TigsTown Top 50 Scouting Reports: 40-36

With the next five scouting reports up, we take a look at a pair of experienced college outfielders in Ross Kivett and Connor Harrell along with a pair of youngsters in Franklin Navarro and Zach Shepherd that more recently made their stateside debut, but show plenty of potential and promise.

40. Franklin Navarro (C)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Hit Power Speed Defense Arm
Pres: 3 / Fut: 4+ Pres: 3+ / Fut: 5 Pres: 3+ / Fut: 3 Pres: 4 / Fut: 5+ Pres: 5+ / Fut: 6
Navarro’s game is all about projection and there is a massive gap between what he is right now and what he could be in the dreams of scouts. Such a gap provides an incredible amount of risk and it is a distinct possibility that Navarro will never escape the low minors. That said, his raw potential on both sides of the ball cannot be ignored. With an improving swing from both sides of the plate, Navarro has a chance to be a near-average hitter if his approach can be refined. Progress with his hit tool would result in improved power in game situations and could make him a dual threat (average and power) offensive player. Defensively, Navarro is making strides but still needs to cleanup his footwork for his natural skills, including his potential plus arm, to shine through.

39. Connor Harrell (OF)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Hit Power Speed Defense Arm
Pres: 3 / Fut: 3+ Pres: 4+ / Fut: 5 Pres: 5+ / Fut: 5+ Pres: 5 / Fut: 5+ Pres: 6+ / Fut: 6+
Unlike Navarro, Harrell’s game has limited room for continued growth and he is quickly approaching the point where he “is what he is.” Loaded with tools, Harrell’s potential impact profile falls apart because of an inability to make consistent, quality contact. In short, there’s not enough feel for the barrel, and too much swing and miss in his game for his offensive profile to play at a meaningful level. That result leaves Harrell profiling as a glove-first fourth outfielder with an impact defensive skill set capable of fitting in all three outfield slots. Blessed with above-average speed from a large, physical frame, Harrell can defend at an above-average level across the outfield, and he can cut down a running game with his cannon arm. Though the offense likely will never develop, there are scouts that believe Harrell could find a future as a defense oriented fourth outfielder that offers occasional punch when he runs into one.

38. Ross Kivett (OF)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Hit Power Speed Defense Arm
Pres: 4 / Fut: 4+ Pres: 4+ / Fut: 4+ Pres: 5 / Fut: 5 Pres: 3+ / Fut: 5 Pres: 5 / Fut: 5
Another prospect with limited growth potential, Kivett offers a collection of modest tools with a chance to combine into a reasonable profile that allows him to carve out a niche on an MLB bench. As Kivett continues to adjust to life in the outfield, his defense should improve, giving him a chance to be an average defender in center field, and slightly better than that on the corners. In a reserve role, Kivett’s average arm will play at any position. Offensively, Kivett provides decent bat-to-ball skills and a solid understanding of the strike zone; two traits that should allow him to hit a little bit and post a reasonable OBP. He can drive the ball to the gaps but projects as more of a line drive hitter than any type of power prospect. All told, Kivett’s profile isn’t sexy, but could be enough to reach the Major Leagues in a backup capacity; a role that could be augmented by a team trying to get him additional reps at his former position, second base, in hopes of increasing his versatility.

37. Eduardo Jimenez (RHP)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Fastball Curveball Changeup Control
Pres: 3 / Fut: 5 Pres: 5+ / Fut: 6+ Pres: 4 / Fut: 4+ Pres: 3 / Fut: 4+
The Tigers were on the verge of having another impact arm flying up the ranks of their system when Jimenez was lost for the entire 2014 and part of the 2015 season due to required Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Prior to the injury, Jimenez was blowing up the instructional league with 93-95 mph heat and an improving curveball that drew some plus projections from scouts. On top of that, his feel for pitching was improving rapidly, resulting in more quality strikes and an improved ability to move the ball around the strike zone. Jimenez’s changeup must still make strides to catch up to his two primary offerings, and the lost developmental time due to surgery could impede that, but he has the raw potential right now to develop into a mid-rotation starter.

36. Zach Shepherd (SS)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Hit Power Speed Defense (SS) Arm
Pres: 4 / Fut: 5+ Pres: 4 / Fut: 5 Pres: 5 / Fut: 4+ Pres: 3 / Fut: 3+ Pres: 4 / Fut: 4
Shepherd’s prospect stock is rising quickly on the back of his impressive offensive skills. A natural hitter with a gifted feel for the barrel, Shepherd has advanced pitch recognition and knowledge of the strike zone for his age. On top of that, Shepherd’s preternatural feel for contact allows him to spray line drives to all fields. His bat speed is very impressive and the ball explodes off his bat with “that different sound.” All told, Shepherd could be an intriguing offensive player that hits .280+ with a strong OBP and piles up doubles and 10-15 home runs. The rub comes with finding a defensive home for Shepherd. Scouts are unanimous that he will not stick at shortstop, and most feel third base and second base will be a stretch as well, leaving the outfield as his likely destination. With below average arm strength and untested ability in the outfield, Shepherd’s defensive value is largely unknown at this point, and he will likely be limited to gaining experience in left field. Such a move will put considerable pressure on Shepherd’s offensive game, but he has the skills to evolve into the type of player that makes the profile work.

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