By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
April 10, 2010
I loved Virginia Tech outfielder Austin Wates when I saw him on the Cape in 2009. For my money, I want guys who give me more than one tool. Obviously they have to hit, but I want guys who can help the club win in more ways that one.
The first thing you would have noticed last summer is that Wates had the right body, a lean, athletic and lanky frame that offered physical projection. Take a look at him this spring and it’s clear he continued working for the last several months. You can give a guy strength, but you cannot give him the ability to make contact, and Wates had the wrists. That means the power should come. Take a look at his Virginia Tech stats and he’ll prove my point for me. Wates was also an above-average runner, which allowed me to project one notch more of defense in the future as he becomes a better outfielder.
I think Wates is the classic case of a four-tool guy who does everything above-average except throw, and even that’s not enough to keep him out. I tend to think the college prospects the baseball media elevate are far too one-dimensional to be significant major league players for very long. You have to hit to stay, but this ain’t over-the-line. You need guys who can do more than hit, and if that’s all you have, that’s not enough. When I look in the crystal ball, I see power as this guy’s seperating tool.