HT: 5-10 WT: 180 POS: SS
Bluefield Orioles/Aberdeen Ironbirds - (73 G, .301/.396/.449)
Drafted in the 27th round of this year's draft out of the New York Institute of Technology, Kraig Binick was a quick senior sign. He started all four years at NYIT, always showing good contact ability and speed, but he really began to hit with more authority in his senior season.
According to Binck, his four years at college were a growing experience. "The whole mental aspect of the game and being stronger, faster and stronger. Overall, I have become a better player in college."
Binick spent most of 2007 hitting third for the Bluefield Orioles, but he prides himself on being a table-setter. That's the role he'll assume at higher levels of the minor leagues and he has both the speed and the plate discipline to pull it off. He began hitting for more power this season, but his prospect status hinges more on his ability to post high batting averages and high walk totals.
When Binick does drive the ball, it tends to be to his pull-side and he showed more pop against southpaws. While he is a plus runner, he is also extremely effecient on the basepaths. In college, he stole 114 bases while only getting caught 13 times.
The Orioles originally intended on playing Binick in right field but when he got off to a hot start, they realized they had a real prospect on their hands and wanted to see how long he could stick in centerfield. The results have been promising so far. He has average arm strength with good accuracy and he combines his plus speed with good outfield instincts. Long-term, he should be able to handle all three outfield spots.
Binick is also a very confident outfielder. He told ITW, "I believe that I have the ability to adjust to balls that other people can't. My reaction time is good, I can take hits away and I have confidence in my arm. I've lived there and played there my whole life in the outfield."
Despite being a four year college player, the Orioles felt that Binick didn't see the toughest pitching at NYIT and started him off slowly at rookie-level Bluefield. He also looked good in a cameo at short-season Aberdeen and he's now in line to start 2008 in low-A Demarva. With his polished approach, a good showing in spring training could even result in the 22 year old starting in high-A Frederick. Even if he doesn't, he has a good shot at getting there by the end of the season. At this point, Binick profiles as a fourth outfielder who can help a club in a number of ways. Sometimes players like this take a step forward in one of the traditional tools and improve their prospect status to profile as regulars.
So far, nobody should be complaining about the investment made in this 27th round pick.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com