It felt like multiple seasons within one year following Dodgers number 15 prospect Jacob Amaya through his 2022 campaign. His scorching hot streak to open the year fell quickly through the middle of the year before bouncing back with a vengeance over the final month.
April was a month to remember for Amaya with Double-A Tulsa, where he homered six times, posted a 1.159 OPS, and walked more than he struck out. It was the best month at the plate in his career, and a better streak than many professional hitters will ever put together. For context, Aaron Judge’s 2022 OPS was 1.111.
His 1.018 OPS in the 2021 Arizona Fall League had shown signs of progression, but it was still a sudden turnaround after he totaled a below-average .646 OPS in the full 2021 season with Tulsa.
A cold streak then hit Amaya hard for the rest of his time in Double-A starting on May 20. Amaya had a .402 OPS from that date through June 12. Despite the skid, it was at that point he got promoted to Triple-A, where his struggles at the plate continued.
Amaya’s first 50 games with Oklahoma City played to the tune of a lackluster .608 OPS. He slugged just .269, and his 15.1% walk rate was nearly the only positive offensive number during the stretch. His turnaround kicked off on August 19.
From August 19-27, Amaya’s .745 OPS was an improvement from how things had been going to that point. On the 28th, he began a streak to finish the season that was up there with his beginning of the year.
A more aggressive approach led Amaya to a 1.105 OPS in the final 23 games of the season. He had 12 extra base hits, 18 RBI, and a 172 wRC+ on his tear to finish the year. It was a much needed positive after a long drought following his Triple-A promotion.
After the ups and downs, Amaya finished the season with a .795 OPS between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. This was a better offensive season than anyone expected him to have, since his main calling card is his glove. It is yet to be seen whether Amaya can find his good side offensively on a consistent basis. It’s possible Amaya gets his first MLB action during his 24-year-old season in 2023, and in order to hit at the major league level, he will need to be at his best.
Defense is Amaya’s biggest draw. Widely regarded as the best infield defender in the Dodgers system, he plays quick and smart at shortstop. His glove held up its production throughout the season, regardless of how his bat was doing. He also played 34 innings this year at second base with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. His good defense up the middle increases his value as a possible bench option in Los Angeles, and could be enough to make him a platoon player or starter at some point in his career.