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Interview & Prospect Breakdown- INF Caleb Ketchup


In a sport that cherishes names as much as statistics, Caleb Dishon Ketchup stands out for having one of the most memorable names in baseball and his burgeoning prowess on the field. Born on January 4, 2002, in Jonesboro, Georgia, Ketchup has swiftly moved through the ranks to emerge as a player with undeniable talent and a bright future with promise. Drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 15th round of the 2023 MLB June Amateur Draft from Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee, his journey is one of rapid growth and adaptation.


At 5'10" and weighing 160 pounds, Ketchup's right-handed batting and throwing align with his dynamic play as a shortstop and third baseman. His collegiate career, particularly at Lipscomb University, laid a strong foundation that showcased his versatility, defensive prowess, and batting skill set, which speaks volumes of his potential.


Ketchup's first-year stats are impressive, with a batting average of .284 and an OPS of .806, including 59 hits, 15 doubles, and 5 home runs out of 251 plate appearances. His speed on the base paths was undeniable, stealing 32 bases while only being caught 3 times. However, his sophomore season marked his breakout, amassing 64 hits, 17 doubles, one triple, and 17 home runs across 306 plate appearances. His OPS jumped to .909, underscoring his developing power at the plate alongside consistent speed, encapsulating a rare 20/20 potential as he steps into the minors.


Yet, Ketchup's journey is not without its challenges. Despite a promising start in the Arizona Complex League, where he slashed .400/.625/.400 across three games for a 1.025 OPS, his transition to High-A highlighted the steep learning curve awaiting him in professional baseball, with a .167 OPS. Furthermore, the infield competition within the Angels organization is fierce, with Ketchup vying for a spot among highly ranked prospects like Werner Blakely, Arol Vera, Adrian Placencia, Kyren Paris, Jeremiah Jackson, and Denzer Guzman.


This competitive landscape speaks to the depth of talent within the Angels' ranks and Ketchup's resilience and adaptability. His versatility across the infield positions and a noticeable development in power and speed set him apart as a player with significant upside. As Ketchup continues to grow and adjust professionally, his journey from Lipscomb University standout to navigating the challenges of minor and potentially major league baseball is a testament to his potential to overcome obstacles and shine on the baseball diamond.


Caleb Ketchup's path is dotted with achievements and learning opportunities, each step forward a testament to his evolving game and the determination to make the most of his unique talents. As he progresses, the baseball world watches eagerly, anticipating the impact of this promising infielder with one of the most excellent names in the game.


Analysis

Caleb Ketchup's journey from Lipscomb University to being a 15th-round pick by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2023 MLB June Amateur Draft showcases a young infielder with notable potential and standout skills. His time in college and early professional career highlights several key strengths and areas where he shines.

Collegiate Performance at Lipscomb University

  • Freshman Year (2022): In 57 games, Ketchup recorded a batting average of .284, an on-base percentage (OBP) of .378, and a slugging percentage (SLG) of .428 for an OPS of .806. His hits totaled 59, including 15 doubles and 5 home runs, alongside 24 RBI and 32 stolen bases.

  • Sophomore Year (2023): His performance improved significantly in 62 games, with a batting average of .255, an OBP of .375, an SLG of .534, and an OPS of .909. He tallied 64 hits, with 17 doubles, one triple, and a substantial increase to 17 home runs, 45 RBI, and 31 stolen bases.

Early Professional Career

  • Rookie and A+ Level (2023): Over 21 games across Rookie and A+ levels, Ketchup managed a batting average of .262, OBP of .400, and SLG of .312, culminating in an OPS of .712. He notched 16 hits, including one double and one triple, drove in 2 RBI, and stole 7 bases.

Defensive Play and Positioning

  • Across his collegiate and minor league play, Ketchup has been primarily positioned at SS, with some games at 2B and 3B, showcasing his defensive versatility. His fielding performance has generally been solid, with notable proficiency in handling infield duties.

Analysis

  • Power Development: Ketchup's power surge from 5 home runs in his first year to 17 in his sophomore season at Lipscomb is particularly striking. This leap highlights his growing power-hitting capabilities.

  • Speed: Consistent stolen base numbers between his first and second years (32 and 31, respectively) underline his speed and baserunning threat, maintaining his dual-threat status even as his power increased.

  • Plate Discipline: Ketchup's walk-to-strikeout ratio shows solid plate discipline, with a notable increase in walks from 29 to 44 from his freshman to sophomore year, despite an increase in strikeouts, which indicates his ability to work counts and get on base.

  • Adaptability: The transition from collegiate to professional baseball is always a significant step, and while Ketchup's OPS saw a dip in High-A, his early success in Rookie ball indicates potential adaptability to higher levels of pitching.

Conclusion

Caleb Ketchup's progression from college to the pros reflects a player with significant growth potential, particularly in power and speed, alongside versatile defensive capabilities. His future development will likely focus on adjusting to professional pitching and refining his defensive skills across the infield to maximize his dual-threat potential and versatility.