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Low-A Prospects To Watch From The 2023 Draft

The next wave of talent has got its first taste of professional baseball coming out of the MLB draft back in July. With the designation of both college and high school players to Low-A to start the season, Now is the time to highlight some prospects to watch. These prospects are solely from the 2023 MLB draft class. This was one of the better draft classes we have seen since 2019 and with the next wave of young talent starting in Low-A now is the time to pounce in your leagues.

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Low-A Prospect To Watch

Charlee Soto, RHP MIN

Minnesota selected Charlee Soto in the compensation round 34th overall in the 2023 MLB draft out of High School. Known for a high 90s fastball that tops out at 100 mph paired with a cutting slider that regularly sits in the high 80s. As is the case with most high school arms Soto has a split-finger change-up that is a work in progress coming in the mid-’80s with solid sink and fade. Standing at 6’3” and 210 pounds Soto has the starting pitcher build and with the high-velocity offering from the four-seam fastball and power sinker Soto can rack up the strikeouts.

The Twins did not send Charlee Soto to the Complex League after the draft instead wanting to focus on pitch forming and conditioning getting him ready for an assignment to start in 2024. That assignment is now in as Soto will begin the season with the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels alongside teammate and first-round pick Walker Jenkins. Soto will be one of the pitchers I’ll be watching closely this season as he has the repertoire to become an elite pitcher moving up the Twin’s organizational ladder.

Walker Jenkins, OF MIN

One of the most exciting High School prospects in the 2023 MLB draft, Walker Jenkins will start his 2024 season in Low-A Fort Myers. Selected fifth overall by the Twins and standing 6’3” and 210 pounds it’s easy to see a potential 30-plus home runs bat in a corner outfield spot. With some of the biggest raw power coming into the draft Jenkins quickly showed that the batting average wouldn’t be an issue. The Twins sent Jenkins to the Complex League where he slashed .333/.390/.537 with two home runs, six runs scored, 12 RBIs, and four stolen bases in 14 games played. What stood out right away was the solid walk rate of 8.5% and the low 13.6% strikeout rate in 59 plate appearances.

It didn’t take long for the Twins to promote Walker Jenkins to the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. In 12 games played Jenkins slashed .392/.446/.608 with one home run, 10 runs scored, 10 RBIs, and two stolen bases. The walk rate was at 7.1% while the strikeout rate came down after the promotion to 10.7%. This has all the makings of an MLB superstar in short order and if Jenkins continues to hit the way he did to finish the season don’t be surprised if he moves quickly.

George Lombard Jr, OF NYY

Hailing from the Florida High School ranks, George Lombard Jr was selected in the first round for the 2023 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Fundamentally sound player from the bat to the glove Lombard Jr has upside as a dynasty prospect. Standing at 6’3” and 190 pounds at just 18 years old Lombard Jr has above-average speed paired with an above-average hit tool. It’s easy to see some more power coming as Lombard Jr continues to fill into his frame and add muscle. While in the Complex League Lombard Jr took full advantage of the competition slashing .417/.588/.500 with three runs scored, two RBIs, and three stolen bases in four games played. What stood out in the short sample size was the 29.4% walk rate paired with a low 11.8% strikeout rate in 17 plate appearances.

Once promoted to Low-A Tampa Lombard Jr continued to hit for average. In nine games played with the Tarpons Lombard Jr slashed .273/.415/.303 with six runs scored, four RBIs, and stole just one base in three attempts. Across 41 plate appearances, Lombard Jr continued to walk 19.5% while the strikeout rate jumped to 24.4%. The Yankees are sending George Lombard Jr back to Low-A Tampa to start the season and if he continues to hit the way we saw him in 2023 it won’t be long till he is up in High-A Hudson Valley.

Bryce Eldridge, OF SFG

San Francisco went big with their selection of Bryce Eldridge 16th overall in the 2023 MLB Draft. Standing at 6’7” and 223 pounds at just 19 years old Eldridge is an intimidating presence in the batter’s box. The massive raw power from the left side of the plate makes Byce Eldridge all the more interesting though some reports going into the draft questioned the hit tool long-term. For the Giants, the early returns put the “hit tool” questions to bed as they sent their first-round pick to the Complex League. In 16 games played Eldridge slashed .294/.393/.647 with five home runs, eight runs scored, and 13 RBIs. Eldridge showed a solid eye at the plate walking 14.8% while striking out 26.2% in 61 plate appearances.

With results like that it was no surprise to see the Giants promote Eldridge to Low-A San Jose. While he was with the San Jose Giants Eldridge slashed .293/.406/.379 with one home run, seven runs scored, five RBIs, and stole one base in 15 games played. Just like the Complex league Eldridge continued to walk frequently with a 15.9% walk rate and continued to have a higher strikeout rate of 26.1%. The assignment back to Low-A San Jose doesn’t come as a surprise though it should be noted I don’t expect Bryce Eldridge to stay there long.

Aidan Miller, 3B PHI

The Philadelphia Phillies have had several successful draft classes dating back to Alec Bohm in 2018. When it comes to Aidan Miller the trend of drafting success could continue. Standing at 6’2” and 205 pounds Aidan Miller was drafted out of High School where scouts raved about the massive raw power on a frame that was still developing. Drafted as a shortstop Miller’s body profile suggests he will probably end up at either third base or first long-term. After the draft, the Phillies sent Miller to their Complex League where he slashed .414/.528/.483 with six runs scored, and had two RBIs in 10 games played. Miller walked 16.7% while only striking out 13.9% in 36 plate appearances.

The success in the Complex League encouraged the Phillies to send Miller to Low-A Clearwater. While with the Threshers Miller hit just .216/.341/.297 while scoring four runs, and stealing four bases in five attempts. Despite the stat line Miller continued to walk at a fair clip, in 44 plate appearances he walked 13.6% while the strikeout rate did rise to 22.7% it wasn’t necessarily alarming. For the 2024 season, the Phillies will send their first-round draft pick back to Low-A Clearwater to start the season. There is potential for Miller to climb this season with a strong showing early on. Though there shouldn’t be a rush for the Phillies who have their infield locked down for several years to come.

Tai Peete, 2B/SS SEA

Selected in the compensation round 30th overall in the 2023 MLB Draft Tai Peete has been talked about all throughout the off-season. Prospect evaluators like the build and massive raw power Peete displayed in his limited exposure to Low-A to finish the season in 2023. After the draft, the Mariners sent Tai Peete to the Complex League where he slashed .351/.429/.432 with four runs scored, six RBIs, and stole three bases in 10 games played. Across a 42 plate appearance sample size Peete walked 11.9% while striking out 26.2% of the time.

Once he was sent to Low-A Modesto Peete continued to show a solid approach at the plate and the plus raw power started to show. In 14 games played with the Nuts Peete slashed .242/.299/.387 with two home runs, seven runs scored, 14 RBIs, and stole three bases. In his 67 plate appearances, Peete walked 7.5% while the strikeout rate ascended to 28.4%. Now that Tai Peete has been assigned back to Low-A Modesto we will see how Peete adjusts to Low-A pitching and improves upon his numbers last season.

Nazzan Zanetello, SS BOS

Taken in the second round of the 2023 MLB draft Nazzan Zanetello stands at 6’2” and 180 pounds out of High School. Known for his potential plus power and speed that is currently considered plus Zanetello struggled in his small sample size in Complex Ball after the draft. In 12 games played the 18-year-old slashed just .139/.311/.222 with six runs scored, one RBI, and five stolen bases in six attempts. Zanetello had an opportunity to finish the season with the Low-A Salem Red Sox. In his lone game, he tallied one hit in two at-bats driving in a run.

It should be a slow rise for Zanetello as he starts his first full season as a professional. More than likely we will see him in Low-A for the duration of the season unless he warrants a call to High-A Greenville. What will be key for Zanetello is making solid contact and hitting for average as the natural raw power should come through. If Zanetello can get on base enough the stolen bases should start to mount up quickly.

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