BLUF: Quality hitter but lots of questions about the power and the glove.
The Player: Colin Moran (3B, North Carolina) – Hit .335 as a freshman on campus, earning multiple Freshman of the Year and All-American honors along the way. Continued to hit on the Cape and was named a Cape Cod League All-Star. Upped the ante as a sophomore, hitting a team best .365 in 41 games which led to a .314 average on the Cape and a league-leading 42 RBI. Continued his strong performance with a .372/.498/.610 line through 57 games this spring, including nine doubles and 13 home runs.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (Cape Cod League, 2012), Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 215): Strong, physical body. Looks the part of a corner guy. Fringy athlete that can get a little clumsy at times. Projects for more strength as he finishes the maturation process.
Hit: Best tool. Approach is sound with good pitch recognition and a plan at the plate. Picks up spin early and shows willingness and discipline to lay off borderline pitches. Attacks pitches he can drive. Barrel stays in the zone a long time. Has ability to adjust barrel to meet the ball, regardless of movement. Rarely fooled. Uses the whole field well. Excellent plate coverage. Lots of line drives and good, hard contact. Potential plus hitter with high OBP thanks to approach and willingness to work counts. Hit tool should mature quickly against pro pitching. Grade – 50/60
Power: Significant questions exist here. Power potential doesn’t match physical appearance. Has easy projection for plenty of gap power and could have 30-40 doubles annually. Finds both gaps with ease. Doesn’t use the lines much as his middle-of-the-field approach takes priority. Could stand to turn on pitches a little more often, utilizing his strength. Doesn’t have a ton of loft in his swing and he isn’t overly leveraged, leaving his home run power in question. Likely average power at peak but may be more the result of lots of doubles than true 15-18 home run popo. Grade (raw power) – 40/50
Arm: Raw arm is plus but it doesn’t always play to maximum grade. Needs polish for arm to be true plus tool. Footwork gets sloppy/clumsy at times and the velocity and accuracy of his throws suffers as a result. Arm really plays to maximum extent when he doesn’t have time to think and is forced to react. Can get zip on the ball while on the move. Grade – 50+/60
Fielding: Not pretty. Very forced and unnatural at third base. Below-average range. Doesn’t come in on the ball quickly and won’t make many plays laterally. Can handle the balls hit at him, with good hands. Has improved over the last two years but still won’t stand out positively defensively. Nothing looks smooth and I doubt he makes the transition to the quicker pro game at third base. Not sure where he moves defensively if he can’t improve at third base. Lacks athleticism and speed for corner outfield spot. Best case is fringe-average defender if he really puts the work in and makes strides. Grade – 40/40+
Speed: Below-average runner down the line and not any better once underway. No projection for improved speed. In fact, he could slow as he thickens up in his mid- to late-20s. Speed is not a part of his game, but could ultimately limit his move to another position. Grade – 40/40
Summation: The guy can hit. He has the approach, discipline, simple swing, plate coverage and bat speed to hit for a solid average against high-level professional pitching. He will find the gaps with regularity and he will have 10-15 home run power just by virtue of him driving mistake pitches and some of his doubles carrying over the fence. The defensive profile is problematic. He doesn’t have the potential to move to an OF corner and the bat will have to max out to support a third base profile, let alone first base. Lots of pressure on the bat, and more importantly his power, to mature and actualize, or he becomes a tweener without a quality defensive position. Good makeup guy that will put the work in. Potential for an average Major League future but it comes with a lot more risk and pressure than your typical three-year college bat.
Relative Risk: High. Almost purely hit-tool driven player that has questions about the defensive profile and ultimate power ceiling.
Draft Projection: With a track record as a quality college hitter, he will come off the board in the top half of the first round, but he’s not a slam dunk long term. In a year with a deeper draft, he would be a back of the first round type that would be a decent gamble for a team that wanted a college bat.