Wander Javier's full-season debut hasn't gone as planned, but the talented 20-year-old has plenty of time to turn things around. He took a step in the right direction in Monday's matinee at Perfect Game Field.
Minnesota's No. 6 prospect went 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBIs as Class A Cedar Rapids topped Lansing, 14-7. His two homers and 10 total bases set career highs, and the four hits matched his professional best for Rookie Advanced Elizabethton on Aug. 23, 2017 against Bristol.
Video: Kernels' Javier launches second homer
"He was on time for everything. That's just kind of what he's been working on lately and it clicked for him," Kernels hitting coach Ryan Smith said. "He's got a ton of talent, and it fell into place today."
Javier entered the game in a 12-game slump, going 2-for-44 with 22 strikeouts since June 29. His .134/.237/.194 season slash line in 152 plate appearances was indicative of his season-long struggles since a May 25 return from a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, which sidelined him for the entire 2018 season after he suffered the injury late in the 2017 campaign.
"It's tough to miss a season and come back and be on time," Smith said. "He was just having trouble being on time for fastballs ... just being on time consistently."
Gameday box score
The 6-foot-1 shortstop started his day with a single to center field off Lugnuts right-hander Troy Miller in the first inning before coming up with the bases loaded against right-hander Joey Pulido in the fourth. Javier broke the game open by crushing a first-pitch fastball for a grand slam to left-center that extended Cedar Rapids' lead to 10-4.
"His approach [there] is just to hit a fastball as hard and as far as he can, and I think he did it," Smith said.
Javier added another single to center in the sixth before going deep a second time, a two-run shot to left off right-hander Juan Nunez in the eighth that doubled the Dominican Republic native's season home-run total from two to four and widened his team's lead to 14-7.
"The power is absolutely in there. When he times it up and hits a ball out in front, it absolutely flies off his bat, as you saw today," Smith said. "If he can do that consistently, the power's going to be there 100 percent."
2019 MiLB include
Before the injury cost him significant time, Javier batted .299/.383/.471 with four homers, 34 runs scored, 22 RBIs and four stolen bases over 41 games in his stateside debut in the Appalachian League in 2017. He attempted to rehab the injury in the offseason with an eye on a 2018 return, but surgery was needed after Javier suffered a setback near the start of the season.
Spencer Steer and Alex Isola both homered on three-hit days and Twins No. 16 prospect Gilberto Celestino went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs for the Kernels.
Lansing's Otto Lopez fell a triple short of the cycle. Blue Jays No. 14 prospect Griffin Conine went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs.