Josh Prince Commands Attention With Strong Offensive Numbers and Defensive Versatility
Ranking second in the league in hitting with a .403 batting average and recording 31 hits in 21 games is cause for notice at the Arizona Fall League. When combined with playing six different positions in the field, you can make yourself one of the most talked about players in the league.
The Brewers Josh Prince has made the most of his opportunities in the Arizona Fall League in the field and at the plate.
“I’ve played third base, second base, left field, right field and center field ” Prince said of his defensive positions during the Fall League. “I came up through the organization as a shortstop so I know I can play there as well. Being versatile is big. If you look in baseball there are not a lot of players that can play (all those positions). It really helps my chances of getting there (to the big leagues).”
The Brewers drafted Prince as a shortstop in the third round of the 2009 First Year Player Draft out of Tulane University. He first worked with Brewers outfield/baserunning instructor Reggie Williams on proper positioning in Spring Training and continued in the outfield at Double-A Huntsville. His extended season in Arizona has also given him many opportunities to work on defense.
“He has had a very good year,” said Darnell Coles, Huntsville Stars manager and Phoenix Desert Dogs hitting coach. “Coming from playing shortstop to the outfield this year is tough. A lot of it was learning on the spot and he is still learning but he has done a very good job as an outfielder. Being able to play these positions adds value to our organization and to him as a player. If a guy gets hurt, you know he can fill in defensively wherever and you don’t have to worry about it. Plus his bat and base running are great.”
Coles has worked with Prince all year in Huntsville and has help develop his swing to a comfortable point as his offensive numbers show.
“I’ve been working with Darnell on flattening out my swing and giving myself better opportunities to get hits when I am a little tardy or a little early,” Prince said. “I just want to be able to stay through the ball. That is the biggest reason why I have had success here.”
Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin also likes what he has seen from Prince at the Arizona Fall League and compared his defensive versatility to that of Jerry Hairston.
“His bat has really taken off this fall,” Melvin said. “He is a very aggressive baserunner–a high energy guy. His versatility is going to be his calling card to get to the big leagues.”
Prince hit .251 with seven home runs and 55 RBI during the 2012 regular season at Huntsville with a .346 OBP and .360 slugging percentage. Both his OBP (.489) and slugging percentage (.588) currently rank in the top four in the Arizona Fall League.
“It’s been awesome out here,” Prince said of his Fall League experience. “The weather is great, the baseball talent here is amazing and we are having fun too. The coaches are making this fun and enjoyable for us while at the same time teaching us. I’m happy I am putting up the numbers I am, but I’m constantly working on getting better.”
For Prince that work will continue through the offseason into the winter.
“There is no time for rest,” Prince said. “I’ll get home, hit the gym and start working out. With playing in this league, there is not much time for rest. I have missed some time in the gym and need to make up for that conditioning I have lost to prepare myself for a full season next year.”
Chances are most Brewers fans have not seen the type of game that Prince plays, but he described his play on the field as exciting.
“First and foremost, I want people to know me as a follower of Jesus Christ,” Prince said. “I know that He is the guy I play for and I want people to remember me for that. On the field, I want Brewers fans to know me as a guy who is versatile and a guy that can run. I like to steal bases, I like to try to get on base and score runs for the team. I feel like I can play anywhere and do a good job at any of those positions.”
With the combination of Prince’s ability to run, his defensive versatility and the offensive numbers he has put up during the Arizona Fall League, Brewers fans might be seeing this exciting player at Miller Park very soon.
Josh Prince can be found on Twitter: @JoshPrince17.