Jace Avina is only a name that Brewers fans will notice if you are a diehard fan and watch the minors consistently or you are a fan that heard about his power surge in Rookie Ball in the summer of ‘22. If you don’t know his name yet I suggest you learn it.
Jace Avina was a 14th round pick by the Brewers in the 2021 Amateur Draft out of Spanish Springs High School in Sparks, Nevada. He’s 19 years old (DOB: 6/6/2003). Avina originally committed to the University of Nevada, but chose to sign with the Brewers instead of attending college. He is a primary center fielder who also logged time at left and right field throughout his season in the Arizona Complex League and Carolina in his first professional season. Here is his official Perfect Game profile:
Avina thrived in 36 games in the Arizona Complex League playing for Brewers Blue. In those games, he slashed a .294/.436/.630 with 10 HR, 29 RBI, 1.067 OPS and a 183 WRC+. His advanced stats looked just as exciting, as he had a .336 ISO, a wOBA of .479, and had a .431 BABIP.
He then got the promotion to Carolina at the A Level and struggled a little bit more but still hit well for someone who was 1.7 years younger than the average A Ball player. He slashed .245/.336/.471 with 5 HR, 25 RBI, .807 OPS and a 120 WRC+, all in 28 games.
What I think is the most interesting aspect of Avina’s offense is how hard he can hit the ball, and that shows up in his stats. Strictly looking at how he hits the ball, we can notice some interesting stats:
He hit 17 of his 60 batted balls as a line drive at Carolina and had an exceptional HR/FB rate as an 18 year old in the Complex League. What I think is a great look for his improvement is how he increased his rate of hitting up the middle once he got to a higher level in Carolina, improving from just 25% up the middle to 37.1%. I think something else to point out is his GB/FB rate at both stops last summer. His .56 and .34 ground ball to fly ball rates offer the look that he is obviously intending to hit the ball hard, high, and far, which is exciting to see that a hitter at an age like his already has that mindset. Avina’s offense has the potential to become something to pay attention to, but that does not mean his defense is not an aspect to marvel at as well.
Avina played all three outfield spots throughout the summer spending most of those months in center field.
Avina’s defense in the outfield was nothing short of spectacular. In his 359 innings in center field, he had 86 opportunities and had 4 errors. However, all 4 errors came in the Complex League when he had 51 opportunities, whereas he went 35/35 on opportunities at the higher level of A Ball. He might be better suited to play a corner outfield spot, where his range factors are both heavily favorable compared to his range factor up the middle, although it is a bit diluted due to him playing exceptionally more innings in center. Overall, Avina’s defense is something that could be a huge player as he progresses.
So, Where Does He Rank?
MLB Pipeline: 28th in Brewers System
Avina, by no means, is a top prospect in the frame of the entirety of the Minor Leagues. He’s still so young with lots of room to grow. FanGraphs however did mention that he is a “Toolsy Youngster”, and Eric Longenhagen had this to say about him, “Avina, a 2021 14th rounder out of Sparks, Nevada, hit for huge power on the complex and in Low-A, with 15 homers in 64 games. The track record for hitters who strike out as much as he has early on isn’t great, but he already has above-average pull power at age 19 and still has room to grow”. Avina, while being a 14th round pick, has already caught the eye of people in the baseball world, and we should expect to see him only go up from here.