Tristin English Is Only Scratching The Surface
For years, Tristin English believed his future would be on the mound. Now the opposite is true, and the 22-year-old is eager to see how his future in the batter’s box plays out.
"I’m curious,” he said, "and I’m also pretty excited about it.”
So are the D-backs, especially after seeing his pro debut in the short-season Northwest League.
A third-rounder from Georgia Tech in June, English hit .290 for Hillsboro with an .838 OPS that ranked third in the NWL. He also showed enough promise at third base to create optimism about his ability to stick there.
English's baseball journey already has taken a number of turns. A righthanded batter and thrower, he spent the majority of his time in high school focused on pitching.
However, injuries limited his time on the mound in college. English had bone spurs his freshman year followed by Tommy John surgery that wiped out his sophomore season. But even though he spent time as Georgia Tech’s first baseman, he continued to get the sense teams viewed more as a pitcher.
"It wasn’t really until that summer on the Cape (in 2018),” English said, "when I hit pretty well up there, that other teams were like, ‘OK, he can hit a little bit.’ "
The D-backs were one of those teams. They tried and failed to sign him that summer as an eligible sophomore who had gone undrafted. He raised his draft stock with a big junior season, hitting .346 with 18 homers.
After signing, English bounced between right field and first base, but he shifted to third in early August and played there almost exclusively the rest of the way. His strong arm and athleticism played well at the position.
English’s bat elicits the most excitement from the D-backs. He has good contact skills, above-average raw power and a naturally aggressive approach that he is beginning to hone.
"He has never been focused on hitting only,” scouting director Deric Ladnier said. "I think this year, he did that, and he improved so much defensively that people think we’ve got a corner bat. The power is real.”