Tyler Fitzgerald, 2B/SS
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2019, Round 4
LAST LEVEL: High-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #1 Second Baseman, #33 Overall
Performance: Tyler Fitzgerald had a solid debut in 2019, playing 48 games between the AZL, Short-A, and Low-A and hitting .276/.358/.395 across them. For 2020, Fitzgerald went to High-A and added one big tool: power. After hitting just one home run in 2019, and a total of 11 in 3 years at Louisville in college, Fitzgerald bombed out 19 home runs, alongside 28 doubles and two triples in his 2019 season.
Fitzgerald’s 2021 line ended in a .262/.342/.495 batting line, with 38 walks to a whopping 139 strikeouts. He added 12 steals on 16 attempts in Eugene, where there were changes to pickoffs that helped enhance basestealing. On the field, Fitzgerald primarily played at second, where he played 46 games, with 32 games at shortstop and 14 games at third. Fitzgerald was best at second, where he had no errors in 379.2 innings, though he took five errors a piece at shortstop and third, especially notable in just 14 games (117.2 innings) at the hot corner.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Fitzgerald is one of those players that does not have any particular strengths or weaknesses in his game, though his increased power in 2021 may change that slightly. He’s always been around average to sub-par in his contact skills, but now that he pairs that with power it’s a solid trade off. An interesting note is that he has reverse splits, particularly in his power. He hit 1 home run in 67 at-bats against LHP, but his 18 in 315 at-bats (once every 17.5 AB) against right-handers.
Defensively, Fitzgerald has good range and average arm strength. He has strong fundamentals, which allows him to play well anywhere, but he can hit his limits playing on the left side of the infield.
2022 Outlook: Fitzgerald needs to prove that his power surge was not a High-A illusion. He’ll get to try that in Double-A, playing in a pitcher friendly league and stadium at Richmond.
Future Profile: Fitzgerald looks like a utility infielder in his future, probably best suited up the middle, as his arm strength may not be passable at third except in emergencies. His ceiling would be as an everyday second baseman with power trading off for contact skills.