Plagman was a 46th round pick by the Yankees in 2009 but did not sign. The decision to return to Georgia Tech proved to be a good one as the Tigers plucked him in the ninth round last year and signed him for a reported $35,000.
Not wasting any time, the Tigers immediately assigned him to A-ball with West Michigan and he more than held his own as a 22-year old in the Midwest League.
In 63 games for the ‘Caps, Plagman was one of the players that helped improve the team's overall performance in the second half. He hit a strong .272/.337/.436 with 19 doubles, three triples, and five home runs, while driving in 35 runners.
The Tigers have assigned him to High-A Lakeland to start the 2011 season and he is again performing quite well. After a blazing hot start, he has cooled a bit recently and now sits with a .264/.343/.439 line through 37 games.
Plagman is a polished college hitter with a solid approach and an ability to adjust that approach based on what his opponent is trying to do to him. He has solid pitch recognition skills and though he can be prone to chasing breaking pitches out of the zone, he will flash an ability to stay back on them in breaking ball counts.
A naturally strong person, Plagman generates his power from his raw strength rather than deriving it from bat speed. Scouts were generally unimpressed with his swing speed last year and some even felt his load was too slow and put him at more of a disadvantage. His power is largely to his pull side though he can get into one to the opposite field at times. Despite solid-average or better raw pop, it likely won't translate at higher levels.
Similarly to his power, Plagman's hit tool won't play as well as expected, despite good hand-eye coordination and an ability to adjust. He is frequently late on better fastballs and won't have more than a below-average hit tool long term.
Plagman has made some strides defensively over the last year and he is holding his own at first base. Though there was some idle speculation after the draft that he may be tried in left field, the Tigers have not expressed any intent to experiment with him in that fashion. He is a below-average runner and has only an average arm, which would confine him to left field and put more pressure on his bat if such a move were made.
By all account, Plagman is a good guy that fits in well in the clubhouse. He is mature on and off the field and that could help keep him in the game longer than his skills suggest. He profiles as a solid minor league first baseman in the mold of former Tiger prospects like Kelly Hunt, Ryan Roberson, and Chris Carlson
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
Plagman has been injury free throughout his baseball career.
There's not much room at the upper levels for Plagman to get a chance this season if he continues to hit as he has in the early going with Lakeland. Ryan Strieby and Rawley Bishop are both ahead of him on the depth chart right now.
He will have to hit a ton at every level to truly gain consideration for a big league opportunity, and few scouts see that in his future. He should be able to carve out a nice niche as a quality organizational guy capable of playing for multiple seasons between A-ball and Double-A.
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