Hot Rod of the Day 4/16/14: Darryl George

By Fletcher Keel

The Bowling Green Hot Rods opened a six game homestand yesterday in a doubleheader against the Kane County Cougars (CHC) after the originally scheduled opening game of the series was rained out on Monday. The Hot Rods pitched two stellar games, but could get absolutely nothing going offensively, and would fall in both games by scores of 2-0 and 1-0. In the process, they extended their losing streak to nine games.

While the offense struggled mightily, our Hot Rod of the Day, Darryl George, had a decent day at the plate. George is a 6-1, 213 lb. utility man from Australia who was signed by the Rays in May of 2011 for six figures when he was just 17. George split time pitching and playing the field in his time Down Under, but he has almost exclusively been used as a position player since joining the Rays’ organization.

The scouting report on George when he signed was simple – he adds power potential to the line up from the right side, and has a strong arm in the middle of the diamond. However, George has only hit two career home runs while playing professionally, but he has been doing a nice job of becoming a contact hitter. George has never repeated a level since starting in the Gulf Coast League in 2011, and was with Hot Rods’ manager Michael Johns in Hudson Valley last season, where he hit .286/.363/.339 with 18 RBI and 10 extra base hits. So far for the Hot Rods this season, George has hit .250/.280/.292 and has a pair of RBIs. He has filled out his 6’1” frame since becoming a pro player, but the power potential that he once showed has not developed in games despite good contact rates. He has been young for his league every step of the way, and is still just 21 years old, but he needs to show that he is going to hit for some power to avoid getting lost in the fold.

In yesterday’s doubleheader, George went 2-for-3 (the only other Bowling Green hitter to have two hits was Kean Wong) with a double and a stolen base in game one. In game two, George’s hit was the only that the Hot Rods could manage. He went a solid 3-6 on the day, but with the rest of the offense struggling, the Hot Rods could not capitalize on his success in either game.

George has not been a top prospect in the minors, but he has quietly put up strong numbers while being a reliable defender. There is work to be done with his raw power, but he is young enough that it still has a chance to develop in games. If it does, George could surprise and put himself into legitimate prospect conversations.