Boston Red Sox prospect Blaze Jordan is heating up in Salem

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 08: Blaze Jordan is seen during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field on July 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 08: Blaze Jordan is seen during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field on July 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

A young Red Sox minor league slugger is Blazing at the plate

It’s no secret inside the industry that the Boston Red Sox farm system is on the rise. Coming into 2022, the Red Sox placed four position players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect list. Marcelo Mayer, Triston Casas, and Nick Yorke not only represented the Red Sox among the Top 35 prospects, but are also the last three first-round draft picks of the club, all drafted out of high school. The fourth player on the Top 100 list was outfielder Jarren Duran, a 7th-round pick in 2019 out of Long Beach State University, who had retained his prospect eligibility after a rocky MLB debut in 2021.

Not ranked among the Top 100 prospects, but arguably the most recognizable name prior to being drafted in 2020, is corner infielder Blaze Jordan. Jordan has long been known inside baseball circles for his amateur feats, hitting 400+ foot home runs at the age of 13, and winning a showcase Home Run Derby for the top high school players in the country at Tropicana Field in Tampa at age 15. He went viral with a 502-foot home run in that showcase Derby. He’d go on to have a decorated high school career, winning the Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year in his home state of Mississippi in his final season.

Jordan’s amateur feats always seemed even more impressive because of his age. On the showcase circuit, he was often dazzling scouts and fans as the youngest player on his teams, and in high school he performed at a high level against pitching that was several years older than himself. The MLB Draft would prove to be a similar developmental path for Jordan. Originally scheduled to be eligible for the 2021 MLB Draft based on age and graduation status, Jordan graduated early and reclassified for the Pandemic shortened, four-round 2020 MLB draft, where he would be among the youngest players drafted.

Even as one of the youngest draft eligible players in 2020,  Jordan had been on the radar of professional scouts for several years longer than other top high school prospects in the same draft. His calling card had always been light tower power, and he entered the 2020 MLB Draft with plus power 70 Grade (on the 20-80 scouting scale), with room to grow into legitimate Double-Plus 80 Grade power.

While Jordan put up impressive batting average and on-base percentages in high school career, scouts were not enamored with his all around skill set entering the draft. They saw a player with big raw power and not much else. Evaluators worried about pitch recognition and the ability to hit advanced velocity and breaking pitches, combined with the fact that his adequate defense at third base would transition to first base or designated hitter in the coming years. However, the power was undeniable.

The Red Sox selected Jordan in the third round of the 2020 MLB Draft at pick No. 89 overall. The 2020 draft was the first presided over by new Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom,  and he opened the draft by shocking the industry in taking high school infielder, Nick Yorke, with the 17th overall pick in the first round. Most expert draft boards had Yorke projected to be picked in a similar spot to where the Sox took Jordan, somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round. The Red Sox came away from the pandemic shortened 2020 MLB Draft with two of their four picks spent on “project type” high school players, but to this point Bloom looks to have absolutely crushed the 2020 draft.

With no 2020 minor league season, both Yorke and Jordan would have to wait until 2021 to make their professional debuts. The Red Sox were aggressive in their assignment of Yorke, starting him at Low-A Salem of the Carolina League. They were more cautious with Jordan, holding him back in instructional league before assigning him to the Florida Complex League (FCL) whose season began in early June.

Jordan was among the youngest domestic players in the FCL, but quickly proved to be too advanced for the league. In 19 FCL games, Jordan hit .362 with 4 home runs and a 1.075 OPS. He was promoted to Low-A Salem, where he hit a respectable .250 and had a .733 OPS while missing a significant amount of time dealing with a wrist injury.

Jordan started 2022 back at Low-A Salem, where he was joined in the lineup by the Red Sox top prospect, 2021 first-round pick Marcelo Mayer. For the first time in his life, Jordan wasn’t the featured player on his team, and the Red Sox organization was excited to see how he would develop as he embarked on his first full professional season.

Blaze Jordan homered on Opening Night, April 8th, but that would prove to be his lone highlight in the season’s opening month. He finished April hitting just .162, with the Opening Night home run being his only one of the month. The calendar change from April to May would prove enormous for Jordan’s 2022 season. He opened the month with a 12 game hitting streak, and would collect hits in all but 3 of his games in the month. Jordan hit .323 in May and had a .873 OPS. His season batting average would climb from .162 to .257.

For as hot as Jordan was in May, the results in June are Blazing. He entered June 20th hitting .383 with a 1.104 OPS for the month, highlighted by his June 19th performance where he went 3-5 with 2 home runs. The home runs were just number 5 and 6 on the season, but in place of the big home run totals is a well rounded hitter, working deep into counts and putting balls in play to all fields, rather than selling out solely for power and racking up big strikeout numbers.

He’s also showing fluid actions in the field to go along with a strong arm at third base, and his body is filling out with lean muscle, rather than stagnant weight that can be a common trait of young, all or nothing power hitters.

For the season, Jordan is now hitting a robust .291 with an .810 OPS. And while the home run totals are low for a player known for their power above all else, the home runs he has hit have been majestic no doubters that come from the bat of a player with top of the scale power. More importantly, Jordan has struck out in just 15.5% of his at bats in 2022, an impressive percentage for any young player, but especially for a player labeled as an all or nothing power hitter entering his professional career.

Jordan’s success at the plate this month seems to have rubbed off on a few of his teammates. Shortstop Eddinson Paulino is hitting .333 with a 1.102 OPS in June, while first baseman Niko Kavadas has compiled a .375 batting and an eye popping 1.447 OPB for the month.

If Jordan finishes the month of June the way he’s started it, a promotion to High-A Greenville to finish the season is imminent. If he can continue to make the adjustments in the batters box that he has made early in the 2022 season against more advanced pitching, Jordan will find himself on the Top 100 Prospect list entering the 2023 season.

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