Today’s Bowling Green Hot Rod of the Day is all too obvious.
The Bowling Green club was two losses away from setting a Midwest League record for most consecutive losses, but coming through clutch in the top of the 10th was previous HROTD honoree–and Rays catching prospect–Armando Araiza, who hit the go-ahead home run with two teammates on to give Bowling the 7-4 win over the West Michigan Whitecaps. Araiza made up for a poor offensive outing with that home run, as he was 0-4 heading into the 10th.
Araiza (who, by the way, has the legal first name of Jesus) is proving to be a potent and valuable bat in a Hot Rods order that, quite frankly, can use every run they can get (coming into yesterday, the Hot Rods were hitting just .155 with runners in scoring position). He’s following up a season spent in Princeton (one of the few Hot Rods who have made the jump straight from Princeton to Bowling Green), where he hit .277/.361/.322 with an OPS of .683. His ability to get on base has always stood out as he has managed a .345 OBP at every level in which he has played, never walking less than half the number of times he struck out. The home run he hit yesterday was just his second since 2011 after he hit six for the Rays in the 2011 Dominican Summer League. But while the power of Araiza isn’t there like other Rays catching prospects (e.g. Justin O’Conner), his defense is on par with any of them. For the Hot Rods so far this season, Araiza has allowed just 1 passed ball and thrown out 50% of baserunners attempting to steal.
Armando Araiza’s blast could not have been more clutch, and the Hot Rods desperately need it to start a more positive streak. Hopefully, this home run will be just what the doctor ordered for Araiza, the Hot Rods offense, and the Hot Rods in general.