What’s better than a multihomer game? Two multihomer performers in the same game.
The duo got the party started early, going back-to-back in the third inning. Williams -- MLB’s No. 19 prospect -- led the charge with a two-run jack to the opposite field. Isaac followed with his own big fly, a monstrous poke off the scoreboard in right-center field.
The pair left the yard again, this time in consecutive innings in the fifth and sixth. Williams' long balls increased his total to 23 while Isaac moved within one of his first 20-homer season.
“We’re coming to the end of the season now, and you’re just trying to round off your season as well as possible and work on all the things that you want to take into the offseason, so I was just out there being aggressive,” Williams said. “It’s the end of the year ... might as well try to make something happen.”
For Isaac, 2023 has marked his first full season of pro ball. MLB’s No. 95 prospect appeared in 90 games with Single-A Charleston before his promotion to Bowling Green on Aug. 22. The 19-year-old has gone deep six times and is slashing .422/.509/.956 in 11 games with the Hot Rods.
“I just try to hit the fastball to left center, try to stay backside,” said Isaac, the No. 4 prospect in the Rays' system. “If they hang that slider or changeup I’ll pull it, which I did tonight. They weren’t really throwing a lot of fastballs, I’m a fastball hitter, but if they like to throw changeups inside, I’ll hit those too.”
Throughout the year, Isaac has focused on gaining strength and speed, a goal that he plans to carry throughout the offseason.
“My body’s been changing a lot,” Isaac said. “A lot of people haven’t really noticed.”
In addition to swatting 19 homers, Isaac has also swiped 11 stolen bases.
Williams, a speed and power threat in his own right, has spent the entire season with the Hot Rods outside of a four-game stint with Triple-A Durham in mid-August. His biggest challenge so far has been limiting his strikeouts. In 398 High-A at-bats, the No. 2 Rays prospect has fanned 145 times.
“My biggest thing this year was to really start to recognize pitches better and just put a lot more bat on ball,” Williams said. “The numbers might not show it this year, but the at-bats have gotten so much better. I’m so excited about this year just because you can’t go from just swinging and missing to barrel.”
Strike zone control is difficult to practice without live at-bats, but the San Diego native has been using an iPitch smart pitching machine to simulate the experience.
“It’s got a big computer on it, and it shoots out. It could be a 95-mph fastball and you press a button and then it’s a nasty slider,” Williams said.
Like Isaac, Williams plans to carry his progress into the offseason and continue to refine his approach.