D-Backs’ Blaze Alexander Learns To Trust His Approach

Blaze Alexander always had the tools, but this year the 23-year-old shortstop married them with a more mature approach. The result was one of the better seasons of any hitter in the organization, a sort of post-breakout performance that put him back on the prospect radar.

Alexander hit .306/.388/.539 with 17 home runs in 88 games for Double-A Amarillo, then had a similarly impressive week-long stretch following a late-season promotion to Triple-A Reno.

“I feel like I did a good job of swinging at my pitch and not getting myself out swinging at pitches I wasn’t looking for,” Alexander said. “That really comes down to sticking with your approach and having a plan instead of free swinging.”

Alexander credited offseason work with former big leaguers Tony Graffanino and Dustan Mohr and help from Amarillo hitting coach Travis Denker for his ability to simplify things and stay convicted in his approach.

“Simple thoughts such as, ‘What pitch I am trying to hit and which side or area of the plate I am trying to cover?’ ” Alexander said. “It’s hard to cover the whole strike zone and worry about every pitch.”

It allowed Alexander, who has a quick bat and the potential for plus power, to make the most of his ability. It had been awhile since he had performed to this level of consistency since being drafted in the 11th round in 2018 out of IMG Academy in Florida.

“He’s always been extremely talented,” D-backs farm director Josh Barfield said. “He’s one of the most talented players in the organization,  but I think when the talent meets the preparation and the mental consistency, that’s when you start to see the performance he had this year, both offensively and defensively.”

Scouts and coaches say Alexander was a far more reliable defender at short, putting to rest any questions about whether he could handle the position in the big leagues.

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