Name: Blaze Alexander
DOB: 6/11/1999 (Age 19)
Acquired: 11th Round, 2018 MLB Draft
Most Notable Tool: Throwing Arm
Season Stats: 55 G, 247 PA, .329/.417/.538, 19 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 52 R, 31/52 BB/K, 10/13 SB
2018 Season Summary: Very few players can say they had a better debut season than Blaze Alexander, who took off the minute he accepted a $500k signing bonus. While initially sharing an infield with Geraldo Perdomo, Alexander split time between SS and 2B before getting the bulk of his starts at SS when Perdomo was promoted to Hillsboro. After completely decimating the Arizona League (190 wRC+), the team sent him up to Missoula where he put up solid numbers across the board.
Tools: Hit 35/60, Power 50/60, Speed 55, Defense 45/60
Alexander is another high upside player at a premium position. In his debut season, he posted BABIPs of .438 and .386 between the AZL and Pioneer league respectively. Those numbers won’t be sustainable when he sees more advanced pitching, but it’s also not unreasonable to believe there is a possible high BABIP skill there as well. On top of that, he is also hitting the ball in the air quite frequently, which shows that he Alexander is already showing good doubles power at 19 years old and only 165 pounds, so there is definitely more room for over the fence power as he physically matures. On top of the exciting offensive profile, he profiles well defensively for the shortstop position due to solid range and a throwing arm that even puts Nick Ahmed’s (who might have the fastest release in MLB) to shame. The arm isn’t as accurate, as that’s led to a lot of errors but that’s something I expect to get worked out with more instruction and repetition.
Upside: If things work out, Alexander has the ceiling of an All-Star SS or 3B. If Jazz Chisholm or Geraldo Perdomo establish themselves as the long term solution at SS then the natural move will be to shift Alexander to 3B where his arm plays up. In the meantime, they should keep developing him at SS to guard against Chisholm being a bust since he has more offensive upside at SS than Perdomo. Offensively his ceiling profiles as a .270-.280 hitter with 25 HR/20 SB capability while playing strong defense wherever he’s put in the field. Players with a high BABIP skill that can draw walks and put up strong power numbers at a premium position are rare, which makes him a must keep prospect for now.
Risk: Alexander is only 19 and coming off his first taste of Pro Ball. I commend him for the season he had, as he showed an advanced approach at the plate for his age overall as well as having a good mental fortitude on defense. The strikeouts are a bit of an issue, as his draft profile mentioned there was a lot of swing and miss in his game, but that’s nitpicking. Given that Alexander plays a premium defensive position, the offensive bar isn’t that high overall and the potential offensive upside also profiles well for 3B.
Likely 2019 Assignment: I hold the same opinion with Alexander’s 2019 assignment as I do with Kristian Robinson, another high ceiling prospect about his age. I think full season ball is a stretch for Alexander, who will start the season in Extended Spring Training before getting a look at Missoula or Hillsboro. Hillsboro seems the more likely destination given that he put up a 117 wRC+ with a solid enough walk rate to overcome the jump in strikeouts.
ETA: 2022 Season