Spring training camps have broken, rosters (the Blue Jays bullpen notwithstanding) have been set, and real baseball is nearly upon us.
Amateur scouts have been out in full force since February, compiling lists for cross-checkers and scouting directors to get a second set of eyes on when they start piling up the frequent flyer miles. Players are moving up or down the draft boards, depending on their performances.
Baseball America, in their most recent mock, had the Blue Jays selecting Seattle HS OF Corbin Carroll with their first pick, 11th over all. BA admits that the picture regarding mid-round picks like the Blue Jays’ is still sorting itself out, but Carroll checks a number of those Blue Jays scouting boxes.
What He Can Do
Carroll can play all three OF positions, and is projected to stay in Centre, where his plus speed, arm strength, and high baseball IQ are all assets. Carroll has been called the most polished HS hitter in this year’s draft class. Working from a narrow, upright stance, he has a compact swing, takes a direct path to the ball, shows good plate discipline, and a feel for the barrel. His swing can be a little flat sometimes, but the lefty hitter gets out of the box quickly and forces infielders to hurry on groundballs. A mostly line-drive hitter, Carroll sprays hits to all fields. His swing can get a little long, but generally speaking there are not a lot of moving parts to it. He projects to make a lot of contact.
Carroll played travel ball for former MLBer Jeff Cirillo, and has been described as a smart player both on and off the field. In the outfield, he gets good reads on balls, and has the speed to cover a lot of territory. His arm is strong enough to play RF. His quick-twitch athleticism is not usually seen in the Pacific Northwest. Scouts have compared him to Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Benintendi.
Cirillo was named the MVP at the Perfect Game All-Star Classic last summer, tripling off of Daniel Espino, the top-ranked prep pitching prospect.
What the Scouts Are Saying
Some anonymous evaluations after the PG game:
He’s the guy people walked away talking about…..he made himself some money today.
He’s not going to be for everyone. It surprised a lot of people that he had that much power. And he played well in the game…..his triple to the gap was the most exciting play of the game.
-AL scouting director
He’s kind of like Alek Thomas (one of the top high school prospects in the nation last year), but I like him better. He grows on you. He can hit the ball farther than you think he can – he’s going to have some power.
Some Scouting Reports
Baseball America: Carroll established himself as one of the best pure bats in the class over the summer after dominating at the plate in every high-profile event he attended. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound outfielder has a quick, balanced swing and a terrific feel for the barrel, as well as a keen understanding of the strike zone and a patient approach in the lefthanded batter’s box. Carroll is more than willing to take a walk and then cause havoc on the bases as a plus runner.
Fangraphs: Carroll does everything — he’s a 70 runner with a plus arm who projects to plus in center field, has excellent feel for the strike zone, and possesses sneaky power.
The only knock against Carroll is his size, which is listed anywhere from 5’9″ to 5’11”, and he’s smaller framed at 165. Obviously, there’s still some room for growth, and his athleticism should allow him to pack some muscle on.
Some draft boards have Carroll ranked as high as 6th; BA likely has him just outside of the Top 10 because a few college bats have risen over the past few weeks. There’s a very real chance that he’s off the board once the Blue Jays pick in the first round, but they no doubt like his combination of up-the-middle skills, baseball smarts, speed, make up, and five-tool potential.