Red Sox top prospect Jeter Downs continues to light it up in Arizona Fall League

Red Sox top prospect Jeter Downs continues to rake for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

As part of a 7-6 loss to the Glendale Desert Dogs at Scottsdale Stadium on Monday afternoon, Downs went 1-for-3 with a grand slam as well as a walk and strikeout while batting out of the eight-hole.

After drawing a two-out walk in the second inning, punching out in the fifth inning, and flying out in the sixth inning, Downs’ grand slam came in the bottom half of the eighth.

With two outs and the bases full after Desert Dogs right-hander Kyle Hurt on a single, a wild pitch, and two walks, Downs greeted the Dodgers prospect by crushing a bases-clearing grand slam to the opposite field that at the time cut Glendale’s lead down to one run.

By going deep yet again on Monday, Downs has now clubbed five home runs through his first six games for Scottsdale, which is tops amongst all hitters in the Arizona Fall League.

To go along with those five home runs, the 23-year-old middle infielder has also collected 13 RBI, scored seven runs, stole one base, draw eight walks, and strike out six times while slashing an impressive .333/.517/1.048 over 29 plate appearances thus far.

Regarded by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in Boston’s farm system, Downs enjoying some early success three weeks into the Arizona Fall League campaign certainly is encouraging.

One of the three players the Red Sox got back from the Dodgers in the infamous trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles, the Colombian-born right-handed hitter endured his fair share of struggles with Triple-A Worcester this season.

Coming off a 2020 season in which he was limited to working out at the alternate training site on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Downs hit just. 190/.272/.333 (62 wRC+) with nine doubles, 14 homers, 39 RBI, 39 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 38 walks, and 131 strikeouts over 99 games (405 plate appearances) in his first exposure to the Triple-A level.

On the surface, those numbers obviously do not jump off the page. However, it is worth mentioning that from September 14 through the end of the minor-league season, Downs slashed a much-improved .316/.372/.579 (149 wRC+) to go along with one double, three home runs, eight RBI, four runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and 11 strikeouts in his final 11 games (43 plate appearances) of the year.

It appears as though Downs has carried over how he ended his season with the WooSox to how he has started the Arizona Fall League season with the Scorpions, who will host the Surprise Saguaros in their 12th game of the year later Tuesday afternoon.

Downs, who does not turn 24 until next July, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his professional career this winter. And so he will most definitely be added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline in order to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Taylor Jackson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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