Age: 21 yr, Weight: 180 lbs, Height: 5-11
School: Monsignor Pace (FL) HS
MLB Draft: Round CBAs, Overall: 32
Current Level: AA, ETA: 2021
| 2019||AVG||OBP||SLG||HR||SB||CS||ISO||K%||BB%||SwStr%||Est FB (ft)|
A change in swing path unlocked big power for Downs, who’s shaping up to be a dynamic power/speed threat.
We’re only a year removed, but the Yasiel Puig trade is looking gangbusters for the Dodgers, who’ve molded Downs into a dangerous bat first middle infielder and then using him as the centerpiece in the Mookie Betts deal. The one thing that pops out is his power output in 2019. After hitting 13 home runs in 120 games for the Reds in 2018, he smashed 24 home runs in 119 last season, not to mention more doubles too.
The big change came in his swing. Under Cincinnati he had a line drive stroke built for the gaps but quick enough to turn on pitches to his pull side, where he hit all his home runs in 2018. The Dodgers worked to get loft and length on his swing, marrying his quick hands with a new discipline to use all fields more while simultaneously filling out his frame. The result was multiple long balls clearing 400 feet, including six home runs to right field.
Downs never slowed down last year, even nailing a 12-game Double-A debut when he slashed .333/.429/.688. On the dirt, the Dodgers kept him at shortstop for most of the year but he played some second base, which was his primary position in Cincinnati. Now on the Red Sox, his path to playing time at second base becomes significantly clearer where his arm should play up. There’s no denying his High-A ballpark helped his big year, but Downs is comfortably a top 100 prospect at present with a dynamic power/speed combo. Expect the 21-year-old to keep climbing the ranks if Double-A was a hint of things to come.