MLB Scout’s Video View: Analyzing Royals Prospect Kyle Isbel

Image credit: (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

While the game is away, Baseball America is digging into its video database and asking scouts around the game to analyze what they see from some of the sport’s best prospects. Today’s subject is Kyle Isbel.

Other hitters in the Royals’ system got more headlines entering 2019, but executives pointed to Isbel as a sleeper. He started strong with high Class A Wilmington but a pair of injuries cut his season short and led to his assignment to the Arizona Fall League.

In the AFL, Isbel hit .315/.429/.438 with four doubles, a triple and a home run. 

If baseball is played in 2020, Isbel will get his first test against upper-level competition and chance to pick up where he left off from the AFL. He could reach the big leagues in 2021. He ranks as the Royals’ No. 5 prospect and No. 39 on this year’s Top 100.

Here our our previous installments: 

Miguel Amaya | Jo Adell | Luis Garcia | Nolan JonesBrandon Marsh | Spencer Howard | Oneil Cruz | Yoendrys Gomez | Ronny Mauricio | Forrest Whitley

Here is a video of Isbel from the Arizona Fall League, followed by what our scout had to say.

SCOUT: Isbel is tightly wound with an athletic build. He is a good athlete with a combination of speed and strength. He’s a true center fielder on defense with plus speed who gets good jumps and reads on balls and can go get the ball in all directions. This guy definitely stays in center field for me and has no glaring weaknesses in his defensive game.

Isbel also has the speed to steal bases, and I would like to see him be more aggressive from a pure stolen base accumulation standpoint. Regardless, he is a good baserunner and puts pressure on the defense and will show aggressive tendencies when pushing for an extra base.

I like this swing. It’s simple and easy as reflected by his low swing-and-miss numbers in high Class A last year. There is a good load into his back side and he stays balanced and rides out his approach to the ball. He looks to put the ball in play early, is slightly aggressive and will chase out of the zone a little too frequently.

Isbel struggles to elevate the balls he gets on the good part of the bat and is more of a hard line-drive type hitter than a real power threat, but given his speed that’s not a problem for his profile. He needs to grow into a bit more patient approach and get more pitches to make contact with in the zone as he progresses through the minor leagues to be a true top-of-the-order-type bat.

I view his profile as a guy who hits at the top of the lineup, makes things happen with his speed and puts the bat on the ball. I wouldn’t be surprised if he grew into a little more power with a swing path change at some point. Has the barrel control to do it.

Overall, I see Isbel as an everyday center fielder who will be able to hit for contact, run into some home runs here and there with true plus defense in center field. Overall, he should be a solid major league regular.

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