In the list of Baseball America Nationals top 10 prospects, Stevenson comes in at No. 5.
No. 5: CF Andrew Stevenson
His NCAA and College World Series experience demonstrated how far along he was compared to other candidates and Stevenson culminated a great season with impressive play in the Arizona Fall League, including a spectacular 5-for-6 game late in the year.
“I think that was good for him. When he got promoted to Double-A, that had been an adjustment for him, obviously,” Baseball America national writer Teddy Cahill said. “If you look at his (early) performance, it wasn’t quite good, which is understandable - a year out of college and you are asked to play Double-A. But to be able go to the AFL and adjust to that level is only going to serve him better now when he goes back and gets in the high minors in 2017.
“The thing with him is it seems like he has made a good adjustment at the plate in terms of keeping his head up in his swing. It made it so he can drive the ball a little bit more than what he was in college. It’s always going to be more contact oriented. He’s not a guy that’s going to hit a lot of home runs. (His new approach) seems to allow him to drive the ball a little bit better.
“With a guy like him, you just need to put him into a place where he can drive the ball into the gap and then he will run wild. He’s never going to hit a lot of home runs, but I think he should be able to hit some doubles and triples.”
Stevenson was the No. 8 prospect on last year’s list.
He finished the 2016 season hitting a combined .276 in 133 games. He had 23 doubles, 10 triples, three homers, 75 runs, 39 stolen bases and 34 RBIs for high Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.
With the AFL’s Glendale Desert Dogs, the lefty-hitting Stevenson hit .353 in 21 games with four doubles, two triples, two homers and 12 RBIs. He had 18 runs and nine stolen bases. Stevenson was second in the AFL in hitting and led the league with 30 hits.
A lefty-hitting center fielder fits well for the Nationals. Stevenson has worked hard on his outfield throws and that will be a big part of making him a complete player. Consistency through at-bats and games is next for Stevenson, who is one to watch in 2017.