You could say that Red Sox first base prospect Niko Kavadas is in the midst of a slump. Over his last six games with Low-A Salem dating back to April 27, Kavadas is batting just .133 (2-for-15) with one extra-base hit.
While a .133 batting average is certainly not an eye-opener, Kavadas has still managed to get on base as of late despite the lack of hits. In his last 24 trips to the plate, the left-handed hitter has drawn nine walks, which translates to a 37.5% walk rate as well as a .458 on-base percentage.
Through the first month of the 2022 minor-league season, which is also his first full professional season, Kavadas is slashing .263/.475/.474 with six doubles, two home runs, six RBIs, 10 runs scored, one stolen base, 22 walks, and 25 strikeouts over 18 games spanning 80 plate appearances with Salem.
Among qualified Carolina League hitters, the 23-year-old currently ranks second in walks, first in walk rate (27.5%), 29th in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage, 17th in slugging percentage, ninth in OPS (.949), 10th in isolated power (.211), and seventh in wRC+ (174), per FanGraphs.
Defensively, Kavadas has unsurprisingly seen all of his playing time on the field this year come at first base. The 6-foot-1, 235 pounder has logged 111 innings at the position thus far and has registered four assists while turning seven double plays.
The Red Sox originally selected Kavadas in the 11th round of last summer’s amateur draft out of the University of Notre Dame. The Indiana native officially signed with the club for $250,000 on the first day of August. Around that same time, Kavadas was identified by Baseball America as an underrated draft selection on account of his power and ability to draw walks.
While he has only hit four home runs in 33 professional games, Kavadas has already shown that he can be productive in other ways via ball four. Since being promoted from the Florida Complex League to Salem on August 25 of last year, Kavadas has drawn 30 walks while only striking out 32 times.
Under the assumption that he can break out of his quote-unquote slump and continue to get on base at a high rate, it seems likely that Kavadas could make his way to High-A Greenville before season’s end.
(Picture of Niko Kavadas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)