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The Draft: Connecticut CF George Springer.

 

   Pack up and prepare for another road trip as we try to determine whom the Reds will select with the 27th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft June 6. Today’s stop is in Storrs, CT, where we’ll have a gander at Connecticut CF George Springer.

   It would be a surprise to see Springer fall all the way to No. 27, but his slow start (3-for-22) left some scouts doubting his value. Since the weather has warmed, however, Springer has heated up and figures to go in the top 15. John Sickels has Springer as high as No. 10 to San Diego. Jonathan Mayo has him as low as No. 18 to Oakland. Baseball America has him going to Florida at No. 14.

   Springer (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) hits and throws right-handed. A 48th-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins out of high school, Springer features plus raw power, amazing bat speed, a plus arm, plus speed and strong defense. He was the No. 2 prospect in the Cape Cod League, behind LSU pitcher Anthony Renaudo, in 2010.

   A native of New Britain, CT, Springer has 12 home runs, 73 RBI and a slash line of .365/.466/.659 this season. He has stolen 29 bases in 36 tries, with 22 doubles, three triples and a .976 fielding percentage.

   Despite his rough beginning, Springer, a junior, has topped his numbers from the last two seasons. Still, some scouts harbor doubts. Some are concerned about swing mechanics that leave him vulnerable to velocity on the inside half of the plate. Springer also can get caught out in front of off-speed pitches. One NL scout says Springer is a tremendously gifted athlete, but has too much “swing and miss.”

   Others see a raw, talented player with the highest ceiling in the draft. Springer impressed other scouts with his ability to make adjustments. Jim Callis of BA wrote that Springer might have the best all-around tools of any college player in the last 10 years.

   Springer has hit well against quality competition, batting .292 with Team USA in 2009. As a freshman, Springer batted a respectable .261 in the Cape Cod League.

   Springer’s dad played in the 1976 Little League World Series. A history major, Springer draws comparisons to Torii Hunter. Springer has solid baseball knowledge and is an unselfish player. Baseball America ranks Springer the No. 11 player available.

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