May 5, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; The Milwaukee Brewers logo on the field behind home plate prior to the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
High risk, high reward has seemed to be the common phrase uttered when speaking about the Brewers draft strategy in recent years and this is a phrase the defines Reviewing the Brew’s fifth-ranked prospect, Outfielder Victor Roache
Roache was drafted by the Brewers in the first round, 28th overall, in the 2012 draft. The college junior had missed almost all of the 2012 campaign with a wrist injury that required surgery. The injury forced the hard-hitting left fielder to delay his start to the 2013 season as well, eventually finding his way to Appleton to play for the Low A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The power that scouts saw prior to his injury began to come back and following his first full season in the minors, Roache hit .248 with 22 home runs and 74 runs batted in.
While Roache flashed enough to begin 2014 in Advanced A Brevard County, he still entered the season with many questions about his long-term future as a hitter. Classified by some as having a lot of “swing and miss” in his game, Roache struck out 137 times in 516 plate appearances in 2013. This high rate of strikeouts has carried into 2014, a season that Roache would like to forget up until recently when Roache was named Florida State League player of the week.
Through 74 games, Roache is hitting .211 with 11 home runs and 32 runs batted in. His 85 strikeouts in 301 plate appearances equals a 28% ratio of strikeouts to at bats an increase from 2013 (27%). What is more alarming is his walk total has also decreased. So far in 2014 Roache has walked 19 times, which equals a 6% ratio of at bats a decrease from 2013 (9%).
While Roache has raw tools that excite the Brewers scouts, much work is ahead if he plans on manning left field at Miller Park in the future. His pitch recognition has to improve if he wants to move within the system, especially given the fact he is a marginal defender. The 22-year old left fielder is a “bat first prospect” that the Brewers need to see more from in that area to feel comfortable about his long-term projectability. Fans should be excited as the Brewers continue to “swing for the fences” and much like Roache they will connect on some and whiff on others. Time will only tell which category Roache will fit into.