He may not have represented the Red Sox in Sunday’s Fall Stars Game like teammates Stephen Scott and Nick Yorke, but Niko Kavadas is still coming off an impressive week in the Arizona Fall League.
Kavadas was named to Baseball America’s latest AFL Hot Sheet on Monday after going 3-for-10 (.300) with one double, two home runs, four RBIs, three runs scored, and one walk in his last two games with the Scottsdale Scorpions.
On the 2022 Arizona Fall League season as a whole, Kavadas has batted .256/.442/.487 with three doubles, those two homers, five runs driven in, seven runs scored, 12 walks, and 21 strikeouts across 13 games (52 plate appearances) for Scottsdale.
Due to the relatively low number of plate appearances, the left-handed hitting slugger does not qualify as a league leader. But he would own the 11th-highest on-base percentage, 19th highest slugging percentage, the 16th-highest OPS (.929), the fourth-highest walk rate (23.1 percent), and the 11th-highest isolated power mark (.231) if he did.
Defensively, Kavadas has seen all his playing time with the Scorpions come at first base. The 6-foot-1, 235-pounder has committed just two errors while logging 102 innings at his primary position. He has shared first-base duties with Giants prospect Logan Wyatt.
Kavadas, 24, is just weeks removed from earning 2022 Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year honors after a promising first full season in pro ball. The 2021 11th-round draft pick out of Notre Dame slashed .280/.443/.547 with 26 home runs and 86 RBIs in 120 games (515 plate appearances) between Low-A Salem, High-A Greenville, and Double-A Portland.
After effectively tearing the cover off the ball at the Class-A level, Kavadas earned a late-season promotion to Portland in mid-August. That is where things started to get a bit tougher for the Indiana native, as he hit just .222 (18-for-81) with five extra-base hits in 24 games with the Sea Dogs to close out the year.
While his strikeout rate increased rapidly after making the jump from Greenville to Portland, Kavadas still managed to get on base at a respectable rate thanks to ball four. Among the 205 Eastern League hitters who made at least 100 trips to the plate this season, Kavadas posted the 16th-highest walk rate (16.0 percent) and 31st-highest on-base percentage (.370), per FanGraphs.
As the Arizona Fall League season comes to a close later this week, Kavadas finds himself currently ranked by Baseball America as the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is expected to return to Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season next April.
If things go according to plan, these past few weeks will have served as a proper adjustment period for Kavadas as he looks to continue to improve against more advanced pitching and the challenges it brings.
(Picture of Niko Kavadas: Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images)