Does Jeter Downs Have A Real Future With The Red Sox?
Jeter will finally be seen in a Red Sox jersey. No, I’m not joking around either. Boston called up number five prospect Jeter Downs after Christian Arroyo and Kike Hernandez hit the IL. Downs’ call-up may be a brief one but it also makes an important potential turning point for the man known as the headliner in the Mookie Betts trade. Does Jeter Downs actually have a real future with the Red Sox?
Most MLB fans don’t know the ins and outs of every farm system so let me catch you up to speed here. Downs, 23, was part of the Betts trade that included Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong. It’s hard to argue with the Verdugo part of it. He makes pennies on the dollar of what Betts does and has become a starting caliber every day left fielder.
The Downs piece is the one that really will make or break the Betts trade. The early returns on Downs have been BAD. At the AAA level, Downs is hitting .187 in 152 games. The power has been there hitting 25 jacks but the 200 strike outs certainly isn’t acceptable. Downs’ minor league numbers were much more promising prior to the promotion to AAA last year which made him a former top 100 prospect.
Downs’ MLB stint this year will likely be a short one. The Sox had to make adjustments after MLB finally implemented their rule that you’re not allowed to have more than 13 pitchers on a staff. James Norwood had to be DFA’d and Downs was the only other infielder on the 40 man roster. Downs got promoted because it made sense from a roster construction stand point. Not because he deserves it with minor league performance.
It’s reasonable to question Downs’ future with the team. Once a headliner to a Betts deal, to murky future at best. Downs still has a shot and could turn into a promising big leaguer. That’s why Boston traded for him. That pathway just seems more difficult after Trevor Story signed with Boston. Things change quick in baseball but there doesn’t appear to be a role open for him right now.
Who knows how long this Jeter experiment will work. I do think Downs is worth keeping an eye on. The best case scenario is Boston found themselves an athletic second baseman that can really hit for power and turns into a borderline All-Star. That’s who the 2019 version looked like. The one the Sox got from LA can barely contribute at the AAA level. All eyes will be on Jeter now. Not sure I ever thought a guy named Jeter would sport a Red Sox jersey, but here we are.