Tigers Prospect Profile #8: Austin Schotts

Austin Schotts joined the Tigers organization as a third round draft pick in 2012, and despite being absent a lot of hype, provided plenty of production and excitement in his debut season playing rookie ball. Is Schotts a premium defender in center field, and is he a future prototypical leadoff hitter?

Austin Schotts
Position: Outfielder
Height: 5-11
Weight: 180
Born: 9/13/1993
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Acquired: 2012 MLB Draft, 3rd Round
Ranking History: N/A

Background
The Tigers third round pick last summer, Schotts signed quickly and made his debut with the Gulf Coast League Tigers. In 40 rookie-league games, the 18-year old Schotts ripped eleven doubles, one triple and three home runs as part of a .310/.360/.452 line. In addition to that robust offensive output, Schotts stole 15 bases in 19 attempts.

At the end of the year, the Tigers sent Schotts across the Lakeland complex for a two-game cameo with the High-A Flying Tigers. Schotts picked up a hit and a steal in his two games with Lakeland.

Scouting Report
Schotts is a premium athlete with a high baseball IQ. A standout safety and kick returner on his high school football team, Schotts athleticism stands out on the field. He has exceptional makeup, a desire to learn and improve, and an ability to apply what he learns quickly.

Though his athleticism is top notch, Schotts is a little underwhelming physically. He is a small, thin kid that needs to add strength to his frame as he ages. Without additional strength, his offensive ceiling will be limited and there will be some concerns about his ability to handle the long grind of a full season.

A high school shortstop, Schotts moved to center field after signing and took well to the position. He has excellent first-step quickness and the plus-plus running ability to close on the ball and make plays. His reads and routes improved throughout the summer but he still needs experience and work in this area. Schotts' arm is below average but not a problem in center field.

Offensively, Schotts has a natural feel for the barrel and good hand-eye coordination. He can turn around fastballs with plus bat speed and an ability to center the ball consistently, but he does struggle some with breaking balls and change-ups. His hand-eye coordination allows him to make contact on secondary pitches, but that contact often lacks punch.

Schotts will never be a power hitter but he has the potential to develop good gap power thanks to his present bat speed and potential for additional strength. If everything comes together, he could hit 20-plus doubles, 5-7 triples and 5-7 home runs from the top of the lineup.

Schotts' speed plays well on the bases and his plus-plus running ability should allow him to steal 25-plus bases a year with a high success rate. He is a quality baserunner that reads outfielders well and can take extra bases when the opportunity arises.

Schotts lacks an impact profile overall but he has the skills to be a quality up-the-middle defender and leadoff hitter. His average potential hitting ability should allow him to tap into his gap power and speed on the bases, making him a solid center fielder.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

A+

GCL Tigers

155

.310

11

3

21

41

12

.360

.452

A+

Lakeland

3

.333

0

0

0

1

0

.333

.333


Health Record
Schotts dislocated a finger last summer in the Gulf Coast League. The injury was not serious and should not affect him going forward.

Projection
Schotts's makeup and instincts for the game should allow him to handle a full-season assignment as a teenager in 2013. Despite his excellent athleticism and draft pedigree, Schotts does not profile as an impact player. He could be a solid hitter with below-average power and plus-plus speed, backed up by above-average center field defense, making him more of a solid player than budding star.

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