GREENVILLE, N.C. — Scouts up north generally spend a lot of time in the beginning of the season down south. The weather is usually warmer and oftentimes it's a good chance for the scouts to see players from their area take on stronger teams than they'll face once conference play begins.
Both of those conditions were on display this weekend as Stony Brook came down to take on East Carolina. The Seawolves lost three one-run games, but about 30 scouts showed up each day, mostly to take a look at Stony Brook center fielder Travis Jankowski.
Jankowski went 3-for-5 with a double Sunday and is now hitting .370/.469/.593 on the season. He also showed three above-average tools—hitting, speed and defense. Those, along with his good eye at the plate, allow Jankowski to profile as a prototypical leadoff hitter, and that's why he ranked No. 24 on Baseball America's Top 100 list for the 2012 draft prior to the season.
Since his time in the Cape Cod League last summer, Jankowski has changed his stance a little bit. He's more upright and narrow now and he also lowered his hands. His new setup allows him to use more of a load in his swing and he still gets his hands into the same place as he did before. Jankowski, a lefthanded hitter, drifts into his swing a little bit, but shows very good hand-eye coordination and loves shooting balls the other way. In fact, all of Jankowski's hits today went back up the middle or to the opposite field.
"That's always been his strength, and fortunately for him the college game usually pitches to his strength," a National League area scout said. "So when they adjust and come in on him, he'll sometimes roll balls over, like he did in his last two at-bats today. I do think Travis is going to have success, but he's going to have to make adjustments."
Jankowski has a tall, slender frame at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. He has above-average speed, but it doesn't always show up out of the box because the momentum of his swing takes him to left field, so he essentially loses a step. His wheels do show up on the basepaths and in the outfield, though. He made a nice diving catch on the first play of the game, coming in and laying out to take a single away from ECU shortstop Jack Reinheimer, and showed great range later in the game, easily gliding from gap to gap.
"He looks like he wants to make plays out there," the scout said. "He's aggressive and you want that ball-hog kind of guy out there."
Baseball America subscribers can read a feature about Jankowski here and below is some video from his March 4, 2012 game that features some pre-game batting practice and each of his five at-bats.
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