ROME, GA – The second baseman for the Rome Braves doesn’t get talked about enough. A few other guys like Touki, Soroka and Allard seem to get most of the attention. Rightfully so; those guys are great, too. But Dykstra might be a diamond in the rough.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching Dykstra from the press box here in Rome this year and the best way I know to explain him is as follows. Imagine if Hunter Pence played second base. I’m no scout, and that analogy might not be completely accurate, but it is to me. Luke Dykstra is an old school scrappy ballplayer.
With Luke Dykstra, you might not get the smooth mechanics of former Braves second base prospect Tommy La Stella, but you might get better production and more hustle. I’ll take it.
Talking Chop recently did a great piece on Dykstra. They projected Dykstra to be around a 298/.347/.406 guy in a major leagues. I couldn’t agree more. They summed up Dykstra best when they said, “Big walk numbers are nice, but some guys have great natural baseball instincts with the ability to work a count and consistently put the ball into play.”
Luke Dykstra might actually be the best second baseman in the South Atlantic League. Dykstra’s currently batting .319 on the year, which is the highest of any second baseman in the league. He also has the most his of any second baseman with 74. His overall offensive production is certainly great, but what makes Dykstra special at the plate is his ability to hit in clutch situations.
With a guy on third, he’s batting .556 on the year. (You read that correctly.) With runners in scoring position, he’s batting .316. And with 2 outs he’s batting .344. Lots of guys his age and experience level have a really hard time hitting behind in the count. Not Luke Dykstra. Behind in the count, he’s hitting .275 on the year.
Over his last 10 games, he’s batting .333 with 5 RBI.
My favorite thing about Dykstra is that he rarely strikes out. A true old-school contact hitter with the lowest strikeout ratio in the league. He’s on pace right now to strike out 40 times. Albies struck out 56 times last year and I thought that was impressive.
Luke Dykstra has potential to have a better year in Rome than Ozzie Albies did in 2015. I like Albies and Swanson, but if Dykstra continues on this path, he could make things very interesting for the Atlanta Braves in a couple of years. And he could end up being a heck of a steal for the 7th round 223rd overall pick.
Cover photo: Luke Dykstra – Spring Training 2016 (photo by Jeff Morris)