Outfielder Mikie Mahtook of the Tampa Bay Rays and first baseman Jesus Aguilar of the Cleveland Indians are tearing up the Triple-A International League.
Mikie Mahtook: A first round pick in 2011 out of Louisiana State University, Mahtook had a disappointing 2012 season for Double-A Montgomery in the Southern League, hitting .254/.322/.386 with seven homers. He did knock 30 doubles and swipe 25 bases, but scouts wanted to see more offense from him and he wasn't ranked particularly highly on most Rays prospect lists entering spring training.
However, 2014 looks much different: he's hitting .386/.435/.526 for the Durham Bulls with two doubles and three triples thus far and has been especially hot lately, hitting .500 in his last nine games. He's crushed left-handed pitching in particular, 9-for-17 (.529) thus far. The sample sizes are very small of course and his 4/17 BB/K ratio through 14 games is unappealing.
Mahtook's physical tools are rated as average to slightly above. He can play all three outfield positions although his tools likely fit best in left field in the long run. If he remains hot at Durham, a trial in Tampa could occur later this year given that David DeJesus and Brandon Guyer as his main competitors. Mahtook is a right-handed hitter, born November 30, 1989.
Jesus Aguilar: Another fast starter in the International League is Columbus Clippers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, hitting .372/.449/.667 with three homers, four doubles, six walks, and 10 strikeouts through 43 at-bats. He currently ranks fourth in the league in OPS and his hot start follows a successful winter league campaign in Venezuela.
Aguilar is a 6-3, 250 pound right-handed hitter born June 30, 1990. He had a decent '13 season for Double-A Akron in the Eastern League (.275/.349/.427 with 16 homers, 105 RBI) but his winter in Venezuela and his spring so far are even more dominant. Aguilar's physical strength has never been doubted, though it took him some time to craft a swing that would turn that strength into true home run power. His plate discipline has improved as well. He is limited to first base or DH defensively but his bat should get him a big league trial later this year.