Tyler Fitzgerald, 2B
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2019, 4th Round
LAST LEVEL: Double-A
GiantFutures 2023 Ranks: #18 Overall, #2 Second Baseman
2022 Performance: In a season mired by many injuries to other prospects, Tyler Fitzgerald had a solid and healthy season. While his batting average dropped again, down to .229 on the season, Fitzgerald proved his power hitting in 2021 was not a fluke. Fitzgerald finished the Richmond season with 21 home runs. That’s notable since Richmond’s previous franchise single-season home run record was set at 20 just in 2021, and Fitzgerald was one of two Squirrels to surpass that in 2022.
The power push was also joined by an improvement on the basepaths, as Fitzgerald had 20 steals in 21 attempts, after stealing just 12 in 16 attempts in 2021. Unfortunately, it also came with 171 strikeouts, as his strikeout rate of 32.9% was just a shade higher than in 2021 (32.2%).
Fitzgerald was a stalwart in the middle of the infield for Richmond. He played 87 games at shortstop, where he is an average defender, and then 30 more at second base, with eight more at third base. Fitzgerald only DHed twice on the season, a sign of his value in the field.
Strengths and Weaknesses: It appears that Fitzgerald has found a carrying tool offensively, with his power now evidenced as being legitimate. Coupled with an ability to steal some bases, Fitzgerald has some standout skills that will help him get noticed as he climbs the ladder, though he’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts to maximize his impact
Fitzgerald pairs that with being a true up-the-middle infielder, being an average shortstop with an average arm, but the ability to play both second and third.
2023 Outlook: Fitzgerald will probably move up to Triple-A, where he will have to cut down on his strikeouts, but could have a huge power surge in the PCL.
Future Profile: With his defensive versatility, Fitzgerald has clear utility infielder vibes, and he can throw in some pop and aggressiveness on the basepaths. If he can cut down on the strikeouts and raise his batting average, he may even have the ceiling of a regular second baseman.