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June 21, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts

June 21, 2013

by BP Prospect Staff

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Direct Links to Individual Player Reports

Javier Baez Giovanny Gallegos Kyle Smith
Nicholas Gordon Kyle Lobstein Lewis Brinson
Braxton Davidson Eric Stamets James McCann

Javier Baez

SS

Chicago Cubs

DOB: 12/01/1992

Height 6’0”

Bats R

MLB ETA: 2015

Weight 195

Throws R

Current Team: Daytona Beach

Date(s) Seen: June 3-4, June 15, June 17-18

Filed by/Date: Chris King, 06/19/2013

How Acquired: Drafted 1st Round; 9th overall; Chicago Cubs

Have Video? No

Physical/Health

Very strong natural build; projects to keep adding size and strength; moves well to either side, but a move to 3B is likely as he continues to grow.

Hit Tool

Plus-plus bat speed; repeatable contact swing; very aggressive and impatient approach; never sees a pitch he doesn’t think he can drive; maintains balance consistently and keeps his head quiet; usually level swing that explodes through the zone; will uppercut on occasion, but generates plus power without it.

Grade: Present 45/Future 65

Power

Strong wrists and upper body combined with elite bat speed generates plus raw power; should develop plus-plus power with some fine tuning and continued body maturity; seems to be generating more backspin as the season goes on; power to all fields; When he squares one up you hear that special sound.

Grade: Present 55/Future 70

Glove

Not the softest hands, but serviceable; moves to his left better than his right; average range overall, but flashed some ability to make very tough plays up the middle; got lazy a couple times backhanding balls he could have gotten in front of; slightly above average transfers; a move to 3B is most likely in his future as he gets bigger and loses some mobility.

Grade: Present 40/Future 50

Arm

Shows routine average to arm strength, but has the ability to reach back for more velocity when needed; saw signs of a plus arm when he stays fundamentally sound; will have plenty of arm strength to play well at either SS or 3B; did a good job of squaring his body and staying on top of the ball during his throws.

Grade: Present 50/Future 55

Other

Extremely confident kid who could easily become a star player and just as easily fizzle out. He will need to refine his approach as he advances. His raw power and amazing bat speed can make him overly aggressive in the box and cause him to chase pitches out of the zone instead of waiting for a pitch he can drive. I watched him roll over on a first pitch off-speed offering out of the zone with a runner on 3rd and only one out. He needs to recognize that there are productive outs. Serviceable ability at shortstop, but not ideal range for the upper levels.

Baserunning/Speed

Consistently clocked him in the 4.3-4.4 range from home to first; only attempted one steal while I saw him; aggressive on the basepaths and looked to take the extra base a few times; will need to run hard on every ball he hits, as sometimes he will jog to first on a routine out.

Grade: Present 40/Future 40

Overall

This past week, Baez became just the second player in the 94-year history of the Florida State League to hit four home runs in a single game. He also put on quite the show at last week's FSL All-Star Game Home Run Derby. Some of the bombs he hit still have not landed. Baez has the tools to become a star in the big leagues with his raw power/bat speed combo. You can recognize the bat speed he possesses from the nosebleeds. With a refined approach he should be able to hit at all levels. Defensively there is a lot left to be desired, but no matter which position he ends up playing or how well he plays it, his bat will be able to keep him in the lineup as an everyday player, whether it’s at shortstop or more likely third base. The main concern for me is his makeup as he will take some plays off. Again, something as simple as not running out a groundball can be seen as a negative. Baez is no doubt an exciting young player to watch and he’s very deserving of his lofty status as one of the game's top prospects. The risk remains high with his development and time will tell how bad he wants it.

OFP: 7; First-division regular/all-star

Risk Factor: High

***


Kyle Smith

RHP

Kansas City Royals

DOB

9/10/92

Height

6’0

Bats

R

MLB ETA

2015

Weight

170 lb.

Throws

R

Current Team

Wilmington (High-A)

Date Seen

4/14- 6/14

Date Filed

6/20/13

Zach Mortimer

Acquired

Drafted 4th Round; 126th overall; Kansas City Royals 2011

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

3/4; 3B side; compact delivery; free and easy; repeatable delivery; slightly crossfire; can lose release point.

#1 Pitch

Four Seam Fastball: Velocity: 87-90(T92); Command: solid-average Movement: straight Notes: able to spot to both sides of plate; will be home run prone due to lack of velocity/life

Grade: 40/45

#2 Pitch

Curveball: Velocity: 76-80; Command: solid-average; Movement: good sharp; late hard downward break. Notes: will throw early in the count for a strike as well as late for strikeout.

Grade: 65/65

#3 Pitch

Changeup: Velocity: 80-84; Command: average; Movement: minimal. Notes: thrown too firmly; does not throw often.

Grade: 40/45

Other

Extremely small frame; extremely athletic; fields position well; controls running game; relies on curveball.

Overall

Strengths: curveball is a weapon; athletic repeatable delivery; fastball command; overall pitchability.

Weakness: fringe-average fastball; changeup will be thrown too firmly; home run prone; small frame.

Overall, Smith is a good athlete with an idea of what he wants to do on the mound. He has an easy plus curveball in his arsenal. As he progresses it will be difficult for him to get hitters off of his curveball. Fastball command will have to be pristine, or it will be punished. Smith is shorter than listed and small frame creates bare minimal plane on fastball. The changeup is still a major work in progress. Ultimate future may be in the bullpen; fastball may tick up in bursts, and will be able to attack with curveball.

OFP: 45; spot starter(middle relief in bullpen)

Risk Factor: Moderate

***

Giovanny Gallegos

RHP

New York Yankees

DOB

08/14/1991

Height

6’2’’

Bats

R

MLB ETA

2016

Weight

175

Throws

R

Current Team

Short-season Staten Island

Date Seen

06/17/2013

Filed by/date

Jason Parks; 6/20/13

Acquired

International free agent; Mexico; 2011

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

Very smooth and easy delivery; stays tall but generates plenty of power; arm path is fluid/clean; good arm speed; standard ¾ slot; comes shoulder high with the glove/frontside; some deception in the hand break; clean landing/follow-through

#1 Pitch

Fastball worked 90/91; touched 92; thrown on good plane; pitch had occasional glove-side cut; showed run at 90 mph; was able to work east/west; ease of delivery and release suggests more velocity is possible; movement was above average.

Grade: Present 5/Future 6

#2 Pitch

Changeup was best secondary offering; worked 81-84; good sink at 81-82; a little deliberate in the delivery; body slowed; because of arm speed, pitch maintained deception; action was average; was comfortable with offering; used against both LH/RH; tendency to elevate.

Grade: Present 4/Future 5

#3 Pitch

Slurvy curveball; actually looked more like a slow slider; worked 73-76; was slipping to the side of the ball; break/tilt wasn’t sharp; more horizontal than vertical; spent too much time in the hitting zone; wasn’t exploited but could/should have been; lacked the snap; limited look; has delivery and overall pitchability to improve the offering.

Grade: Present 3/Future High 4-fringe 5

Other

Loved the ease of delivery and ball release; excellent feel for control; command profile is there; should be at least average and a good chance to be higher (6); tall delivery left him slower to the plate with runners on (~1.45); five inning sample; used all three pitches; worked off fastball.

Overall

Okay body; lower half appeared a little thick (thighs/ass); bad weight could be a concern at maturity; repeated a simple delivery; has good command profile; fastball is average at present with good movement (can cut it and make it run); thrown downhill will good angle; projects to be a plus offering; feel for a changeup; good sink; some deception out of hand; breaking ball didn’t impress, but look was limited; arm speed wasn’t great; very loose and slurvy over the hitting zone.

OFP Grade: 5; no. 4 starter

Risk Factor: High

***

Nicholas Gordon

SS RHP

(Amateur) Olympia HS, FL

DOB 10/24/95

Height 6’2”

Bats L

MLB ETA 2017

Weight 170

Throws R

Current Team

Date(s) Seen 6/13/13 PG National

Filed by/date Joe Hamrahi 6/19/13

How Acquired N/A

Have Video? Yes

Physical/Health

Thin build in the mold of brother Dee, but has a few inches on his older brother. Very athletic and graceful. Definitely fits the part of a SS. Body plays much better in the infield than on the mound.

Hit Tool

Open stance. Short stride and good transfer of weight with his hips. Don’t love the constant bat and elbow movement, but Nick has some of the quickest hands I’ve seen for someone his age. With such great bat speed, he really doesn’t need to load up to drive the ball. Can line the ball all over the field, and his quickness should also enable to him to collect his fair share of infield hits, making him a very disruptive player.

Grade: Present 50/Future 65

Power

Doesn’t have the build or the swing to be a true power hitter, but that’s not what you worry about in your SS. It doesn’t mean, however, that he can’t hit the ball out of the park. Already has excellent gap power. As he matures he should be able to run into a few long balls. Can easily see 35-40 doubles, 10-15 home runs in his prime.

Grade: Present 40/Future 55

Glove

Deceptively quick, took good routes to the ball in drills and is sure handed around the bag. Exchange is clean on relays and gets the ball out of the glove quickly. Didn’t get a ton of action on ground balls so I didn’t get to see him in the hole or go to his left very often. From what I did see in warm-ups, however, I’m confident that his range will play just fine at the next level.

Grade: Present 50/Future 60

Arm

Led all PG National showcase participants in infield velocity at 94 mph. Exciting arm! Throws with a nice fluid motion. It’s almost shocking the ball comes out as fast as it does with the ease of the delivery. This is the kind of arm you pay to see throw runners out from deep in the hole.

Grade: Present 60/Future 65

Other

Already mentioned he’s the brother of Dee Gordon. He’s also the son of Tom “Flash” Gordon so the bloodlines are terrific. Had a chance to meet Nick, and he’s a very personable kid. Seems to genuinely enjoy playing the game, and the cameras and attention don’t seem to bother him. Currently considered a 2-way player who pitches and can dial it up to 92 on the mound. Personally see him as a SS long-term.

Baserunning/Speed

Clocked at 6.68 in the 60 yard dash. It’s not surprising Nick can run given his athleticism, body type and family ties (see Dee). Would like to see him get out of the box a little quicker than he does, but what he loses in first steps, he makes up in burst. Once he gets going, he can really turn it on. Expect Nick to learn to read pitchers more and utilize his speed to steal plenty of bases.

Grade: Present 60/Future 65

Overall

Very special player who is committed to Florida State but will never play an inning of college baseball. Nick Gordon is the real deal. He will not only be selected on day one of the 2014 draft, he may go within the first 15 minutes of MLB Network’s prime time coverage. Although teams may look at him as a pitcher, both Nick and I consider him a SS…and a darn good one.

OFP: 65; first-division starter

Risk Factor: High

***


Kyle Lobstein

LHP

Detroit Tigers

DOB

8/12/1989

Height

6’3

Bats

L

MLB ETA

2014

Weight

200

Throws

L

Current Team

Erie (Double-A, Eastern League)

Date Seen

6/15/2013

Filed by/date

Mark Anderson; 6/20/13

Acquired

Traded by Tampa Bay Rays for Curt Casali (C)

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

Easy delivery; everything is the same every pitch; extremely consistent; has a deep stab on the back side but still hides the ball well; works down the mound well; very good rhythm; ¾ slot with all pitches; everything looks easy in windup; maintains arm slot and lower-half mechanics from stretch; excellent mechanical profile.

#1 Pitch

Fastball, Velocity: 88-91 (T92); came out sitting 90-91 in first two innings; velo dipped to 87-88, scraping 90 from third inning on; maintained velo in stretch and kept secondary (lower) velo deep into start. Command: below-average overall command at present; lacks ability to consistently pitch to the glove at the edges of the plate; couldn’t elevate when he needed to; command projection is positive because of mechanical simplicity and easy of overall delivery. Movement: fairly straight; will show occasional cutter-like run in on RHH. Notes: showed willingness to pitch off FB and successfully attacked with it early in starts; has more control than command at present; physical presence belies actual velocity; limited physical projection and as such, limited velocity projection at this point; improved command could force pitch up a half grade.

Grade: Present 4/Future 4+

#2 Pitch

Changeup, Velocity: 82-84 (T84). Command: average. Movement: consistent sink and occasional fade; regularly showed plus movement. Notes: best pitch by far; extremely confident; thrown with conviction; commands better than FB; tremendous arm speed deception; consistently has hitters out front; movement is just gravy thanks to overall deception; go-to pitch; can miss bats; throws equally to RHH and LHH; lots of weak contact; true MLB-caliber offering.

Grade: Present 5+/Future 6

#3 Pitch

Curveball, Velocity: 78-80 (T81). Command: below-average. Movement: big, slow breaker; break varies from 12-6 to 1-7; good overall shape; tight spin. Notes: needs consistency; gets caught between CB and SL at times; can be a quality MLB pitch at its best; comes out of his hand with a little loop at times and can lose some deception as a result; very good change-of-pace pitch that should be utilized for weak contact rather than missing bats; need for consistency leaves some projection.

Grade: Present 4/Future 5

#4 Pitch

Slider,Velocity: 83-84 (T85). Command: below-average. Movement: occasional tight spin; 2-8 movement at best; gets his hand under it too often, leaving it spinning. Notes: threw early in start and then backed away; consistently thrown as a chase pitch; never threw it in the strike zone; threw SL to both LHH and RHH early in start; adds necessary horizontal element to arsenal; lacks reliability.

Grade: Present 4/Future 4

Other

Looks the part of an inning-eater; good physical presence; long legs; high waist; apparent good strength; stamina was impressive during outing; very relaxed and confident on the mound; works quickly; likes to attack hitters; doesn’t nibble; needs to refine ability to locate FB for MLB success; pounds the strike zone with three pitches; showed aptitude for mixing pitches as start moved along; below-average pick-off move but varies looks and keeps runner close; finishes delivery in balanced position; can field the position well and knows his role as a defender.

Overall

Good frame; durable kid; potential to absorb innings; broad arsenal with willingness to throw all four pitches at any time; CH and CB are only average or better pitches; FB and SL come up a little short; pounds the strike zone but must have improved command to find success at the highest level; decent athlete with simple, clean delivery that allows command projection over the next couple of years; has a little deception; arsenal depth and physicality suggest potential back-end starter; below-average FB may hold him back from that; lack of a swing-and-miss breaking ball prevents successful left-on-left profile; fallback as a middle reliever.

Grade: 4+; 5th starter/middle reliever

Risk Factor: Moderate

***

Eric Stamets

SS

Los Angeles Angels

DOB: 9/25/91

Height: 6’0”

Bats: R

MLB ETA: 2015/2016

Weight: 185

Throws: R

Current Team: Inland Empire 66ers

Date(s) Seen: Multiple; most recent- 6/11/13

Date Filed: 6/12/13- Chris Rodriguez

How Acquired: 6th round, 2012 draft

Have Video? No

Physical/Health

Good body for position; small build; light on his feet; may need to strengthen up his frame and fill out his uniform a little better; not a physical specimen; unlikely to develop more physically; healthy.

Hit Tool

Slightly open stance; short, contact-oriented swing; wrists are quick; bat speed is about average; barrels fastballs; battles pitchers with two strikes; shows ability to go the other way; might struggle verses some plus-plus fastballs due to lack of strength; can get fooled and roll over some okay off-speed, which leads me to believe he was guessing or just didn’t recognize the pitch out of the hand; recent looks showed some better approach verses off-speed and spin; “gamer” at the plate.

Grade: Present 40/Future 50

Power

Not a power hitter; doesn’t create backspin; swing isn’t built for power; gap pop at most; not a part of his game.

Grade: Present 20/Future 20

Glove

Major league ready glove; buttery smooth and confident in balls right to him; creates good angles to corral the baseball; charges balls well; footwork is plus both to his right and to his left; above-average range in every way; ability to lay out and dive for a ball if necessary, which is rare; really good baseball instincts; steady at the bag with a runner bearing down on him; never gets caught flat-footed; sets himself up well for relays at the plate, although he was never tested on the throw home.

Grade: Present 60/Future 60

Arm

Easy arm strength across the diamond; throws on a line; have seen him make strong, accurate throws in the hole at short and up the middle; doesn’t have to load up to throw; quick release; not flashy, just really steady.

Grade: Present 60/Future 60

Other

Strictly contact swing allows for some optimism towards hitting better quality breaking pitches in the higher levels; approach was better in recent look; hands stayed back longer and the bat stayed through the zone slightly longer as well; trigger is quick to square quality fastballs; however, the complete lack of power puts a lot of pressure on the hit tool to fully realize its potential; raw bat-to-ball ability is very good, and if he continues to refine approach and get into better hitters counts he can realize that potential hit tool; can take a walk; on-base ability could be greater with time if he can recognizes spin earlier.

Baserunning/Speed

4.15 & 4.18 from the right side on a sprint to 1st base; has a 2nd gear he turns on going 1st to 3rd and 1st to home; not exactly a burner but good speed; didn’t see a steal attempt, despite multiple opportunities; would like to see him be more aggressive in that sense; if the speed is going to be a carrying part of his game then it must be used to its full potential.

Grade: Present 60/Future 60

Overall

Stamets is a defense- and speed-first prospect with three above average major league tools that can make a difference on a baseball field. The defense is major-league ready, with a slick glove and strong arm from shortstop. His hit tool is the big question, as it has the upside of a major-league regular at the position, but has not faced upper-level secondary pitches to date. The gap between what he is now and what he could be is not that far apart, as Stamets can make solid contact with velocity and is currently making adjustments versus off-speed. He might not be much more than a slap-and-run type of hitter, but that just might be enough to get him to the major leagues with his plus peripheral tools.

OFP: 5; second-division starter

Risk Factor: High

***

Lewis Brinson

OF

Texas Rangers

DOB 5/8/1994

Height: 6’3’’

Bats: R

MLB ETA: 2017

Weight: 175

Throws: R

Current Team: Hickory Crawdads

Date(s) Seen 6/7/2013-6/9/2013

Filed by/Date: Chris Mellen, 6/20/2013

How Acquired: First Round, 2012

Have Video? No

Physical/Health

Lean, athletic build; wiry, explosive muscle; fluid with actions and movements; plenty of room on both upper and lower body to fill out; potential for huge physical gains; gifted athlete; physically reminiscent to B.J Upton.

Hit Tool

Plenty of life in the hands; quick wrists; generates plus bat speed; can barrel up velocity with ease; ball explodes off bat; capable of keeping hands inside of the baseball; swing is on the long side, with too much pre-contact extension at times; drops back shoulder to cause loop in swing; a lot of leverage through hitting zone; high swing-and-miss; needs improvement keeping swing in strike zone longer to make consistent contact; does not presently adjust well to path of ball.

Grade: Present 30/Future 50

Power

Surprising raw power for current size and strength level; knows how to lift the ball; ability to grow into power to all fields; present game power is pull-side; drives ball with authority and back spin; power will play in any ballpark.

Grade: Present 40/Future 60

Glove

Instinctive with reads off the bat; sees ball at point of contact; can be indecisive with reads and routes; needs to learn to trust judgment and slow the game down defensively; displays closing speed into both gaps; can struggle going back on the ball, often drifting rather than tracking to a spot; shows flashes of what he can become defensively; skills to stick in center; can develop into a player who impacts the game in the field.

Grade: Present 45/Future 65

Arm

Fluid release; sets feet when throwing to get momentum behind the ball; throws on a line; right fielder’s arm.

Grade: Present 60/Future 60

Other

Extremely aggressive approach; loves to swing the bat; minimal present understanding of the strike zone; undisciplined hitter, leading to over-expansion and “grip-and-rip” approach; dead pull hitter; unrefined handling breaking balls; very loud tools; player who can make strong strides as experience level builds; in love with hitting home runs; in the early stages of learning the professional game of baseball; plays on pure talent.

Baserunning/Speed

4.19-4.25 down the line; steals bases via speed, but needs work with reads; ability to steal 20-30 bases; accelerates on the turn at first; kicks it into another gear on the bases.

Grade: Present 60/Future 60

Overall

Brinson is hard to miss on the field as his premium athleticism, tools, and highly projectable body jump out. This is the type of talent who can develop into an impact player and stick around the league for a while at a premium position. The present flaws are highly noticeable, however, and there is a big gap for him to cover to reach his ceiling. Brinson’s approach is extremely unrefined, leading to a lot of wild swings and a lack of coverage on the outer third of the plate. The 19-year-old’s body language and early weight transfer also indicate a big need for improvement with picking up the spin of breaking balls. While I see his strike zone judgment and pitch recognition as areas that have room for growth with experience, Brinson presently consistently repeats his mistakes and is often up at the plate looking to hit it as far as he can. Early clues that there are some engrained habits to break.

The outfielder’s batspeed and ability to barrel up the ball with authority are good signs that with growth in his secondary skills the bat can end up highly productive. With development, Brinson’s peak offensive output can approach .270s batting averages and 25 home runs annually. The power may crest even further as this is a hitter that can put a charge into a baseball at an early age and understands how to produce backspin, and lift. There is a lot of risk that the hit tool ends up falling short due to his propensity to swing-and-miss and averages are more in the .240s range, leading to him hitting in the bottom third of a first division lineup. The hole down and away, especially with breaking balls, and pull nature to his swing lead me to believe he’ll likely always be able be pitched to. The upside is that Brinson will make pitchers pay for poorly located fastballs or inconsistent execution. The key is how much he can improve with keeping his hands back over the next season or two.

I don’t see Brinson’s talent as a question and a future situation developing where it levels out against the competition or is exposed. It is going to come down to his ability to recognize the need to adjust and apply it into game action, while sustaining the repetition. As presently constructed, there’s considerable flameout potential and volatility, but the ceiling where if it clicks the final product can be huge.

OFP: 7; all-star player

Risk Factor: Extreme

***

James McCann

C

Detroit Tigers

DOB – 6/13/1990

Height – 6’2

Bats – R

MLB ETA – 2014

Weight – 210

Throws – R

Current Team – Erie (Double-A, Eastern League)

Date(s) Seen – 6/14/13 to 6/16/13

Filed by/Date –Mark Anderson, 6/20/13

How Acquired – 2011 Draft, 2nd Round

Have Video? No

Physical/Health

Ideal frame for a catcher; looks like an MLB player getting off the bus; physical specimen; broad shoulders; thick, strong legs; above-average athlete; very good muscle; durable build; well-conditioned; no current or past health issues of note; excellent overall physicality.

Hit Tool

Relaxed, balanced stance at the plate; dramatically improved setup and load form previous viewings; appears to see the ball much better than in the past; knows the strike zone very well; shows patience with pitchers working the edges of the strike zone; recognizes spin; very rarely out of balance and chasing pitches; simple, consistent load; strong wrists and above-average bat speed; barrel gets to the zone quickly and on a consistent plane; shows ability to square the ball on a variety of pitch types; will have occasional difficulty with better breaking balls; handles velocity; can struggle on the outer third; doesn’t always use the whole field and will get pull happy; hard line drives from center field to left field line are routine; approach is good but still likes to swing; improved approach makes contact much easier; potential average hitter but needs polishing against refined Triple-A arms that will test his strike zone judgment and overall patience.

Grade: Present 3+/Future 5

Power

Has strength and solid bat speed for power utility; swing plane lacks lift; doesn’t generate back spin or loft the ball to the outfield; more of a line drive hitter; can lift and drive it to the pull side; has strength for, but lacks ability to drive ball to opposite field; average raw but won’t play at that level; doubles hitter with 10-12 home run potential.

Grade: Present 4/Future 4+

Glove

Excellent profile; leadership ability shows on defensive side of ball; has respect of pitchers; works very well with pitching staff; appears in sync with what pitchers want to throw; calls a very good game; quiet receiver that remains still behind the plate once he’s in position; sets a quality target; firm hands and strong wrists; holds pitches well with little drift; can gain borderline calls for his pitchers; handles low pitches, particularly breaking balls, very well; technically sound blocker that moves well laterally and keeps the ball in front of him consistently; good footwork on throws; quick glove to hand transfer of ball; throws are hard and accurate; consistently popped 1.89-1.94 in two games; very sound in every facet of defensive game; MLB-caliber defender right now; above-average overall potential with borderline plus potential; polished despite limited professional experience; close to defensive ceiling.

Grade: Present 5/Future 6

Arm

Consistent throwing mechanics behind the plate; comes over the top and eliminates tailing action from his throws; good short arm stroke; ball comes out of his hand well; gives appearance of throwing downhill toward second base; good accuracy on nearly all throws; plus overall arm strength that should play at the grade long term.

Grade: Present 6/Future 6

Other

Highly intelligent player; excellent makeup; on-field leadership abilities are evident on defense and in the dugout; appears well-respected by teammates; carries himself like an MLB player; good confidence with a little bit of swagger.

Baserunning/Speed

Didn’t observe hard dig to first base; overall speed once underway appeared to border on well-below average; shows good baseball IQ on the base paths; speed won’t be a part of his game but he won’t significantly hurt a club on the bases either; potential to slow down some as grind of catching begins to take a physical toll.

Grade: Present 3+/Future 3

Overall

Has the physical and tools-based profile of a Major Leaguer; projects for a durable body that can handle the grind of catching nearly every day; defense-first profile with plus potential; does everything well behind the plate and excels at leading a pitching staff, receiving and is very adept at controlling the running game as well; could be a reliable defender at MLB level right now; offense has stepped forward with professional instruction/development; has solid bat speed and ability to make contact; learned to turn on the ball with strength for line drive contact to pull side; can still use opposite field but lacks authority; fringe-average over the fence power but will supplement with doubles as well; good approach at the plate; high-end makeup and leadership ability; potential to be an overall team leader on and off the field; backup catcher floor; solid everyday backstop ceiling.

Grade: 5; solid everyday catcher

Risk Factor: Moderate

***

Braxton Davidson

OF 1B

(Amateur) TC Roberson HS, NC

DOB 6/18/96

Height 6’3”

Bats L

MLB ETA 2018

Weight 215

Throws L

Current Team TC Roberson HS

Date(s) Seen 6/13/13

Date Filed Joe Hamrahi 6/16/13

How Acquired N/A

Have Video? Yes

Physical/Health

Big strong, mature kid with a body that profiles both in the OF and at 1B. Reminds me a bit of a young Aubrey Huff in both body and approach with a touch of Josh Hamilton’s swing.

Hit Tool

Slightly open stance. Very pretty left-handed swing. Not a lot of moving parts. Nice shift in hips with very little leg movement. Loads up in a big way with his arms, but hands and bat speed are quick enough to get through the zone. May need to cut his swing down a bit when faced with higher velocities and tougher competition, but he’s obviously young enough to make adjustments.

Grade: Present 45/Future 60

Power

Looks like a man among boys when facing similar competition. More of a pure hitter than a slugger, but don’t be fooled. This will be his advantage over the competition. Can hit for both average and power. This kid can really square up the ball and hit majestic shots behind an upward plane swing. Ball definitely sounds different off Davidson’s bat. Only negative is that he can be a little pull happy at his young age and may need to go with some pitches to succeed as a top hitter at the professional level. Could see him as a 25 home run guy one day.

Grade: Present 50/Future 65

Glove

People I’ve spoken with are split on whether Davidson is a future outfielder or first baseman. He looks the part of a first baseman, but his arm and athleticism play better in the outfield for me. Should settle into a corner outfield spot with reasonable range. Speed will limit his ability to get balls in the gap, but arm will make up for his shortcomings. Can be an adequate first baseman as well and will be his fallback position.

Grade: Present 45/Future 50

Arm

Davidson has a solid if not spectacular arm and would fit well in right field for many teams. In pre-game drills, he registered 92 MPH on a throw from the right field to home plate (while also registering 88 MPH from first to third on the infield).

Grade: Present 55/Future 60

Other

By all accounts, this kid loves the game, and he soaked in every minute of the week’s competition at the Perfect Game Nationals in Minneapolis. Davidson even participated in the tournament’s Rawlings Home Run Challenge and put on a show for those in attendance, launching 9 balls over the right field wall at the Metrodome.

Baserunning/Speed

Average runner at best with 7.0 time in the 60 yard dash. Good instinctive athlete, however, who won’t clog the bases.

Grade: Present 45/Future 45

Overall

Impressive young player who will only turn 17 this week. Body and swing style profile very well for the next level. He’s not going to wow you on the base paths or make spectacular defensive plays, but this kid is a hitter, and he knows it. He says hitting is his craft, and he’s right. Braxton Davidson may be one of the top prep players heading into the 2014 draft and should be selected on day one.

OFP: 60; first-division starter

Risk Factor: High

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