Class AA

Isabel providing Chattanooga power

Ibandel Isabel of the Chattanooga Lookouts is leading the Southern League with seven home runs. (photo by Mike Morrow)

He doesn’t get as much attention as highly ranked outfield prospect Taylor Trammell.

For that matter, he doesn’t get as much attention as prospects Tyler Stephenson, or Jose Siri, or Tony Santillan, or T.J. Friedl, all teammates on the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Reds’ Class AA farm team.

But Ibandel Isabel, true to form, is crushing the baseball — when he makes contact — and is leading the Southern League in home runs.

Isabel has hit seven homers for the Lookouts, and while he is ranked as only the 25th best prospect in the Reds’ system by MLB Pipeline, it’s hard not to look at his size (6-4, 225 pounds) his power, his age (23) and how Joey Votto is 35, and the dimensions of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati and, well, it’s not hard to let your imagination get away with you.

Isabel has actually picked up right where he left off last season, when he tied Pete Alonso for the overall lead in the minor leagues with 36 homers. Alonso played last year for Binghamton in AA and Las Vegas in AAA and is currently at nine home runs with the big-league New York Mets. Isabel did his damage last year at Class A Daytona and Rancho Cucamonga. It should be no surprise that he’s providing substantial power in Chattanooga.

He hit two home runs for the Lookouts on Saturday. His batting average is .268, and he has 14 RBIs, which ties for eighth in the league. But Isabel also leads the league in strikeouts with 38, and therein lies the story that is also anticipated with this powerful bat.

Isabel is ranked the Reds’ No. 27 prospect by Baseball America, and its scouting report on him sums it up pretty well.

“Isabel is well known for having top-shelf raw power,” BA said. “He generates excellent loft and can hit it out of the park to any field.”

Before the season, Baseball America said, “Double-A is going to be a big test for Isabel. He was left unprotected and unpicked in the Rule 5 draft, and teams are skeptical that his approach will allow him to make enough contact.”

Pretty good call. 38 strikeouts.

But then, gosh, there’s still that Great American Ball Park, and …

… In other AA notes, Friedl, the Reds’ 13th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, suffered a right shoulder injury on a play at second base Sunday and was placed on the seven-day injured list Monday. He had four RBIs Sunday, including two on a home run. The Lookouts called up shortstop Alberti Chavez from Class A Billings.

T.J. Friedl of the Chattanooga Lookouts suffered a shoulder injury on this play Sunday and is on the seven-day injured list. (photo by Mike Morrow)

The Lookouts have won five of their last six games but are 3 1/2 games behind Montgomery in the Southern League North division.

… Shortstop Nico Hoerner, ranked the top prospect for the Chicago Cubs by Baseball America and No. 2 for the club by MLB Pipeline, was placed on the seven-day injured list Monday by the Tennessee Smokies, but it is retroactive to April 24. Hoerner is batting .293. Shortstop Luis Vasquez was assigned to the Smokies from the Eugene Emeralds.

The Smokies have had a lot of activity recently, with second baseman Clayton Daniel put on the seven-day injured list and left-handed pitcher Justin Steel activated from the IL. The Smokies also put left-hander Ian Clarkin on the seven-day injured list, with second baseman Vimael Machin assigned to the AA club from the AAA Iowa Cubs. …

… Andy Young, the 12th-ranked prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks, belted a home run Monday to help give the Jackson Generals a 3-1 victory over Pensacola. The Generals are now 1 1/2 games behind Montgomery.

Jackson begins a five-game series Wednesday at Tennessee. Chattanooga begins a five-game series Wednesday at Birmingham.

Categories: Class AA

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