LOS ANGELES—On a cold and windy Monday night, outfielder Cory Hahn of Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) drew a rapt audience of approximately 40 scouts. Hahn, ranked No. 72 on Baseball America's list of Top 100 high school prospects for the June 2010 draft, flashed outstanding all-around ability but struggled at the plate in a contest against Bishop Amat High (La Puente, Calif.).
Undersized at 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, the lefthanded Hahn nonetheless possesses a sparkling set of all-around tools. Detractors who prefer big, physical outfielders complain about Hahn’s lack of size; his supporters point to the fact that Brett Butler enjoyed an exceptionally productive major league career, and Butler’s raw tools were inferior to Hahn’s at a similar stage.
Hahn is an excellent defensive outfielder. In this game, he dashed into the gap in left-center on two separate occasions to cut off drives headed for the fence. He stabbed the ball, spun quickly and rifled perfect throws to second to hold both hitters to a single.
One of the fastest outfield prospects in the nation, Hahn has consistently reeled off 6.6 60-yard dash times at showcases the past two years. In his first at-bat in this game, Hahn laid down a perfect drag bunt and beat it out for a base hit. My stopwatch caught him racing down the line in 3.65 seconds; another scout sitting near me recorded a 3.72.
Blessed with an outstanding arm, Hahn doubles as a starting pitcher for Mater Dei. His fastball comfortably sits in the upper 80s. One veteran scout, in fact, prefers Hahn as a situational lefthanded relief pitcher, not an outfielder.
“For me,” the scout said, “he profiles only as a fourth outfielder, but he could carve out a nice career as a spot bullpen lefty.”
To raise his draft stock—and to succeed in pro ball—Hahn will need to improve substantially with his bat. He has always been an eye-opening batting practice hitter, and he does a commendable job of using his smaller build to compress the strike zone and get ahead in counts.
However, in his final two at-bats Monday night, Hahn whiffed on several eminently hittable pitches. His hitting mechanics are solid, but Hahn’s bat looked heavy and slow. One scout summed up Hahn’s dilemma perfectly: “The tools are all there, no doubt . . . but that bat is just not quick enough right now.”