Sure our primary focus here is on the UConn Huskies men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football teams but that doesn’t mean we don’t keep an eye on the other sports that UConn has to offer.
While going through Keith Law’s Top 100 MLB Prospects earlier in the day, I noticed a few names that are familiar to the UConn baseball team.
Those names are George Springer and Mike Olt. Law ranks Springer, a member of the Houston Astros organization, as his 60th best prospect. Olt, a member of the Texas Rangers organization, comes in at No. 75.
Here’s what Law has to say about Springer:
Springer — whom the Astros took with the 11th pick last June — was one of the toolsiest college position players I’ve ever come across, with a solid idea of what he was doing at the plate, sliding out of the top 10 only because of questions about his swing mechanics.
The UConn product is an outstanding athlete, an above-average runner with a plus arm and plus raw power. He has tremendous bat speed and can turn on good velocity, with a history of running deep counts although without much of a two-strike approach. For some reason, he started swinging uphill this spring, collapsing his back side in the process and reducing the quality of his contact and leading to concerns that he’ll swing and miss too much in pro ball. Perhaps it was “draftitis,” trying to hit more home runs to improve his stock, but it’s a bad habit and not an easy one to break.
If he gets back to where he was a year ago, Houston got a steal, an impact hitter who hits for power, gets on base, and adds value through right-field defense.
And here’s what Law had to say about Olt:
A potentially plus defender at third with plus raw power, Olt has seen the ball much better as a pro than he did as an amateur, resulting in better-than-expected plate discipline that gives him a chance to be at least an average regular at third. Olt can launch balls in BP, but his approach is now less pull-happy than it was in college, with very good bat speed and great extension on his follow-through for power to left and the ability to use the middle of the field.
He missed two months this summer with a broken collarbone, but was 100 percent again for fall league and led the AFL in home runs (helped by a very homer-friendly ballpark). His contact rates probably won’t ever be great, but even an average hit tool with plus power and defense at third makes for a fringe star.
In going back to MLB.com’s Top 100 MLB Prospects, Olt and Springer are ranked there as well. Olt comes in at No. 43 and Springer comes in at No. 84.
Another former Husky, Matt Barnes, is in the Boston Red Sox organization and is among their Top 10 Prospects among different publications. Baseball America has Barnes at No. 8 in the Red Sox organization, MLB.com has Barnes at No. 12 and Keith Law has Barnes at No. 5.