Izaac Pacheco hails from Friendswood Texas, a suburb of Houston and about an hour away from where Blue Jays 2018 first-rounder Jordan Groshans played his high school games. Pacheco and Groshans have a lot more in common than just a hometown, as both play a nearly identical brand of baseball and are viewed as similar prospects by many evaluators.
Both players have a lot of similarities to their games, but the biggest one comes on the defensive side of the ball. Groshans and Pacheco are currently listed as shortstops but will more than likely see a move to third base during their time in the minor leagues due to their size and lack of athleticism. Like Groshans, scouts believe that Pacheco could become an above-average defender at the hot corner, as the Texas native has soft hands and plus arm strength, which are tools that elite third baseman such as Nolan Arenado and Matt Chapman possess.
At the plate, Pacheco “offers more power from the left side than anyone in this draft class”. The native Texan combines his plus size and elite bat speed to generate a lot of loud contact and is seen by scouts as someone with a 30+ home run upside.
Despite how much natural power Pacheco possesses, he often “chases home runs”, which has led to an uptick in strikeouts over the past year. Selling out for the long ball has caused the A&M commit to get long in his swing, and is the primary reason why he has struggled against breaking balls out of the strike zone and elevated heaters recently. Most evaluators believe that as Pacheco matures, “he will learn to trust his body more” which should naturally bring down his strikeout rate, and will allow him to fully tap into his offensive potential.
The Blue Jays have a lot of what Pacheco offers in their farm system. They have highly touted prospects such as Orelvis Martinez, Kevin Smith, and the aforementioned Groshans, who have similar playing styles and fill a similar role that Pacheco projects into, so selecting the Texas native 19th overall may be a bit redundant.
Despite this, big league ball clubs should always be looking to draft the best player available. If the Blue Jays fall in love with Pacheco’s raw power and feel that he is the best player on the board when they are on the clock, then the high schooler has to be the pick and the club will figure out where everyone fits into the lineup down the road.
The amount of raw power that Izaac Pacheco possesses from the left side of the plate is rare to find at the prep level. The swing and miss issue is real, and in my opinion, is more likely to translate to pro ball than his power.
The Jays do have a fantastic player development system and were able to fix a similar issue in Groshans’ approach just a few years ago. Because of this, I’m fully confident they can do the same with Pacheco if he is selected and will give him the best opportunity to reach his full offensive potential, which is as high as any prospect in this class.