- Full name Xavier Ladel Scruggs
- Born 09/23/1987 in Whittier, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Nevada - Las Vegas
- Debut 09/04/2014
Drafted in the 19th round (575th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008.
View Draft ReportScouts and opposing coaches were impressed by Scruggs' improvement this season over last, reflected in his outstanding performance. Scruggs ranked among the national leaders in the triple-crown categories (.389-20-65) as well as slugging percentage (.778) and on-base percentage (.489), and he and was named the Mountain West Conference player of the year. He's strong and fairly short to the ball, and has greatly improved his plate discipline, allowing him to get into hitter's counts and sit on a particular pitch. He has good plate coverage and loft power and realizes he's strong enough that he doesn't have to pull everything to hit the ball hard. Scruggs didn't help his draft value by moving off third base and playing mostly first this season, though he's a better fit at first defensively. At 6-foot-1 he's a shade short for the position.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Scruggs received two cups of coffee with St. Louis in 2014 and 2015, but signed with the Marlins in November after hitting the minor league free agent market. Scruggs used a power-and-patience blueprint to slam at least 20 home runs in five straight seasons beginning in 2010, and he topped out with 29 at Double-A Springfield in 2013. He has improved the quality of his at-bats by emphasizing a shorter swing, a better pitch selection and better plate discipline. Scruggs lost 20 pounds during spring training 2014 by cutting carbs and hiring a trainer, and has added time in the outfield corners to his defensive profile. Now 28, his righthanded power could be an ideal fit for the Marlins as an inexpensive counterbalance to lefthanded slugger Justin Bour at first base or off the bench. He will have to earn his way back on to the 40-man roster in 2016 with a strong spring.
Scruggs has re-cast himself over the past three seasons and earned a September callup to St. Louis in 2014. Patience at the plate and enhanced conditioning keyed the turnaround. Sent to Triple-A Memphis in 2014, he trimmed his strikeout rate from 32 percent of plate appearances to 21 percent. He's consistently produced above-average power and crushes lefties (.350/.403/.686 in 2014, with OPS marks above .900 the previous two seasons), pointing to a potential platoon future. As a first baseman, Scruggs has enhanced his range and footwork in recent years and added left field duties in winter ball in the Dominican League. Scruggs is on the 40-man roster, but the signing of Mark Reynolds likely relegates him to a holding pattern back at Memphis in 2015.
Throughout his minor league career, Scruggs has provided a commodity that is always in high demand: big-time power. He slugged 29 home runs at Double-A Springfield in 2013--a total last seen there from Matt Adams and Colby Rasmus, though both hit lefthanded. Scruggs did his damage at age 25, and the Cardinals opted to go with journeyman Brock Peterson at first base in Triple-A Memphis rather than promote Scruggs. The gregarious "X-Man" has hit at least 20 home runs in three consecutive seasons. He has the high strikeout rates to go with the power and a three-true-outcome approach: 52.6 percent of his plate appearances end with a walk, a strikeout or a homer. His increased selectivity in 2013 (a career-high 81 walks) helped lessen the swings of his signature streakiness. He has that strong base and uppercut swing that launches mistakes. The Cardinals have thrice left him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, and he's due to test his power at Triple-A in 2014.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014