Every year there are prospects who have breakout years and establish themselves as legitimate prospects. At time same time, some prospects struggle. But one season of struggles isn’t enough reason to write them off, and sometimes it can help with their development facing some adversity. Last year in the Astros system there were a few guys who struggled, but I think could have a bounce back 2020 season.
Dawson was a former second round pick in the 2016 draft after a standout junior year at Ohio State University. He came into the Astros system and put up a couple solid seasons making his way to AA in 2018. He finished the 2018 season with a .762 OPS and 24 2B, 16 HR, 35 SB in 119 games. Dawson started the 2019 season in AA but struggled overall posting a .723 OPS but struck out 30.7% of the time. He did still show some power with 17 HR. He eventually moved up to AAA for 10 games hitting just .147.
Dawson still has the tools to be a major league caliber outfielder. He is very good defensively and is an above-average runner who has solid power too. He will need to make more contact to have success but he was hurt by a poor BABIP in 2019, .274 between AA and AAA. He showed signs in 2019 including a stretch where he had a .930 OPS and 10 HR over 31 games in June/July. He just has to find the consistency. Hopefully he will do so this year in AAA.
The tools he has will keep him in baseball for a while and if he can put together anything with the bat, he could easily be a guy who can carve out a role on the back end of a roster.
Matijevic, also a second round pick, came into the Astros system after demolishing the ball his junior year at Arizona (.383 BA, 30 2B in 59 games). He had a very strong 2018 season playing for Quad Cities and Buies Creek (A+). He finished the year with a .887 OPS and 26 2B, 22 HR in 101 games. I even wrote a piece about him being ready for a big 2019 season here. He finished the 2018 season strong too posting a .992 OPS and a 175 wRC+ over the final 34 games.
Matijevic started the 2019 season in AA but after the first month, he was suspended 50 games after failing a drug test. After coming back from the suspension he had a respectable .759 OPS in 54 games with 16 2B, 7 HR (112 wRC+) in AA. He had stretches that were better, but like with Dawson, he has to be more consistent. Matijevic also needs to cut down on the strikeouts a bit. The main different between the two is Dawson provides more value in the field and on the bases, but so far, Matijevic has shown more with the bat.
If he can cut down on the strikeouts, he has shown the ability with the power and bat to be a legit prospect. A move to the hitter friendly PCL could be really good for him. I still really like him as a prospect and I’m excited to see what he can do moving up to AAA in 2020.
Both Dawson and Matijevic have tools to bounce back and have big years in AAA. Now it boils down to seeing if they do bounce back.
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