Prospect Countdown #24 : Alex Yarbrough

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #24 : Second Baseman, Alex Yarbrough (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Alex Yarbrough, Second Baseman

HT : 6'0
WT : 200
DOB : August 3, 1991 (24), Allen, Texas
Throws : Right
Bats : Left
School : University of Mississippi (Oxford, MS)
Acquired : Drafted in 4th Round of 2012 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #10


This season was supposed to be a breakout year at the Major League level for Alex Yarbrough. Instead, the Los Angeles Angels have moved to other options, but are far from putting the idea of Yarbrough as a long term future second baseman out of their minds. This next season will be drastic for the talented hitter in proving he is still that player the Angels desire him to be.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Yarbrough has always carried around a big bat, making consistent and solid contact over his years in the minors. Last season was a stumbling point, as more advanced and experienced pitchers proved to be a harsh reality for the young prospect. As a switch-hitter, Yarbrough has a compact swing from both sides of the plate, but does have a tendency to roll over forcing some swing and miss to his game. Over the past year, he refined his swing from the left-side to become a more complete hitter. All around, Yarbrough will have to prove he can hit against more advanced pitching, but his simple mechanics and clean swing should carry and translate at the upper levels.

The switch-hitter has an up the middle approach, with some pull to his game. He is an aggressive hitter, and doesn't draw a high amount of walks, but has seen better pitch recognition from year-to-year. He has a good eye for the zone despite his aggression, and uses hand-eye coordination to get the barrel to the ball. As for power, Yarbrough is best set for compact line drives to the gaps. He has added muscle to try and gain over the fence power, but it hasn't come yet, and likely won't appear as a future double digit home run kind of player. Yarbrough is good at making adjustments but will once again have to show he can make the proper ones to hang around as more than just a future bench piece.

Defensively, there aren't many knocks on Yarbrough at second base. He has quick feet that allow him a quick first step in each direction and adequate range. He has an average arm for a second baseman, which means he'll likely stick as opposed to finding time at shortstop. Mostly in the field, Yarbrough has good instincts and knowledge of his own body, allowing him to make strong and accurate throws - even when off-balance - by setting his feet properly and firing to first or flipping to second.

There is some flash to Yarbrough's game, which will cause some heads to turn. Despite the tool bag ranging at average at best, he was a consistent threat in the field, at the plate and on the base paths. Though he isn't a serious threat to take a base, he'll keep pitchers and catchers honest with his base running instincts.

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Scouting Report from Jerry Espinoza - Scouting Analyst/Photographer for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Yarbrough was a four-letter winner at Allen High School - school from sports film, "Friday Night Lights" - where he earned multiple accolades after hitting .376 with five home runs, 23 doubles and 12 triples. As a freshman, Yarbs earned District 8 Class A 5A Newcomer of the Year, and followed that up with back-to-back years as a junior and senior, earning District Defensive Player of the Year honors. As a senior, Yarbrough was an All-State selection when he hit .457 with four home runs.

In his time at Ole Miss, Yarbrough was a standout on offense for the majority of his collegiate career, finishing with a .338/.388/.486 slash, 44 doubles, nine triples, 14 home runs, 131 runs scored, 122 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Yarbrough also had 76 of his 178 games go for multiple hits and 33 go for multiple RBI. During his junior campaign, Yarbs was named a First-Team All-American by multiple affiliates, along with First-Team All-SEC honors, while being named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Awards. Maybe Yarbrough's most impressive mark during his junior season was a 22 game hit-streak, which ranks fourth all-time in Ole Miss history.

In his debut professional season, Yarbrough hit .275/.307/.393 between Low-A and Double-A. No mark came as high for Yarbrough as it did from late June to early August, where he hit .313 with a .778 OPS over a 35-game stretch, collecting six doubles and six triples.

Yarbrough was under the shadow of a league and organizational Triple Crown in his sophomore year as a professional, despite finishing the year in High-A with a .313/.341/.459 slash, 32 doubles, 10 triples, 11 home runs, 80 RBI and 77 runs scored. There was no down point to Yarbs' year, collecting 55 multi-hit games and leading the Cal League in hits at 182. He capped the year off helping the Inland Empire 66ers to a league title, hitting .260, and collecting a walk-off hit to seal a trip to the league title for the Sixers.

For the second straight year, Yarbrough led a league in hits, but this time in Double-A. His 155 hits and 38 doubles led the Texas League and .285 average was third best for those with 300 or more at bats. He finished the year with a .718 OPS, along with 66 runs scored and 77 RBI. Yarbrough began the season on a very strong note, hitting .296/.328/.430 with 28 doubles in his first 80 games.

Yarbrough struggled mightily this past season in Triple-A, finishing the year with a .236/.274/.324 slash with 29 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 56 runs scored and 48 RBI. The best mark for Yarbrough came in a seven-game hitting streak where he went 12-for-30 with four doubles, collecting multiple hits in four of the seven games.

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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Age and experience very easily could have played into Yarbrough's struggles in Triple-A last season, meaning a return is very likely. The Angels will monitor the adjustments he makes this season, and he could become a priority call up come September next season to bring speed and a switch-hitting middle infielder option off the bench.

Yarbrough was expected to take over the second base role this season with Kendrick coming off the books. Things have changed and now second base is an open battle to take in the future. With a strong showing in the minors and possible shot at getting Major League time, Yarbrough could still remain the second baseman of the future for the Angels, but he'll need to show drastic progress to make this evident.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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