Hot Rod of the Day 4/23/14: Alexander Simon

By Fletcher Keel

The Bowling Green Hot Rods have gone streaking again, but it’s the good type of streak, as in their second two game winning streak of the year! Blake Snell, Andrew Hanse and Luis Cabrera combined for nine innings of four hit, shutout baseball, and a three-run first inning helped propel the Hot Rods to a 5-0 route in an early day game at West Michigan. The usual suspects got the job done on offense (Kean Wong, Johnny Field, Pat Blair), but today’s Hot Rod of the Day was relatively new the the party: first basemen Alexander Simon.

Simon comes to the Rays via the Dominican Republic, and has been in the organization since 2011. The 21 year old played in the Dominican Summer league for two years, the Gulf Coast League last year, and then skipped Princeton and Hudson Valley to join the Hot Rods in 2014.

Simon spent all of his first year in the Dominican League playing the hot corner, but made the transition to the other side of the diamond at first base at the tail end of 2012, and has been there ever since. Simon is with the Hot Rods for both his bat, his defense and even a little speed. The switch-hitter finished his first three seasons with an average over .250 and an OBP over .345, and even smacked a combined 11 triples while swiping 38 bases.

Simon has dealt with early season struggles this year, and he is only hitting .180. But, going 2-for-4 in yesterday’s game makes him 7 for his last 19 (.368) with a a trio of doubles. Simon also scored a late insurance run didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but for an offense that has had major difficulty scoring runs, it has certainly been a welcome sign.

Simon’s defense has been solid, too. Twice he has racked up a perfect fielding percentage, through 12 games at first base in 2012, and through the first eleven games he has played at first this year, and he managed a not-too-shabby .994 mark in the Gulf Coast League last year. The move to first has been for the best for Simon, after he racked up 50 errors at third.

Alexander Simon is young player with a lot of growing up to do, but his nice streak at the plate is especially encouraging, especially given that he skipped two levels. Simon has been an unknown prospect until now, but he is starting to make a name for himself and the Hot Rods will take all the offensive help he can give them.