Credit: University of Kansas Athletics

2017 IBI Top 75 Prospects: #69 Michael Tinsley

The 2017 prospect countdown continues with an interesting offensive-oriented catcher who missed almost his entire pro debut due injury. The IBI's Tony Lastoria provides a detailed scouting report on his abilities as hitter, defender and what he is working to improve...

69. Michael Tinsley – Catcher

Born: 05/10/1995 – Height: 6’0” – Weight: 195 – Bats: Left – Throws: Right

Facts & Info: The Indians selected Tinsley in the 7th round of the 2016 Draft out of the University of Kansas, and was signed for $175,000. In 2016 he became the first catcher in Kansas history to earn All-Big 12 First Team honors after he hit a conference-high .377 (80-for-212). He also led the Big 12 conference in hits (80), was 3rd in runs (47) and 7th in RBI (42).  He was also second-team Big 12 in 2015 after a sophomore campaign in which he hit .337 (66-for-196)

Offense: Tinsley is a pure hitter who has a nice line drive swing, advanced approach and has a good feel for the barrel. He maintains a high contact rate, is patient enough to work walks and really limits strikeouts, as evidenced by his college career where in 546 career plate appearances he hit .358 and had 63 walks (11.5 BB%) and only 44 strikeouts (8.1 K%). His approach for contact takes away some of the intent in his swing which results in low power, but he has some size and strength with gap power that is already present which could lead to a lot of doubles as a pro. One of his biggest strengths is his ability to use the entire field and he really shows a lot of confidence in going the other way and drives balls well to the off gap.

Defense: Right now, the defensive part of Tinsley’s game is a clear step or two behind his bat. He needs a lot of refinement as a receiver and lacks the polish that a lot of college catchers have coming to the pros, but the Indians are committed to developing him as a catcher for now. He is an average receiver and blocker, has a solid rapport with his pitchers and carries some good athleticism for a backstop. He has some arm strength, but his accuracy and throwing only grade out as average. He has some experience in the outfield in college, so if catching doesn’t work out the Indians could move him to left field or even first base.

Speed & Intangibles: Tinsley is a solid athlete with a medium frame that has limited upside to it. As a runner he is barely average and falls a tick just below average, so he has minimal impact on the bases as a runner. He’s considered a hard worker and a plus makeup player.

Focus: The defense is going to be a major focal point in Tinsley’s development the first few years in the organization. He needs a lot of work with his receiving and also with his footwork during his throws as he tends to get unbalanced during his transfer and doesn’t user his lower half to its fullest in his throws. The Indians believe there is some upside to the defense and with pro coaching and more diligent work at developing his defensive skills that he could become a solid average defender. At the plate his swing and approach are well refined, but the Indians believe there is a chance for average power down the road, something he shows in batting practice when he lets loose. The Indians would like to see him be a little more aggressive with his swing, which may result in some additional strikeouts, but may also result in more impact on the baseball.

Future: Tinsley only appeared in eight games for Short-A Mahoning Valley last year before being sidelined with a shoulder issue. He later underwent labrum repair surgery which ended his season. Right now, the plan is that he will be ready by the start of spring training, but even if he is cleared to play it may still impact what position he plays. The surgery was to his non-throwing left shoulder, so it shouldn’t limit him too much going forward, but may keep him from catching early in the season. With his above average hit tool, good plate discipline and average defense, he has a chance to become a solid regular. Provided he has no setbacks with his shoulder in the spring and avoids any other injuries, he is expected to open the season with Low-A Lake County.

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