Veen stuffs box score in Arizona Fall League action

October 4th, 2022

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Name a tool and chances are top-ranked Rockies prospect Zac Veen put it on display for the Rafters during Tuesday’s contest at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Power? Check, with a 420-foot moonshot onto the berm in right-center field. Hit? Check, with a four-hit day, including a two-RBI hustle double in the first. Speed? Check, with an easy swipe of third on the pitch following his two-bagger.

Veen’s secret? An up-the-middle approach that benefited the 20-year-old in Salt River’s 11-9 defeat to Glendale, as all of his knocks went to either left- or right-center.

“I’m trying to always be on that fastball and trying not to do too much,” Veen said.

On the fastball he was. MLB’s No. 23 overall prospect walloped three of his hits vs. the heater, including the roundtripper, which left the bat at 102.4 mph.

While Veen’s fifth-inning homer was his most prodigious hit, his first knock of the afternoon was his most adventurous. Having plated a pair of runs, the lefty-hitting outfielder momentarily slowed around first but then dashed ahead, narrowly averting a tag at second base, sliding in safely on the back of his 29 ft/sec sprint speed. (Any sprint speed at 30 ft/sec or above is considered elite.)

“I never really considered myself a ‘fast’ guy,” Veen said. “But I do take pride in my jumps and knowing the timing of the pitcher.”

That timing worked to his benefit shortly after he clawed his way to second. He swiped third with ease, giving him a steal in each of his first two Fall League outings.

Veen hit and dashed his way straight out of High-A Spokane during the regular season, earning a promotion to Double-A Hartford at just 20 years old. All of his tools rate as at least average, per MLB Pipeline, but none was on display more in 2022 than his wheels. His 50 stolen bases led the Northwest League this year despite appearing in just 92 games at the level.

Selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Veen has the unique distinction of getting to play at his parent club’s Spring Training facility throughout the Fall League, something not lost on a player for whom Colorado has lofty expectations. 

“It’s nice to be able to play at home,” Veen said. “I’m really comfortable here; comfortable with the stadium. And I know I’ve got my guys here in Scottsdale.”

A whirlwind past few months has swept Noelvi Marte ashore in the Arizona Fall League, where early returns indicate that he hasn’t missed a beat. From a new organization, to playing internationally, to slugging homers in the premier destination for prospect action, the Reds’ No. 2 prospect has displayed what made him the centerpiece of the club’s return for ace Luis Castillo at the Trade Deadline.

MLB’s No. 17 prospect got a changeup down the heart of the plate in the first inning and swatted a homer to left amidst a two-hit afternoon for Glendale. He once again drew the start at third base, a position he had yet to play professionally prior to Monday.

Marte comes to Arizona straight from the World Baseball Classic, where he starred for Spain. Across four contests, he slashed .412/.474/.644, tying for the team high with eight RBIs. 

Marte was joined in the Desert Dogs’ homer column by Brewers prospect Zavier Warren, who ripped a three-run shot that stayed inside the right-field foul pole in the top of the fourth. That wasn’t even the hardest-hit ball Warren would deliver; a 106.3 mph double earlier in the fourth took that honor.

For the second straight day, MLB’s No. 12 prospect, D-backs shortstop Jordan Lawlar went deep for the Rafters. His second homer of AFL action was a skyscraper, clearing the left-field fence after a launch angle of 44 degrees.

Salt River rapped out 16 hits as a unit. While Veen led the way with his quartet, fellow Rockies prospect Grant Lavigne collected three knocks of his own in his AFL debut. Veen and Lavigne – the club’s No. 13 prospect – teamed together for most of 2022, with the lefty hitters getting a chance to continue showcasing the offensive depth of the Colorado system on a loaded Rafters squad. 

For Rockies fans curious how the Fall League can impact the big league club, look no further than last year’s Salt River squad, which featured first baseman/outfielder and shortstop  (COL No. 2), both of whom impressed in their Major League debuts this year.