- Full name Marcus Chase Littlewood
- Born 03/18/1992 in Salt Lake City, UT
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Pine View
Drafted in the 2nd round (67th overall) by the Seattle Mariners in 2010 (signed for $900,000).
View Draft ReportLittlewood was on the 2008 Team USA 16U squad, and his bases-clearing double brought home a gold medal in the Pan Am Youth Games against Mexico. Last year, he was named Utah's high school player of the year. While he's been on the prospect map for awhile, however, Littlewood draws mixed opinions on his ultimate value. Skeptics say he has no standout tools: He's not rangy enough to stay at shortstop and won't hit enough to play third. Those that like him see him as a player whose sum is greater than his parts. Littlewood is a slow-twitch athlete, which shows up in his swing and his speed. He is currently a below-average runner. He lacks the range to stay at shortstop, though his hands are soft and his arm is at least average. He is a natural righthanded hitter and took up switch-hitting as a freshman in high school. He profiles as a .270 hitter and, even after outslugging Kris Bryant at a spring workout for the Blue Jays by hitting 15 home runs in a row, he'll likely hit no more than 12-15 homers a season as a pro. Littlewood's father Mike was drafted as a third baseman out of Brigham Young by the Brewers in 1988 and is now the head coach for Dixie State in Utah. Having grown up around the game, he has great baseball instincts, works hard and plays the game the right way. He's probably a third-round talent, but a team that likes him may have to take him as high as the supplemental first round to buy him out of his commitment to San Diego.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Littlewood came to pro ball with above-average on-field maturity and instincts, thanks to two stints with U.S. national teams and the fact that his father Mike played briefly in the Brewers system and is the head coach at NCAA Division II Dixie State (Utah). The Mariners invested a 2010 second-round pick and $900,000 in Littlewood, but the early returns last year were disappointing. He hit just .158/.236/.211 at Clinton and didn't fare much better after a demotion to Everett. He was supposed to have a mature approach and control of the strike zone, but he fanned 104 times in 328 at-bats. A switch-hitter, he still could hit for a solid average with 10-15 homers annually if everything clicks. Littlewood embraced the opportunity to enhance his defensive value when Seattle asked him to move to catcher. A below-average runner, he didn't have the range for shortstop or the quickness for second base, the two positions he played in 2011. His above-average arm strength and his agility should work behind the plate. He worked with catching coordinator Roger Hansen during the season to prepare for making the full transition in instructional league. The move will take some pressure off Littlewood's bat. If he hits, he can be an everyday player. If he doesn't, he still can be a backup--an option that wouldn't exist had he remained in the middle infield. Seattle may keep Littlewood in extended spring training at the start of 2012 so he can focus on his catching.
Littlewood won a gold medal with the U.S. 16-and-under national team at the 2008 Pan American Youth Games and played for the 18-and-under squad last summer after Seattle drafted him in the second round. The Mariners bought him away from a San Diego commitment for $900,000--the largest draft bonus it paid out in 2010. His father Mike played briefly in the Brewers system and is the head baseball coach at Dixie State (Utah). Littlewood's natural hitting ability and tireless work ethic allowed him to pick up switch-hitting while in high school. He has a simple swing that looks similar from either side of the plate, though he has more strength from his natural right side. With his advanced approach and understanding of the strike zone, he should hit for a solid average. He's more of a line-drive/doubles hitter than a slugger, though he could hit 10-15 homers per year. A below-average runner, Littlewood doesn't have ideal range for a shortstop. He makes up for it with fluid action, a strong arm and a knack for being in the right place. With his baseball upbringing and Team USA experience, Littlewood is prepared to start his pro career in a full-season league. He'll take over for Nick Franklin as Clinton's everyday shortstop in 2011.