First base is one of the strongest positions in the Colorado Rockies system. Grant Lavigne is just one of the options that could see playing time in the next several seasons. He is young and far away from the majors but he has some of the best raw power in the organization.
Grant Lavigne Prospect Report
High School Performance
Grant Lavigne is a 6’4″, 220-pound first baseman originally from New Hampshire. The Rockies liked him enough to take him in the first round of the 2018 June Amateur Draft despite New Hampshire not being a baseball hotbed. He is the second player drafted from Bedford High. The New York Yankees selected Joseph Maher late in the 2011 Draft.
Minor League Production
Lavigne had a great debut year in 2018 with Colorado’s Pioneer League affiliate in Grand Junction. He hit .350/477/519 with six home runs in 259 plate appearances as an 18-year-old. He did strikeout in 15 percent of plate appearances but walked in 17 percent. His production showed that inferior competition in the northeast was not a major factor in his ability to hit.
Lavigne then moved up to Asheville in the South Atlantic League for 2019. There he hit just .236/347/327 with seven home runs in 526 plate appearances. Those are disappointing numbers but he was roughly two years younger than the average pitcher. His 12 percent walk rate is encouraging but his lack of experience against older pitching showed with a 24 percent strikeout rate. Lavigne does show some desire to be a power-speed combination at first with 19 doubles and eight stolen bases but nine caught-stealing is not a good ratio. His baserunning needs work along with his plate discipline. Both should improve somewhat with more coaching and in-game exposure.
What Makes Lavigne a Top Prospect
Lavigne hasn’t shown consistent power in games but it’s the most notable thing about his game. It was on display in his rookie debut but almost completely disappeared with the transition to A-ball and more experienced pitching. It’s possible he changed something in his swing or needs a change to continue his progression through the lower minors. However, he’s still very young for a professional ballplayer at 20-years-old. There is still plenty of time for Lavigne to get more comfortable against professional throwers.
Lavigne has shown good plate discipline despite a lack of power. He is at a position where expectations are focused purely on the bat but a 14 percent career walk rate is a good starting point. Any further improvements in strike zone control could help Lavigne show off the power suggested in his frame. He needs to start mashing soon if he’s going to remain one of Colorado’s top prospects because he is pretty much stuck at first base on defense. He could end up as an above-average Designated Hitter if the National League adopts that rule in the next few years as well.
What to Expect from Lavigne in 2020
We are still waiting on what minor leaguers will do in 2020. The minor league season is canceled but teams don’t want prospects to go an entire year without competition. Lavigne is unlikely to make the Rockies’ 60-player pool as operations resume in summer camp. That means he will be a part of an instructional camp or other system set up for 2020 so players still get the coaching and reps they need.
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