With the draft being much later in the baseball season than it used to be, players don’t tend to get a ton of playing time after they are selected in the summer. That’s exactly what happened for Sal Stewart in 2022 after he was selected 32nd overall in the 1st round by the Cincinnati Reds. He played in just eight games for the complex league team out in Arizona before the season came to a close.
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When the 2023 season was ready to begin the Reds sent Sal Stewart to join Single-A Daytona in the Florida State League. He got out to a hot start in the first week of the year, going 8-23 with three extra-base hits and seven walks with just four strikeouts. But he went into a slump over the next six weeks through the end of the month of May. In those 32 games he hit just .182 and slugged just .200, picking up two extra-base hits in that stretch.
His groundball rate was very high during the first two months of the season, but Stewart worked to lift the ball more and that began to pay off. He went on a tear in June, hitting .337/.406/.584 and hit five home runs to go along with seven doubles – topping the four doubles and one home run he hit in the first two months of the season.
Stewart carried that forward over the next five weeks. From July 1st through August 6th he would hit .281/.439/.506 for the Tortugas with eight more doubles and four more home runs. He would also walk 24 times with just 15 strikeouts in those 27 game played during that span. Cincinnati’s front office had seen enough and moved him up to High-A to join the Dayton Dragons.
Over the first week-and-a-half with Dayton he hit .333/.432/.389 with as many walks as strikeouts – five. Following that stretch he went into a slump for the next two weeks and went just 8-43 (.186) without an extra-base hit. On September 2nd he busted out of the slump with two hits and two walks against Great Lakes and he didn’t look back the rest of the season (just eight games) as he hit .387/.513/.677 in that span with two times as many walks as strikeouts.
For all 2023 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Sal Stewart Scouting Report
Position: Third Base | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 215 lbs. | Acquired: 1st Round, 2022 Draft | Born: December 7, 2003
Hitting | He has an above-average hit tool.
Power | He has above-average power potential.
Speed | He has below-average speed.
Defense | He’s a fringe-average defender.
Arm | He has a below-average arm.
Sal Stewart showed up this season in better shape than he had been coming out of high school. That resulted in him being a bit more athletic and he showed improved defense as a result of that. With that said, he’s still a guy who is going to need to stay on top of everything with regards to his body and conditioning if he’s going to remain at third base and not have to slide over to first.
At the plate is likely where the future value comes from for Stewart. He’s got a very good approach and understanding of the strikezone. In his career he’s walked more than he’s struck out, and he makes plenty of contact to go with that. He can use the entire field, and he does so often. That helps out his hitting ability, but it may also hold back some of his power potential. Looking at his spray chart below, he went to right field nearly twice as often as he pulled the ball. It’s tough to get to your true power doing that.
With that said, he still showed plenty of pop in 2023 – especially once June began and his changes at the plate began to take hold and he started getting the ball into the air and off of the ground. There’s a chance that he could be a .300 hitter and also hit 20+ home runs. Add in that he could also walk plenty and you’ve got a real threat in the batters box.
Sal Stewart Spray Chart
Interesting Stat on Sal Stewart
On games player during the week Stewart hit .313/.437/.486. On games played during the weekend he hit just .203/.314/.284.