ALTOONA — Jose Tabata wound up going 2 for 4 with a run scored last night for Double-A Altoona. Judging by the one-game snapshot, he appears to have a nice batting stroke and good speed.
“I don’t think his swing is perfect right now,” Curve manager Tim Leiper said. “But he’s able to take inside pitches and hit them to right field. He’s able to take the bat head to the baseball, regardless of where it is.”
Saturday, Tabata led off the game against New Hampshire with a solo home run. It was a two-strike count and the pitch was kind of middle-in, but Tabata quickly pulled in his hands and whacked the ball over the wall in dead center.
“Guys on the team took notice of that,” said Leiper, with raised eyebrows.
The one thing I did not get to see last night was Tabata chase down a tricky fly ball in center. Tabata played on the corners while he was in the Yankees’ system, because Austin Jackson was in center. But Tabata already has impressed Leiper with his defense.
“The plays he’s making, the range he’s showing and the arm strength has really been impressive,” Leiper said. “He’s a complete player.
“The first couple days, he was playing shallow. Brandon (Moore), our hitting coach, said to me, ‘That’s kind of shallow.’ I said, let’s see. Well, nothing’s gotten over his head. Once, he was shading a guy to left-center and he ran and caught the ball in right-center at the wall. His jumps are great. He doesn’t panic to get the ball.”
It’s only been 10 games, but so far nothing there’s been but positive signs from Tabata in Altoona. If — and it’s still a huge if — he pans out, the Nady trade could be rated a success.