The MWAH prospect countdown marches on with a sweet fielding speedster with some questions to answer in the batter's box.
Position: SS Highest Level: Low-A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6'0" Weight: 185 lbs.
Age: 21 Born: 9/25/91
2012 Season Stats
Low-A: 267 PA, .274 AVG, .323 OBP, .347 SLG, 13 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 20 RBI, 35 SO, 7 SB, 2 CS, .321 BABIP
Contact – B+. Stamets has a short swing designed for putting the ball into play in the middle of the field. There isn’t a ton of leverage involved, but he’s perfectly capable of spraying line drives to all fields and is rarely fooled by change-ups or well placed heaters.
Power – F. Don’t bother, there isn’t any power here. It isn’t his game.
Discipline – C+. Stamets is fine at working the count. Being the leadoff type that he is, he harnesses the inner David Eckstein and can be quite pesky at the plate and isn’t an easy out. However, what brings this grade down is what I saw in his brief stint in Cedar Rapids, which was his inability to make contact with breaking pitches in no-strike or one-strike counts. This leads me to believe he was either guessing, or was unable to easily recognize advanced breaking pitches.
Speed – A. Stamets is the fastest runner in the system going from home to first and has out of this world range at shortstop. It’s hard to imagine a shortstop having considerably more range than Erick Aybar who is Gold Glove caliber at the position. But watching Stamets, the difference between him and anyone else at the position is obvious. He puts all others at his level to shame and is major league ready.
Arm – A. A fantastic arm that works on anything from slow rollers to throws from shallow left field. He has a rather quick release too.
Performance – B. Not bad at all. He was relatively unknown in college but put together an impressive performance in the Cape Cod League, where the Angels first scouted him and fell in love with his glove and speed. Upon signing, they didn’t bother sending him to Rookie Ball, he went straight to class A Cedar Rapids and held his own at the plate and in the field.
Projection – B-. Stamets will be a major leaguer someday. You can’t be as good as he is defensively and not make the major leagues. Just look at Brendan Ryan and the Angels own Andrew Romine. The question here is, “will he hit enough to be a regular?” And that’s a valid question. No one is sure. I know he makes solid contact, can beat out infield grounders and steal basis, but can he reach base often enough to be the Angels future starting shortstop? We’ll see.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date – 2015/2016.
(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)
Season Summary: Taken in the 6th round of the 2012 draft, Stamets' primary mission was to jump from college to Low-A and not get the bat knocked out of his hands. Mission accomplished, though he didn't exactly pass with flying colors. Stamets definitely held his own in the Midwest League, but he didn't do much to dispel the notion that he is nothing more than a slap-hitter, posting a wimpy .073 ISO. The contact is there for Stamets, but is just doesn't seem that his swing is ever going to be able to produce any pop despite Stamets actually being of a decent size. I mean, this isn't 5'5" Alexi Amarista we are talking about here. Stamets is a solidly built 6'0, 185 pounds, so he has the frame to get a little bit of muscle behind the ball, but his swing just doesn't support it and his complete and utter lack of power could hold him back despite him having two other very good tools.
Those tools, as rated above by Scotty, are his speed and his glove. Like a lot of young players, Stamets has yet to utilize his great speed to its full utility on the basepaths. Seeing him swipe only seven bags and attempting to do so only nine times is definitely disappointing as he has the speed to easily rack up 30 steals in a full season. Eric is going to have a hard time providing enough value on offense to be considered as a full-time player thanks to his weak bat, but figuring out how to become a better base thief could go a long way towards making up for that deficiency. His speed already serves him well in the field where his quickness gives him great range that he pairs with a smooth glove which should at least give him a good shot at becoming a bench player some day.
What to Expect in 2013: If you know me, you know that I have a special place in my heart for guys with crazy speed and a slick glove. I only fall head over heels with them though when it turns out that they can hit. That's why Stamets will be someone I monitor closely in 2013 as will almost certainly be spending it in the High-A California League. In general, the Cal League is a good hitter's environment, so it should give us an idea of whether or not Stamets really can hit enough to ever have a future in the majors. Obviously High-A is hardly the bigs, but the basic premise is that Stamets, even without much power, can't post a respectable offensive stat line in a hitter's have like the Cal League, then what hope is there of him doing so in the majors?