Prospect Countdown #17 : Chad Hinshaw

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #17 : Outfielder, Chad Hinshaw (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Chad Hinshaw, Outfielder

HT : 6'1
WT : 205
DOB : September 10, 1990 (25), Bloomington, Illinois
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Illinois State University (Normal, IL)
Acquired : Drafted in 15th Round of 2013 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #35

Every year, prospects come out of the wood work and become what we call "breakouts." Chad Hinshaw gave the Los Angeles Angels back-to-back breakout years, with the most recent one putting his name in the mix for Major League depth. Mixing power and discipline at the plate, along with a fantastic glove and speed in the outfield, Hinshaw is a name that Angels fans need to key in on, and gain knowledge of. It may be a short period of time before you see him on Mike Scioscia's lineup card, and possibly, keeping his name written on that card.


Hinshaw went from a nightmare to a dream at the plate following his early years. Hinshaw used to chop down at the ball, which allowed harsh and inconsistent contact usually resulting in poor ground outs. Now, he's lengthened his swing which puts a stronger thud behind the ball, allowing power, but also taking away full contact marks. With his long swing, there's a bit of swing-and-miss problems to Hinshaw's game at the plate. With the small addition of length, Hinshaw puts a bigger thud behind the ball and can drive it gap-to-gap. He has shown over the fence power power, but likely won't hit far into teen numbers worth of home runs.

As it comes with many professional hitters, Hinshaw has a patient approach aiming to drive the ball up the middle. He exceeds more than he blunders, drawing a high load of pitches and walks in return, along with many hits through the infield. Though there is some pull to Hinshaw's game, he is best when keeping everything simple at the plate and looking for his pitch to drive, or force a pitcher to work out of the zone. This brings fear to how his offensive game will play out against strike throwers at the upper levels, but he's shown promise in his discipline.

Hinshaw's best natural tool is his speed and athleticism. He is an extraordinary base runner, maintaining his quick stride throughout his entire trip on the base paths. He has a grinder mentality so it's rare to not see him dig for a base hit or excess towards extra bases. He has good knowledge of when to go against a pitcher, getting good jumps, allowing him to use his speed well as a steal threat.

In the field, it's hard to match what Hinshaw brings to the table defensively in the Angels farm system. Mixed with his explosive speed and athleticism, Hinshaw has more than plus range and isn't afraid to go all out in retrieving a ball. He keeps focus on the ball throughout it's entire flight, seeing where it will fall and taking direct routes to the destination he needs to be to complete the play. He backs this all with an accurate arm that has above-average strength behind it. This all should keep him in center field, but with the road block at the highest level, will move around to the corners with ease.

A thumb injury took part of last season for Hinshaw, but didn't stop him from being one of the Angels' breakout prospects. He now has a fine mixture of Major League tools in his speed, defense, power and discipline, but the latter ranges out as average at best. He fits the mold of a fine fourth outfielder who can use his speed and defense to get late innings, and his bat could become something that carries him into a starting role with time.

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Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for


Hinshaw spent four seasons at Illinois State, where he collected a .266/.393/.383 slash with 30 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs, 86 RBI and 143 runs scored in final two years - 163 games. Most impresssive was Hinshaw's abilities on the base paths, as he never stole under 22 bases in a season, and took 109 over his collegiate career, having his thievery of 31 bags stood as third best in school history. In his senior campaign, Hinshaw earned All-MVC defensive team honors.

Upon being drafted, Hinshaw shined for the early stages of his career, but fell off with a poor final stretch of the season. He finished the year with a .258/.412/.281 slash in Rookie Orem, but saw a slash line of .345/.451/.379 in his first 16 games. He fell off when he collected just three hits in his final 43 plate appearances of the season.

Hinshaw broke out in his second year as a professional, hitting .270/.365/.477 with 16 home runs, 27 doubles, 11 triples, 70 RBI and 100 runs scored, while stealing 41 bases. He never had a full month of play with an OPS lower than .748. Between his success at both Single-A affiliates, he earned a trip to the Arizona Fall League where he hit .284 with a .753 OPS.

Though he was limited to 79 games last season due to a thumb injury, Hinshaw thrived in Double-A - and rehab in the AZL - with a .291/.399/.374 slash, along with 19 doubles, 30 RBI, 55 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. Hinshaw was most impressive following his injury, where he reached base in 48 of 52 games, collecting a .306/.401/.372 slash line. He earned another trip to the AFL, where he held a .357 batting average and .961 OPS.

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It's obvious Hinshaw played just fine and put up good numbers in Double-A last season - this would usually call for a promotion to Double-A or higher. However, the Angels built plenty of depth in the outfield this last off-season, and Hinshaw is a part of that mixture of depth. He only saw just over 70 games in Double-A, and a return wouldn't do much harm, except for his confidence. It's more likely that he'll land in center field in Triple-A Salt Lake, which would be best suited for Hinshaw, but don't be shocked if he returns to Little Rock for the early stages of next season.

Before Spring Training, Hinshaw's name came up in the mix for the starting position in left field. After a few games, it was evident the job was going elsewhere, along with the fourth outfield spot. This doesn't mean that Hinshaw is out of the equation for being the fourth outfielder for the Angels at some point during the upcoming season. One more full year of development against top tier talent wouldn't do him harm either though. Hinshaw plays out best as a fourth outfielder, but a starting role in the future is nowhere out of the question for him either.

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, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.

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