MurrSwings_BBvsTTU_RF_web.jpg

Junior infielder Austin Murr swings the bat at an incoming ball thrown by a Tennessee Tech pitcher at Doak Field on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Murr had two hits and one run during the game.

Just a few weeks after the 2021 MLB draft, several MiLB Pack Pros are finally playing their first games at the professional level. With almost every hitter taken in the draft lighting up the box scores in rookie ball, let’s have a look at how these MiLB Pack Pros are performing in the first half of August.

Terrell Tatum, center fielder, ACL White Sox (Chicago White Sox)

Put simply, Tatum’s bat is on fire right now. In his first game, he notched four RBIs on a single, three-run homer and two walks. In his first three professional games, he has reached base more often than not, posting a .444/.545/.889 slashline. Granted, he is still in rookie ball in the Arizona Complex League (ACL), but these performances are a good sign of what could be to come for Tatum.

Austin Murr, left fielder, Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit Tigers)

In a display of clinical plate discipline, Murr has accumulated 17 walks in 13 games for Low-A Lakeland, contributing to his .492 on-base percentage. Although he gets on base more frequently via walks than hits, Murr is still finding ways to contribute for the Flying Tigers on defense as well as offense.

Although a Gold Glove-winning first baseman at NC State, Murr is holding down the fort in left field at the pro level. In 12 games in the outfield, Murr has yet to commit a single error. If he can boost his power numbers, especially since he does not yet have a home run in pro ball, Murr has the potential to rise through the ranks of the minor leagues.

Jonny Butler, center fielder, ACL Athletics (Oakland Athletics)

Butler is one MiLB Pack Pro batter that is not hurting for power, however. “Jonny Barrels” hit the ground running in his professional debut, going 2 for 2 with two RBIs including a solo dinger. This quick start bodes well for Butler, boasting a .300/.417/.600 slashline across 10 at-bats in four games. If he can keep up the good hitting, it will not be too long before he gets a promotion to the Low-A Stockton Ports.

Jose Torres, shortstop, ACL Reds (Cincinnati Reds)

Torres is another batter that is hitting the cover off the ball right now. In his first two games with the ACL Reds, Torres has impressively accumulated more total bases than at-bats, with seven and six, respectively. This ratio, powered by both an RBI triple, Torres’ first professional hit, and his first pro home run, just two days later, results in a slugging percentage of 1.167 and an eye-popping OPS of 1.595. Although this statistic is only from a two-game sample size, it still speaks to Torres’ great potential at the professional level.

Luca Tresh, catcher, ACL Royals Blue (Kansas City Royals)

In a surprising turn of events, Tresh’s strikeout struggles that plagued his last season at NC State have vanished in his first two games with the ACL Royals Blue. The backstop was not afraid to swing the bat in his pro debut against the ACL Brewers, grounding out on a first-pitch swing to end the first inning and legging out an infield single on a first-pitch swing to start the fourth inning. Tresh did strike out in the last inning of the game, but not before engineering a four-pitch walk in the sixth, demonstrating that he has pro-level plate discipline as well.

Tresh went 2 for 2 in his most recent game on Aug. 14, notching a single and a double against the ACL Royals Gold. If he can continue to show that he can put the bat on the ball, Tresh also has the potential to advance upwards in pro baseball.

Nick Swiney, left-handed pitcher, San Jose Giants (San Francisco Giants)

After suffering a severe concussion in May, Swiney returned to action on July 26, going on a rehab assignment to the Arizona Complex League. The southpaw impressed in his stint in the ACL, making five appearances between late July and August. 

Swiney has only given up one earned run so far this month, an RBI single against the ACL Mariners on Aug. 2. The 22-year-old hurler is painting the corners well, striking out 14 batters in 6.0 IP while only walking four. After putting up a five-strikeout performance in 2.1 IP on Aug. 12, the Giants organization called Swiney back up to Low-A San Jose on Aug. 15. His next appearance for San Jose will be his first since his professional debut on May 7.

Jon Olczak, right-handed pitcher, Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros)

Olczak is on a tear of disallowing baserunners as of late, permitting only four opponents on the basepaths in 3.2 IP since Aug. 1. Although he has only notched three strikeouts in that span, the righty is making a living on preventing batters from barreling up the ball.

Olczak’s 0.82 WHIP in August is fueled by an opposing batting average on ball in play (BABIP) of .237 while with the Hooks, the lowest he has posted with a single team in his career. If Olczak can keep up this run of form, having not allowed an earned run since July 23, he will be all the more closer to breaking into the show.