League Top 20 Prospects

2011 Appalachian League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
*1. Travis Snider, of (Blue Jays)
2. Bill Rowell, 3b (Orioles)
3. Kieron Pope, of (Orioles)
*4. Tommy Hanson, rhp (Braves)
5. Jamie Richmond, rhp (Braves)
6. Daryl Jones, of (Cardinals)
*7. Desmond Jennings, of (Devil Rays)
8. Chase Fontaine, ss (Braves)
9. Jon Edwards, of (Cardinals)
*10. Zach Britton, lhp (Orioles)
11. Emmanuel Garcia, ss/2b (Mets)
12. Blake King, rhp (Cardinals)
13. Tyler Herron, rhp (Cardinals)
14. Brian Kirwan, rhp (Twins)
*15. Alex Burnett, rhp (Twins)
16. Justin Edwards, lhp (White Sox)
17. Ronald Ramirez, ss/2b (Astros)
18. Yohermyn Chavez, of (Blue Jays)
19. Nevin Ashley, c (Devil Rays)
20. Sergio Sevrino, lhp (Astros)
* Has played in big leagues
Several Rookie-level Appalachian League prospects had high pedigrees in 2011. A dozen players selected in the first two rounds of the last two drafts played enough to qualify for this prospect list and 10 cracked the Top 20, led by righthander Tyrell Jenkins of league champion Johnson City. Additionally, the league also featured a quintet of international players who signed for seven-figure bonuses, with Elizabethton third baseman/shortstop Miguel Sano and Pulaski outfielder Guillermo Pimentel making the list.

Sano ranked No. 1 after dueling teammate Eddie Rosario for the league home run title all season long. Ray Smith has seen thousands of players pass through the Appy League in 18 seasons as Elizabethton's manager, among them No. 1 overall draft picks and future American League MVPs Josh Hamilton and Joe Mauer. Smith said Sano's offensive potential at the same age compares favorably with that dynamic duo.

Appy League observers also liked the offensive upside of the circuit's No. 2 prospect, Danville third baseman Brandon Drury, who didn't arrive with the same reputation as many of the league's other top prospects. A 13th-round pick in 2010, Durry nearly won the bating title and shared Appy player-of-the-year honors with Rosario.

Princeton may have gone just 30-38, but the Rays monopolized the Top 20 list with seven selections. Leading the way among that contingent were outfielder Drew Vettleson and shortstop Jake Hager, two of six players taken in the top 100 picks by Tampa Bay in the last two drafts.

1. MIGUEL SANO 3B/SS, ELIZABETHTON TWINS
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 230. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
The Twins signed Sano for $3.15 million in October 2009, landing the consensus top talent on that year's international market. He hit four home runs in 41 games in the Gulf Coast League during his U.S. debut a year ago but learned to turn on fastballs in the Appy League this season, crushing a league-leading 45 extra-base hits—including 20 homers—in 66 games. Sano hits from a strong base, with powerful legs and a live body that lend him plus-plus power that could translate into 30 homers annually if he improves his pitch recognition.

"The ball has serious exit velocity off his bat—and it's loud," Smith said. "Baseballs look like golf balls when he squares them up."

Sano frequently chases out of the zone now, leading to an elevated strikeout rate, but Smith said he improved his weight shift as the season progressed and began to hit with authority to all fields. Among Sano's final 10 over-the-fence homers, two went to right field and another four went to center. He also went 27-for-77 (.351) in his final 18 games, raising his average 24 points.

Sano has above-average arm strength that will play on the left side of the infield if he cleans up his footwork and improves his reaction times. Six of the 11 errors he committed at shortstop occurred on throws—he tends to force the issue—while 12 of his 15 errors at third base came on fielding miscues. Sano figures to slow down considerably as he fills out, but he has the raw tools to profile as a first-division third baseman.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
267 58 78 18 7 20 59 23 77 5 4 .292 .352 .637
 
2. BRANDON DRURY 3B, DANVILLE BRAVES
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Grants Pass, Ore., 2010 (13).
Drury fell to the 13th round of the 2010 draft, but the lure of pro ball proved too strong and he ultimately signed with the Braves for $85,000. Judging from the universal acclaim Drury received from managers and scouts, he made the right call. He led the league with 92 hits and hit safely in 25 of his final 26 games, barely losing the batting title to Bluefield's Kevin Pillar on the final day of season, .3475 to .3472.

Evaluators believe Drury will continue to hit for average because he repeats a simple, quick swing, uses the whole field and turns around quality fastballs. He walked just six times in 63 games but he tempered that with one of the league's lowest strikeout rates. He could develop average power—his 23 doubles ranked second in the league—just by virtue of how often he squares up the ball.

Drury played shortstop in high school despite well below-average speed. He made a successful switch to third base, where he offers average range and arm strength. Managers lauded Drury for his work ethic and makeup, which they believe enable him to get the most out of his tools.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
265 40 92 23 0 8 54 6 35 3 0 .347 .367 .525
 
3. TYRELL JENKINS RHP, JOHNSON CITY CARDINALS
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 180. Drafted: HS—Henderson, Texas, 2010 (1s).
A four-sport standout in high school who also played basketball, football and ran track, Jenkins has made rapid improvements to his feel for pitching since turning pro. Signed for $1.3 million as the 50th overall pick, he impressed managers with his projectable 6-foot-4 frame, fastball velocity and conviction in his secondary pitches.

Jenkins generates plenty of swings and misses by working both sides of the plate with his fastball, sitting at 91-93 mph and dialing up to 95-96. His curveball ranges from 75-80 and often shows tight 12-to-6 break. In a league where teenage pitchers seldom work in a third pitch, he showed determination to improve his low-80s changeup, which he picked up only after signing and could be the final ingredient in making him a front-of-the-rotation starter.

Jenkins delivers the ball from a high three-quarters arm slot, but at times he comes too far overhand and sacrifices plane on his pitches. One manager described Jenkins' delivery as "old school" because he dips his back shoulder prior to launching his body forward, but his athleticism ought to allow for improved command as he matures.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 11 4 2 0 3.86 56 63 33 24 3 13 55 .288
 
4. NOAH SYNDERGAARD RHP, BLUEFIELD BLUE JAYS
Age: 19. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Mansfield, Texas, 2010 (1s).
Enhanced velocity combined with a strong performance in the Texas 4-A high school playoffs prompted the Blue Jays to draft Syndergaard 38th overall and sign him for a below-slot $600,000. He required just seven appearances for Bluefield before being promoted to short-season Vancouver, and four starts later he landed with low Class A Lansing. Across the three levels, he compiled a 1.83 ERA and averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Syndergaard has a pure power pitcher's frame, and he pumps 92-94 mph heat while peaking at 97. As a testament to the quality of his fastball, he didn't throw many breaking balls in the Appy League, but he showed snap and bite on a promising curveball. He didn't trust his changeup enough to use it with any regularity, but with just a fringy change of pace and consistent breaking ball, he'd profile as a top-end starter.

"He did it very, very easy against us," Princeton manager Michael Johns said. "He located his four-seamer up, down, in, out—just toying with us. It was fun to watch an 18-year-old be able to do that."

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
7 5 4 0 0 1.41 32 23 5 5 1 11 37 .195
 
5. EDDIE ROSARIO OF, ELIZABETHTON TWINS
Age: 19. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 170. Drafted: HS—Guayama, P.R., 2010 (4).
Rosario rated as Puerto Rico's top pure hitter for the 2010 draft, and he continued to draw accolades while winning Appy League co-player of the year honors. He led the league in runs (71), triples (nine), homers (21), total bases (181) and slugging (.670) while finishing second in hits (91), extra-base hits (39) and RBIs (60).

In the batter's box, Rosario showed bat speed, the ability to make adjustments and power to all fields. "You feel like that even if you blindfolded him, he'd still go 4-for-4," Bluefield manager Dennis Holmberg said. In fact, Rosario went 11-for-26 (.423) with two homers in six games against the Blue Jays.

He offers a full complement of tools and projects as a solid across-the-board contributor with a chance to stick in center. He's a steady defender with an average arm, though he comes in on the ball better than he goes back. He's not a burner, but he picks his spots to steal bases.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
270 71 91 9 9 21 60 27 60 17 6 .337 .397 .670
 
6. DREW VETTLESON OF, PRINCETON RAYS
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Silverdale, Wash., 2010 (1s).
The Rays' top three picks from the 2010 draft all suited up for Princeton this season, but only Vettleson hit enough to capture the attention of opposing managers. Josh Sale and Justin O'Conner, first-rounders drafted ahead of Vettleson, batted just .210 and .157.

Vettleson hit just .191 in August as he ran out of bat speed, according to Johns, who was quick to laud the youngster's hand-eye coordination and bat control. He has a quiet, disciplined approach and willingness to use all fields, and he should have solid-average to plus power once he adds strength to his lean frame.

A fringe-average runner, Vettleson has keen baserunning instincts that allowed him to go 20-for-26 stealing bases. He's perfectly suited for right field with a solid-average arm and average range.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
234 33 66 13 4 7 40 27 53 20 6 .282 .357 .462
 
7. JAKE HAGER SS, PRINCETON RAYS
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 170. Drafted: HS—Las Vegas, 2011 (1).
The third of three Rays first-round picks this year, Hager signed quickly for $963,000 and got 47 games of experience under his belt. He may lack prototype range for shortstop, but he's sure-handed and fundamentally sound, and his solid-average arm strength will allow him to play second or third base in the event of a position switch.

Even if Hager's defensive home has yet to be determined, few managers questioned his offensive potential. He has a handsy swing and knack for contact, spraying the ball around and looking to hit the ball where it's pitched. He doesn't project as a big power or stolen-base threat, but he could top out at 12-15 homers at his peak and he has solid speed.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
193 29 52 11 1 4 17 9 26 5 7 .269 .305 .399
 
8. J.R. GRAHAM RHP, DANVILLE BRAVES
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Drafted: Santa Clara, 2011 (4).
An Angels 46th-round pick out of high school, Graham improved his draft stock by 42 rounds in his three years at Santa Clara. A former two-way player, he focused on pitching and piqued the interest of scouts with his arm strength and bulldog demeanor. In his pro debut, he captured the Appy League ERA title at 1.72, finished runner-up with a 1.13 WHIP and didn't allow a homer in 58 innings.

Listed at 6 feet, Graham may be a hair shorter than that. His fastball may lack downward angle but it sure doesn't lack velocity, sitting at 92-95 mph and touching 97. He blew the ball past Appy Leagues up in the zone, and his four-seamer appears to rise because it stays on the same plane from the time it leaves his hand to the time it crosses the plate.

Graham throws strikes with his two secondary pitches. His solid-average slider features good lateral break at 82-85 mph, while his changeup is too firm at this stage.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13 8 5 2 0 1.72 58 52 15 11 0 13 52 .244
 
9. FELIPE RIVERO LHP, PRINCETON RAYS
Age: 20. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 151. Signed: Venezuela, 2008.
In his U.S. debut, Rivero ranked eighth among Appy Leaguers with 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings and joined a distinguished group of former Princeton lefties. Matt Moore led the 2008 Appy League with 12.8 whiffs per nine, while  Enny Romero finished third last year at 9.4. Moore and Romero finished second and sixth, respectively, in the minors this season.

As a tribute to his athleticism and quick arm, Rivero's fastball velocity increased to 93-94 mph this season, up three to four ticks from last year. He locates the ball down in the zone and shows a feel for when to deploy his plus curveball and fringe-average changeup. In a worst-case scenario, he could have a future in relief if he commands his fastball and breaking ball.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
14 12 3 3 0 4.62 60 64 36 31 7 13 57 .263
 
10. RYAN BRETT 2B, PRINCETON RAYS
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 180. Drafted: HS—Burien, Wash., 2010 (3).
Brett hit .303 in his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League a year ago, but the Rays kept him in Rookie ball so he could refine his defensive play at the keystone. He handled more chances than any Appy League second baseman but also committed the most errors (18) because his hands and arm strength rate as fringe-average. To his credit, Brett improved his double-play pivot and possesses the requisite quickness to play up the middle.

Despite his diminutive stature—he's probably closer to 5-foot-4 than his listed height—Brett drew few criticisms for his potential as a top-of-the-order pest. "I've learned over the years that these kids will fool you," Holmberg said. "If they have heart, desire and the right chemistry, they'll surprise you. Players like Brett will filter their way as high up as they can."

Brett toyed with switch-hitting as a high school senior but has abandoned it as a pro. No matter. Managers universally liked his compact, repeatable righthanded swing and trusted that his knowledge of the strike zone would enable him to continue as a solid-average to plus hitter. Only Pulaski's Jamal Austin struck out less frequently than Brett, who fanned once every 11.3 plate appearances.

Stronger than he looks, Brett can juice the ball occasionally despite below-average power. He has plus speed and knows how to pick his spots to steal bases. Brett ranked third in the league with 21 steals (in 24 attempts) and with 22 doubles, demonstrating his gap power and ability on the bases

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
240 42 72 22 5 3 24 26 24 21 3 .300 .370 .471
 
11. CHRIS HAWKINS OF, BLUEFIELD BLUE JAYS
Age: 19. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Suwanee, Ga., 2010 (3).
In two short years, Hawkins has tumbled down the defensive spectrum, moving from shortstop in high school to third base in his 2010 pro debut to left field this season, but his bat might be up to the task.

"You have to watch him a lot to like him," Johns said. "Everything he does is awkward, but he has big tools."

Though he bars his arm and doesn't have a classic lefthanded swing, Hawkins drew generally optimistic reviews because of his strong, quick wrists and because his bat head stays in the hitting zone a long time, allowing him to drive through the ball. His 15 doubles and six triples hint at untapped home run power, which could be average to plus down the line. Pitchers with better command might be able to bust him in with hard stuff, cutting into his average, but he has fended them off thus far with solid walk and strikeout rates.

Hawkins' fringe-average arm probably limits him to left field, and he's still learning the nuances of his new position. He runs well and makes the routine play.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
242 49 77 15 6 5 52 22 46 14 4 .318 .375 .492
 
12. AARON SANCHEZ RHP, BLUEFIELD BLUE JAYS
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Barstow, Calif., 2010 (1s).
The Blue Jays drafted Sanchez four picks ahead of Syndergaard in the sandwich round of the 2010 draft, then held them both in extended spring training this season before unleashing them on the Appy League in late June. While Syndergaard made a greater impression on managers, Sanchez cuts a similar profile as a tall, power-armed righty with present inconsistent secondary stuff.

Sanchez brings steady 91-93 mph fastball velocity into each start, topping out near 95, and he competes well. His high-70s curveball features crisp rotation and power when he commands it, though his changeup needs significant refinement.

Like Syndergaard, he was promoted long before Bluefield played its first playoff game as a Toronto affiliate. Sanchez walked just five batters in his final 22 Appy innings, though shaky control undermined his overall performance. He struggles to repeat his release point because of excess motion in his delivery.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 6 3 2 1 5.48 43 45 27 26 4 18 43 .263
 
13. JOSH SALE OF, PRINCETON RAYS
Age: 20. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS—Seattle, 2010 (1).
The 17th overall pick in 2010 and the most prized of the Rays' Princeton prospect crop heading into the season, Sale evinced a power hitter's strength and raw bat speed in his pro debut, but faulty swing mechanics hamstrung him for most of the season. At the urging of the Princeton coaching staff, he overhauled his swing in mid-August by eliminating the long stride that affected his swing path and altered his eye level. He hit just .241 when putting the ball in play—one of the lowest averages in the league—strongly suggesting the absence of consistent line-drive contact.

"When we saw him early, he looked jumpy in the box," Pulaski manager Rob Mummau said, "but the last time we saw him, he had made adjustments and slowed things down with his lower half." Though it was a limited sample, Sale went 11-for-36 (.306) with five extra-base hits and five walks in his final 11 games.

Amateur scouts compared Sale with Travis Snider, the Appy League's No. 1 prospect in 2006, as a physical, lefthanded slugger from the state of Washington. That comparison extends beyond the batter's box, too, because Sale is a fringe-average runner, thrower and defender in left field whose value is tied to his ability to hit for power and average.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
214 24 45 11 3 4 15 23 41 4 4 .210 .289 .346
 
14. GUILLERMO PIMENTEL OF, PULASKI MARINERS
Age: 18. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
Pimentel signed for $2 million in 2009, attracting attention for plus-plus power potential from the left side. He ranked as the top prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League a year ago and got off to a hot start in the Appy League this season, mashing eight homers in his first 31 games. He cooled after that, batting .245 and hitting three homers in his final 35 contests.

Despite the streakiness, Pimentel's offensive potential is obvious because of his quick hands and athletic actions. He has 30-homer potential if his pitch recognition improves, and he could hit as high as .280 if learns to work the count and take offspeed pitches to the off field when behind in the count. His value will be tied to the development of his bat because he's limited to left field by below-average speed, range and arm strength.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
245 33 65 10 0 11 46 15 73 4 1 .265 .308 .441
 
15. JUSTIN O'CONNER C, PRINCETON RAYS
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Muncie, Ind., 2010 (1).
O'Conner threw out a league-leading 36 percent of basestealers and nearly two-thirds of his hits went for extra bases, yet the number that best summarizes his Appy League debut may be .157—as in his batting average. The 31st overall pick in 2010, he didn't face top-tier competition in the Indiana high school ranks. He has swung and missed excessively against pro pitching, and had the highest strikeout rate (40 percent of his plate appearances) of any Appy batting qualifier.

Managers liked O'Conner's bat speed and strength, but not his balance or fluidity at the plate, and bad at-bats seemed to chip away at his confidence. But for all his problems making contact, O'Conner has the raw power and well above-average arm strength to profile as a backup catcher even if his average straddles the Mendoza Line.

A shortstop/pitcher in high school, O'Conner brings solid speed, quick feet and agility to the catcher position, though his receiving needs further refinement. He should round out his defensive game because he's enthusiastic and displays the leadership qualities necessary to lead a pitching staff.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
178 18 28 8 0 9 29 17 78 4 1 .157 .234 .354
 
16. JEFF AMES RHP, PRINCETON RAYS
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Lower Columbia (Wash.) JC, 2011 (1s).
Drafted twice previously, Ames boosed his stock when he hit 97 mph in the summer collegiate West Coast League in 2010. The 42nd overall pick this year and the third of Tampa Bay's seven supplemental first-rounders, he hails from Washington state, just like Princeton teammates Vettleson, Brett and Sale.

Ames' fastball holds steady at 92-95 mph and features riding life to his arm side. By the end of the season, he rediscovered his plus 82-85 mph slider with hard tilting action, though he has little feel for a changeup because he hasn't thrown it much.

Ames shuttled back and forth between the rotation and bullpen with Princeton because his arm was tired after the junior college season. He struck out 22 batters in 17 innings as a starter but posted a 9.18 ERA in that role. He could move quickly as an attack-oriented reliever if the development of his changeup falters.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 5 4 2 1 7.12 30 40 25 24 4 7 39 .313
 
17. MADISON BOER RHP, ELIZABETHTON TWINS
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Signed: Oregon, 2011 (2).
Boer grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie and signed quickly for $405,000 after the Twins selected him with the 87th overall pick in June. He built a reputation at Oregon as a big-bodied yet athletic righty with a potential starter's repertoire if he refines his split-changeup. Mindful of the 99 innings he threw this spring, Minnesota used Boer exclusively as a reliever during his first pro summer.

Boer can run his fastball up to 96 mph out of the bullpen, but he generally attacks the strike zone with a 92-94 mph fastball with sinking action. His mid-80s power slider functions as his out pitch, and he also has a changeup that he didn't go to frequently in a relief role. Though he recorded saves in all nine of his opportunities with Elizabethton and struck out nearly half of the batter he faced, the Twins plan to develop Boer as a starter beginning next season.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
15 0 2 1 9 2.60 17 13 5 5 1 2 31 .203
 
18. NICK AHMED SS, DANVILLE BRAVES
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. Drafted: Connecticut, 2011 (2).
Most every scouting director got a look at Ahmed this spring, because his Connecticut teammates George Springer and Matt Barnes went 11th and 19th overall in the 2011 draft. Ahmed batted .326 in 51 games for the Huskies this spring, rebounding from a collapsed lung suffered in a collision at first base in April. Scouts admired the grittiness required to return from serious injury, and Atlanta made him the fourth college shortstop drafted, taking him with the 85th pick.

Ahmed does most things well but nothing great. His solid-average running speed, steady defensive play and strike-zone management are his greatest assets. He draws walks but may not hit much more than .260—and with below-average power—because he often seemed overmatched by good fastballs.

Ahmed makes all the routine plays at shortstop because he positions himself well to get good hops. His range and arm grade as at least average, his feet are quick and so is his release. His actions are far from classic, however, and Appy League managers picked up on the awkwardness just as amateur scouts did.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
248 46 65 13 2 4 24 30 46 18 6 .262 .346 .379
 
19. JORDAN SCOTT OF, GREENEVILLE ASTROS
Age: 19. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Drafted: HS—Greer, S.C., 2010 (14).
Drafted in the 14th round but signed for $150,000 in 2010, Scott caught the attention of Astros scout J.D. Alleva for his bat control and strike-zone awareness. The early returns have been positive. Scott carries a .316 average through 514 career plate appearances, and he hit .337 for Greeneville this season to rank third in the Appy League.

Tall and lean with wiry strength, the lefty-hitting Scott consistently barrels the ball and attacks the gaps with a line-drive stroke. Houston envisions Scott as a potential top-of-the-order hitter because he possesses on-base skills, solid-average speed and limited home run potential. Because he controls the strike zone, he could grow into more power as his body matures.

Scott's arm is solidly below-average, ruling out right field, and the Astros have used him mainly in left. He could enhance his profile by proving himself in center field, but his bat is intriguing enough to buy him developmental time.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
246 41 83 12 3 1 31 19 37 11 5 .337 .388 .423
 
20. KEVAN SMITH C, BRISTOL WHITE SOX
Age: 23. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 240. Drafted: Pittsburgh, 2011 (7).
Smith gave up football following Pittsburgh's 2009 season when the Panthers coaching staff suggested the fourth-string quarterback switch positions to fullback, tight end or linebacker. Free to concentrate on baseball, he hit .378 with 16 homers in 442 at-bats during the 2010-11 seasons, prompting Chicago to pop him in the seventh round in June and sign him for $60,000 as a fifth-year senior.

Despite being 23, Smith is young in terms of baseball experience, particularly behind the plate. Because of this, the White Sox took things slowly, beginning him at Bristol, the lowest rung on their organizational ladder. To his credit, Smith had no trouble handling Appy League pitching, with more extra-base hits (18) than strikeouts (14) and a 1.222 OPS in 26 games.

What Smith's swing lacks in fluidity or grace, he makes up for with brute strength, showing solid-average to plus power to all fields. He may lack the pure bat speed and coordination to hit for high averages. Defensively, Smith throws well and caught 33 percent of Appy basestealers who tested him, though his receiving skills need a lot of work.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
96 24 38 10 1 7 32 14 14 1 2 .396 .482 .740