BLUF: Speed and defense carry the profile and questions remains with the bat.
The Player: Andrew Toles (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – Selected in the fourth round by the Marlins in 2010 but did not sign, attending Tennessee instead. Picked in the third round this year by the Rays after transferring to Chipola JC. Hit .281/.327/.482 for Princeton in the Appalachian League after signing, including 13 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 14 stolen bases.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts
Body (5-10, 185): Smaller. Athletic, live body. Premium level athlete. Excellent physical bloodlines. Explosive. Fast-twitch ability. Can be exhilarating to watch. Physically gifted kid. Lacks ideal size but explosive athleticism is hard to ignore.
Hit: Bat speed is evident in BP and game situations. Short, compact swing that snaps through the zone. Gets out front at times, particularly when substantial leg kick (trigger) is off timing. Chokes up on the bat at all times which lends to added barrel control. Able to fight off pitches he can’t drive because of barrel control. Gets pull happy at times and needs to use entire field. Short game could use some work and help on-base ability. Approach is raw and he will chase, leading to weaker contact. More of a slappy swing but has some strength in it; enough to find the gaps. Has to improve pitch recognition and tracking to allow for more solid contact. With more solid contact, could be an above-average to plus hitter, but that projection is tough to have high confidence in. Believe approach will ultimately get in the way. Grade – 20/40
Power: Not part of his game. Solid strength but more of a slappy swing that is geared for the gaps at best. Maybe 30-grade game power at peak with doubles and triples coming largely because of speed. Grade (raw power) – 20/30
Arm: Solid-average arm with good release and improving accuracy. Plenty for CF. Will show occasional throw with better velocity but lacking consistency/accuracy. Grade – 50/50
Fielding: Potential to be a quality defender. Routes and jumps need work but are often masked by excellent closing speed. Running ability plays well gap-to-gap and could allow him to be a plus defender. Has improved his jumps since playing at Tennessee and should continue to see more gains with repetition. Should stay up the middle with the speed to impact the game defensively even if development of instincts stagnates. Grade – 50/60
Speed: Excellent runner. Best tool. Stands out in all phases of the game. Gets out of the box and down the line very quickly. Has shown sub-3.9 times to first on occasion but more consistently sub-4.0. Can fly in the outfield. Impact speed on both sides of the ball. Athleticism and explosiveness will allow speed to be maintained.Grade – 70/70
Summation: Bloodlines and athleticism are legit. Highly athletic. Explosive abilities. Speed is best tool and can impact offense and defense. Aggressive base runner that must pick spots better. If instincts come in the OF, speed could make him a Gold Glove candidate in CF. Can go get it and has an average arm that is enough for the position. Power is non-existent but may develop some gap power, particularly as he matures as a hitter and finds more balls he can drive. Serious questions about the hitting ability developing enough for the speed and defense to matter. Pitch recognition lags behind significantly, leading to lots of weak contact. Needs to drive the ball more and take a better approach to at-bats. Little evidence of hit tool developing in any significant way. Plays hard and works hard but scouts cite dismissal from Tennessee baseball team and benching at Chipola as cause to be wary of overall makeup. Has impact defensive potential but lacks offensive profile for a full-time role. Possible bench outfielder.
Relative Risk: High. Very little confidence in hitting projection. Speed and defense can’t carry the profile.
Future: Will move slowly. Could spend next season in the NYPL with a slim chance at heading to Low-A next year with a big spring. Could see both levels next year and move a level at a time after that if things go smoothly. Probably not a viable big-league prospect until late I the 2016 season, maybe 2017.