This post originally appeared on Dodgers Nation.
The 2021 season was a tough one on offense for Jacob Amaya. In his first season in Double-A, he only slashed .216/.313/.343 with 12 home runs and stuck out almost once out of every four at-bats. Clearly, it was a rough season on the offensive side of the game. In 2022, his numbers have improved a lot and this article will talk about those improvements and the outlook for Amaya with the Dodgers.
One constant in Jacob Amaya’s game is his defense.
Amaya is a gifted defensive shortstop with elite instincts for the position. He is always in the right place, secures every ball with his soft, reliable hands and makes every throw with his plus, accurate arm. He’s not the rangiest or flashiest defender, but he makes every play and is elite at nuances such as tags and relays. – Baseball America
There is little doubt that he is the best defensive shortstop in the Dodgers’ farm system. Many believe he is ready for the major leagues right now on defense.
Arizona Fall League
Amaya was one of the Dodger representatives in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) for the fall of 2021. He ended up slashing .333/.463/.556 with three home runs in just 54 at-bats.
The Dodgers have held a lot of their players down a level in 2022. One reason is to make sure they have major league-ready veteran players at Triple-A. In 2021, the bench was a weakness as many of the players coming up from Triple-A were not ready. So, Jake Amaya started the 2022 season in Tulsa again.
The good news is that Amaya has followed up his success in the AFL with more excellent numbers to start the season. His slash after 100 at-bats is .346/.440/.721! It also includes eight home runs and a strike-out rate of once every 6.6 at-bats. Even his walk rate has improved as he walked once every nine plate appearances but now is walking a little over once every six.
What Is Next
Just like Michael Busch being promoted, I can see Amaya being brought up to Triple-A soon. However, Eddy Alvarez is slashing .333/.471/.568 in Triple-A and is holding down shortstop. Alvarez is one of those veterans that could be brought up to Los Angeles if there is an injury to one of the big league infielders. The Dodgers need to keep getting Alvarez consistent at-bats and repetitions on defense. This could keep Amaya at Double-A because he needs to have consistent at-bats and defensive repetitions also.
I had a chance to watch Jacob Amaya up close when he was promoted to the Quakes in 2019 after Jeter Downs was promoted. What I saw was not only an excellent player but one who displayed leadership capabilities right away. He became the captain of the team on the field and showed some of that clutch gene by hitting a walk-off home run in a playoff game.
After 2022, the Dodgers might have an opening at shortstop if Trea Turner does not re-sign with them. Of course, Gavin Lux would be a candidate but the Dodgers have been playing him at second base and in the outfield. Jacob Amaya could probably play any position on the field but he is an elite defensive shortstop. If the offense continues to be strong I really like him at shortstop for the Dodgers. I spoke a bit with Doug McKain about prospects recently and some names were dropped.
Within the next two seasons, the Dodgers could feature an infield with Miguel Vargas at third, Amaya at short, Michael Busch at second, and Freddie Freeman at first. You can guess who we might talk about next.