Jeter Downs has a famous first name and it’s because of a famous shortstop you’ve probably heard of before. The Cincinnati Reds selected Downs 32nd overall in the 2017 draft and he spent the rest of the year in Billings playing shortstop for the Mustangs.

To start his first full season as a professional, the Reds sent Jeter Downs to join the Dayton Dragons. The first week went well with the Dragons as he hit .314 with 11 hits. After several days off due to weather taking out an entire series, the second half of April began. That’s when things slowed down a little bit. In the final 12 games of the month, Downs hit .250, but did draw seven walks – helping himself to a .365 on-base percentage. In 20 games during the month he finished with a .278/.367/.392 line with nine walks and 20 strikeouts. He also went 9-for-11 in stolen bases.

May began with a 6-game hitting streak for Jeter Downs. That also included two home runs. The next week was just as good as he posted a .912 OPS with three extra-base hits. Things slowed down a little bit in the second half of May, sort of. He only hit .231, but the power kept showing up. He had seven doubles and three homers among his 15 hits in the 18 games he played. In his 31 games played during the month he hit .260/.326/.488 with eight doubles, a triple, and six home runs. He would also go 4-for-5 in stolen base attempts.

June got out to a slow start for Jeter Downs. He went just 5-25 (.200) over the first six games. The second week was a bit better, but not a whole lot. The infielder went 8-29 (.276) with a double and one walk while striking out 10 times. In the final two weeks of the month the bat picked up. Downs went 12-41 (.293) with eight walks, a double, and he hit three homers. The strong finish salvaged the overall line for the month as he hit .263/.346/.400 with eight steals. That pushed his total on the year to 21.

After finishing strong in June, things slowed down in July. Over the first week he would hit just .208, but did walk more than he struck out. Things did pick up the second week as he went 6-20 (.300) with as many walks as strikeouts – four of each. In the second half of the month things were a bit slow. Despite having a hit in nine of the eleven games played, only one of those games had more than one hit. At the end of the month he would hit the disabled list. In the 24 games played during June Downs hit .247/.363/.353. His 13 walks were the best he had all year. His 16 strikeouts were also the lowest total he had in a month, too. Another eight steals on the month pushed his total to 29.

Two weeks after hitting the disabled list, Jeter Downs returned to the Dayton lineup on August 12th. It was a slow return as he went 4-34 (.118) over his first 11 games back. He did finish out the season strong, though. In the final 10 games of the year he would hit .333/.435/.513. The slump coming off of the disabled list drug down the strong finish, leading to a .233/.364/.329 line in the final 21 games of the season. He would add another eight steals to finish the year with 37.

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Jeter Downs Spray Chart

Jeter Downs Scouting Report

Hitting | Scouts believe that Jeter Downs is going to hit and give him an average to above-average hit tool grade in the future.

Power | His raw power grade comes out as average. His current power is exclusively to the pull side, and you can see that play out in the spray chart above.

Speed | He’s an above-average runner.

Defense | He’s an average defender overall. With that said, he’s a better second baseman than he is a shortstop.

Arm | His arm is above-average and plays well on the infield.

The selling point for Jeter Downs is more with his bat than his glove. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with his glove, though. But as a middle infielder, a guy that could potentially hit for both average and power stands out. Toss in that he’s also a guy who could provide plenty of offensive value on the bases, and you’ve probably got yourself an “offensive first” profile.

With that said, Jeter Downs is a pull heavy hitter and despite some speed to beat out infield hits, he’s struggled to hit for a high average in his first two years as a professional. The parts, however, are there for it to happen. His plate approach is pretty good – he gets the strikezone, draws walks, and he’s got a solid contact rate. There’s some power in there, too. The question is will the heavy pull tendencies make him easier to defend, and pitch to, and keep his hit tool from playing up?

Defensively there is some split on where Jeter Downs could wind up. During the year with Dayton he played both second base and shortstop. However, a majority of that time did come at second base in favor of Jose Garcia. Downs posted a .976 fielding percentage at second base in 73 games, with just a .904 fielding percentage in 43 games at shortstop. His errors were split between both throwing and fielding. The errors, though, wasn’t as much as an issue as the simple eye test. He looked better and more comfortable at second base than he did at shortstop. There are still some who believe that Downs could play shortstop in the long run, but it seems that the majority of people I spoke with felt he would wind up at second base.

Longest Home Run of the Year

405 Feet on September 2nd.

Interesting Stat on Jeter Downs

He hit lefties a lot better than righties. He only had 121 plate appearances against lefties, but he hit .310/.425/.440 against them with 17 walks and just 13 strikeouts. That’s a 14% walk rate to go along with an 11% strikeout rate.

6 Responses

  1. CP

    I’m really interesting in this next crop of young SS’s that the Reds have. Jeter, Garcia, & Hernandez. Sounds like Garcia and Hernandez have the best chance to stick at SS, but Jeter will have tons of value being a offensive minded IF. In my mind, at this points, he projects as a more athletic Blandino with even more power to boot.

  2. MK

    Have to wonder what Mark Kolozsvary did to irritate the opposing team yesterday in AZFL as he was hit by a pitch three times. Twice by the same guy.

  3. Stock

    What really concerns me about Jeter Downs is his 32.6 IFFB rate. 35% of his AB (30% of his PA) end with either an IFFB or a K. This is up from an extremely high 26% in Billings.

    He needs to cut his IFFB rate in half (at least) this year and then his stock will soar.

  4. Wes

    If he’s gonna make it- he needs to step up! he’s behind in his development

  5. Bubba Woo

    I’m not a scout. That said, I went to 3 Dragons games and in two of them, saw him make defensive plays that reminded me of Brandon Phillips in his prime. I dont think defense is an issue.