Prospect Profile: Jeff Larish

Jeff Larish was one of the top college baseball players in the country, but because of his choice of agent, he fell considerably in the draft, despite possessing first round talent. Once the Tigers were able to get him into the fold, Larish displayed why exactly he was so highly rated coming out of Arizona State.

Jeff Larish
Position: First Baseman Height: 6-2 Weight: 200
Born: 10/11/1982 Bats: Left Throws: Right

Background
Larish arrived at Arizona State in 2002 and exploded onto the scene as a freshman with a .328/.447/.477 line. Larish continued his onslaught against the ASU record books throughout his career, becoming only the second player in school history to log 70 walks and 70 RBI in the same season in 2003. After battling a minor hand injury during his junior season, Larish was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but turned down a reported $660,000 signing bonus to return for his senior season. After a solid final campaign that saw him end his career with 47 homeruns, 229 RBI, and a .333/.460/.585 line, the Tigers selected Larish in the 5th round and signed him for $220,000. Larish joined the GCL Tigers and later the Oneonta Tigers posting a combined line of .280/.404/.549 during his pro debut.

Scouting Report
Larish's strongest offensive tool is his exceptional strike zone judgment and ability to recognize pitches. He is a patient hitter who is focused on finding his pitch and driving it when it arrives. Larish has great strength in his wrists and snaps the bat through the zone with exceptional force, generating loads of power to all fields. He has a unique stance that sometimes precludes him from getting around on inside fastballs, but he's shown the ability to adjust without revamping his mechanics. Larish can hit pitches in all quadrants of the strike zone with power, and is willing to drive tough pitches to all parts of the park in order to be a complete hitter. Larish is an average athlete with moderate speed, but good instincts around the bag at first. He was a third baseman during his freshman season at ASU, and an outfielder during his junior campaign. He has a very strong and accurate arm that, and his experience could help facilitate a move to another position if necessary. Larish may struggle to hit for big time power as he moves up, but if he can keep his swing short and continue to get his hips opened up, he shouldn't have too much trouble.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

R

GCL Tigers

18

.222

1

0

4

4

5

.375

.278

SS-A

Oneonta

64

.297

3

6

13

6

13

.430

.625


Health Record
Larish's minor hand injury during his junior season has not been a lingering concern. Aside from that injury nearly three years ago, Larish has been the model of health.

The Future
The Tigers' system lacks any first base prospects of note, and the Larish should be pushed aggressively. He is likely to start the season with High-A Lakeland, but could force the issue and get a shot at AA. He is an advanced, experienced player who the Tigers should be able to promote in short order and get to the Major League quickly. If he moves rapidly through the system, the Tigers will have the option of having him split time Chris Shelton at first base and DH, or they could use his versatile defensive experience to their advantage and move him to the outfield to get him at-bats. There are very high hopes that Larish will quickly establish himself as an elite hitting prospect, and the expectation is that this establishment will begin with Lakeland in 2006.

Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.


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