Former Red Sox minor-leaguer Jake MacKenzie is back in affiliated baseball. More specifically, the New York Boulders of the independent Frontier League sold MacKenzie’s contract to the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, per the league’s transactions log.
MacKenzie, 23, began his professional career with the Red Sox after signing with the club as an undrafted free agent coming out of Fordham in June 2020. Known for his speed, the right-handed hitter split the 2021 season between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville, batting .245/.360/.340 with six doubles, one triple, two home runs, seven RBIs, 26 runs scored, four stolen bases, 20 walks, and 36 strikeouts over 54 total games.
The Red Sox released MacKenzie from his contract last March, making him a free agent yet again. The Connecticut native then latched on with the Boulders in May and put forth a productive year in the Frontier League by slashing .302/.399/.492 with 25 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 65 runs driven in, 92 runs scored, 35 stolen bases, 46 walks, and 64 strikeouts in 92 games (434 plate appearances). Among league leaders, he ranked second in both runs scored and stolen bases.
The Boulders named MacKenzie the recipient of their 2022 Johnny Thompson Unsung Hero Award in September and exercised his contract option for the 2023 season in December. At that time, MacKenzie was abroad, playing for the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League. He slashed .248/.398/.357 with a league-leading 16 stolen bases in 37 games and earned ABL All-Star honors as a result.
On the heels of an eventful winter, MacKenzie — who turns 24 in May — will now look to make a solid first impression as a member of the Rockies organization. In addition to his plus speed and strong baserunning instincts, the versatile 5-foot-10, 195-pounder is capable of playing second base, third base, shortstop, and a little bit of outfield as well.
At this point in time, it is not yet known which of Colorado’s minor-league affiliates MacKenzie will be assigned to. That said, it would not be surprising if he winds up spending some time at the Rockies’ complex in Scottsdale, Ariz. for extended spring training before receiving that assignment.
(Picture of Jake MacKenzie: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)