Scouting Mets Prospect #45: Sean Ratliff

The Mets drafted Sean Ratliff in the 4th round of the 2008 Draft out of Stanford University. Known for his big time power at the collegiate level, he made wholesale changes to his swing with Brooklyn to adapt to the professional level. The differences did not come immediately, but rather built a strong foundation for him to come back more productive in 2009.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Sean Ratliff
DOB: February 24, 1987
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 190
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Status: 4th Round Pick (2008) – Stanford University

When the Mets made Sean Ratliff their fourth overall pick this past summer, they selected a player who was a power-hitting, run-producing threat that smashed 22 home runs and hit .294 in his final collegiate season at Stanford University. But upon taking Ratliff, it was known that his swing needed work.

Ratliff slugged his way to success in college despite a very upright and closed batting stance. He generated a lot of power from a swing position that let him drop the bat head and turn on pitches with ferocity. Yet, at the next level he knew mechanical changes were necessary if he was to maintain the same aggressiveness that brought him fortune in college. It took him a season's worth of work, but by the conclusion he saw the benefits of his dedication.

"In my swing, I worked on my balance and my weight transfer to make me less vulnerable to pitching at this level," said Ratliff. "I think by the end of the year, the work I put in the beginning really started to come through in game situations. I don't think the changes showed during the middle of the season because I really put my efforts into my work before games and it took some time for it to all come together."

The changes and improvements brought direct results to the field. After hitting just .191 with two home runs and seven RBI through his first 29 games with Brooklyn, Ratliff heated up over the last four weeks as he hit .261 with a power surge of five home runs and 15 RBI.

"[His production] was a testament to the work that I did with the coaches towards the beginning of the year, the stuff I did every day and I think it clicked at the end. I think that allowed me to have such a strong last month. I really think that work allowed me to become a better pro-ball hitter," he explained.

"I got comfortable to the point of sitting on the pitch I want. Before, I would swing at pitches that were somewhat close to the zone, but now I'm learning how to take pitches that may be strikes, but aren't pitches that I need to hit in a certain situation."

There is no way to diminish the importance his swing alterations were to his progress this past season and to his future. After getting his feet wet in Brooklyn, Ratliff feels much more confident that he has the approach and swing that will carry him to success as his moves up the ranks.

"The way I'm set up, it allows me to have better plate discipline, see pitches longer so I don't have to decide as quickly as I was in the past. I'm staying very balanced, I'm letting the ball travel a bit further and now I can hit to all field and that will help me in the long run."

"It was a tough transition at first but the more I've done it, the more comfortable I am and now I realize it is the swing that will take me to the next level and move up the organization," he explained.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2008

Brooklyn

.229

201

46

7

22

32

1

18

67

.300

.388



Batting and Power: Ratliff is a power hitter who continues to fine tune his contact stroke. The changes in his swing and his more open stance give him greater plate discipline and allow him to see pitches deeper into the strike zone so he does not have to react as quickly. That added time fuels his ability to hit all fields with greater precision, though hitting true to the opposite field will take more time as he continues to settle into his new swing. He does a good job of anticipating his pitch and executing when he gets it. Ratliff's power comes naturally as he boasts very good bat speed and can be lethal on the inner-half of the plate. He can use his power to all fields and can hit it out of the park with ease. Like most lefties, his hot zone is the bottom third of the strike zone but that does not prevent him from hitting with power on elevated pitches.

Base Running and Speed: For an outfielder with good size and strength, Ratliff has fairly deceptive speed. He is not a burner, but he has a very fluid, ranging gait that allows him to motor around the bases and take extra bases when he really pushes it. Though he stole just one base with Brooklyn, with improved timing, he could steal around ten bases in any given year. His quickness and running motion allow him to cover large tracks of ground in the outfield.

Defense: Defensively, Ratliff is a security blanket for any pitcher. He reads the ball off the bat well, takes proper routes to balls when either running down a fly ball or cutting off a ball in the gap and has a flare for the dramatic. He got a heavy dose of centerfield with Brooklyn but as he moves up, added size, arm strength and system positioning will likely push him to left field.

Projection: Ratliff displayed a great amount of growth during his rookie season. He is a gamer who is very aware of the personal steps needed in order to make it all the way and has the tenacity to make it happen. He will need to demonstrate continued growth as a contact hitter, but his excellent power is a reliable launching point. If his power stays with him and he can show measurable improvement putting balls in play, he could peak as a .270-.275 hitter with 20-plus home run potential from left field. If his contact stroke never really comes around but he can continue his trend as a home run hitter, he could be a trusted, power-hitting option off the bench.

ETA: 2011. There are few directly ahead of Ratliff that should prevent him from opening 2009 in St. Lucie. A standard assessment of young hitters is that they traditionally need three full years in the system before breaking into the big leagues. So, give him three years on the farm before getting an opportunity to make his debut sometime in 2011.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Sean Ratliff
\r\nDOB: February 24, 1987
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 190
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Left
\r\nStatus: 4th Round Pick (2008) – Stanford University
\r\n
\r\nWhen the Mets made Sean Ratliff their fourth overall pick this past summer, they selected a player who was a power-hitting, run-producing threat that smashed 22 home runs and hit .294 in his final collegiate season at Stanford University. But upon taking Ratliff, it was known that his swing needed work.
\r\n
\r\nRatliff slugged his way to success in college despite a very upright and closed batting stance. He generated a lot of power from a swing position that let him drop the bat head and turn on pitches with ferocity. Yet, at the next level he knew mechanical changes were necessary if he was to maintain the same aggressiveness that brought him fortune in college. It took him a season's worth of work, but by the conclusion he saw the benefits of his dedication.
\r\n
\r\n\"In my swing, I worked on my balance and my weight transfer to make me less vulnerable to pitching at this level,\" said Ratliff. \"I think by the end of the year, the work I put in the beginning really started to come through in game situations. I don't think the changes showed during the middle of the season because I really put my efforts into my work before games and it took some time for it to all come together.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe changes and improvements brought direct results to the field. After hitting just .191 with two home runs and seven RBI through his first 29 games with Brooklyn, Ratliff heated up over the last four weeks as he hit .261 with a power surge of five home runs and 15 RBI.
\r\n
\r\n\"[His production] was a testament to the work that I did with the coaches towards the beginning of the year, the stuff I did every day and I think it clicked at the end. I think that allowed me to have such a strong last month. I really think that work allowed me to become a better pro-ball hitter,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got comfortable to the point of sitting on the pitch I want. Before, I would swing at pitches that were somewhat close to the zone, but now I'm learning how to take pitches that may be strikes, but aren't pitches that I need to hit in a certain situation.\"
\r\n
\r\nThere is no way to diminish the importance his swing alterations were to his progress this past season and to his future. After getting his feet wet in Brooklyn, Ratliff feels much more confident that he has the approach and swing that will carry him to success as his moves up the ranks.
\r\n
\r\n\"The way I'm set up, it allows me to have better plate discipline, see pitches longer so I don't have to decide as quickly as I was in the past. I'm staying very balanced, I'm letting the ball travel a bit further and now I can hit to all field and that will help me in the long run.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It was a tough transition at first but the more I've done it, the more comfortable I am and now I realize it is the swing that will take me to the next level and move up the organization,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG.

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n .229

\r\n

\r\n 201

\r\n

\r\n 46

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 22

\r\n

\r\n 32

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 18

\r\n

\r\n 67

\r\n

\r\n .300

\r\n

\r\n .388


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power: Ratliff is a power hitter who continues to fine tune his contact stroke. The changes in his swing and his more open stance give him greater plate discipline and allow him to see pitches deeper into the strike zone so he does not have to react as quickly. That added time fuels his ability to hit all fields with greater precision, though hitting true to the opposite field will take more time as he continues to settle into his new swing. He does a good job of anticipating his pitch and executing when he gets it. Ratliff's power comes naturally as he boasts very good bat speed and can be lethal on the inner-half of the plate. He can use his power to all fields and can hit it out of the park with ease. Like most lefties, his hot zone is the bottom third of the strike zone but that does not prevent him from hitting with power on elevated pitches.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed: For an outfielder with good size and strength, Ratliff has fairly deceptive speed. He is not a burner, but he has a very fluid, ranging gait that allows him to motor around the bases and take extra bases when he really pushes it. Though he stole just one base with Brooklyn, with improved timing, he could steal around ten bases in any given year. His quickness and running motion allow him to cover large tracks of ground in the outfield.
\r\n
\r\nDefense: Defensively, Ratliff is a security blanket for any pitcher. He reads the ball off the bat well, takes proper routes to balls when either running down a fly ball or cutting off a ball in the gap and has a flare for the dramatic. He got a heavy dose of centerfield with Brooklyn but as he moves up, added size, arm strength and system positioning will likely push him to left field.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: Ratliff displayed a great amount of growth during his rookie season. He is a gamer who is very aware of the personal steps needed in order to make it all the way and has the tenacity to make it happen. He will need to demonstrate continued growth as a contact hitter, but his excellent power is a reliable launching point. If his power stays with him and he can show measurable improvement putting balls in play, he could peak as a .270-.275 hitter with 20-plus home run potential from left field. If his contact stroke never really comes around but he can continue his trend as a home run hitter, he could be a trusted, power-hitting option off the bench.
\r\n
\r\nETA: 2011. There are few directly ahead of Ratliff that should prevent him from opening 2009 in St. Lucie. A standard assessment of young hitters is that they traditionally need three full years in the system before breaking into the big leagues. So, give him three years on the farm before getting an opportunity to make his debut sometime in 2011.
\r\n
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