We continue our Unheralded Prospect Series by changing things up a little bit. In order to get as much exposure to more players we’ll do multi-player articles. For this article we’ll take a look at a couple of outfielders; Donovan Casey and Drew Avans. Both of them spent some time worth the Quakes and were promoted to Tulsa before the season ended.
Originally from New Jersey, Donovan Casey was drafted in the 20th round of the 2017 out of Boston College after his junior year. In college he was a two-way player but he has been exclusively an outfielder in the Dodgers organization. Entering the 2020 season at the age of 24, Casey bats and throws right handed.
With The Dodgers
Casey got off to an excellent start with the Dodgers in 2017. He spent a few games in the Arizona League to get his feet wet but was sent to Ogden after just five games. In 139 at bats with the Raptors he slashed .396/.444/.612 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and cracked some top 30 prospects lists. With his excellent time at Ogden the Dodgers had Casey skip Great Lakes and sent him straight to the Quakes.
Donovan Casey joins the fun. HR #3 for the Quakes. pic.twitter.com/CcVNniG6H5
— TheJerryEspinoza (@JEspinoza1634) September 15, 2018
Casey’s started the 2018 season with the Quakes and got off to a slow start. He slashed just .228/.298/.329, got hurt and ended up missing two months before returning in early August. First he did a 7 game rehabilitation assignment in Arizona before rejoining the Quakes for the last month of the season. His numbers started to improve right away and finished very strong.
During the California League Finals deciding game he went 4 for 4 with a triple, home run and 4 RBI to help the Quakes win the 2018 championship. Still he only had 260 at bats for the season due to his injury.
He also started the 2019 season with the Quakes and had an excellent season. He was named to the Cal League All-Star game and ended up slashing .270/.335/.509 with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. For that effort he earned an August promotion to the Tulsa Drillers in AA. Overall, he ended up with 23 home runs on the season which is 16 more than his career high.
With Donovan Casey’s rebound in 2019 it looks like he’s back on track. He’s a very good athlete with an excellent throwing arm. Baseball America rated him with the best outfield arm in the Dodgers minor league system. With his evolving power, good defense and speed I do expect him to start the season again in AA once the season starts. With a longer season I believe he would make it to AAA before the season ends.
Born and raised in Alabama, the Dodgers drafted Drew Avans out of Southeastern Louisiana University after his senior year in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft. Avans bats and throws left handed. He was a two-way player until his senior year until he decided to concentrate on his hitting. Since he played four years of college he also received his degree in finance.
A Quick Riser With The Dodgers
Avans was assigned to the Dodgers Arizona rookie league team once he signed his contract in June of 2018. He was only there for two weeks, posting a slash line of .393/.433/.821 before being moved up to the Ogden Raptors. The hot hitting continued with the Raptors with a slash of .350/.481/.667 and he didn’t even spend a month there as he was promoted to Great Lakes. To end up with the Loons within the first year for any player in the Dodgers organization is a big deal. Avans finally cooled off a bit with the Loons as he slashed only .228/.327/.350. However, that does not taint an excellent start to Avans’ Dodger career.
The Dodgers had Avans start the 2019 season with the Loons but, despite some not-so-good numbers, he was sent up to the Quakes before April even ended. With the Quakes I got a glimpse of him in action. Avans is one of those grinders who does a lot of things well on the field. He showed some excellent base-running skills along with timely hitting. After less than two months with the Quakes he slashed .293/.353/.488 and was promoted to the AA Drillers in mid-June.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) July 1, 2019
With the Drillers he ended up playing a lot and started showing his speed with 17 stolen bases. One thing they started doing with Avans was to have him start working on his pitching again. The Athletic even made him part of a story about the Dodgers are working on developing two-way players. In his 65 games with the Drillers he slashed .286/.346/.414 while continuing to impress.
Drew Avans is really one of those players that has come out of nowhere. To me, he seems like a player a manager will really like to have on their team as he finds ways to help the team. I hadn’t really heard of him until he showed up with the Quakes. At all his stops in the minors he has been very good except for with the Loons. Who knows why, but he won’t be back in Great Lakes anyway. Like so many other players, this baseball/world stoppage has come at the wrong time for Avans. He would probably be continuing to work as a two-way player and the time the season starts, he will be 24 years old. The progress he’s made would have probably gotten him to AAA at some point this season. Let’s hope he gets the chance.
? Drew Avans out here with the ?? pic.twitter.com/qjVF2TSXYC
— Tulsa Drillers (@TulsaDrillers) August 23, 2019
There would have been a third outfielder on this list but Cody Thomas was so good in Spring Training that he’s no longer unheralded. There is a lot of outfield talent with the Dodgers and some have shown some regression. It’s a long haul to make it up to the Dodgers and there will be set backs. Both Donovan Casey and Drew Avans are players that should be making an impact for the Dodgers over the next few seasons. There will be a lot of competition over that time and it will be interesting to watch.