Outstanding Makeup Separates Brian Mundell
First baseman Brian Mundell has made a relatively seamless transition from high Class A Lancaster to Double-A Hartford.
But the numbers don’t reveal how hard Mundell works, how he leads not just by example, but verbally, and an even rarer intangible that Mundell possesses.
"He has a passion to put a team on his back, and he’s OK with that kind of pressure,” farm director Zach Wilson said. Mundell, a 2015 seventh-round pick from Cal Poly, set a modern minor league record with 59 doubles last year at low Class A Asheville and hit .313/.383/.505 with 14 home runs and 83 RBIs.
His all-fields approach enabled Mundell to hit .299/.379/.504 in 67 games at Lancaster with 16 doubles, 12 homers and 59 RBIs. He moved up to Hartford, where he hit .291/.388/.406 through 50 games with 10 doubles, three homers and 16 RBIs.
"You never see kind of an ugly swing,” Wilson said. "You never see him overswinging. You never see him using too much effort. And it’s about as consistent (an approach) as we have right now in the organization.”
At Lancaster, Mundell drew 35 walks and struck out 44 times in 264 at-bats. Facing better pitchers at Hartford, Mundell had 25 walks and 26 strikeouts through 165 at-bats.
"He kinds of goes into a wider-base, no-stride, two-strike approach, and it works well for him,” Hartford manager Jerry Weinstein said.
Mundell was a DH during his final college season, having also caught. He played very little first base, but the Rockies moved him there, knowing he would work tirelessly at the position. They quickly realized that Mundell, who is listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, is more athletic than he appears.
"I think eventually he becomes an above-average first baseman,” Wilson said. "He’s still learning the nuances. I think he’s going to have solid-average range. I think he’s got a chance to have above-average hands, and around the bag, he’s going to be really good.”
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— Jack Etkin is a writer based in Denver