Jesus Montero is on a tear in Triple-A, and some Mariners fans are starting to wonder whether the right-handed hitter the team is searching for is right under its own nose.
The Tacoma Rainiers’ designated hitter was batting .474 (27-for-57) over his past 13 games in the PCL, through Friday’s action. He has hit five home runs and driven in 23 runs during the streak.
“He’s starting to understand his swing better and what position he needs to be in to be able to attack the ball out front,” Tacoma hitting coach Cory Synder said.
One of the keys to Montero’s recent hot streak is that the Rainiers have finally started facing a lot of left-handed pitchers. Montero has always been able to crush left-handers, and the Rainiers didn’t face many of them during the first three months of the season.
After seeing just 16 left-handed starting pitchers through July 3, Tacoma faced five in a row beginning July 4 in Fresno. From that date through Friday, the Rainiers faced seven left-handed starters in 13 games, and Montero went 10-for-19 with three homers against them.
For the season, Montero entered Saturday hitting .385 with five homers in 52 at-bats against lefties, with a .439 on-base percentage and .731 slugging percetage, giving him a 1.170 OPS.
“We’ve faced a lot of (left-handers) the last little while,” Snyder said. “He knows where the curveball has to start for him to hit it, or he’s going to take. The more you see things, the more you can recognize what it’s going to be and if it’s going to be a strike or not.”
The success against southpaws is no surprise for Montero. Even at the major league level, Montero is a career .322 hitter against left-handers, with just a .226 mark against righties.
Peterson Adjusts To Double-A
It didn’t take D.J. Peterson long to get comfortable at the Double-A level. In fact, it took just eight games.
The Mariners promoted their 2013 first-round draft pick to Jackson in late June, and he hit just .219 over his first eight games there.
Peterson had his first two-hit game for the Generals on July 4 at Huntsville, and off he went: multiple hits in six out of nine games, with four home runs during that stretch.
Entering Saturday’s game, Peterson was hitting .311 with four homers and eight RBIs over his first 18 games at Double-A. He had six walks and 11 strikeouts in 74 at-bats.
Including 65 games at Single-A High Desert, Jackson is hitting .323 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs this season.