Saturday, August 15, 2009

Postseason Prospect Rankings: Top 5 Outfielders

Here is the continuation of the list I started yesterday; the Top 5 professional outfield prospects from the 2009 Cape Cod League.

5. Todd Cunningham, Falmouth/Jacksonville St. Bats S/Throws R. 6'1" 205. Jacksonville, Ala.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .378 BA/3 HR/22 RBI/.958 OPS

Cunningham, the Cape League's batting champion, is the second consecutive Jacksonville State Gamecock to have a breakout summer in Falmouth, following flamethrower Ben Tootle's eye-opening performance as the Commodores' closer in 2008. Cunningham is probably not as good a hitter as his batting average suggests, and I am a little dubious about him winning the league's Pro Prospect Award, but a guy who hits .378 in the Cape League is obviously going to get a lot of looks from Major League teams and will be given a very good chance to be successful. Cunningham also had a strong spring season, during which he hit .339 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs. Cunningham is a really good player, and I promise I am not trying to discredit what he did on the Cape, but it seemed like every time I saw him play he got a hit or two that benefited from questionable official scoring or a misaligned defense. Still, Cunningham has a quick bat and a compact swing that allows him to put the ball in play. He will occasionally flash some power but he will mostly be a singles and doubles hitter in professional ball. He is advanced in that he can take what pitchers give him and find the holes in the defense. Cunningham is a good defensive outfielder who can cover a lot of ground and goes back well on deep fly balls. He has an average arm. He has good speed on the basepaths and can be a threat to steal. Cunningham has a lot of tools and his performance this summer will likely push him into the first couple rounds next June. He needs to show he can perform against top competition over a longer sample of games.

4. Gary Brown, Orleans/Cal St. Fullerton. Bats R/Throws R. 6'0" 180. Diamond Bar, Calif.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .310 BA/2 HR/14 RBI/.768 OPS

Brown is an excellent all-around player who is exactly what you want out of a top-of-the order player. Some scouts disagree and consider Brown to be slightly overrated, but I have been impressed by him for two summers now. Brown was a freshman All-American in 2008, and had a big sophomore season in 2009 for the College World Series participant Titans during which he hit .340 with three home runs and 40 RBIs. Brown is mostly a contact hitter who will flash occasional power. He has quick hands and a smooth stroke. Brown had arguably the best speed in the Cape League, getting down to first base in 4.0 seconds from the right side of the plate, and he does a good job putting the ball on the ground and trying to get on base. He very rarely strikes out. Brown is an excellent centerfielder who reads the ball off the bat very well and gets a good jump on fly balls. That ability, along with his speed, allows him to play more shallow than usual and take away some hits while still being able to go back and get deeper fly balls. Brown should at least be in the conversation for a first-round pick next June, and I think he will be a successful pro.

3. Leon Landry, Harwich/LSU. Bats L/Throws R. 5'11" 195. Baton Rouge, La.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .364 BA/2 HR/12 RBI/.850 OPS

Landry is an incredible athlete who starred in three sports in high school and gets by mostly with his superior athletic ability on the baseball field. He lost his starting job for the National Champion Tigers toward the end of this spring, but still hit .300 with 12 home runs and 47 RBIs. He had a tremendous half-season run for Harwich this summer once he arrived after the College World Series. Landry is mostly a line drive hitter who does have power potential. He has a lot of extra movement in his hands when he swings but seems to be able to make consistent contact anyway. Landry is aggressive at the plate and often swings early in the count. He is still raw at the plate but definitely has the natural ability. Landry is a very good outfielder who has the athleticism to make highlight-reel catches at any moment. He has really good speed but is an undeveloped base stealer who gets caught stealing too often. Landry is a high-ceiling talent who will be taken high in the draft next June, but he still has a lot of developing to do in his game.

2. Dan Grovatt, Harwich/Virginia. Bats L/Throws L. 6'1" 175. Tabernacle, N.J.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .288 BA/1 HR/12 RBI/.783 OPS

Grovatt is an advanced hitter and a solid all-around player who was very impressive once he arrived after the College World Series. He led the Cavaliers in batting this spring with a .356 batting average, and also hit eight home runs and had 51 RBIs. Grovatt swings hard but is also in control at the plate. He has very good plate coverage and uses the whole field, and he is a patient hitter who works the count. He has good pitch recognition and is able to stay back on breaking balls and drive them. Grovatt will hit for occasional power but he is mostly a line drive or gap hitter. Defensively, Grovatt is solid but not outstanding. His arm is above-average but not great, but it is probably good enough for him to stay in right field. He has average speed. Grovatt strikes me as somebody who will hit fifth or sixth in a Major League lineup and contribute on an everyday basis.

1. Jarrett Parker, Brewster/Virginia. Bats L/Throws L. 6'3" 190. Stafford, Va.

2009 Cape League Regular Season Stats: .188 BA/1 HR/13 RBI/.674 OPS

Parker was a major statistical disappointment on the Cape this summer, but he was practically a consensus first-round pick among scouts for next June coming into the season so this ranking is based a lot on his reputation. Parker had an excellent spring season for the Cavaliers, hitting .355 with a team-leading 16 home runs and 65 RBIs. He struggled at the plate all summer once he arrived after the College World Series. Parker's main issue on the Cape was that he was opening up his front side too soon and getting way out in front of pitches. Clearly he was just overanxious to perform. When he makes contact, Parker can really drive the ball with authority. Parker has a projectable frame and his power potential is very high if he is able to put everything together. I saw him hit a couple of absolute bombs during batting practice this summer, but his swing was very inconsistent. When he doesn't bail out, he can drive the ball to all fields. Parker is also strong defensively and has an above-average arm in the outfield. He has good speed and is a very good base stealer. Parker has the potential to be a five-tool talent, but he needs to relax at the plate so he can hit with more consistentcy. Parker is still considered a first-round pick in many circles, but it is less of a sure thing than it was before he arrived in Brewster.

Sunday: Top 30 Overall Position Players. Pitchers begin Monday.

Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen, Third Basemen, Shortstops


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