Tigers Scouting Report #20: Shane Zeile

Among the Tigers top picks in the 2014 MLB Draft, one of the more intriguing selections was a young catcher out of UCLA with strong bloodlines, Shane Zeile. Similar to Alex Avila, he converted to catcher during his college career, and is still learning the finer points of the position. What sort of ceiling does Zeile possess

Shane Zeile

Vitals

Position: Catcher


Date of Birth: 6/14/1993 (2014 Opening Day Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6-1/195
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: 2014 MLB Draft, 5th Round
Ranking History: #20 (2015)

Background: The product of a baseball family as the nephew of former big leaguer Todd Zeile, Shane was a 5th round pick after a very successful three-year run at UCLA where he was part of several high-caliber teams and improved his all-around game every season. Zeile debuted with the GCL Tigers last summer and hit .222 in 21 games.

Performance:

2014 Stats - Hitting
TEAMABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLG
GCL Tigers 631014112641401.222.275.365


Scouting Report

Body: Average body; room for additional strength and needs to get stronger under a professional workout program; durability is of some question; previously repaired torn labrum in left shoulder.

Hit: Quick bat; hits from a deep crouch; stays low throughout swing and doesn’t pop up or change his sight line; difficulty staying on pitches away and must learn to use opposite field to greater degree; can get the bat on the ball with some consistency but shows occasional weakness for chasing good breaking stuff; pro caliber pitching will be a test for him; knows the zone but is still willing to expand to hit the ball; won’t strike out much but contact can be weak when he’s not waiting for pitches he can drive; doesn’t project to walk much; potential solid-average hitter. Grade – Present 4/Future 5

Power: Power is limited to pull side; lacks strength or ability to consistently drive ball hard up the middle or the other way; swing lacks lift and is geared more toward line drives than anything else; may be able to pick up some doubles as his approach and knack for squaring the ball adjusts to the pro game; power won’t be substantial part of his game but he won’t trend toward punchless; potential for 8-10 home runs with 15-20 doubles with regular playing time. Grade – 3/3+

Speed: Fringe runner that works hard at it and goes max effort at all times; has some trouble getting out of the box at times because of unique stance/swing; runs better once underway and can take extra bases on occasion; aggressive when he thinks he can make something happen; likes to try and get things going by using his limited speed to cause problems; could slow down some as catching career begins to take a toll. Grade – 4+/4

Defense: Still raw and learning as a defender; less than two years of true catching experience, leaving plenty to learn at this stage of the game; Has developed rapidly to date and has made some believers in the scouting community; ability to block in the dirt is exceptional; not afraid to get dirty and do his job back there; ability to call a game is improving; builds trust and rapport with his pitchers; receiving is noisy and glove will drift at times; has to learn to handle high-end pro stuff; potential above-average defensive catcher with continued progress; good potential. Grade – 4+/5+

Arm: Strong arm; consistently above-average; ball comes out of his hand well; throws are typically accurate despite developing footwork; likes to throw when runners get lazy or too aggressive; potential asset that rounds out the defensive profile. Grade – 5+/5+

Other: Intelligent player; works extremely hard; aggressive and pesky on the field; likes to get under the oppositions skin; baseball rat; plus-plus makeup that gives him a chance to pull everything together; grinder.



Final Word

Summary: Lacks impressive ceiling but could have a solid bat with a strong defensive skill set; potential .270-.280 hitter at peak with modest power but a knack for making contact and putting the ball in play; speed is fringe at present and may slow, but aggressive runner that can make most of what he has; defensive continues to improve and could be above-average long term; arm is an asset; potential above-average defender with some hitting ability; grinder on the field that could still revert back to utility role he excelled in during early part of his college career; experience at first base, second base, third base, and catcher.

Risk: LHigh risk; Raw player despite college experience; complex level resume; bat and glove need to step forward.

Projection: Will take time to develop as both major pieces of game need to make strides for him to have true MLB future; potential to become a batting-average driven offensive player with good defense at a premium position; likely backup role going forward but chance at second division role; extended ETA; likely 2018 or 2019 arrival.

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