Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scouting report: Scott Schebler, Los Angeles Dodgers' outfield prospect

If there's one position the Dodgers have produced and had a surplus of in the minors in recent years, it's outfielders. That holds true at the Major League level, too. So, I'm sure you're not surprised to see the have yet another outfield prospect on the farm who could be more than just a fourth outfielder down the road.

Scott Schebler is tearing up the California League in 2013. He's second in the league in OPS at .982, trailing only Zach Borenstein of the Angels. He's also second in total bases (215) to another Angel farmhand Michael Snyder. He's tied for the league lead in home runs (21) and is the only player who has at least 20 doubles, 10 triples and 20 home runs. The guy is simply having a great season.

While his future probably lies with another organization, he could be a valuable trade chip next season. If he's traded this year, the Dodgers might not get as much value out of him.

Editor's note: I am not a scout (#notascout). This is an amateur scouting report based on what I know about baseball and from following the sport all my life. I don't claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information to the masses. Enjoy.

How he got here

Schebler, 22, was a 26th-round selection in the 2010 MLB Draft. He wasn't considered an easy sign, which is why it took until deadline day to get him inked. He signed for $300,000 to forego the rest of his eligibility at Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa.

He played in five games his debut season for Arizona Rookie League Dodgers and hit .294/.333/.529. He'd follow that up with a solid 2011 campaign for the Ogden Raptors (.285/.324/.529). In his first go at full-season ball in 2012, Schebler struggled a bit in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League (.260/.312/.388). His power was sapped. This year, however, is a different story. Chock it up to the environment, but Schebler owns a .307/.365/.618 triple slash this season with 56 extra base hits. That doesn't happen all just because of the environment.


6'1, 208 pounds, 22 years old.

He's every bit that height and weight. He probably weighs a little more than that, but it doesn't hamper his game.


Here's how I would grade Schebler's tools.

Tools Now Future
Hitting 40 50
Power 45 55
Speed 50 50
Fielding 50 55
Arm 55 55


Schebler uses a his thick frame to generate above-average bat speed. His swing can get a little long at times, but most of the time, he's short and quick to the ball. He has strong wrists that help him to show off some -- at times -- impressive power.

When I saw him in May, he was on the verge of figuring things out. When I saw him last week, he was dialed in -- after a few at-bats that made me scratch my head.

Schebler seemed to be out in front of breaking pitches from both lefties and righties. That's not uncommon, but it was causing him to make weak contact early when I saw him. He made adjustments and was able to square up some pitches.

His base is a little wider than most and his stride is a little longer than I'd like to see it, but it works for him. His stance is relatively straight up-and-down. He holds his hands about shoulder-level before the pitch which allows him to get into good hitting position without too much load time.

He hit four home runs in the four games I saw this month, including two in one game (July 19) with Dodgers' Vice President of Amateur Scouting Logan White in attendance. The first one he hit that night was lined shot over the right-center field wall. It may not have been a home run in every park, but he was quick to the ball and barreled it up cleanly. The second home run (first video below) was a moonshot over the batter's eye in center field. It was a first-pitch fastball and Schebler jumped all over it. It would have been a home run in any park.

The second video is of him hitting a home run off a lefty back in May.

He's posting reverse platoon splits, as he's hitting .321/.382/.654 against lefties in 89 plate-appearances and .303/.359/.607 against righties in 298 plate-appearances. So, he's not doing all his damage against righties and shows he at least has a chance to be an everyday outfielder in the majors.

With the big power comes swing-and-miss. He struck out six times in four games (17 plate appearances). His strikeout rate has climbed to 27.6 percent this season, up from 17.7 last season. Seeing as he doesn't have plus-plus power, he'll have to work on going forward if he wants to succeed at even the upper levels of the minor leagues. He's increased his walk rate three years in a row, but will need it to keep improving as climbs the ladder. He needs to exercise more patience at the the plate and just take what the pitchers give him.

His build and power-speed combination remind me a little of Joc Pederson. While he isn't as fast, he might very well have more power potential than Pederson. But Pederson has Schebler beat in the plate discipline/pitch recognition department.


Schebler didn't get much of a chance to exhibit his speed, but he has at least average wheels that allow him to be a potential double-digit stolen base guy at the next level. He stole a base in the fourth game I saw last week. He has a nose for the game and solid instincts when he is loose on the bases.


Schebler has played a little center field in the past, but he's going to be a corner guy going forward. He gets pretty good jumps on the ball in right field and has enough range to make up for any misreads. His arm is average for right and should play up in left field, if that's where he ultimately ends up.


Schebler has a future in this game. At worst, he's a fourth outfielder in the long run. At best, he's a second-division corner outfielder with some pop. He's an emotional player, which is a positive and negative. When he's going well, he's going really well. When he's down, he won't hit a lick. Still, he has enough talent to at least have a big league future, provided he improves his walk rate a bit and decreases his strikeout rate going forward.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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