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March 6, 2023 at 8:00 AM

2023 Countdown to Spring Training: Blaze Jordan and Matthew Lugo

We've made it through the bulk of the offseason and spring training is here! To celebrate the return of baseball, we'll be counting down by posting our scouting reports for the players on our Top 60 from February 13 until March 15—not coincidentally, the same day the SoxProspects brass arrive in Fort Myers for the start of games in minor league camp. 

2022 Teams: Salem and Greenville
Final Stats: 521 PA, .289/.363/.445, 30 2B, 12 HR, 9.2 BB%, 18 K%
2023 Projected Level: Greenville

Scouting Report
Physical Description: Thick, physically mature frame. Minimal remaining projection. Will have to watch his body as he gets older. Lost weight and did a much better job maintaining his conditioning as he got older in high school.

Hit: Starts square and utilizes a quick leg kick timing device. Mature approach for his age. Has bat speed. Takes a second to get going, but has quick hands and really whips his hips through during his swing. Natural feel for hit and will make pitchers pay when they make a mistake. Approach is a work in progress. Chases too often, especially against changeups. Has had trouble making contact against better pitching and against velocity, especially when up in the zone. Will always have swing-and-miss in his game. Has struggled with velocity in the mid-90s and higher as far back as the 2020 Fall Instructional League, but showed some improvement against velocity after 2022 promotion to Greenville. Potential average hit tool.

Power: Above-average in-game power potential. Natural loft in swing. Produces solid max exit velocities. Drives the ball with backspin. Has shown all-fields power and the ability to drive the ball well out of the ballpark. Plus-to-better raw power. Raw power does not have much projection, as he is already maxed out physically.

Run: Well below-average speed. Projects to get slower as he matures.

Field: Has split time defensively between third base and first base, and likely will end up at first. Showed improved agility and mobility when he lost weight. Not a natural defender at third. Lacks fluidity in the field, footwork needs work. Below-average range. Hands work much better at first base than third. Showed confidence picking balls in the dirt there and lack of range was not as much of an issue. Potential above-average defender at first base and fringe-average defender at best at third.

Arm: Above-average arm strength. Has the arm strength needed for third base. Hit 92 mph on the mound in high school.

Career Notes: Was well-known from a young age thanks to viral YouTube videos showing his power, such as one with nearly 1.5 million views in which he hit an alleged 500-foot home run at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas at age 13. As a result, is still fairly well-known nationally and gets a number of endorsement deals. Won the High School Home Run Derby at the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. Recorded the highest exit velocity of any player at the 2019 World Wood Bat Championships (106.9 mph). Attended the same high school as Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley. Was very young for his draft class after reclassifying in May 2019 from the 2021 class to the 2020 class. Committed to Mississippi State. Participated in the 2020 Fall Instructional League. Participated in the 2021 Fall Performance Program. Participated in the 2022 Winter Warm-Up. Was set to participate in the 2022 Fall Performance Program that was cancelled due to Hurricane Ian.

Summation: Potential up-and-down bench bat. Ceiling of a bat-first regular, likely at first base. Really has to hit, as he is maxed out and has a tough potential profile as a right-right first baseman. A favorite of predictive models due to his age compared to his draft class, elite exit velocities, and bat speed. Needs to show he can hit advanced pitching in order to tap into his raw power, which is his best tool. Will have to watch conditioning. Ultimate defensive position is likely first base, but has a better chance to be able to play at least part time at third base now than when he signed.

2022 Teams: Greenville and Portland
Final Stats: 523 PA, .282/.338/.492, 26 2B, 10 3B, 18 HR, 20 SB, 6.7 BB%, 19.8 K%
2023 Projected Level: Portland

Scouting Report
Physical Description: Average frame with some remaining projection. Has filled out since he signed. Above-average athlete.

Hit: Starts square in a slight crouch. Slight leg lift. Wide stance, repeatable swing with smooth mechanics. Good extension and bat speed, but swing can get long at times. Knows the strike zone, but still struggles with pitch recognition. Has the tendency to expand the zone against off-speed pitches. At his best when he looks to drive the ball in the gaps rather than sell out for power. Aggressive at the plate, looks to attack fastballs. Concerns about his approach will translate against more advanced pitching. Potential fringe-average hit tool.

Power: Will show average raw power in batting practice. Potential for fringe-average game power if he fills out physically and starts to lift the ball more.

Run: Average speed. Moves well on the bases. Physical maturation could limit speed.

Field: After spending most of his career at shortstop, moved to third base in August 2022 in what appears to be a full-time transition off of short, or close to it. Was inconsistent defensively at shortstop. Would flash soft hands and fluid actions in the field, but also would also miss a routine play. At third base, he shows average range, but is a little stiff and upright in the field. Looks more comfortable at third base than shortstop. Bad decision-making also leads to errors on plays where he would be better suited to just hold the ball. Potential average defender at third base.

Arm: Average arm strength. Will occasionally show more than that, but will often dial throws way back in order to ensure accuracy.

Career Notes: Nephew of former MLB player Carlos Beltran, whose baseball academy he attended. Committed to University of Miami before being drafted. First overall pick in the 2019 draft in the Puerto Rican winter league. Participated in the Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020. Did not play in 2020 Puerto Rican winter league due to a wrist injury. Did not participate in the 2021 Puerto Rican winter league despite being announced as part of the Caguas roster. Participated in the 2021 Fall Performance Program. Participated in 2022 Winter Warm-Up. Was set to participate in the 2022 Fall Performance Program that was cancelled due to Hurricane Ian. Received a non-roster invitation to MLB spring training in 2023.

Summation: Potential up-and-down utility player. Ceiling of a reserve infielder. Lacks a true carrying tool, but has several that grade in the 45-50 range. Bat took a step forward in 2022, but still needs to improve his approach, especially breaking balls. Needs to cut his chase rate and improve quality of contact to reach his potential at the plate. Given his defensive profile, will have to hit to reach his potential.

Photo Credit: Blaze Jordan and Matthew Lugo by Kelly O'Connor.

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.