At the Park: Scouting Two Flying Tigers' Bats

With a couple weeks in the books, James shares his notes on two of the top performers at the plate in Lakeland.

1B/DH Dean Green

Any conversation about Mr. Green begins with his size. Listed at 6-foot-4 and a generous 255 pounds, Green is a big boy. He makes good use of that size though, routinely punishing baseballs. Although the majority of Green's power this season has been of the line drive variety, on the surface his over-the-fence power seems projectable. It's promising and impressive that he's also able to hit the ball with authority from foul pole to foul pole regularly. The ball sounds great off the left-hander's bat and Green appears to have no issues hitting to the opposite field with authority.

Unlike most power hitters at this level, Green appears to have a pretty good idea of the strike zone; working the count on occasion; keeping his strikeout ratio at a passable 17-18% clip. Although he's patient, Green understands that his job is to swing the bat. He's routinely aggressive at the plate, especially late in counts. Green also seems to enjoy the challenge of high-pressure situations.

Green takes a good deal of flak for his "below-average" speed. However, for what it's worth, Green hustles out of the box and runs hard, always appearing to give a max effort on the basepaths.

Green appears to be handling FSL pitching quite well again this season. The soon-to-be 24-year-old started this season with a seven game hitting streak and he's put together five multi-hit games already this season. After tonight's impressive four-hit game, Green's .333 batting average remains a Flying Tigers' team high. Used almost exclusively as a DH again this season, it might be helpful to see the organization either a) challenge him by forcing him to work in the field more or b) challenge him with a promotion to AA-Erie.

OF Jeff McVaney

Similar to Green, McVaney has been another one of the few consistent bats in Lakeland's lineup early this season. The 23-year-old outfielder currently boasts a Flying Tigers' best .878 OPS and an impressive .320 batting average. He has also recorded at least one hit in all but two of Lakeland's 12 games. To his credit, McVaney consistently hit for average in college and that aspect of his game definitely appears to be his calling card moving forward as a pro.

McVaney stands 6-foot-2, weighs 210 pounds, throws left-handed and bats right-handed. His approach is very aggressive at the plate—almost to a fault, in my humble opinion. He hasn't worked the count very well when I've observed him and he seems to struggle a bit with pitch recognition. Because of this, he's drawn just one walk over 50 at-bats so far this season. To be clear, McVaney's solid start is impressive and there's reason to believe in the hit tool. However, it's up for debate whether or not the balls will continue to find holes, yielding a high average, especially if he continues walking at his well below-average 5.5% career clip. He'll need to work on a more balanced approach, to prevent more experienced pitching from exploiting this glaring weakness of his. Defensively, results have been a bit of a mixed bag for McVaney. Splitting time primarily between left and right field this season, McVaney has already tallied two throwing errors and three fielding errors. He noticeably has difficulty tracking the ball off the bat, often taking awkward routes. His arm also lacks the strength that you might expect from a former pitching prospect. Overall, McVaney looks pretty solid for an eighth round pick though. Despite displaying no true carrying tool thus far, McVaney appears to be at the very least a solid organizational soldier.

James Chipman is the Lakeland Correspondent for TigsTown. Be sure to follow him on twitter @JAYRC_TigsTown.

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