Mid-Season Scouting Report: Travis Buck, OF

On Sunday, two A's minor leaguers participated in the Futures Game as part of the major league All-Star festivities. Players in the game were mostly well-known prospects who have shone in the minors this season. Though he didn't get to bat in the game, the A's Travis Buck caught a pop fly for the last out of the game. Inside is a scouting report on the A's 2005 compensatory first round draft pick.

Travis Buck's 2006 Stats Through 7/11/06

Year

Team

Lg

AVG

OBP

OPS

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

BB

K

XBH

2006

STO/MID

CAL/TEX

.316

.383

905

329

104

36

4

7

35

56

47



Physique: Buck is 6'2" and a sturdy 205 lbs. He should be able to pack more muscle onto his frame and this will help him develop more homerun power. His build is similar to that of Todd Helton, a fellow left-handed hitter. Buck has long, slender legs and broad shoulders. He possesses average to above-average speed and is beginning to use it more at the AA level.

Defense: Buck has good range, gets good reads and takes good routes to balls. He has made some highlight reel catches already this season. His arm is average and will probably keep him relegated to left field, but he is not a liability in the outfield by any means and could play right and might be able to fill-in at center in a pinch. He does take pride in his defense and gives maximum effort.

Offense: Among other things, Buck has turned into a doubles-machine this season, hitting 36 across two levels. He began the season leading a sluggish Ports offense in almost every offensive category leading to a promotion to Midland after five weeks.

He is striking out a bit more in the Texas League, but is still getting a lot of extra-base hits. He has a balanced stance deep in the box. This helps him maintain his discerning eye. The Arizona State alum has a moderate-length swing, but is fast through the zone and makes contact with authority. After a small leg kick, he opens his hips well and has good extension.

Buck shows little weakness against southpaws, hitting .400 against them in AA, but the fact that all four of his homers at Midland have come against righties shows that he has more power against right-handers. His extra-base hit numbers show promise and some of those should become homers as he adds more bulk. He even has a little speed to his game, going 11-for-13 in steals this year, including 9-for-10 at Midland. Following the baseball adage that a good hitter develops power, there is nothing stopping Buck from being a .300/20/80 or better outfielder in the future.

Overview: Buck has a great work ethic and should continue to advance both in ability and in the level that he plays at. There is a reason the A's drafted him in the supplemental round in 2005 and he is proving that it was a sound move by the organization.

In 2004, he played for Team USA with other prospects like Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Troy Tulowitzki and Mike Pelfrey. There is a reason you recognize most, if not all, of those names. They either are or were top prospects. Buck has done nothing to show that his name doesn't belong right there with them.


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