Monday, November 5, 2012

Rays AA Scouting Reports: Morrison and Kang

Here are scouting reports on two outfielders that played in the Rays' AA this year 2012:

Ty Morrison was picked in the 4th round out of high school in 2008. He was left off of Baseball America's Rays' top 10, but was named the best defensive outfielder in the system. Morrison was one of four 21 year olds in the Southern (AA) league to have a qualified amount of plate appearances (fellow Ray Hak-Ju Lee was another). Despite this, in 102 games, he hit a little above league average with a 103 wRC +. His BABIP was perhaps a little high at .337 (league average was .304), but it isn't bad nevertheless for someone a little young for the league. He struck out about league average and walked below average (just a touch under Junior Lake) and hit a ton of ground-balls (55.7%!). This obviously limits his power. He definitely has a ground-ball swing and is somewhat of a slap hitter. It is really an ugly swing and he doesn't make as much contact as you would like for a guy who doesn't get a hit for any power. His swing is either not quick enough, or he isn't recognizing the ball quick enough because he was swinging late a lot. Here is a look at his swing:

Despite the offensive concerns, he is a good athlete, with Speed Scores in the 7.3-7.5 range, which seems to match the stopwatch, as I got roughtly 4 seconds to first for the left-handed hitter. You can see how this would translate into a good centerfield (although CF defense is rather trick to evaluate).

Kyeong Kang was somewhat of a strikeout machine in 2012, possessing one of the highest strikeout rates in the Southern League. The 24 year old was actually repeating AA, but saw his strikeout rate jump 11 %. The left-handed batter had some really bad whiffs on breaking balls way out of the zone against LHP when I saw him. He has some of the most extreme platoon splits I have ever seen, making Carlos Pena blush. In 2011, he had a .500 OPS against left-handers. In 2012, it dropped to .311. His ISO was .259 against right-handers, but just .033 against lefties. He struck out against 47% of the lefties he faced! At some point, rattling off the numbers is more about fun than it is informative, but the point is that these problems do not seem fixable and are obvious to even the most casual observers. When he is ahead, especially against RHP, he seems pretty patient. He is still going to strikeout, but he has a pretty quick swing. It is inconsistent, as sometimes it is controlled, and sometimes he seems to be swinging out of his shoes:

Kang is a corner outfielder, who actually played most of his games at DH. Because of this, he isn't going to bring the defensive value that the Rays usually value. The strikeouts are certainly a problem, and he will certainly get a shot in AAA before he sniffs the Majors, but he could be a platoon bat to hit RHP as a DH and occasional outfielder in the Majors within the next couple of years.

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