CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Skewed Left: The Compa... (12/19)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Hot Stove Scouting Rep... (12/18)
Next Column >>
Hot Stove Scouting Rep... (12/19)
Next Article >>
Baseball Prospectus Ne... (12/19)

December 19, 2013

Hot Stove Scouting Report

Mike Napoli

by Josh Herzenberg


Player Name: Mike Napoli

Date Filed: 12/6/13

Throws

Bats

Primary Pos

Secondary Pos

R

R

1B

DH

Swing Breakdown

Starts hands high, just above ear; upright stance with bent knees. Load has some moving —parts hands move down and back, hips drop slightly; utilizes a leg lift trigger with moderate stride length. Hands start from an extremely low point and involve minimal movement once swing begins. Hits off a bent front side and a strong backside, with a good center of balance. Hands work with good length through the zone and finish high due to uppercut. Swing has a propensity to get long due to the drop of both the hands and subsequent uppercut.

Approach

Approach relies on plus power, with extreme propensity to swing and miss. Napoli uses all fields well, power plays best to pull side. Uppercut in swing largely results in a high amount of fly balls, which magnifies raw power tool. Napoli is extremely aggressive against pitches up and in the zone, as this plays into the pull side power potential. Despite propensity to swing and miss, Napoli is a relatively patient hitter—shows good plate discipline on pitches away and will draw walks.

Makeup

Napoli has drawn praise as a good teammate everywhere he goes. His clubhouse presence was cited as a positive component to the most recent World Series run in Boston, and has been shown elsewhere. Napoli is a smart player who very rarely shows negative emotions on the field, and commands respect from opponents. Napoli has logged eight career seasons in the majors and has been to the postseason six times.

Breakdown of Tools

Hit Tool

Grade

5

Swing-and-miss approach is offset by raw power, which enables Napoli to hit to all fields with authority while maintaining a high BABIP (.310 career, .367 in 2013).

Power

Grade

65

Napoli’s raw power is what predicates his plate approach. Shows enormous power through strong, thick build and powerful torque in swing. Prodigious home run display in batting practice sessions, several tape-measure home runs in game. Potential to hit 30+ HR over the course of a full MLB season.

Speed

Grade

35

A below-average runner as a catcher, Napoli has slowed since moving to 1B, most likely due to the hip condition that caused contract renegotiation with Red Sox in 2012. Napoli is a smart baserunner but is relatively immobile and is essentially base-to-base.

Defense

Grade

6

The most surprising plus tool that Napoli possesses is as a defensive first baseman. Flawless transition to the position full-time in 2013. Outstanding body control, good range around bag, soft hands. Positions himself very well when fielding groundballs and throws.

Arm

Grade

5

As a catcher-turned-first-baseman, Napoli’s arm is solid. He possesses athletic motions and a smooth and accurate release that plays well when necessary.

Batting Trends

Date Range: 2013 Season

Splits

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Batted Ball Percentage

Batted Ball Percentage

GB

LD

FB

GB

LD

FB

30.8%

29.9%

39.3%

40%

21.5%

38.5%

Chase Percentage (Out of Strike Zone Swings)

Chase Percentage (Out of Strike Zone Swings)

FB (4/2/SNK)

CB/SL

CH/SPLT

FB (4/2/SNK)

CB/SL

CH/SPLT

22.59%

25%

37.14%

25.97%

26.28%

50%

Swing/Miss Percentage

Swing/Miss Percentage

FB (4/2/SNK)

CB/SL

CH/SPLT

FB (4/2/SNK)

CB/SL

CH/SPLT

29.41%

55.56%

41%

33.33%

59.38%

51.28%

Grades and Projections

Role

Present

Future

55

Due to Napoli’s age (33) and medicals (hip necrosis), he is most likely at his peak performance already and will begin to see a decline in the near future.

Years expected to perform at current level: 1-2

Strengths

Plus power and defense create both a run-producing weapon and a sound option at first base. Napoli is a consistent power threat and has a patient approach at the plate, leading to both a high slugging and on-base percentages. His defensive attributes enable him to be multi-faceted, as his athleticism plays up despite his thick frame.

Weaknesses

Swing and miss approach leads to high K percentage, especially against breaking pitches. Lack of speed causes him to be a non-threat on the bases. Health is also a factor, as Napoli has never played more than 140 games in a season and has a degenerative hip condition.

Means of Exploitation

Napoli especially struggles against breaking pitches and high fastballs out of the zone. Napoli’s strength rests on the outer half of the plate, where his hands are allowed to get extended and drive the ball. In order to compete against Napoli with success, a pitcher must expand the strike zone and get Napoli to swing at breaking pitches off the plate, where he can be exploited the best.

Conclusion

Napoli is a prototypical high power/high strikeout corner infielder that should see significant time in the middle of an order for the near future. Napoli’s aggressive approach out of the zone will lead to an above-average amount of swings and misses, which is exploitable through proper pitch sequencing. Napoli is a power threat to any part of the park, but is especially adept at hitting a pitch on the outer half of the plate.

Napoli’s defensive abilities are good, but are only limited to first base. He displays surprising athleticism and quick first step movements, which could be attributed to his prior work as a catcher.

Napoli’s hip condition could be an issue in the future, as necrosis could eventually cause bone tissue to die, which would likely result in a decrease in power at the plate. While a timeline is unknown, this would essentially turn Napoli into a below-average player, as his raw power is his strongest tool.

Related Content:  Boston Red Sox,  Scouting

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Skewed Left: The Compa... (12/19)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Hot Stove Scouting Rep... (12/18)
Next Column >>
Hot Stove Scouting Rep... (12/19)
Next Article >>
Baseball Prospectus Ne... (12/19)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article What You Need to Know: August 20, 2014
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Red Sox Place Their Be...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Being Wrong About Yovani ...
Fantasy Article They Hold No Quarter: Second Basemen
The Lineup Card: Seven Epitaphs for Bud Seli...
Moonshot: The Analytic Value of the Crack of...
Pebble Hunting: You Lie!

MORE FROM DECEMBER 19, 2013
Transaction Analysis: The 13-Team TA
Hot Stove Scouting Report: Stephen Drew
Baseball Prospectus News: A New Direction fo...
Skewed Left: The Company They Tweet, The Seq...
Minor League Update: International Winter Le...
Rumor Roundup: Who Likes Ike?
Fantasy Freestyle: Going Beyond 5x5

MORE BY JOSH HERZENBERG
2013-12-20 - Hot Stove Scouting Report: Joe Nathan
2013-12-19 - Hot Stove Scouting Report: Stephen Drew
2013-12-19 - Hot Stove Scouting Report: Mike Napoli
2013-12-03 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Dombrowski's Puzzling ...
More...

MORE HOT STOVE SCOUTING REPORT
2013-12-20 - Hot Stove Scouting Report: Joe Nathan
2013-12-20 - Hot Stove Scouting Report: Jarrod Saltalamac...
2013-12-19 - Hot Stove Scouting Report: Stephen Drew
2013-12-19 - Hot Stove Scouting Report: Mike Napoli
2013-12-18 - Premium Article Hot Stove Scouting Report: Ervin Santana
2013-12-17 - Premium Article Hot Stove Scouting Report: Jacoby Ellsbury
2013-12-17 - Premium Article Hot Stove Scouting Report: Matt Garza
More...