isn’t as hitter friendly as Billings is, so that certainly needs to be noted, but Gelalich is going to need to start hitting for some more power, even if it is merely gap-to-gap kind of power with 10 home runs over the course of a season.
Unlike Gelalich last season, Seth Mejias-Brean was among the best hitters in the Pioneer League as he hit .313/.389/.536 with 22 extra-base hits in 179 at bats. This season has been a slow start as Mejias-Brean is hitting just .206/.304/.247 with 14 walks and 14 strikeouts to go with just 4 doubles. The plate discipline is strong with a high contact rate and as many walks as strikeouts, but the power that he was able to find in Billings has all but disappeared. He has been a bit unlucky with a .238 BABIP which should rebound as the season goes on. If you watched the video above (and you should, it helps pay for a few trips to Dayton/Louisville throughout the year), two things should stand out. He has good bat speed and he is hitting the top half of the baseball, often. That is reflected in the stats too, as his groundball rate this year is 60%. The 60% mark would be high enough to rank in the Top 10 in the Majors currently. His swing looks good and as noted, the bat speed is there which will allow him to hit for power, but he is going to need to start hitting the ball a little lower to get some back spin on it and air under it. If and when he can make that adjustment, his season should turn around rather quickly.