Wade Hinkle, First Baseman
HT : 6'0
WT : 225 lb.
DOB : September 5, 1989, Albuquerque, NM
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS)
Acquired : Drafted in 27th round (837th overall) of 2012 June Draft
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Best Twitter name in the history of Twitter
This past draft, the San Diego Padres threw away a draft pick with the 837th overall pick, taking Johnny Manziel. Two years earlier, the Angels may have found one of their best steals in their draft history, taking Wade Hinkle. Hinkle has flashed power and the ability to be a strong threat from the left-side of the plate in his short minor league career, and could be a major hit with the big club in the near future.
Hinkle's bat is what has carried him forward so far. He has a strong swing plane, which allows him to make solid contact and avoid swing and misses. Hinkle adds line drive power and some serious pop as well, which makes him a double threat for power and contact, with a low strikeout rate.
Hinkle's power comes from a solid build and frame, as well as a plus bat speed. Hinkle has potential to be a 20 home run, and 30 double kind of guy moving forward.
Hinkle has an advanced approach at the plate, which gives him an even stronger advantage. He has a good eye, which allows him to avoid poor pitches out of the zone, and be able to tag both fastballs and off-speed pitches with ease.
Hinkle is a pretty standard first baseman. He has adequate range and can make tough plays, but isn't going to win any gold gloves. He will remain as a first baseman, and doubtfully see any time in the outfield.
Hinkle was a stud at Del Norte High School, where he hit a state leading .586 his junior year and .589 his senior season. Hinkle is ranked third all-time with his 26 career high school home runs, 15 of those coming in his senior season. Hinkle was named the 2008 New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year and was named to the All-District, All-Metro, and All-State Teams, both his junior and senior seasons.
Hinkle spent a pair of seasons at Cochise College. In his first year, Hinle hit .301 with 14 doubles, a home run, and 21 RBI, and followed that up with a sophomore season where he hit .378 with 16 doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 67 RBI. Hinkle earned First-Team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and First-Team NJCAA All-Region honors in his sophomore season, including a NJCAA All-Star honor in the Honkball Tournament in the Netherlands.
Hinkle transferred to Kansas State University, where he hit .308/.378/.445, with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 27 RBI in his first year. Hinkle has 12 multi-hit games, including five which he picked up three or more. Hinkle also had eight multi-RBI games, and had 13 two-out RBI.
Hinkle hit .330 with eight doubles and 10 home runs in his final college season. This included a .480 on-base percentage, and .529 slugging percentage. Hinke scored 44 runs and brought 49 in with his bat.
Hinkle thrived in his first taste or pro ball, putting up a .338/.443/.586, with 57 RBI, 62 runs scored, 21 doubles, and 15 home runs in just 72 games. Hinkle reached base in 65 of the 70 games he had a plate appearance in, and had 28 multi-hit games, including 10 in a 13-game stretch, where he went 23-for-53, with six doubles (three in one game). Hinkle had a .419 batting average against lefties and a 1.196 OPS.
Hinkle hit a pitcher friendly league and had some things exposed in his second season of pro ball, as he finished with a .270/.359/.435 slash in Single-A. Hinkle had 29 multi-hit games in his 119 games, including a four-hit and five-hit game. Hinkle reached in 98 of his 119 games, including a pair of 11-game stretches seven games apart, and a 12-game on base streak later in the season.
Hinkle lost part of this last season, but not before putting up video game numbers, such as his .295/.405/.493 slash, including 37 extra base hits in 82 games. Hinkle reached base in 76 of his 82 games, including a 19-game streak followed by a 14-game streak just three games apart. Hinkle had 21 multi-hit games, eight where he had three hits, and seven with multiple extra base hits
You have to wonder if the hand injury will postpone Hinkle's fast track to the higher levels. However, with everything he showed in High-A last season in the short extent, a trip to Double-A out of a strong Spring has to be in the big picture. His talents are just a little too far unmatched for a continuous season in High-A.
Hinkle needs to make some small improvements in the field and base paths to make that final leap into the big club. However, with the profile he carries at the plate, Hinkle is a serious threat to become a soon to be platoon designated hitter in the bigs within a year or two, even though he can hit left-handed pitchers as well. Hinkle may need to see some time in the outfield with the dead lock at first base at the moment, but like we've mentioned a few times, the talent is just too good to keep him from the show.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.