Propsect #33: OF, Bryce Denton
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft
THE QUICK WRITE UP
There are only two prospects in the organization that are more polarizing among the fan base than Denton and those two are Nick Plummer and Delvin Perez. You know what all three have in common? They were all drafted as raw, teen-aged talents early in drafts and were unfairly hyped from the start. Like Plummer and Perez, Denton has struggled since being drafted, for the most part. He showed well at the end of the 2016 season for Johnson City and that warranted a promotion to Peoria to start the 2017 season. However, Denton's start was delayed because of appendicitis and an appendectomy. After that, he never quite regained the strength that he sowed at the end of the 2016 season. Denton got off to a tough start at the beginning of the 2018 season while pressing a bit at the plate. Recently, since he's settled in and is now visibly comfortable,
Denton has been treating balls they like owe him money. He's hammering everything and it seems like everything is going for extra bases.
He would do well to increase his walk total (which is a cop out evaluation because who couldn't, really?), but you can't complain at all when a 20-year-old kid that has struggled with strength in the past is brutalizing the baseball.
Denton's stock is rising. While it might not be exactly where we all hoped it would be on draft day 2016, there's no reason to think that it won't be by the end of the season.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
After struggling to start the season, Denton hit 287/339/415 in 187 plate appearances between May 1st and June 30th with 11 doubles and three HR.
Many were quick to mistakenly call Denton "a bust", but the 20-year-old still has a ton of time to develop and he's really putting it together over the last two months for Peoria.
Denton is never cheated out of a swing (good).
He's shown gap to gap power with high doubles potential.
When he gets a hold of a pitch he really crushes it. He's hit some towering home runs. With an increase in plate discipline and hitting-to-count, there could/should be 20 HR power in the minors.
Denton has become a solid corner outfielder with a very good arm since transitioning to the outfield from third base.
Denton (and his family) is the fiery and passionate type that love the game. Denton plays with a ton of emotion.
He put in the work needed after a tough and appendicitis-crippled 2017 season to get bigger, stronger, and healthier for the 2018 season.
Denton is a bulldog.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
Denton has yet to put it all together for an entire season, for various different reasons. I believe he's turned the corner, but time will tell.
Denton is never cheated out of a swing (bad).
He's aggressive and that works for him, but more walks without a decrease in slug will be needed as he gets promoted.
Denton has been streaky as a hitter, often going through spells of brilliance between spells of extreme struggle. That roller-coaster, so far, makes it hard to get a feel for him.
He struggles a bit with advanced breaking pitches both inside and outside from right-handers.
Will need to shorten his swing more frequently in pitcher's counts. This is something that he's gotten better at, but Denton loves to hack!
Sometimes Denton's emotions get the better of him. Not in a "what in the hell is he doing?" kind of way. But in a "he's putting a lot of pressure on himself" kind of way (but he will stare down a pitcher that tries to quick pitch him, lol).
Like I said, it's tough to get a feel for Denton because of his streaky nature. If he can find some type of compromise while increasing his walk rate (which I believe he will in time) then I think you will see a lighter hitting version of Randal Grichuk at his 5% peak. I think that his most likely ceiling is something closer to Casey Kotchman, but over a shorter time line.
Thanks to Fangraphs for the stats!
Thanks For Reading!