Meet the batter who drew more walks than anyone else in the minor leagues in 2021.
- Born: April 30, 1999
- B/T: Left/Right
- 6’2″, 195-lbs
- Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft from Auburn University
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
That’s a pretty good first professional line, isn’t it? The strikeouts were elevated, but power, speed, on-base ability, a good batting eye — they are all there right from the start. But since his year was split between A and High-A, let’s break them out:
OK, now we see that although the power was a bit light at A-ball, everything else was aces. A .490 OBP tells me he was just too good for that level, and he ran at will. He struck out only 4 more times than he walked.
Then he, understandably, goes to High-A, and the power blossoms at Cedar Rapids. However, the strikeouts rise, the walks fall, and the stolen bases are cut more than half. The OBP slides too, though still great. Was he selling out for power? Let’s break it down one last time by month, and only focus on his High-A numbers:
No, he wasn’t selling out for power. Some months the power was terrific, others it was just average, and the stolen bases ebbed and flowed by month and situation. But the walk rate was rock solid every single month, and his OBP was only kept down by a low first month on a new team. Hey, you take a week or two to get up to speed on a new job too, don’t you?
And by the way, he had a Hard Hit% of 32.7% for the season, so his power is real and it is spectacular! (Seinfeld reference intentional).
He hits righties better than lefties, but he gets on base against lefties enough to not worry about a platoon yet. It would be a good side platoon anyway, even if it did happen.
- Rotowire: #266 on their Top 400
- Fantasy Six Pack: Not on their dynasty baseball rankings
- Imaginary Brick Wall: Not on the Top 473
- Fantrax: Not on the Top 400, but just missed.
Will that strikeout rate rise as he reaches Double-A?
Speaking of Double-A, he hasn’t reached it yet, so all bets are off until he shows what he can do there.
His strikeout issues can be attributed to Julien being too patient at times, as this interview with David Laurila of FanGraphs notes. The good side to his patience is he drew 110 walks last year — the most in the minor leagues! This kid has a great batting eye.
He has power too, and speed if they want to use it, and he gets on base.
Where will he play? That’s a bit of an issue. He played mostly 3B last year, but a lot of 2B too, and 1B, and LF, and RF, so, uh, you get the idea. His fielding percentage tells us that 3B is not going to be the end game. 2B was OK, but 1B or DH is looming.
So that’s his deal: he’ll have to hit all the way up the minor league ladder to prove himself. The good news is there are only two rungs remaining for him before the major league, and he hit extremely well in 2021. If that’s what he has to do, he’s doing it.