WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—Three months after starring in the Arizona Fall League, center fielder Andrew Stevenson was back at work, this time at big league camp.
“It wasn’t the longest offseason, but that’s all right with me,” said Stevenson, 22.
Though Stevenson, a 2015 second-round pick out of Louisiana State, had been hoping to receive an invitation to big league camp, he wasn’t waiting by the phone. He and his girlfriend were on a cruise to the Bahamas without cell service when farm director Mark Scialabba called him with the news, which Stevenson discovered a day later.
The 6-foot, 185-pound Stevenson reached Double-A Harrisburg last year, though he hit just .246/.302/.328 in 65 games. He showed his usual stellar defense and acquitted himself well in more than 30 games in left field.
“I think being able to make it to Double-A last year will help me this year,” Stevenson said. “Going to that next level, there are a lot of good players, and it’s not an easy transition. It’s just about being consistent at the plate and handling your business.”
Then Stevenson, who hit .304 and stole 27 bases at high Class A Potomac, was an offensive spark again in the AFL. He hit .353/.417/.518 in 85 at-bats while ranking second in the batting race and fourth with nine steals. Stevenson played 21 games without making an error.
“Last year was probably the most I’ve played left field,” Stevenson said, “and that really helped me get a lot more comfortable for the (AFL) and now for spring training.”
It was a long and fruitful year for the lefthanded-hitting Stevenson, who went 0-for-1 and played in two games with the big leaguers last spring.
Now with more time around major league players, Stevenson said, “The older guys know what they’re doing, so it’s a little laid-back, but we’re getting our work done.”
• Righthander Wander Suero, a 25-year-old Double-A reliever who allowed only one run in 13 appearances in the Dominican League, was invited to big league camp, along with lefthander Nick Lee and righthanders Erick Fedde, Taylor Hill and Kyle McGowin.
— Lacy Lusk is a writer based in Virginia