- Full name Cole Braden Gillespie
- Born 06/20/1984 in Portland, OR
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Oregon State
- Debut 04/21/2010
Drafted in the 3rd round (92nd overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2006 (signed for $417,500).
View Draft ReportThe best hitter on Oregon State's first-place team in the Pacific-10 Conference, Gillespie has improved his draft stock considerably this season. Scouts regularly describe him as a hard-nosed player who doesn't have a glaring weakness and has solid tools across the board. He impressed scouts last year by playing both infield corner spots and has spent a lot of time in center field in 2006, filling in for the injured Tyler Graham. His versatility and solid bat may lead him to become a valuable utility player in the future. Gillespie's arm is fringe-average, and he's a solid athlete and runner. His bat is his best tool, as scouts consider his hit tool average or slightly above-average. While he has considered switch-hitting in the past, he has a sound righthanded swing that generates average power and allows him to catch up to good fastballs, as he did when he hit a homer off Tim Lincecum in May. Gillespie has had left shoulder problems in the past and doesn't do anything pretty, but his performance in a draft shy on college hitters was expected to earn him a spot in the first five rounds.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Gillespie helped Oregon State win the 2006 College World Series and quickly became one of the Brewers' best outfield prospects after signing as a third-round pick that summer. When Milwaukee needed a second baseman last July, it packaged Gillespie and righthander Roque Mercedes to get Felipe Lopez from the Diamondbacks. Fellow July trade acquisition Brandon Allen and Gillespie are the most advanced position prospects in the system. He has a steady set of tools that rate as solid average across the board. He's a gap-to-gap hitter with decent power. He knows how to put together a professional at-bat and has good plate discipline, though he can get pull-happy at times. An average runner, he can swipe a few bases because of his baseball IQ. With average speed, athleticism and arm strength, he fits best in left field but saw time at all three outfield spots after he was traded. Gillespie doesn't figure to get the opportunity to play every day for Arizona, but he should be a solid fourth outfielder and could get that chance at some point in 2010.
Gillespie has been an organization favorite since signing shortly after leading Oregon State to the 2006 College World Series title. Overshadowed by a roster full of top prospects at Huntsville last season and battling a toe injury that required surgery after the season, he nonetheless made the Southern League all-star team. Gillespie lived up to his reputation as a gap hitter by pounding out 38 doubles last season, second in the SL. He has just average power but shows a keen eye at the plate and knows how to lay off strikes he can't do much with. He moves well in left field and also has played in right, showing an accurate arm. His speed and athleticism are average, and he shows good instincts on the bases. While Gillespie doesn't have a glaring shortcoming, he also doesn't have a standout tool that will carry him to regular playing time in the majors. He's a solid hitter but not an offensive force. He's a decent defender but fits best in left field, which puts more pressure on his bat. It's difficult to project Gillespie supplanting corner outfielders Ryan Braun and Corey Hart in Milwaukee. He could be a valuable fourth outfielder after spending some time in Triple-A.
After Gillespie helped Oregon State win the College World Series and led the Rookie-level Pioneer League with a .464 on-base percentage in his pro debut in 2006, the Brewers jumped him to high Class A for his first full season. The winds at Brevard County cut into his production but he maintained his polished approach at the plate. Gillespie, who has drawn comparisons to Tim Salmon, works counts until he gets a pitch he likes. Milwaukee projects him as a .300 hitter with 20-plus homers per season. His athleticism, speed and left-field range are all average, and he also shows good defensive instincts and an accurate arm. He's a leader on the field and in the clubhouse. His power may be short for a corner outfielder, so Gillespie will have to make up the difference with doubles and RBI production. His arm isn't strong, but it doesn't have to be in left field. With 2007 first-rounder Matt LaPorta targeted as the franchise's left fielder of the future, Gillespie may not have a long-term role with the Brewers. But they think he'll hit enough to be a big league regular. He'll move up to Double-A in 2008.
Undrafted as a sophomore-eligible in 2005, Gillespie won a College World Series championship and the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year award last spring. After signing for $417,500 as a third-round pick, he led the Rookie-level Pioneer League in on-base percentage. Gillespie is an advanced hitter with bat speed and tremendous balance at the plate. He exercises patience in working the count and makes adjustments easily. He should hit for average, and Milwaukee thinks he can produce 15-20 homers per year. He's a good athlete, with solid-average speed and outfield range as well as the instincts to steal bases. He also exhibits strong leadership skills. Gillespie missed time with shoulder problems during his college career, leaving the former pitching recruit with a below-average arm. He's limited to left field and doesn't quite fit the power profile for that position. The Brewers believe they got a steal with Gillespie as a third-rounder. His advanced hitting approach and strong makeup will allow him to skip a level and start his first full season in high Class A. His emergence and that of Lorenzo Cain bolsters the outfield depth the system had lacked.
Minor League Top Prospects
After Oregon State lost Jacoby Ellsbury to the first round of the 2005 draft, Gillespie stepped up to drive the Beavers' offense--all the way to the College World Series championship. He played the same role for Helena after arriving three weeks into the season, leading the league with a .464 on-base percentage. Gillespie brings a solid approach to every at-bat and was among the PL's most polished hitters. His power produces more doubles than homers, though he could hit 20 homers annually. His tools are solid across the board, with the exception of a below-average arm that will limit him to left field. He's an average runner. Gillespie's makeup, experience and leadership all grade off the charts. He could start to move quickly next season.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007