Blue Jays outfield prospect, Reggie Pruitt, is showing the Midwest League he a threat to steal every time he reaches base
When the Toronto Blue Jays selected Reggie Pruitt in the 24th round back in 2015, they acquired a raw 18-yr-old baseball player. Pruitt’s hit tool was his biggest weakness while his speed was his greatest asset. Baseball is a tough game, so blazing speed doesn’t always equal great defense or immediately translate into stolen bases. The organization has taken the ‘slow and steady’ approach when it comes to the speedy outfielder’s development.
As expected, Pruitt’s speed on the basepaths and play in the field (aided by his speed) carried him through short-season; unfortunately, Pruitt progression at the plate held him back. Reggie shows good range and reactions in the field with enough arm to remain in center field. He’s shown good baserunning and base stealing instincts. At the plate, the 22-yr-old shows little power with a swing that generates a lot of ground balls. He has average pitch recognition and good bat speed.
In 2015, Reggie Pruitt played 36 games with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays where he batted .223 with 6 doubles, a triple, and went 15-for-17 in stolen bases. He finished with a 1.45 GB/FB ratio with a 51.2GB%. His swing was chopped with a lot of holes.
As a 19-yr-old, Pruitt was assigned to Bluefield where he played 46 games. Despite some improvements to his overall game, the results were similar to year 1. Reggie collected 3 doubles, a triple, and went 16-for-18 in stolen bases. His inability to hit the ball in the air (4.28GB/FB and 63.1GB%) combined with a poor 0.30BB/K really hurt Pruitt’s ability to get on base (.316OBP).
Another year, another level, the 20-yr-old Pruitt moved up to play with the Vancouver Canadians. Pruitt hit his first HR, finishing with 2, and he stole 28 bases in 36 attempts. However, his struggles to get on base persisted with a .229 batting average, .297OBP, and 25.8K%. He continued to pound the ball on the ground (60.1GB% and 2.57GB/FB). He finished with 9 doubles, 2 triples, 23 walks, and 80 strikeouts in 72 games.
After three seasons in short-season, Pruitt made his debut in full-season A-Ball as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts. In 89 games, Pruitt batted a career-low .211. However, he did show improvements in all other aspects of the game, setting career highs in SLG% (.304), ISO (.094), OPS (.605), SB (37), doubles (13), triples (3), and HR (3). Pruitt improved his ability to put the ball in the air with 1.08GB/FB along with a greatly improved 41.9GB%. He also finished with 9 outfield assists and just 2 errors for a .991 fielding percentage, also career highs.
Despite the improvements Pruitt made in 2018, he returned to Lansing in 2019. So far, the results are encouraging. The speedy continues to hit the ball on the ground way too much, 1.67GB/FB and 49.2GB%, he is getting on base with more regularity. He owns an improved 10.5BB% and 24.1K%. He is sporting a .335OBP and .371SLG% while hitting for more power (.114 ISO).
One ugly stat…..6 errors for a .925 fielding percentage in 41 games.
Stealing the Midwest
You need to be lucky to good and good to be lucky. Currently, Pruitt is sporting a .341BABIP and .257 batting average, both career highs. However, both were much higher in April. Pruitt had an insanely encouraging April, batting .315 with 4 doubles, a triple, a HR, and 9 stolen bases in 11 attempts in 24 games.
May has not been so kind. Through 20 games, the native of Kennesaw, GA., is batting an ugly .187. Despite the low BA, Reggie continues to show improvements. He has walked 9 times and lowed his K-rate from 27 (April) down to 19 (May). He has 2 doubles and 4 triples in May while stealing 12-for-15.
With 21 stolen bases in 44 games, Pruitt should have little trouble eclipsing last season’s total of 37SB in 89 games. He leads the Midwest and A-Ball with 7 more SB than Will Benson (14-for-15 in 42GP). Johnny Davis (29-yr-old, Triple-A) and Nick Heath (25-yr-old, Double-A) lead minor base with 28 stolen bases.
The improvements Reggie Pruitt continues to make at the plate are encouraging. He will need to figure out a way to hit for a higher average and cut down the strikeouts if he hopes to find success at the higher levels of the minors. At this point, reaching the majors is a longshot.
Time his side.
Pruitt has a chance to make a career for himself as a consistent speed threat, even if it’s only in the minors. He won’t ever be mistaken as a home run threat but adding a little extra loft to his swing might send a few more balls over the heads of the infielders for a few more singles. Getting the ball off the ground and into the outfield might result in a few more doubles. All the speed in the world is great but you still can’t steal 1st base.
Keep up the good work Reggie Pruitt.
*Featured Image Credit: R.Mueller
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