It's special when you can spy someone who is noticeably better than everyone else. That's what happened when we watched Alex Yarbrough play baseball. The Angels got a steal in the fourth round of the 2012 Draft out of Ole Miss with this switch hitter who is far above the level he's playing at currently. This young man has all the tools to be a stud in the Major Leagues in the near future.
Yarbrough's best tool is his plate presence. Yarbrough has a smooth, compact swing from both sides of the plate. Yarbrough sees the ball well and has good plate discipline. He knows what pitches he wants to swing at, and nine times out of ten will not swing at pitches out of the zone. Yarbrough makes good contact with a lot of bat speed, turning in to power.
As for Yarbrough's natural power, he has good pop. Yarbrough told our Publisher near the end of the 2013 season that he is looking to add some muscle weight over the off-season. Yarbrough's gap power is much more outstanding than his over the fence power, but you can expect him to hit 30-40 doubles and 15-20 home runs once he reaches the Majors.
Yarbrough's fielding is above average mostly due to his foot work. Above average is how to equate every aspect of his defense. Above average arm, range, glove. He isn't necessarily a gold glove finalist, but he won't be a risk and will most likely be a plus in the field. Speed is a part of Yarbrough's defensive game, which he has a bit of. He has average to decent speed for a middle infielder, and could steal near 15-20 bases once with the big club.
Out of the draft, Yarbrough jumped in to Low-A, where he showed how good he naturally is at the plate. Despite not hitting any home runs, Yarbrough showed off his gap power with 12 doubles and nine triples. This helped his slugging percentage and overall slash of .287/.320/.410. Yarbrough's numbers took a slight decrease near the end of the 2012 season, after he was given some time in Double-A. Samples were small, but Yarbrough was able to manage a pair of hits in Double-A (one a double), and struck out just three times at a level of play he had never seen.
Yarbrough shined in 2013. He lead the league in hits at 182 and was among league leaders in most offensive categories. His final slash was .313/.341/.459, earning him mid-season and post-season All-Star honors. Yarbrough's slugging numbers were mainly effected by his double digit doubles (32), triples (10), and home runs (11).
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Yarbrough is a stud in the minor league system and is one of the better second base prospects out there. The Angels have been slightly aggressive with him but not over the top. It is likely he will start in Double-A in 2014, and will remain there for the majority of the season.
As for the Angels slightly aggressive approach of Yarbrough, he could make the Major Leagues as early as late 2015, but it is more likely that he will be a part of the big club as a full-time member in 2016.
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