by Mike Rogers
Update: I have included the 2007 numbers for Adam Zornes. Keep in mind that this was over just 67 plate appearances, so his numbers are much more uncertain than his 2008 stats which came across 264 PA’s.
In part one of my look at the Padres 2008 draft, I’ve discussed the stats and scouting reports of the first 5 college bats that the Padres selected – Allan Dykstra of Wake Forest, Logan Forsythe of Arkansas, James Darnell of South Carolina, Blake Tekotte of Miami (FL), and Sawyer Carroll of Kentucky. Here in part two, I will do the same for the next 5 bats that they took in the 2008 draft; Cole Figueroa of Florida, Adam Zornes of Rice, Beamer Weems of Baylor, Matt Clark of Louisiana State, and Derek Shunk of Villanova. So, lets get started…
Figueroa is often praise for his “coachability,” work ethic, instincts and leadership. A typical 5’10, 180 lbs middle infielder, he definitely has the size to be associated with such David Ecksteinian-descriptions. He’s got good hand and bat speed, but his frame only allows for modest power at best – shown by his PA IsoP’s which were good for 493rd and 534th in my system of 1988. So he was in the top quarter of the system in PA IsoP, but that’s power that I doubt is going to translate to be more than what you’d typically expect from a middle infielder of his stature. Probably will end up at second in pro ball, but his range and arm strength would play at shortstop – just doesn’t have the lanky, Derek Jeterian (what’s with me and the whole turning players names into adjectives thing?) body type for the position. That doesn’t make the switch to 2B automatic, rather, just makes it more likely. He isn’t a burner by any stretch, nor a prolific base stealer, but he’s noted as being a proficient baserunner. This comes through with a weighted average of 9.1 on my speed score – which places him firmly in the above-average/good tier as 5.2 is the average in my system.
C, Rice University
Zorne’s 2007 season is not in my system as I implemented a cutoff of 75 plate appearances for me to evaluate a player. He didn’t reach this cutoff, and thus, I don’t have his numbers in here to park adjust. The park factor I’ve got for Rice in 2007 was 93 while it was 107 for the 2008 numbers, so he would’ve had a better line than his 2007 college numbers would indicate. However, the Baseball Cube isn’t working for me, so I cannot bring those to you. The reports are that he’s an offensive-minded catcher with very fringe defensive skills. So, a bat without a position in pro ball most likely. Good raw strength with a swing meant for lift on the baseball, but leads to contact problems – evidenced by his 18.2% K rate in his junior season. Not a promising note as once you get above the 14% plateau in K’s in college, it doesn’t bode well for your transition to professional baseball. Another problem is his swing is very long, and he often over-swings while sitting dead red for the heater. He did show improvement with the catching skills, but he just lacks movement to both his left and right and isn’t that flexible. A position change might be in the cards (I’d bet on it), but I’m not sure his bat will be able to carry him if he has to move to 1st base for instance due to the contact problems. Overall, I’m not very high on Zornes from a quantitative aspect.
Weems is a switch hitter. He was poised to jump into the top 3 rounds if he improved on his solid sophomore campaign, but on a young Baylor team that he had to lead, he took a step back. His power dipped despite playing in hitters parks throughout his tenure at Baylor and coming into 2008, his power was a question. His defense, however, is his meal ticket. An above-average defender, he’s the type that controls the strike zone and draws his share of walks. His short sample in pro ball showed this, as in 93 plate appearances in Eugene, he hit just 186 but still maintained a .344 OBP which was buoyed by a 1-for-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He had 71 K’s and 68 BB’s in his final two years in Waco for the Bears, and he’ll need all of that on-base skill, plus his above-average defense, to have hopes of reaching the bigs.
Matt Clark’s game is all about power. Lots of it. I mean, a lot. He spent 2007 at Riverside Community College, thus the lack of quantitative data for that year, but his Junior season at LSU was epic. You’re reading those IsoP numbers correctly – .410 park-adjusted, .445 without adjusting for the park. That’s good for the 9th best PA IsoP in my system and that massive PA wOBA of .463 was 70th best in my system – quite the feat when you factor in that he hit .344 at LSU, but just .316 park-adjusted batting average. However, he was taken in the 12th round and 375th overall for a reason. A few of them, actually. One, where does he play? He’s 6’5, 230 lbs, so probably 1st base. He’s about average but has a pretty good arm, but the foot speed (or lack thereof) won’t allow him to move off of 1B in pro ball. He is, in the words of Dusty Baker, a “base clogger,” so he is a very limited player – mostly a Three True Outcomes-type. Lots of HR’s, lots of K’s, and solid amounts of BB’s. There are questions about his bat speed and how his slow hands at the plate will allow him to handle the higher velocities of fastballs as he moves up the ladder of professional baseball. That said, what he can do to a baseball when get gets a hold of one means he’s got a place in any organization. I think at worst, he can become a Mike Hessman type – big frame, big power, lots of K’s – and find himself stuck in the upper levels of the minor leagues. There’s a chance, though, I think, that he can get into the bigs and stick just as I think Mike Hessman could have a role on a small market team looking for cheap power, but there’s a large part of this life as a pro-ball player that is based on the luck of getting a chance an impressing. If he gets up to the majors and goes 1-20 with a single and looks over matched, he very well could expunge his only chance to make a major league career out of his skills. However, being a Triple-A slugger for a living isn’t all that bad given the circumstances.
A raw shortstop that, unlike Beamer Weems, has the body that some like for a SS. At 6’2, 215 he might even be better suited for 3rd base in pro ball. He had a great career at Villanova in a park that obviously depresses his numbers. He’s got good discipline and controls the zone well. His power continuing to grow as he fills out and adds muscle (and sees better pitching more regularly), is probably limited with a wood bat. I haven’t found a thing on what his defense is like, so maybe Ben is more apt to chime in here, but if it is at least average, I like his chances of being a late-round steal and contributing at the major league level. He’s got solid walk rates and knowledge of the strike zone, coupled with developing power. He might not be a guy that will put on awe-inspiring displays with the bat, but he very well may be an effective player that draws walks and plays average defense, perhaps at a corner infield spot. I think he’s a very overlooked draft pick after a stellar career at Villanova. And I’m just trying to fill space now since I couldn’t find any reports on him and don’t know if he has a long swing, a slow swing, a big swing, a quick swing or whether he even holds the bat properly. But this is neat: his 291 hits are the Villanova school record and he was just one of 9 Nova players to ever have 200 or more hits in their careers. For what it’s worth (I’m researching as I’m writing), Shunk was described as being able to play all infield positions and “showed excellent range” at shortstop in his bio from last year. How much stock you want to put into that is completely up to you. He didn’t set the world a-fire in his short stint at Eugene in the Pads system, but I think he’s a sleeper within the farm.
Stay tuned for part three, the final part in this series, in which I look at the final three college bats the Padres took in 2008 that signed, Robert Lara of Central Florida, Aaron Murphee of Arkansas, and Dan Robertson from Oregon State.