MLB Draft 2011 Prospect Profile: George Springer, OF, University of Connecticut

Summary

Springer is an exciting player. He can run fast and hit the ball a long ways. He's got the two things that are hardest to teach a player how to do, so any team that ends up with him is obviously starting out ahead.

His swing is a little problematic, though I have less of a problem with it than I've seen around some sites. As you can see in the video below, he has a loading process in his swing that really puts his whole body into the bat, generating a ton of power combined with that natural uppercut.

It's a long swing, though. Plus, the timing of that loading up process will also hurt him in catching up to good fastballs or balls high and tight. I'm not saying I wouldn't draft him highly, but I bet there are teams that will not want to take someone who has the two skills they all covet, just because of his swing.

And, the other side of that is his swing is effective. I heard for years how people couldn't teach kids to imitate Jeff Bagwell's batting stance, because it was so bad fundamentally. It worked for Baggy, just as Springer's swing works for him. Just because I brought up his name, I'm not comparing the two. I'm just saying you can't alway gets hung up on a swing when there are results backing it up.

Floor

If his speed goes for whatever reason, his floor is probably a guy like Jason Michaels. Power off the bench with some versatility in the outfield, but not a ton of upside. Because of his college pedigree, Springer is probably a fairly high-floor guy. He's got a skill set that makes him a good bet to at least get to the majors in some way. I don't know if he'll turn into a star, but even one of those skills is enough to get him on a big league roster (isn't that right, Jason Bourgeois).

Ceiling

Power-speed combo, and he plays outfield? Sheesh. There are too many steroid-era guys to compare him to. I guess Pirates Barry Bonds works in some ways, though I don't think Springer will hit that well. Maybe, as I said about Mahtook, it's a guy like Raul Mondesi who's most comparable. Maybe Richard Hidalgo, from an Astros perspective, or Andre Dawson, from a Cubs perspective (since Chicago was rumored to be paying attention to him). Somewhere in there is his ceiling, as a .270 hitter with 30 home run potential playing somewhere in the outfield.

Will the Astros pick him?  If so, where?

Looking at the board and knowing what the Astros value, there's a good chance Springer will be available when Houston picks at No. 11. However, I don't see them taking an older player after they just took a younger guy who can potentially play center in the future last season. Plus, there are now rumors swirling about his bonus demands, which may just be smoke. At the same time, Springer feels like the perfect type of Moneyball player to me. I almost wish he does go to the A's for that reason.

Where is he projected to go right now?

Keith Law had him at No. 18 to the Athletics.

Deep Leagues had him at No. 12 to the Brewers.

Jonathan Mayo had him at No. 18 to the Athletics.

Perfect Game USA had him at No. 19 to the Red Sox.

Baseball America had him at No. 18 to the Athletics.

John Sickels had him at No. 13 to the Mets.

Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)

Below the jump




Baseball Beginnings: 

Everyday ML CF who can hit in middle of the order and doesn’t have a glaring tool weakness. Might be a fast or famine type hitter, but bat speed, athleticism and power will be equalizers. Will have enough defense to contribute each inning.

Baseball America:

At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Springer has a skill set rarely seen among college players. He generates plus raw power with explosive bat speed. He has a plus arm and is a plus runner, and he's a smooth defender in center field.

Keith Law:

Springer is a superior athlete. He's an above-average runner with a plus arm and raw power, and has the type of body you rarely see on college position players because guys who look like this are signed out of high school. He has tremendous bat speed, can turn on good velocity and has a history of running deep counts, although he lacks a two-strike approach.

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