If you’re like me, then you need all the large adult sons content injected into your veins every single baseball day. I totally can’t get enough of it, to be honest with you. And MiLB TV delivers it for all of us crazy prospect fans who need all of this prospect-y stuff.
I have always been a Jays-first kind of fan, but with the way the season has gone so far, I’m watching more Bisons, ‘Cats, and Lugnuts games. The Jays have been designated to my iPad and the affiliates to my flat-screen. I seriously don’t know how my girlfriend puts up with me during baseball season.
The Lugnuts have – as I type this – the second best record in the Midwest League. Breakout-prospect-star Kevin Smith, crushed in Lansing earlier in the season slashing .355/.407/.639 with an are-you-kidding-me 1.046 OPS before being promoted to Dunedin. Smith, who was the Jays’ 129th pick in the ’17 draft, drummed up a ton of noise with his bat, as he became the ‘Nuts’ offensive leader. And he has settled in just fine in Dunedin.
While Kevin Smith was murdering Midwest-League baseballs at Cooley Law School Stadium earlier in the spring, Ryan Noda was starting to slowly ‘walk’ his way into making some prospect-y noise and creating a little bit of prospect-y buzz. And since Kevin Smith’s promotion to Dunedin, Noda has become the new noisemaker down in Michigan’s capital, as his bat has heated up and he is starting to drive baseballs around the Midwest like the 2017 Appy League MVP that he is.
The 22-year-old was drafted in the 15th round by the Jays in ’17. And last year he put up some seriously disgusting numbers in the Appy League, as he slashed .364/.507/.575 with Bluefield. That .507 OBP is a 2002 Billy Beane Oakland Athletics dream. And he currently leads the Lugnuts with an OBP of .444 – not surprising at all because he knows how to get on base. And his .944 OPS leads the team for players who have played more than 50 games this season.
And the truth is I kind of feel like Ryan Noda is a bit of a mystery. I mean, he was the Jays’ 459th overall selection, and played for the UC Bearcats – I know that. And I even know that when he was a Bearcat, he hit a home run onto the roof of Fifth Third Arena, becoming only the second Bearcat ever to do that – pretty cool stuff. But, what is it about his approach at the plate that seems to get him on base? Is he able to recognize pitches easily? And why did so many teams pass on him in the ’17 draft?
I thought about doing an interview with Ryan Noda to ask him about hitting and his approach at the plate, but then decided to reach out to the great Jesse Goldberg-Strassler – the voice of the Lugnuts and host of Around The Nest – instead.
Jesse and I had an interesting back-and-forth ‘text’ conversation about Noda. And that’s when I realized I should ask Jesse if he would be cool with helping us all get to know Ryan Noda a little better. Jesse has had eyes on Noda all season and has talked to him about many baseball things.
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