Arizona Fall League Prospect Report: Zach Dezenzo Leads Homer Barrage


Image credit: Zach Dezenzo (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

MESA, Ariz.Zach Dezenzo hits baseballs hard. He did it in in college at Ohio State, where he slammed 38 home runs over four seasons, half of which came during his monster senior year in 2022.

The light-tower power led the Astros to take a chance on Dezenzo in the 12th round of that year’s draft. They immediately assigned him to Low-A Fayetteville, where he put his first four home runs on his professional ledger.

This year, he smashed 18 more longballs in 94 games split between High-A Asheville and Double-A Corpus Christi. In that time, his average and 90th-percentile exit velocities were 92.3 and 107.9 mph.

On Wednesday, he added his first home run of the Fall League. The blast was a loud, majestic shot launched to the deepest recesses of left-center field at Sloan Park, the Cubs’ home during Cactus League play.

Afterward, Dezenzo believed the blast was among his hardest-hit balls in his time as a professional.

“It’s probably up there,” he said. “I’m not sure what the exact exit velo was, but yeah, I try to make hitting the ball hard in the gaps my game, and I kind of got a hold of one in a 2-0 count there, and I’m happy with the results.”

Clearly, Dezenzo has plenty of raw juice. He turned more of it into in-game power this past season by making small changes to both his mindset and his mechanics.

“I think really what I’ve been trying to work on is just developing that overall hit tool, and being a little bit more disciplined at the plate,” he said. “For me, that looks like finding pitches and hitting pitches that I know I can handle and not being so much of a free-swinger.

“Mechanically, I think I also quieted down some things in my leg kick and shortened up a little bit just knowing that I’m gonna be able to get to that power if I just get the barrel to the ball.”

Dezenzo also noted that he closed his stance somewhat and worked on seeing the ball deeper into the strike zone.

Over the rest of his time in the AFL, Dezenzo said he wants to work on unleashing more of his raw power on fastballs on the inner half so he can backspin them to his pull side.

“I have a tendency as an inside-out hitter to try to be a little too handsy with those pitchers inside,” he said, “so one thing they want me to work on is trying to lift the ball a little bit more to the pull side, which I was happy I was able to do today.”


Dezenzo’s home run was one of four combined between Mesa and Peoria. The other three—all no-doubt blasts—came from Kevin Alcantara (Cubs), Graham Pauley (Padres) and Harry Ford (Mariners). The homers were the first of the year for each player.

Harry Ford

Graham Pauley

Kevin Alcantara

Ford also showed off defensively when he threw out Cubs infielder James Triantos with a pop time of 1.88 seconds.

Angels masher Sonny DiChiara (Scottsdale) made an impact in the day game by collecting three hits, the biggest of which was a game-breaking grand slam that snuck just inside the right-field foul pole. The home run, DiChiara’s first of the AFL, left the bat at 96.8 mph and traveled an estimated 358 feet.

Phillies righthander Dominic Pipkin stood out on the mound with a quick, dominant inning for Scottsdale. The 23-year-old, whom the Phillies chose in the ninth round of the 2018 draft, needed just nine pitches to retire the side. He sat in the upper 90s and touched 98 with his four-seam fastball and paired it with a high-80s cutter that he used to finish off his lone strikeout.

NEXT UP: Thursday’s Projected AFL Starters

RHP Trent Palmer (Surprise/Blue Jays) vs. RHP J.C. Flowers (Salt River/Pirates)
RHP Christian McGowan (Scottsdale/Phillies) vs. LHP Jordan Carr (Glendale/Twins)
RHP Tyler Guilfoil (Mesa/Astros) vs. LHP Ryan Webb (Guardians/Peoria)

McCabe, DavidSRRATL412011.500.600.500
Ogans, KeshawnSRRATL412000.500.600.500
Alcántara, KevinMSSCHC513102.600.6001.200HR, SB
Montgomery, BennySRRCOL412011.500.600.5002 SB
Thompson, SterlinSRRCOL413110.750.8001.2503B, SB
Dezenzo, ZachMSSHOU311112.333.6001.333HR
Wilson, PeytonSURKCR302000.667.7501.0002B
DiChiara, SonnySCOLAA513401.600.6001.200HR
Fernandez, YeinerGDDLAD411100.250.2501.000HR
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Cossetti, AndrewGDDMIN311112.333.5001.333HR
Jordan, RowdeyGDDNYM412301.500.5001.0002 2B
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Bowen, JaseSRRPIT302210.667.7501.0002B
Marsee, JakobPEJSDP412111.500.500.500SB
Martorella, NathanPEJSDP512000.400.400.400
Pauley, GrahamPEJSDP421110.250.4001.000HR
Ford, HarryPEJSEA421312.250.4001.000HR
Howell, CarterSCOSFG423001.750.7501.2503B, CS
Rivas, JeremySCOSTL412000.500.500.500
Hicks, LiamSURTEX401000.250.250.5002B
Walston, BlakeSRRARI34000140.00
Hull, NickMSSCHC435512111.25L
Mendez, MiguelPEJCHC2.124312411.57
Cerantola, EricSURKCR31110143.00L
Wallace, JacobSURKCR1.22111055.40
Williams, KendallGDDLAD45110132.25W
Buxton, IkePEJMIA44111262.25W
Dombkowski, NickSRRPIT24110014.50
Santana, TylerMSSPIT2.155412115.43
Herz, DJSCOWAS32000150.00

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