The Boston Red Sox finally traded superstar Mookie Betts. Jeter Downs was one of the prospects in the deal. Here’s what you should know about the infielder.
The second trade has upset people a little bit more because they ended up not getting a pitching prospect in the deal. This time, they got infielder Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong. Here’s a little secret though, that’s a much better haul.
Here’s what you should know about Jeter Downs.
Downs is one of the best prospects in all of baseball, despite still being just 21. While he’s mainly a shortstop, he has also played second base and will likely come through Boston’s system as one.
The right-handed hitter took a major leap in 2019. Between Advanced-A and Double-A he slashed .276/.362/.526 with 35 doubles, four triples, and 24 home runs. He also had 92 runs scored, 86 RBI and 24 steals.
Offensively, there really isn’t anything Downs can’t do.
Meanwhile, his athleticism makes him a potentially great defender. Switching to second base might even help, as he did rack up the errors a little bit at shortstop last season.
However, even if he sticks at shortstop, the errors shouldn’t really be concerning. He was 20 and 21 last season. Picking up a few errors is expected. Especially because they are a two-way street.
Let’s take Mitch Moreland for example. Do you not think he’d be able to scoop some throws out of the dirt that a minor league first baseman didn’t?
There’s a reason errors in the minors are never looked at as much as errors in the Majors. Everyone is still growing, so there’s no real give-and-take.
Downs also has a brother, Jerry Downs, who already plays in the Red Sox system. The first baseman showed some pop in 2018 (15 home runs) but injuries really slowed him down in 2019.
The 26-year-old spent 2019 in Advanced-A and Double-A, just like his brother. So there’s a chance the two play together in 2020.
Speaking of 2020, Jeter Downs will likely start the year in Double-A. He spent 107 games in Advanced-A last year and 12 in Double-A.
In those 12 games, Downs slashed .333/.429/.688 with five home runs. That’s extremely encouraging, but 12 games is a very small sample size. Boston will probably give him all of 2020 in Double-A (unless he really just dominates to the point they have to move him up).
Look, it really stings losing Mookie Betts. No one is going to argue against that. Jeter Downs is an incredible prospect though, and gives the Red Sox another piece to build around for the next 15 years.