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Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospect scouting report: Max Schrock, 2B

Our Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospects list is out. Now find out more about the players on that list. In this piece, a close look at top-50 prospect Max Schrock. Schrock had a huge first full professional season. Can Schrock reach Triple-A in 2017?

Name: Max Schrock
Position: 2B
Height/Weight: 5’8’’, 180
Bats/Throws: L/R
Age: 22
How Acquired: Acquired from the Washington Nationals for Marc Rzepczynski on Aug. 25, 2016.

It isn’t often that teams pick up impact prospects in August trades, but the Oakland A’s may have found a gem when they acquired second baseman Max Schrock from the Washington Nationals this past August. Schrock blistered A-ball during his first full pro season. Can he make a push towards Triple-A in 2017? After a three-year career at South Carolina that saw Schrock bat .302/.392/.460 while playing in the ultra-competitive SEC, the Gamecocks second baseman was expected to be a top-five round pick in June 2015. When Schrock slid out of those top-five rounds, many pundits believed that he would return to USC for his senior season. The Washington Nationals took a chance that they could get Schrock to sign an above-slot deal in the 13th round and were able to get him into pro ball with a $500,000 bonus – the largest given to a post-10th round pick since the new slot rules were introduced.

Schrock’s draft status was likely impacted by a stress fracture in his back that limited him to 35 games as a sophomore and lingered during his junior season. Schrock rewarded the Nationals’ faith in him with a healthy and productive pro debut season in 2015. Playing for Auburn in the pitcher-friendly New York-Penn League, Schrock batted .308/.355/.448 with a 13:16 BB:K in 172 at-bats.

At the start of the 2016 season, the Nationals assigned Schrock to Low-A Hagerstown of the South-Atlantic League. He had a big first-half for the Suns, earning a spot in the Sally League All-Star game. Schrock would take home top honors from that game. A few days later, he was promoted to High-A Potomac. Schrock continued to rake with the P-Nats, and he carried a .333/.378/.456 line when the A’s acquired him from the Nationals during the closing weeks of the regular season.

Schrock initially joined the High-A Stockton Ports after the trade, but after only two games with Stockton, he was promoted to Double-A Midland to help the RockHounds with their playoff push after star infielders Matt Chapman and Franklin Barreto were promoted to TripleA. Schrock collected nine hits in 23 at-bats during the regular season for the RockHounds and then drove-in five runs in eight post-season games for the eventual Texas League champions. In 129 regular season games between four minor league clubs, Schrock hit .331/.373/.449 with nine homers and a 31:42 BB:K.

Max Schrock Stats

2015 Auburn 172 .308 .355 .448 13 16 2 2
2016 Hagerstown 270 .326 .381 .459 22 20 4 15
2016 Potomac 232 .341 .373 .453 9 22 5 7
2016 Stockton 9 .111 .111 .111 0 0 0 0
2016 Midland 23 .391 .375 .435 0 0 0 0

Schrock’s 2016 season didn’t end with the Texas League playoffs. When the A’s decided to withdraw Chapman from the Arizona Fall League, Oakland replaced him on the Mesa Solar Sox’s roster with Schrock. Schrock was limited by a balky hamstring during the last few weeks of the AFL season, but he hit a solid .278/.304/.407 in 13 games for the AFL champions. Schrock struck-out just two times in 54 at-bats, giving him the lowest K% of any player in this year’s AFL.

At 5’8’’, 180 pounds, Schrock can sometimes be overlooked, but he has a chance to be an above-average hitting second baseman in the big leagues. Schrock walked more than he struck-out in college and is one of the best at making contact in the minor leagues right now. In 706 career regular season at-bats, Schrock has struck-out just 58 times. He doesn’t walk a lot (44), but Schrock has made his contact count, posting a .338 BABIP thanks, in part, to a nearly 23% line-drive rate. His homerun power is mostly to the pull-side at this stage in his career, but he sprays the rest of his hits evenly around the field, making it difficult for teams to shift against him. Schrock is pretty much maxed out physically. He has average speed and reads pitchers well when on the bases. Schrock isn’t likely to be a big homerun hitter in the big leagues, but he could reach double-digits at his peak and should be a player who collects a lot of doubles.

He has a good eye and sneaky power, As Assistant General Manager Billy Owens said. He uses the field well and is an aggressive base-runner. The numbers pretty much speak for themselves.

Defensively, Schrock is limited to second base and he has work to do at the position, although he has improved since turning pro. He is a good athlete and has the arm strength to be a solid second baseman. Schrock needs to continue to work on his footwork at second base to improve his range.

Despite playing three seasons at USC, Schrock didnt turn 22 until after the 2016 regular season, making him the same age as most juniors drafted in 2016. He is likely to start the year back with Midland and could make a charge for Triple-A Nashville once the As start dipping into their Triple-A roster for big league assets. The As have been looking for a permanent answer at second base since Mark Ellis was traded from the organization in 2011. Schrock could put himself in the conversation to be that answer as early as 2018 with another strong season. He is a non-roster invitee to spring training, so he will get plenty of time in front of the A's big league coaching staff this spring.

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