C.J. Hinojosa could have easily been the first Houston-area player drafted this season. He has the potential to stick at shortstop and a bat that scouts could project nicely. Does that remind you of a recent Astros first-round pick at the shortstop position?
The trouble is, Hinojosa seems set on going to Texas and honoring his commitment there. He's so committed that he tried to double up on his course load last fall so he could graduate early and enroll at Texas in January. That didn't work out, because he dislocated his shoulder and needed surgery on it that wiped out his senior season.
If there is a plus side here, it's that the Astros own doctors looked at him and performed the surgery, according to this Baseball America report. That means they've got a leg up on everyone else in the majors as far as his medicals are concerned.
Will that make him attractive in the draft for Houston?
That's the question. Hinojosa has good defensive tools and is probably the most likely high schooler to stick at the position in the pros. He doesn't have any great tools defensively, except for his instincts, which make him better than sum of his parts.
His bat speed is good and he's able to use the whole field right now, but the shoulder injury will raise questions. More than likely, we'll be talking about Hinojosa in three years after he's developed at Texas. In that, I think he'll have something in common with Kenny Diekroeger. Hopefully, his reputation won't suffer as much as Diek's did for going to school.
Think of Jio Mier, someone who has the tools to be a good hitter and fielder but never quite puts it together. Add in the uncertainty to him coming back from the injury, and Hinojosa has a lower floor than some highly touted high school guys.
Maybe Clint Barmes? Scouts are split on his potential to hit for power, but I could see him becoming a good defensive player who will go as far as his bat takes him.
Will he sign?
The chances of him signing is very, very low. This is a kid who tried to graduate early so he could enroll at the University of Texas. Oh, and his injury means he'll likely fall out of the top three rounds, even though he's talented enough to go in the second at least. All of that adds up to him honoring his commitment to the Longhorns.
College commitment: Texas
Bibliography after the jump
Baseball Prospect Report
Much as some people love the “He’d have never made it without us,” narrative, there’s no way in hell this guy needed help for his tools to show. He’s a good infielder, no doubt, hands and feet work, arm plays. Gotta watch the body, which is something guys in the press box don’t do, and he’s gotta stay healthy. Had some hand speed. Can be a solid little player. Am I seeing super star? No. I can see a guy with a chance to be a solid pro. Middle infielders always have a market, but now he’s a guy with an injury history, and that changes things in the pro world. So now college ball is huge for him. When you get to pro ball, nobody gives a shit how many times you were a ranked amateur player.
Hinojosa has average speed, a plus bat and average power. At present he tends to use his arms more than hands, even though his hands are very good. His solid bat speed, in addition to his patient approach and very good pitch recognition, lead to him consistently making solid contact. He keeps his hands back well and stays on the ball, while spraying it to all fields.
Hinojosa is not great defensively, but he is solid. Even though he is a slick fielder he can try to be too slick at times, but does have very quick feet, especially on double play turns. His arm is only average and he may have to move from short, but it appears with a little more concentration and work, he could stay there, making his plus bat even more valuable.
Hinojosa is a physically mature player whose present-day skills put him near the top of the 2012 Class. I had a hard time keeping him off of the Top-25 at the PG National just for that, he has a powerful righthanded swing that actually won the event’s Home Run Derby and he possesses the hands and pure infielder actions that will make him a plus second or third baseman one day. At about 5’10”, 190 lbs, there’s minimal projection on his body, Hinojosa matured a lot earlier than most kids. But the University of Texas has to be licking their chops at the possibility of such an advanced player coming to their campus in the fall of 2012.
Good footwork and plus arm strength allow him to play shortstop at this stage, but range and speed likely force a move to 2B or 3B long term. He has a good batting eye, quick wrists, and bat speed to go along with respectable hip rotation and drive. Solid contact hitter and above average power is coming. Advanced at the plate with ability to really turn on an inside fastball
Hinojosa‘s daily routine while trying to skip his final semester of high school was a grueling one. He would attend his regular high school classes from around 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., followed by two to three hours devoted to Texas Tech online classes — English on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, along with precalculus and physics on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Coupled with seeing a tutor two days a week and workouts, Hinojosa’s schedule became too overwhelming.