Scouting Jays' Prospect #26- Ryan Patterson

Ryan Patterson finished the year strong after struggled early on as he tried to recover after hand surgery. We spoke with one national league scout that has seen Patterson on many occasions and just one thing is holding Patterson up from a trip to the big leagues.

Position: Outfielder
DOB: May 2, 1983
Height: 5'11
Weight: 205
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Ryan Patterson rolled into spring training with a lot of momentum after a solid 2006 season. He was ready to prove himself in back-to-back seasons, however, he was hit in the hand in a major league game while batting and as a result missed the first month of the season. Patterson was originally expected to be out a few more weeks but he did make a sharp recovery.

Patterson started the season slow with New Hampshire, batting just .235 and .227 over the first two months of the season but the right-handed batter picked it up the final two months of the season batting over .300 and hitting 12 of his 18 home runs.

"He's a clutch hitter," noted one National League scout that has seen Patterson several times over the past two years. Patterson finished the year batting .267 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI for New Hampshire and after the season the Blue Jays wanted him to make up for the lost at bats early in the year and sent him to play in the Arizona Fall League. Patterson played in 22 games and in 80 at bats batted .275 with three home runs and seven runs batted in.

"I really believe he can break into the big leagues with some minor adjustments in his game," noted the scout. "He's a tremendous hitter against left-handed pitchers. He has hit the best southpaws in the minor leagues."

However the scout did worry about Patterson's ability to hit right-handed pitching.

"He's definitely struggled in that aspect of the game, and it's something he has to improve on if he wants to be taken seriously, and he knows that."

Batting and Power Description: Nothing has really changed in this aspect of his game. As he showed in 2006 Patterson can hit for power, but if you expect him to put up 30-plus home run numbers you will be disappointed. The outfielder has enough power to make him a dangerous batter in the box during a one-run game. More than likely, Patterson will be a consistent gap-to-gap type of hitter. One talent evaluator predicted for Patterson to hit between 12-15 home runs at the higher levels of professional baseball, with his max amount being in the 16-18 range.

Base Running and Speed: The outfielder does possess some speed. Scouts note he has average speed. He's a smart base runner but not considered a threat to swipe many bases in a year.

Defense: Although Patterson has played, and can play all three outfield positions, most evaluators see him as a corner outfielder. He could be a utility outfielder and play center field when called upon, but scouts don't view him as a full-time center fielder. With more playing time in center field, Patterson could make it a home, but the safe bet right now is a corner outfield spot.

2008 Outlook: Patterson should begin the year at Triple-A but it will depend on how the numbers work out.

ETA: Late 2009-2010 Patterson will likely spend the entire season in the minor leagues and will look to make his case at the big leagues starting next season.

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