The minor-league schedule won't begin until May, but we're reviving Prospect Watch to coincide with the beginning of Major League Baseball's regular season. For those new to the feature, every Thursday we'll be highlighting something prospect-related. Sometimes it'll be spotlighting a single player, other times it'll be a trend piece; basically, whatever has caught our attention over the preceding week that can be filed, directly or indirectly, under the wide-ranging label of "prospecting."
In this Prospect Watch, we're checking in on five rookies who had big opening weeks. Do note that the players are presented in alphabetical order.
Akil Baddoo entered Wednesday having taken just eight plate appearances, the fewest of anyone included here, but he's made them count. Three of his four hits as of this writing have been notable in some regard: He homered on the first pitch he saw in the majors; he hit a grand slam in his second game; and he drove in the winning run in his third.
Baddoo, a former second-round pick by the Twins on the merits of his above-average raw power and speed, was available to the Tigers in last winter's Rule 5 draft because of durability and proximity concerns; he'd played in only 29 games since the start of the 2019 season, and none of those were above High-A. It was reasonable to wonder if he would be outwitted and overmatched by older, more practiced arms. So far, in 24 games between spring training and the regular season, the answer has been "no."
The great unknown this year with prospect coverage is how the lost season will impact any given individual. The last time we saw Jonathan India, the fifth pick in the 2018 draft, he was faring decently in his first exposure to Double-A pitching. Though a natural third baseman, the Reds asked him to move to second base as part of their infield merry-go-round.
The early returns have been pleasant, as India has notched nine hits in his first 19 at-bats. The majority of those have been of the seeing-eye variety, including grounders through the right side on a hit-and-run attempt and against an overshift. Perhaps that shouldn't be too surprising, given that India profiles as a hit-over-power type who'll need a solid batting average to buoy his overall game.