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February 17, 2020 at 7:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Jeter Downs and Connor Wong


Our first scouting report update post of the season highlights the two prospects the Red Sox received from the Dodgers in addition to Alex Verdugo in exchange for Mookie Betts and David Price. These reports, written by our Director of Scouting, Ian Cundall, will be further updated after we have seen the players in person, hopefully during our March trip to minor league Spring Training in Fort Myers, but for now have been compiled from reports obtained from those who have seen both Downs and Wong.

Jeter Downs, middle infielder

Physical Description: Athletic, twitchy. Minimal projection remaining in frame. Has gotten stronger since signing. Thick lower half.

Hit: Patient, polished hitter with advanced bat control. Simple swing. Has strong feel for hit and has refined his swing to allow him to tap into more power and hit the ball in the air to the pull side. Will use all fields. Has shown solid contact skills. Can get pull-happy at times and struggles with velocity up in the zone. Potential above-average hit tool.

Power: Swing changes have really allowed him to tap into his raw power even though he does not have a prototypical power hitter's frame. Puts the ball in the air often and has shown the most power to the pull side. Will hit his share of home runs, but could add a substantial number of doubles to boost his slugging numbers. Potential for above-average power.

Run: Average speed, but has shown strong instincts and could steal a handful of bases in the major leagues. Speed could decrease as he matures and end up more fringe-average.

Field: Moves well and has shown soft hands. Projects best long-term at second base. Potential above-average defender.

Arm: Average arm. Arm is a little light for shortstop full-time, but strong enough to play there on occasion. Projects better at second base.

Career Notes: Younger brother of Red Sox 2015 draft pick Jerry Downs. Named after Derek Jeter. Born in Colombia but grew up in Florida. Drafted by the Reds, was dealt in December 2018 to the Dodgers in a package for Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood.

Summation: Potential solid regular with the ceiling of an impact everyday player/occasional all-star. Bat-first profile with the potential to hit in the .280 range with 20+ home runs at his peak. Defensively, profiles best at second base, but could also play short, third and even the outfield. Lacks a stand-out carrying tool, but will show average-to-better in all five tools. Speed is his weakest tool, but has shown instincts to make up for it. Sum-of-all-parts type of player with a promising future.

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Connor Wong, catcher/infielder

Physical Description: Solid, athletic frame. Moves well. On the smaller side for a catcher. Minimal remaining projection.

Hit: Long swing with a lot of swing-and-miss at present. Approach needs work. Will need to cut down on the strikeouts.

Power: Likes to lift the ball and has shown all-fields power. How much his power actualizes in-game will depend on his ability to make adjustments and contact against more advanced pitching. Above-average raw power with average power potential.

Run: Average speed. Moves very well for a catcher and could steal a handful of bases.

Field: Very versatile defender. Has played catcher, second base and third base in pro ball. Moves well behind the plate, but still working on his receiving and framing skills there. Shows soft hands in the infield. Potential average defender behind the plate.

Arm: Average arm strength for a catcher. Solid arm strength at second base, passable at third base. Reportedly was up to 90 mph on the mound in high school.
 
Career Notes: Played shortstop in college before moving to backstop. Played in the Cape Cod League in 2015 (Yarmouth-Dennis) and 2016 (Bourne). Stepfather, Matt Maysey, had a brief MLB career, pitching for Montreal and Milwaukee. Has shown increasing in-game power up the ladder. Excelled in 40 games at Double-A in late 2019, boosting his prospect status.

Summation: Projects as a super-utility player, capable of catching and playing both second and third base. Has the potential to be an MLB regular depending on how his hit tool develops. Will have to make more contact as he moves up the ladder. Power tool is better than hit right now, and he needs considerable refinement at the plate. Athletic, unique player who could be a very valuable roster piece due to his potential positional flexibility.

Chris Hatfield is Executive Editor of SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPChrisHatfield.

 
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