The 2019 draft is right around the corner. We know it can be hard to find a major leaguer late in the draft, but sometimes you can find a diamond in the 16th round. Take Double-A prospect shortstop Alan Trejo, who the Rockies took in the 16th round of the 2017 draft out of San Diego State. Trejo has a ways to go, but if he keeps progressing the way he is, can make some noise in the Rockies’ system.
Writers like Baseball Writers’ Association of America member and longtime Colorado Rockies’ writer Jack Etkin have wondered how a player like Trejo, who prospered enough to skip a level last year to jump into Double-A in 2019, slid all the way down to the 16th round in the 2017 draft. He is known for his defensive skills, playmaking ability and leadership but was nowhere as good as a hitter, which is why he was taken so late. Farm director Zach Wilson spoke about that, saying “he didn’t come here as a hitter. And I think that’s probably what held him back from being a higher pick.”
The infielder has always been a decent hitter at best, but this season he has taken a different approach on how to see the plate and pitches. He is getting a better understanding of the pitch zone and knowing when to attack the pitches he feels comfortable going after.
In 2018 he payed for the Class A Lancaster JetHawks and hit .278/.329/.425 along with 10 home runs in 114 games. This year the California native is currently hitting .299/.329/.482 with seven home runs in 170 plate appearances. He ranks second in batting average, behind Colton Welker; third in slugging percentage, behind Welker and Vince Fernandez; and fourth in on-base percentage, behind Welker, Fernandez, and Tyler Nevin. That’s good prospect company, and it stands out for someone hitting in a difficult environment and is on average a year younger than the competition.
While his hitting has been a nice surprise for the team, his quality defense is nothing new to the team. This season Trejo takes control of the infield and is a key cog in the success of the Yard Goats. As Trejo’s role and importance grows on the team, his is taking charge with his teammates. Don Amore of the Hartford Courant wrote an article on Trejo’s journey. One of the things he details how he grew up a big fan of Derek Jeter, his professionalism, leadership and the way he puts the team first. His influence on Trejo shows in how he takes charge with his teammates:
“That’s the guy I want to be like, if I get to the majors one day, to hopefully have an impact like he did. He was the face of baseball for so long because of the way he went about his business. If he had a bad day, he was always around to talk to the media after. It was never about him always about the team and how successful the team was, and that’s what always stuck with me, it was always team first.”
According to Baseball Prospectus, five of the Rockies’ top ten prospects are infielders. Trejo isn’t among that group — 16th rounders usually aren’t. But Trejo has great feel for the infield at shortstop. Couple that with his leadership and advances at the plate, and Trejo all of the sudden looks like a player to look out for moving forward.