Cleveland Indians outfield prospect Mike Papi has been named the High-A Carolina League's first player of the week in 2016. Papi claims the POTW title after recording his first multi-home run game of his career on Saturday and homering again the next day. With four home runs to his name in 2016, he has already tied his career high in home runs for a season at any level.
Mike Papi started 2015 slow. So slow, in fact, that his status as a legitimate prospect was beginning to erode away as he sat in High-A struggling as a 22-year-old. Papi eventually turned it around, but it was not his tantalizing power that carried him to a respectable 117 wRC+ when the season was over. No, it was an exceptional eye at the plate instead. Papi finished the season with a 16 percent walk rate and a .362 on-base percentage.
So far in this early 2016 campaign, it looks like Papi is putting it all together and coming out of gate blazing as hot as Johnny Storm (if we want to continue this analogy using current High-A players, I'd probably have Bobby Bradley as Thing because of the raw power, and maybe Justus Sheffield as Mr. Fantastic? I'd imagine someone with controllable elasticity would have a cannon for an arm). As previously mentioned, Papi already has four home runs on the season, as well as nine walks and 11 hits. He leads the Carolina League in home runs and slugging percentage (.800), and he is tied for second in walks and on-base plus slugging (1.257).
In large part because of Papi's performance, the Lynchburg Hillcats are off to a hot start in 2016. They have the best record in the Carolina League (8-3) and are currently riding a four-game win streak.