Cardinals prospect interview – Xavier Scruggs

The former Springfield first baseman has shown he was ready for his first big-league camp.

If you had asked me as recently as last month which players would be among the St. Louis Cardinals' final cuts of the spring, first baseman Xavier Scruggs would not have been the first name to come to mind. Yet that is exactly what has happened.

Scruggs
In a steady but not rapid progression through the Cardinals system since being drafted in the 19th round in 2008, the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder established a reputation as a man of extremes. On one hand, Scruggs is capable of tremendous power with high walk rates, but also logs massive strikeout totals.

From 2010 through 2012, Scruggs hit either 21 or 22 home runs each season, but also fanned in just under one-third of his at-bats. In his second season at Double-A Springfield in 2013, the right-handed hitter launched a system-best 29 long balls, but his strikeout rate also escalated to an organization-high 39.5 percent.

Still, when he connected, he delivered. Scruggs was fourth in the system both slugging and OPS. He walked 82 times, the most of any Cardinals minor leaguer, leading to him also being fourth in the organization in on-base percentage. That probably reflects both a good eye at the plate as well as a reluctance of some Texas League pitchers to challenge Scruggs in crucial situations.

Always a large man, Scruggs worked hard over the winter to get into the best physical shape possible and looks the part. In his first major league camp, he earned additional at-bats after a fast start, but has slowed in recent days. Though his batting average is just .188, Scruggs has three doubles and a home run. He collected eight RBI and eight walks against eight strikeouts in 32 Florida at-bats.

In the following interview, Scruggs discusses his 2013, his preparation for the season and being in big-league camp.

(6:21)

Other spring prospect interviews
IF Greg Garcia interview
OF Randal Grichuk interview



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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