ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE SCOUTING PROFILES #4

Cole Tucker

We have completed four weeks of Arizona Fall League games. This is the fourth in my series of Fall League scouting profiles.

BOBBY DALBEC-3B-BOSTON RED SOX

AGE: 23 B/T: R/R HT: 6’4″ WT: 225 pounds

Dalbec was a 4th round pick of the Boston Red Sox out of the University of Arizona in the 2016 draft.

Dalbec has a large frame and gives the impression of a powerful third baseman. That impression is accurate. In fact, he hit 32 home runs this past year playing both at Class-A Advanced Salem (26) and Double-A Portland (6). Dalbec also stroked 35 doubles and three triples on his way to hitting .257.

He struck out 179 times this past season, and that’s an issue that he must improve. He has an aggressive approach at the plate that either ends with some boom in his bat or total swing and miss bust. As I write this, Dalbec is continuing his high strikeout total in Arizona, as he has struck out in a tad more than half his plate appearances.

Other than his power, Dalbec’s next best tool is his rifle throwing arm. He gets carry on a power throw from the corner of the infield to first base. He’s an average fielder, but his strong arm can make up for a hiccup catching and releasing the ball a bit late.

Dalbec missed some playing time in his 2017 season with a broken wrist, an injury that does not appear to be having any impact at this point.

Lacking plate discipline, Dalbec has terrific potential to break open a game if he learns to be more patient, less aggressive and recognize pitches quicker and more accurately. He is his own worst enemy when he hunts home runs and doesn’t measure his swing with his good bat speed and strength.

Dalbec carries a large frame when he runs and the net result is a potential base clogger. He simply isn’t fast at all, but he does get his motor going quickly. His range at third base is good for a man with slow feet and a big frame.

Scouting summary: Very strong and powerful third base prospect with the capability to hit 30 home runs. Must find discipline at the plate and reduce his strikeouts.

Scouting Grade: 50

COLE TUCKER-SS-PITSBURGH PIRATES

AGE: 22 B/T: B/R HT: 6’3″ WT: 200 pounds

Tucker was a 1st round 2014 draft pick out of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Arizona. He was the 24th player taken in the draft.

Tucker is a switch-hitting multi-tooled shortstop who has caught my eye over and over again this fall. He has a terrific glove at shortstop, showing very good range. Especially strong going to the hole to his right, Tucker has excellent defensive mechanics. With a quick first step, he gets to the ball, plants and uses a very, very strong and accurate arm to finish the play. I believe he is ready to play major league shortstop.

Offensively, Tucker has some pop in his bat, but it is his excellent contact rate that is impressive. A tough out, Tucker has very good eye-hand coordination and sees pitches well. He knows the strike zone and can take the ball to any part of the diamond with a measured swing. While he may not hit for a high average against quality pitching, he is disciplined enough to move the line along by seeing lots of pitches and taking a base on balls.

Tucker has a .276 minor league average in parts of five seasons. He just completed play at Double-A Altoona, where he had a nice .259 season with 55 walks and 104 strikeouts in 589 plate appearances.

A player with speed enough to steal bases and take an extra base when needed, Tucker stole 36 bases in 48 attempts this past year. He is a threat to steal at any time.

The Pirates drafted a complete player in Tucker. He can contribute with both his bat, glove, quick feet and good speed add an important dimension to his game.

It’s possible we can see Tucker in late 2019 after he competes at Triple-A for the first time.

Scouting summary: An excellent athlete with skills on both sides of the ball. His speed and baseball intelligence add to his offerings.

Scouting grade: 55

KEIBERT RUIZ-C-LOS ANGELES DODGERS

AGE: 20 B/T: B/R HT: 6’0″ WT: 200 pounds

Ruiz was an international free agent signing by the Dodgers out of Venezuela. He began playing for the club in 2015 and has completed parts of four minor league seasons. Ruiz carries a very good .309 career minor league batting average. He spent 2018 at Double-A Tulsa, where he hit .268/12/47 in 415 plate appearances. It was his worst season for average, but his best for home runs.

A switch-hitter, Ruiz can be trusted from both sides of the plate, although he appears to have more power hitting left-handed.

It is likely some power will come to his game, but Ruiz’ offensive strength rests in his quick hands through the ball and his ability to hit line drive ropes. He projects to be a good contact hitter with a high batting average, a real plus in a catcher.

A good defensive catcher, Ruiz has a strong and accurate arm. He should be able to remain behind the plate without temptation to move him to another position. He was signed as both a good defensive and good hitting catcher, has remained as a good hitting catcher, and should continue his entire career as a good hitting catcher.

Ruiz isn’t fast, but he runs well. He won’t be a clog on the bases, but he won’t offer stolen bases either.

Ruiz has to continue working on his defense and he has to show that his batting average last year was not his norm. And so far in the Fall League, Ruiz is showing both. He is playing solid defense and he is hitting well.

Ruiz is among the best catching prospects in baseball for several reasons that he is showing to Fall League observers.

Scouting profile: A solid catcher on both sides of the ball with a feel for hitting and a fairly complete set of tools

Scouting grade: 55

EVAN WHITE-1B-SEATTLE MARINERS

AGE: 22 B/T: R/L HT: 6’3″ WT: 205 pounds

Evan White was a 1st round pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 2017 draft out of the University of Kentucky. White was the 17th player taken overall in the draft.

In his first year as a professional in 55 plate appearances for Seattle at Short Season Everett, White hit .277 with 3 homers and 12 RBI. This past season, he played at Class-A Advanced Modesto and then jumped all the way to Triple-A Tacoma at the end of the season for 18 at-bats in four games. It’s interesting to note that he skipped Double-A totally. I would think he may begin at Double-A this coming year and then go to Triple-A to finish his year. Or, perhaps White is on a really fast track due to the Mariners needs at first base.

White hit a combined .300 this past year, with most of that coming at Class-A Advanced. He hit a total of 11 homers and drove in 64, with all that production also coming at Modesto.

White missed time in his rookie season due to a quad injury. He appears to be totally healthy at this point, a season removed from that injury.

White is a very seasoned offensive player. He makes everything look easy with good mechanics that include a measured swing and good plate coverage. For a big man, White doesn’t get overwhelmed with the thought of using his power to increase his swing and become aggressive at the plate. In fact, he may be one of the only players I have seen who may stand to gain by adding a bit of uppercut in his swing to get more loft on the ball. But, if he keeps the plane he is using now, he’ll be just fine. He has enough power to get his share of homers.

He is lithe and agile at first base. He is very good defensively and as a big man, he has excellent range and footwork around the bag. His defensive ability is well above average. He has enough arm strength, speed and athletic ability to play the outfield if that ever becomes as team need. In fact White did play the outfield at Kentucky.

I have been impressed by what I have seen on both sides of the ball by Evan White. I believe he is on the fast track, so a 2019 arrival at some point in the season isn’t really out of the question.

Scouting summary: A solid, complete athlete with a good offensive and defensive approach in addition to plus speed.

Scouting grade: 55

DAZ CAMERON-OF-TIGERS

Age: 21 B/T: R/R HT: 6’2″ WT: 195 pounds

Cameron is the son of former major league player Mike Cameron. Like his dad, Daz is very athletic, with his defense being the best tool of his game.

Cameron was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1st round of the 2015 draft. He was selected out of Eagle’s Landing High School in McDonough, Georgia. He was the 37th player taken in the draft. The Astros traded Cameron to the Detroit Tigers in the 2017 deal that sent Justin Verlander to Houston.

Cameron has played parts of four seasons, but he has really moved around among different classifications in the two organizations he has played for since being drafted. He has compiled a .258 minor league batting average, but that includes a very rough offensive season in 2016 when he hit only .212 at Short Season and Class-A in the Astros organization. Cameron has rebounded nicely from that year.

Cameron has a major league average hit tool and not much power. He has a lanky frame and should be able to hit his share of line drives to the gaps. However, he may continue to struggle to make consistent contact against high quality breaking balls. He does have enough speed to steal bases or take an extra base and extend a single to a double or a double to a triple.

Cameron’s major league career may well depend upon a combination of outstanding defensive work in center field and good enough speed to be dangerous on the bases. He takes good routes, uses his long legs to take lengthy strides in the outfield and closes on balls hit in the air quickly and efficiently. In the high, sunny skies of Arizona he is showing defensive ability at a grade 60 level.

Scouting summary: Athletic player with defense and speed as his best tools. Can hold his own at the plate but must continue to make strides offensively.

Scouting grade: 50

SHED LONG-2B-CINCINNATI REDS

AGE: 23 B?T: L/R HT: 5’8″ WT: 184 pounds

Shed Long was a 12th round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 draft. He was selected out of Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, Alabama.

It is unusual to see a 12th round draft pick get as much attention as Shed Long. He is among the higher rated Reds prospects and he has earned a club invitation to the prestigious Arizona Fall League. But there are reasons for the Reds optimism.

One might think that because he is rather short in stature that his best tool would be speed. In fact, his best tool is the power he generates from the strength of his slight frame. This past season at Double-A Pensacola, Long hit 12 home runs and 22 doubles in his 522 plate appearances. He also had five triples, illustrating that while his speed is only average, he can motor around the bases.

In 2017, Long managed to hit 17 home runs across two classifications, driving in 50 runs at Class-A Advanced and Double A. So his home runs are not a fluke.

A converted catcher, Long has an aggressive approach at the plate. He doesn’t get cheated with his swing, which tends to get long as he appears to hunt home runs.

I haven’t seen much in the way of flashy defense or above average play at second base. I believe he will be an average defender, at best. He has enough arm strength to play 2B, but his range is very limited, making him viable only as a second baseman and not a shortstop.

In short, if Long makes it to the major league roster in Cincinnati or anyplace else, it will be for his offense as opposed to his defense.

Scouting summary: A powerful hitter in a slight frame. Average defender, at best with average speed.

Scouting grade: 50

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About The Author

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Bernie's work has been featured on MLB Pipeline, MLB.com and FanRag Sports, among others. You can follow Bernie Pleskoff on Twitter @BerniePleskoff