By: Dylan Matthews (@dmattprospects)
Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365
Hopefully you’re enjoying this series so far; if you haven’t read the first two editions, check them out by following the links below:
- Brennan Davis – OF, Cubs
- Dean Kremer – RHP, Orioles
A quick recap of the structure of this article:
- Name, Age, Team, Draft RD/J2, College/Country
- Stat line from the previous season
- Tools (Current/Future) and Future Value rating
- When and Where?
- Level and ETA
- The reasons you should be well-aware of this prospect
- Floor (what’s the worst case scenario?)
- Ceiling (what’s the best case scenario?)
In this edition, I’ll be discussing a lesser-known commodity than Brennen Davis and Dean Kremer, the first two prospects profiled in this series. Let’s talk about Bryce Bush, a 33rd-round pick in last summer’s MLB Draft. Buckle in.
Bryce Bush – Chicago White Sox – 3B
Height: 6’0”, Weight: 200 lbs.
Drafted in 2018 by the Chicago White Sox in the 33rd round (978th overall) out of De La Salle High School in Warren, Michigan
Signing Bonus: $290,000 (6th round-slot money)
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
38 Games: .309 AVG, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 18 BB, 25 K, 4 SB, .396 OBP, .453 SLG
When and Where?
After being drafted by the White Sox last summer, Bush was sent to the Arizona League. After immediately torturing young arms, he was promoted to the Pioneer League. Most players are only pushed on assignments like this when an organization believes in their talent, especially when you consider Bush perceptually assumes the profile of a late round, prep position player draft pick.
Bush will play the entirety of the 2019 season at the age of 19 and will hopefully start in Kannapolis (Low-A). It would be optimistic to expect a 2022 ETA, but 2023 is more realistic.
First, it only seems appropriate to share a snippet from South Side Sox’s Under the Radar: Bryce Bush:
“It may seem outrageous, and it probably is, but Bush reminds me a lot of a guy who was drafted in the first round by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1986 MLB Draft — Gary Sheffield. Not only are they both right-handed hitting third sackers drafted out of high school, they share other similar traits: size, massive power, rapid-fire bat speed, good speed, and a terrific batting eye.”
Did you double-take that excerpt the same way I did? Yes, it came from a White Sox writer. But that’s a Garry Sheffield comp!
When you scan top prospect rankings, you rarely see a 33rd round pick on the list. Bush had some factors working against him going into draft day. Perhaps most notably, playing in the cold weather state of Michigan certainly didn’t boost his stock. After the draft process was completed, the White Sox left multiple teams wondering how they landed a 5th-6th round talent on the third day of the draft.
As I noted in the When and Where section, Bush was promoted after posting this monster statline in the Arizona League:
.442/.538/.605, 1 HR, 8 BB (15.4%), 4 K (7.7%), 214 wRC+
The third baseman didn’t quite light the world on fire in his 24-game span in the Pioneer League, but he did manage to slash an impressive (.417/.611/.917) in the Pioneer League playoffs. The aforementioned aggressive promotion is another reason to believe in Bush. An underrated facet of evaluating prospects is factoring in what we know about how a respective organization views a prospect, and that late-season promotion shows the White Sox believe in Bush.
Bush also strikes me as a mature player, especially for his age. In an interview with ChicagoNow after being promoted to the Pioneer League, the third baseman discussed the differences in the pitchers between the two Rookie Ball levels:
“Coming to Great Falls is the biggest adjustment so far. Pitchers in the AZL throw real fast, sometimes in the nineties, but no idea where it’s going. Pitchers in Great Falls don’t throw as hard but they’ve got real good command and movement on their pitches. That’s probably the biggest adjustment.”
I, for one, am an absolute buyer of Bush. The talent and pedigree are both there. More importantly, the plus-plus bat speed is there. I believe by this time next season, Bush will be pushing top-10 prospect status inside the White Sox organization. Relative to his current prospect status, the sky’s the limit for Bush.
Floor – Gone with the wind
There is a realistic chance Bush never makes it to the big leagues. The reports are that the glove is okay, but it’s certainly a bat-first profile. If Bush doesn’t hit enough, the rock-bottom floor is that of organizational depth. That being said, the White Sox stretched their draft budget to pay Bush 6th round money despite drafting him in the 33rd round. They were taxed heavily for doing so, so there must be internal belief that he’s the real deal. The floor here is very low, but if you are playing in a league where you roster ‘way too many’ (or just enough) prospects, Bush deserves a shot. If he’s already on your roster or you grab him after reading this article, remember to be patient and enjoy the ride with this high-upside prospect.
Ceiling – ~.285 BA, 20-30 HR, Will carry OBP value with high walk rates
Ceiling Player Comparison: Eugenio Suarez
Bush has already shown he plans on commanding the strike zone when he’s in the box. I have high hopes the early progress he’s shown in the minors won’t lead towards a Three True Outcome player. Digging a little deeper, the 19-year-old has hit a lot of ground balls in his early minor league career. Hitting balls in the air at a higher rate should produce more power numbers moving forward. Blessed with the bat speed and intangibles to be a future middle of the order hitter, now’s your chance to acquire stock on Bush while he is still relatively unknown. He’ll always be forced to fight the prospect-relevancy battle due to his position taken in the draft; as a matter of fact, his background and potential skillset reminds me a little bit of a once-unheralded third baseman at the MLB level, Eugenio Suarez. The duo has a similar stature, and they both draw walks and have the type of pop that turns heads. Bush will also be more bat than glove, similar to Suarez.
As I pointed out earlier, it’s important to note what the organization itself thinks of a prospect. Clearly, the White Sox believe in Bush to the extent that they offered him enough money to forego his commitment to Mississippi State (sorry Ray); then, following a brief, dominating stint in the Arizona League, they challenged the third baseman by promoting him to the Pioneer League.
If you’d like to know more as to why Bush lasted until the 33rd round in last summer’s draft, give this Prospect Focus article a read.
Follow P365 staff writer Dylan Matthews on Twitter! @dmattprospects
Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365