Prospect Profile: 4th Rd Pick Jason King

After being drafted in the fourth round out of Kansas State, Jason King has already signed and is ready to join the Tigers. What does he bring to the table on the field, and where will be begin?

Jason King
Position:Third Baseman
Height: 6-0
Weight: 215
Born: 6/14/1989
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

Background
King signed quickly as the Tigers fourth round pick this summer for a reported bonus just shy of $200,000.

King put together an outstanding season for Kansas State after missing the 2010 season, posting .326/.377/.591 line backed up by 19 doubles, six triples and ten home runs. He drove in a team high 59 runs, scored another 46 runs, and even stole 16 bases in 18 attempts.

As a sophomore in 2009, King hit .316 with 16 doubles and seven home runs with the old, more potent aluminum bats. He drove in 61 runs that season and earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12.

Starting 49 games during his freshman season, King finished with a .274 batting average, 13 doubles, and five home runs.

Scouting Report
The scouting report on King is a bit of an unknown by the masses after he missed the 2010 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Many teams like his athletic bloodlines as his father Jeffrey King played baseball at Ohio State and played one year in the Yankees organization.

King's most outstanding attribute is not a tangible skill, but rather his makeup and work ethic. He is extremely intense and competitive in every aspect of his life, particularly baseball. He worked diligently while injured to improve his footwork while he could not throw and his efforts in the weight room and during drill work has helped him refined his skills.

Though that may be his most notable attribute, that doesn't mean his other skills are lacking. King has above-average offensive potential with a power profile and an improved hitting approach.

The switch-hitter has a more advanced bat from the left side, with power to all fields and a much more fundamental approach. His left-handed swing is consistent and powerful. He adds back spin to the ball easily and his raw strength means he doesn't have to muscle up to get the ball out of the park. From the right side, King is less refined but still has good loft in his swing and power potential to his pull side.

He is at his best when he is working up the middle and to the opposite gap, and some scouts saw him get a little pull happy at times which hurt his hitting ability. He still struggles with recognizing breaking balls but he has cut down how much he chases out of the strike zone.

A good athlete, King is very physical. His six-foot, 215 pound frame is chiseled and reportedly has just 60% body fat. His coaches at Kansas State turned in 6.6-6.7 times in the 60-yard dash a vertical jump around 32-inches.

King is a solid defender with average instincts. He has outstanding range to his left and can make most plays on the backhand side. He Is still learning how to read hops on balls right at him, and he remains very raw charging bunts and throwing on the run. His arm strength has returned after surgery and scouts consistently turned in 60 grades for his arm.

The profile isn't sexy and there is little that stands out as a big time tool, but King doesn't have any glaring weaknesses either. If he adapts to pro ball successfully, his ceiling could be a solid regular at the hot corner with 20-25 home run potential and a solid average.

Health Record
As mentioned, King missed the 2010 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He had now lingering effects in 2011 and his arm strength has come all the way back.

The Future
King will start his professional career as the everyday third baseman in Connecticut. No matter how well he hits this summer, his progression is contingent upon the movement of Nick Castellanos at West Michigan. If Castellanos remains there for the rest of the year, King will likely spend the entire summer in the NYPL.

The Tigers are going to have some decisions to make in 2012 as they will likely be looking to push King, but will have to make sure he and Castellanos (and even Martinez) aren't competing for at-bats. Some scouts believe King could handle the outfield if necessary, but that would put even more pressure on his bat to come through.

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