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Hot Streak Has Dezenzo Well Positioned Entering Offseason

One of the most improved prospects in the game this season, Zach Dezenzo has been showing evaluators exactly what they want to see from him during his recent tear.

Syndication: The Corpus Christi Caller Times Angela Piazza/Caller-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

A popular sleeper in the 2022 draft amongst people lucky enough to get their hands on college trackman data, Zach Dezenzo immediately became an intriguing sleeper when the Astros signed him out of Ohio State in the 12th round. A 22 year old senior at the time, Dezenzo took time to produce for the Buckeyes despite some impressive tools, hit .302/.382/.550 with 9 HRs as a junior and .319/.413/.701 with 19 HRs as a senior to keep himself on the radar. More impressive than the raw production were his exit velocities, reportedly as high as 119 MPH. There were some contact concerns- even during his explosive 2022 campaign, he struck out in 21% of his plate appearances- and while he started to come on in the game power department as a senior, there was chatter about how much his prodigious raw pop played in games due to mediocre feel for loft.

With the above in mind, Dezenzo required more projection than the typical senior sign, but in turn had significantly more upside if he could develop rapidly. With this in mind, the Astros were aggressive with his development, immediately implementing significant swing changes entering 2023. These paid off immediately- after striking out in 32% of his plate appearances in his 2022 pro debut, he trimmed that rate to just 20% in his season-opening stint with High-A Asheville, while hitting an absurd .407/.474/.628 with 4 HRs in 31 games. He was pushed to Double-A after the scorching start, and started on a similar pace. Unfortunately, however, he’d run into injury trouble that hampered his production, and his Double-A batting average, which for awhile hung around the upper .300s, dipped all the way to .232 at its nadir.

Lately, however, it appears that Dezenzo’s body is finally right, and in turn he has been more productive over the last week than perhaps at any other point this season. In his last five contests he has gone 10 for 23 with 4 homers, pushing his season total to 15. Even when he was posting gaudy slash numbers early in the season, we weren’t seeing these kinds of power outbursts from him- and game power had been the largest lingering question. The rough midseason stretch he endured threw a bit of cold water on his ascendant stock, but it’s difficult to imagine a better recovery than what we’ve seen as the season has winded down.

Now 23 years old, Dezenzo will have to continue to beat the odds to continue to improve significantly, but it’s difficult to bet against a guy who was developed so quickly as a professional thus far. Things are bunched up at the top of the system, but Dezenzo has looked like he has as good a claim as anyone to top billing as of late- and it’s not impossible to imagine him having a major league impact as soon as 2024. What that role might look like is less clear, as any spot he could potentially slot into is currently pretty well spoken for at the big league level, but injuries can always change that in a hurry. He’d be a sensible addition to the Astros’ Arizona Fall League roster, but failing that, expect to see him manning the hot corner for Sugar Land when the 2024 campaign kicks off.