Scout's View: Landon Powell
Landon Powell has always had the arm strength and the bat potential to be an impact player in the big leagues.A 2004 first-rounder out of South Carolina, Powell has been on the prospect radar since his sophomore year of high school. And though he has a solid history of performance at each of those levels, scouts have always questioned Powell's body and whether he's able to remain at catcher.And at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds and various knee problems already under his belt, those questions loomed larger than ever heading into this season--especially after he "looked like everything was in slow motion," during the Arizona Fall League last October according to one scout.Powell started this year at Double-A Midland, the same place he ended last season, only this time around there's a little less of him to love.Powell dropped nearly 30 pounds in the offseason, which improved his agility and overall flexibility. Although he only has a pair of hits through three games for the Rock Hounds, Powell could be a breakout player this season.We caught up with an American League scout who followed Powell through the end of the spring and picked him up again in the Texas League:
"First, he reported in much better shape this year. I mean, he completely looks like a different person. And he's always going to have to continue to work on that body to make sure that he doesn't go back to what he looked like last year in the Arizona Fall League.
"Extremely gifted defensive player with exceptionally soft hands, rocket for an arm, and quick feet. His numbers last year in the minors throwing guys out was in the top five in all of the minor leagues. (Editor's note: Powell threw out 50 percent of would-be basestealers between high Class A Stockton and Midland).
Offensively he has power and a keen eye at the plate. I don't think he will ever be a high average type but should hit enough to be a regular. There is no question about Powell's talent. He must continue to be diligent with body to realize his potential. It's a big question, and he's fluctuated a lot with that--I really think it's been a battle just watching him over the last couple years. Being where he is now is important. Now it becomes more maintenance than anything else.
"And you see guys get lazy, see guys get out of shape and usually that happens once they get to the big leagues--look at Johnny Gomes in 2005 versus 2006 for example. I think him realizing how important his weight is now and being able to maintain that, keep that under control, that's as big a part of his development than anything else."