SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Over the first week of the Arizona Fall League season, Dodgers outfield prospect Andy Pages found himself a little out of sync, trying to do a bit too much. As a result, he went just 1-for-10 over his first three games with the Glendale Desert Dogs.
He decided to take the proverbial deep breath, reset and start week two with a different mindset. Boy, has it worked. On Monday, Pages went 2-for-5 with a double and he followed it up on Tuesday with a 4-for-6 night that included his first two home runs of the fall as Glendale routed Salt River, 20-4.
“I came up to the plate a little more relaxed this week and I tried to find the sweet spot and that’s where it felt right,” said Pages, the Dodgers’ No. 5 prospect and No. 66 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100.
After singling and scoring in the Desert Dogs’ four-run second inning, Pages hit with one out in the third and took an 0-1 offering from Blue Jays right-hander Hunter Gregory and deposited it 410 feet away over the left field fence.
“I just went up to the plate, relaxed myself, waiting for a good pitch and swung and it went right,” Pages said of his blast, which registered an exit velocity of 107.5 miles per hour.
He got another good pitch in the fifth inning, this time facing Cardinals right-hander Tink Hence, a Top 100 prospect. Hence went right after Pages, missing with two fastballs in the 95-96 mph range. His third mid-90s fastball caught too much of the plate and the relaxed Pages didn’t miss it, sending a 105.6 mph laser 424 feet away onto the berm in left-center field.
“I was definitely waiting for a challenge,” Pages said. “But when I saw the ball come in, he threw it right where I wanted it and it went right where I wanted.”
The 21-year-old picked up a walk and another single, scoring five times before the night was over. Going 6-for-11 over his last two games brought his average from the .100 after Week 1 to .333 and his slugging percentage up to .667 thanks to the three extra-base hits so far this week. His ability to relax more at the plate has led to a better overall approach, something important for a young hitter whose aggressive nature has made him a little less productive.
There’s no doubt the power is there, with 31 homers in High-A in 2021 and 26 more in Double-A this past season, but he did get himself out at times and he hit just .226 in August and September. Showing an ability to hit the reset button after having played 132 games with Tulsa is a good harbinger of things to come and Pages is really getting to understand that he doesn’t need to try to do too much to tap into that raw pop.
“The more relaxed that I get, the more the raw power would come out,” Pages said. “I’m able to sit back and hit.”
He was far from the only one doing so on Tuesday, as Glendale pounded out 24 hits. Twins prospect Austin Martin went 4-for-6, hitting the first pitch of the game out for his first Fall League homer and finishing with five RBIs. He’s now 12-for-24 over his first six AFL games. Brewers first baseman Zavier Warren went 4-for-6 with a pair of RBIs and Dodgers center fielder Jose Ramos had three hits and four RBIs as all nine Desert Dogs hitters had at least one hit (and eight had at least two).
Pages, as well as Ramos and fellow Dodger farmhand Jorbit Vivas, who went 2-for-5, had the added treat of seeing snippets of the big league team on the center field scoreboard. In between innings, Game 1 of the Dodgers-Padres NLDS was being shown live, a game won by the Dodgers. It just added to the fun Pages is having these days.
“I feel at home watching it all happen,” Pages said. “I’m having such a good time watching it happen live, too.”