As I write this, Zac Veen is hitting .377/.480/.475 in the Arizona Fall League. Is this for real?
- Born: December 12, 2001
- B/T: Left/Right
- 6’4″, 190-lbs
- Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft from Spruce Creek HS (Port Orange, FL)
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:
Veen was drafted out of high school in the first round because he was a potential five-tool player. He doesn’t have any weaknesses in his skill set, so how did he do on the field?
As a teenager in A-ball in 2021, he showed good numbers across the board. Speed, power, batting eye, run production, defense. All good.
This past year he started at High-A, and while the OBP and ISO dipped, the speed jumped up, the Ks dropped while the walks stayed the same (the difference in shading with two 13% BB% cells is simply a rounding thing — 2022 was slightly less than 2021, and thus is dipped into blue).
So off he goes to Double-A, and this is where he runs out of steam:
His year was like a bell curve, rising to a peak in June/July, before tailing off and then crashing in September. We’ll give this 20-year-old an understanding nod and say he just got tired later in the season.
What about that power, that only really shows up in May and June this year, but was present all of 2021? If you’ve read my book, you’ll know that power shown in the Low-A West League is not that impressive. Let him show it the next year in a higher league before you fully buy in, and that’s the case with Veen. His Hard Hit% was only 23.2% this year, not the sign of great power.
That said, he will eventually be playing in Colorado, so whatever power he does show — and he does have some power — will play there.
Handedness K% and BB%
High-A (vs RH): 28%K and 13%BB. (vs LH): 22%K and 13%BB.
AA (vs RH): 30%K and 11%BB. (vs LH): 29%K and 5%BB.
In High-A he struck out more against righties, but showed the same good walk rate against both. In Double-A he struck out the same, but walked more against righties.
I don’t think we should draw many conclusions from his first taste of Double-A where he was clearly losing steam. Let’s see if he bounces back in 2023 when he starts at Double-A.
How much power is real?
Will he strike out close to 30% in the majors?
He gets on base, he steals lots of bases, and he has some power. That plus good defense will get him to the major leagues.
The only question will be how much power develops. If it’s more than a little, he’ll be a star. If he’s only a speedster outfielder, that still plays, especially with the new rules that will encourage stolen bases.
He’s a top prospect who just needs to refine his skills a bit more against top-level pitching. Look for him to arrive sometime in 2024 or so.