The shutout from Baseball America’s Top 20 lists is over with the naming of three P-Nats to the Carolina League Top 20 Prospects — catcher Derek Norris (#11), outfielder Mike Burgess (#14), and first-baseman Tyler Moore (#18).
This, quite frankly, is a bit of a surprise. With no disrespect to Mike Burgess, but off the top of my head I can think of two outfielders the same age that had better years and showed equal, if not more, promise: Brandon Short and Ronnie Welty. Likewise, the omission of Steve Lombardozzi is baffling to me — particularly when Kinston’s Jason Kipnis spent just 54 games in the league yet somehow made this list.
Here’s the highlights from each scouting report…
Norris has plus power and can drive the ball out of the park to all fields, projecting as a .260-.270 hitter with 20 or more homers annually in the big leagues. Though he does a good job of working counts and drawing walks, he needs to make adjustments against offspeed pitches and make more consistent contact. He has a solid arm and threw out 51 percent of CL basestealers who tested him, but he lacks soft hands and his receiving skills are substandard.
Burgess continues to chase pitches outside the zone, but he has toned down his aggressiveness and is using the opposite field more. He has well above-average raw strength, and he’s searching for a happy medium between power and patience. Though he’s a below-average runner, he plays a quality right field and opponents know not to challenge his arm.
Moore’s game is all about strength and power. He has some holes in his swing and isn’t very selective, so he probably won’t ever hit for a high average. Offspeed stuff can still give him fits, though he improved significantly this year. Though he lacks speed and quickness, he’s a solid defender at first base, and Cathcart said Moore has enough arm strength to play the outfield.
The last quote there is a little telling, seemingly cobbled from interviews with league managers versus a true scouting report like we got on Norris and Burgess. In fact, the subscriber-only version of this list has a quote from manager for nearly every prospect, which has a certain amount of use, but not what I really want to see because managers are loathe to criticize players.
The Eastern League is scheduled for Friday, and I’ll pass along any highlights from this afternoon’s chat.