Narciso Crook has been crushing the ball lately, and he continued doing just that on Sunday for the Louisville Bats. The Reds prospect homered for the 4th time in his last five games for the Triple-A squad.
Narciso Crook feels like he should be older than he is. He was drafted way back in 2013 out of a junior college. That was seven minor league seasons ago. But Crook just turned 24-years-old earlier this month. When he was drafted he was just 17-years-old. It’s been a slow rise through the system for the outfielder. In 2018 he began to show some of the hitting ability, and tools that has always been there but hadn’t always translated onto the field. After beginning the year in Dayton he quickly moved up to Daytona. And at the midseason point was moved up to Double-A Pensacola where he hit .286/.362/.379 in 63 games.
When 2019 started, the then 23-year-old headed back to Double-A, but this time in the new home of the Reds affiliate, joining the Chattanooga Lookouts. In 24 games there he hit .296/.342/.437. He’s spent another 48 games with Louisville this season in Triple-A. And that’s where he’s taken that next step. With the help of his recent home run binge, he’s now hitting .307/.367/.577 with the Bats.
Michael Siani’s turnaround over the last two months
Over the first 38 games of the season Michael Siani was struggling at the plate. And when I say struggling, I mean he was really, really struggling. The left-handed hitter was hitting .168/.279/.252 through May 22nd. He had walked 18 times in that span, good for an 11% walk rate. But he had also struck out in 23% of his plate appearances. Couple that with hitting for very little power, and the then 19-year-old was just having a rough go of it at the plate for the Dayton Dragons.
On May 23rd he broke out of a week-long slump, and from that day forward he hasn’t looked back. He’s played in 47 games since the start of that day and he’s hit .324/.388/.412 in that span. The power output isn’t much different than the earlier stretch. But he’s made a pretty big difference in how much contact he’s making. Michael Siani has struck out just 31 times in the 203 plate appearances in this stretch of games – that’s 15%, a significant drop off from the 23% it was through May 22nd.
That turn around has brought his season line up to .255/.339/.342 through 85 games. That’s about league average for the Midwest League. The line for the league this season is .239/.323/.358 in 2019. When looking at his season line, things still don’t look great – but keep an eye on this the rest of the season. He’s been a very different hitter for more than half of the season now. The adjustments have been there and the numbers are starting to reflect that.
While it’s been a generally disappointing year for the system – Greene’s injury, Santillan and Gutierrez taking steps back, Trammell, while young, just hanging in there, India and Stephenson performing solidly, but not spectacularly – the seasons Garcia and Siani are putting together seem to be the ones in the top 12 that stand out. Really helps that they are good or very good defenders at premium positions. Pretty good pair to have in the 7 to 9 range of a system.
Doug, does Crook have a shot? I see his home runs there he looks to be similar in size, stature, and swing style like Phillip Ervin? Is Ervin a fair comparison to Crook?
What is Crook’s ceiling in your opinion, I assume he is not starting MLB outfield material more of a 4th or 5th outfielder type? Is there something he is doing different like batting stance wise like Aquino that has helped him this year?
The reds are in a weird place. AAA has some guys doing really good things but the question is are they more than bench guys with Aquino, JVM, and O’Grady plus Crook.
Also where in the heck do they find playing time with Senzel, Ervin and Winker taking up time at two spots and if there is a chance that we keep puig then you do not sit him down.
I like the spot the Red’s are in outfield wise. Winker Left, Senzel Center and Puig Right. Ervin is a good 4th outfielder. Van Meter also can play outfield and infield. My humble opinion. Go with that. Use Aquino etc as trade bait in the off-season for a starter or a bullpen piece. Maybe parts of a “bigger” deal.
Doug, correct me if you think I am wrong. Van Meter will stick. Obviously,David Bell is going to play the #’s/platoon play his whole bench. And rightfully so. It is his team. That said Van Meter just seems like his kind of player. Versatile/left handed bat you can platoon etc. Do you see it that way?
How is he not in the top 30??? Just wondering bc I see guys who are older, with less talent and worse numbers!!! Haha I know I am not expert, but a 24year old killing in AAA, is far more impressive than a 24 year old guy in AA hitting .220 I am just wondering, bc it seems pretty obvious to me.