SYRACUSE, N.Y.--By the time scouts flocked to Syracuse for the East Coast Professional Showcase, many of the top players in the class have already been seen by evaluators at other national events such as Tournament of Stars and Perfect Game National, or their names are well-known from a national perspective.
But outfielder Nick Plummer was not a known entity nationally within scouting circles before ECP, yet his combination of tools, performance and feel for the game have impressed evaluators in Syracuse.
“I would think that more than 90 percent of the scouts here hadn't heard of Plummer was until three days ago,” a scouting director said. “But he has been really good and is one of the better guys here.”
Plummer offers an intriguing set of tools and athleticism from a physical body. The 5-foot-10, 199-pound Plummer is a physical specimen with strength throughout his frame. He has a broad, muscular chest with sloped shoulders and a wide back tapering to a trim waist and powerful lower half. His build exudes his athleticism and background on the gridiron. The lefthanded quarterback gave up football after his sophomore year to concentrate on baseball.
The 18-year-old Plummer offers bat speed from the left side of the plate with a quick, compact and easy stroke. In batting practice, Plummer shows the ability to consistently produce hard lines drives to both gaps before flashing home run power to his pull side, hitting a few home runs that had natural loft and hit nearly 25 feet up the net that sits beyond the wall in right field.
That power translated to game action on Friday when he crushed an 88 mph fastball for a deep, towering home run to right field that went beyond the right field fence in his first plate appearance. The drive elicited a rousing reaction from evaluators.
“It is fun playing against the best competition,” Plummer said. “It is not surprising because I have prepared for this. I love seeing those 90s (mph pitches). I didn't see it all year. I think it was a 2-2 count and I knew he was going to come with a fastball. He did all the work putting it low and inside for a lefthanded hitter. I made sure I didn't miss it because I missed one yesterday. I squared it up pretty good.”
He drove a double down the right field line in his next trip to the plate before grounding out in his final plate appearance.
Owing to the rain delays, the Cubs team has played three games in two days and Plummer has unofficially gone 5-for-9 with a home run, triple and pair of doubles. Plummer drove a triple to the right of center field yesterday.
For a player from a non-baseball state facing the best velocity he has ever seen consistently in his life, Plummer has surprising feel at the plate, which become evident in his first plate appearance of the event. Plummer’s ECP began with a matchup against lefthander Max Wotell, who offers pitchability and a solid breaking ball, as well as some deception in his delivery with a moonwalker start to his delivery. He demonstrated breaking ball recognition and the ability to hang in against lefthanded breaking balls, when he faced a diet of same-side breakers from Wotell and did not chase out of the zone. The Kentucky commit has walked twice against one strikeout while getting plunked twice.
He has shown at least average straight line speed and has a chance to stay in center field. His times out of the box have ranged from 4.15 to 4.30. His speed impacted the game on the bases, swiping a few bags. The power he displayed has helped alleviate some evaluators questions about his profile, as he will likely have enough power to profile in a corner if moved out of center field.
Plummer said his top area to improve is his arm, which currently fits best in center field or left field.
See Also: A Day In The Life Of Jeren Kendall
Scouts have lauded his ability to play the game hard and with energy. Plummer sports a mohawk similar to another athletic lefthanded-hitting outfielder from the north who showed well on the showcase circuit in 2013, Jeren Kendall.
Plummer hails from Birmingham Brother Rice, a perennial power in multiple sports, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a state that has not produced a high school position player who went in the top five rounds since 2004. The second-to-last draftee in the top five rounds was Drew Henson (1998), who went on to play quarterback at Michigan and in the NFL.
• Most of the home runs in the past two years have been to right field, but shortstop Brendan Rodgers put on a power display in Friday’s action and drove a home run to left field. Although he went hitless in his next three trips to the plate (all flyouts to center field and left), Rodgers consistently showed the ability to drive the ball and make hard contact, especially in his second plate appearance when he drove center fielder Daz Cameron back nearly to the wall on a ball with good sound of the bat.
Although the righthanded-hitting Lake Mary (Fla.) High product got a few base hits when he was jammed and managed to fight the ball beyond the range of the infielders earlier in the event, he has driven a few other balls with authority. He has also made contact at a high clip, swinging and missing on two of his 17 swings.
Rodgers has rare power and hard hit ability for someone with a chance to play the middle infield.