In perusing Keith Law's 2013 Top 100 Prospects for 2013 article on ESPN Insider yesterday for the players from the Boston Red Sox, I also had to take into consideration one of the other subjects of the site, the UConn Huskies.
So when you go through the list of the top 100, you'll notice that there are three former UConn Huskies baseball players in it.
Here's what Law had to say about Springer who he ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Astros organization:
Springer is a true five-tool player who is, as scouts say, what prospects are supposed to look like, but the lack of adjustments in his approach in the last two years is becoming more and more of a concern.
On the plus side, Springer can run, throw, hit for power (including to the opposite field), and cover ground in center; if he has to move to a corner, he'll easily be plus in right, similar to Jason Heyward, a center fielder in high school who's become one of the game's best right fielders.
At the plate, Springer is fine when he's ahead in the count, with superlative hand acceleration, letting him load a little deeply and wait on the ball, then exploding to it with the bat speed and rotation to produce plus power. When he falls behind, however, he struggles to adjust, with no real two-strike approach — he doesn't shorten up, he doesn't look for different pitch types, and he doesn't use the whole field.
These are all changes he is able to make, but hasn't yet. If he does, he's an All-Star and would give the Astros a second impact bat with Jonathan Singleton. If not, Springer might not make enough contact to be a big league regular.
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Here's what Law had to say about Olt who he ranks as the No. 2 prospect in the Rangers organization:
Olt's big league debut could have gone better, as he swung and missed a lot (13 K's in 33 at-bats) when he was able to get into the Rangers' lineup, but he's also the team's main trading chip and might have to wait for a deal to get his chance to play third base every day.
A poor defensive shortstop in college at UConn, Olt has remade himself into a plus defender at third, and he has big raw power that could produce 30-plus bombs a year if he makes enough contact. That's the main question on Olt at this point. Contact rates were an issue for him in college, and between Double-A and the majors last year, it's resurfaced to the point where he's probably going to be a low-to-moderate batting average guy who draws 60-70 walks a year and hits 20-25 homers.
The swing-and-miss problem isn't from his swing, though, which has gotten more direct since college, so perhaps he just needs more reps — he had just over 600 pro plate appearances coming into 2012 — to get past it.
And here's what he has to say about Barnes who he ranks as the fourth best Red Sox prospect.
Barnes shocked a lot of scouts this year with the leap forward in his fastball command, working with it up and down, side to side, so even though he wasn't consistently 93-97 as he was in college he could still get outs and set up his off-speed stuff.
He's ditched the below-average slider that screwed him up in his junior year at UConn and pitched most of the season with an above-average downer curveball that he could throw for strikes. His changeup gradually improved over the year as the Red Sox forced him to throw it a number of times each game, but even in Salem he was still getting hitters on both sides of the plate out with the fastball.
Barnes was a little experienced to spend the whole year in A-ball, so his stat line overstates how advanced he is, but he looks like a solid mid-rotation guy who'll be at least league-average, with a chance to profile better than that because of how well he locates the fastball.