A common phrase heard in conversation amongst scouts and college coaches is the simple question, "Who do you like?" It is always interesting to hear an evaluator’s response to the dubious question as the answers are not necessarily a ranking of the top players but a description of personal favorites. The reasons for liking a player can vary between the way he looks, makeup or raw tools but almost always includes the words, "He’s a ball player."
Yesterday a scout put it more eloquently when he said, "I like those players that when we’re standing here talking, we stop and watch when they’re at the plate."
Some scouts are reluctant to reveal their answer to the question, but it’s my job to talk, and after a weekend in Minneapolis for the Perfect Game National Showcase and three and a half days in Cary, N.C. for the Tournament of Stars, here are five position players that I personally like and why:
(Note: This is not a ranking of players from the events, and none of these players were mentioned in my top 10 list from Minneapolis.)
Andrew Aplin, of, Suisun City, Calif.
I’ve liked Aplin since I watched his first batting practice in Minneapolis. A lefthanded hitting outfielder, Aplin plays the game hard and swings the bat well. He makes consistent contact and drives the ball to all fields. Aplin is listed at 6-feet, 190 pounds and has been playing center field. However, he registers 60-times between 6.7 and 6.8 and gets down the first base line around 4.35 seconds. Thus, he runs OK but probably not well enough to play center field at the next level. If he can’t play center field, then Aplin may have positional profile question marks as his power projection may not be good enough to play a corner outfield position. However, I like Aplin because he can really hit and plays the game hard. You may look at his stats from the T.O.S and say, he only has one hit in eight at-bats, but he has put the ball in play every time, and the ball seems to always find his bat’s barrel.
Randal Grichuk, of, Lamar HS, Rosenberg, Texas
At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Grichuk is an athletic and wiry strong right fielder with tools. Hitting righthanded, and although he has a tendency to slightly step out towards third when swinging, Grichuk has pop in his bat and squares up on the ball consistently. Most notably, he has a strong top-hand when swinging, generating snap at contact. Grichuk has been playing right field in the T.O.S., and has been impressive. He also has an arm that could be graded as above-average and runs average for a right fielder. His 60-time was 6.9 seconds and his time to first base has been close to 4.4 seconds all week.
Chad Kettler, 2b/3b, Coppell (Texas)
At 6-feet-1,190 pounds, Kettler is an athletic infielder with strength and ability to play multiple positions. His arm is strong enough to play third base and his hands and range suffice as well. Kettler’s power projection may be the one thing that could keep him from playing third base in the pros, but he does have room for some growth. Kettler is a switch-hitter with a strong fluid stroke and a baseball mentality. Speed is the one area in his game that is lacking as he ran the 60-yard dash in 7.5 seconds and down the line in over 4.5 seconds from both the left and right side.
Jacob Marisnick, of, Riverside (Calif.) Poly HS
Marisnick is a 6-feet-4, 200 pound athlete with a pro-body and is one of the few guys who has hit a home run at the T.O.S. He too plays center field, and even though he posted a similar 60-time to Aplin with a 6.8, Marisnick is smoother and gets down the first base line as quick (4.3) as Aplin but from the right side. He throws average or better from the outfield and has good instincts as well. Marisnick plays with strength and looks like a professional. His ability to drive the ball for power and to the gaps has impressed those in attendance.
Matthew Moynihan, of, Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego
Moynihan is another lefthanded center fielder from California with the ability to hit. Posting 60-times at 6.6 seconds and getting down the line at 4.1 seconds, Moynihan is a plus runner and can stay in center field at the next level as he is a solid defender. Moynihan is 6-feet-2, 205 pounds and should have power in his bat along with average at the plate. He also throws well, making him average or better across the board which is a pretty good combination in the scouting world.