Position: Second Baseman
Although he's no relation to the Indians' budding star, Grady Sizemore, Scott has a nice history of his own. Along with garnering Southeastern District and Eastern Region Player of the Year honors as a high school senior, Scott was also named 1st Team Group AAA All-State. After a dominating high school career, Sizemore joined the Virginia Commonwealth Rams (current Tiger Brandon Inge's alma mater), and made an immediate impact, appearing in 54 games as a freshman. Despite a very impressive rookie season, Sizemore garnered nothing more than a CAA Player of the Week Award, and CAA All-Tournament honors. With a huge second season that included a .364/.464/.673 line, Sizemore not only forced pro scouts to take notice, but he brought home 3rd Team All-American, 1st Team All-CAA, and 2nd Team All-East Region honors.
With high hopes following such an impressive season, Scott headed off to the Cape Cod League where he continued his offensive ways, earning All-League honors for Harwich. His summer campaign included an impressive .303/.380/.382 line and nine stolen bases in twelve attempts. Heading into his senior season, Sizemore was named a Preseason 2nd Team All-American. Many scouts lost interest as he "slumped" to a .300/.378/.515 season, but the Tigers jumped at him in the 5th round of the '06 draft.
Sizemore made the move to shortstop last summer out of necessity, and handled the switch with ease. Not only did he flash a solid glove, but his bat was quite possibly the team's highlight of the summer. Scott dominated the league, taking home TigsTown's Oneonta Player of the Year Award, while cleaning up the league rankings. He finished in the NYPL top ten in an amazing eight categories, led by his first place finishes in runs (49) and hits (96). He also placed well in RBI (37), walks (32), average (.327), OBP (.394), slugging (.435), and OPS (.829). Seasons as dominating as this are rarely seen throughout the NYPL, and many scouts are likely kicking themselves for giving up on him during his junior season at VCU.
Offensively, Sizemore displays many of the ideal tools you would look for in a solid prospect. He has a short, quick stroke that generates good gap power with plenty of top spin. He doesn't project to drive the ball out of the park, but should hit plenty of doubles, provided he remains within himself. He bought into the hype following his sophomore season, and started swinging for the fences on the Cape and during his junior year. When he remains low, and tries to drive the ball on a line, he becomes a very good offensive player. He controls the strike zone well and strives to be a complete hitter, including taking pitches to the opposite field when pitched there. He is a quick runner, but doesn't rate much above-average. His instincts make up for a lack of top end speed on the bases, and he could steal 15-20 bases annually as a pro.
Defensively, Sizemore is proving he can handle not only second base, but shortstop as well. He was thought to need some work at the keystone, and short was thought to be out of reach for him. Offensively, he should be able to carry either position. The Tigers were pleasantly surprised with his emergency showing at short last summer, and they may opt to keep him there for the time being. He has good defensive instincts, but lacks the range and hands to make some of the more challenging plays. His arm is strong enough to handle short, but it is more suited to the other side of the bag.
Overall, Sizemore has the complete prospect package, and he should continue to establish himself as a very good player. He should be able to hit for average, get on base, drive the ball to the gaps, and play adequate defense at any level.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% SS-A
Sizemore has been healthy to this point in his career.
Sizemore has two shortstops ahead of him on the organizational depth chart (Michael Hollimon and Brent Dlugach), but it is looking more and more likely that Hollimon moves over to second so his bat can be challenged at Erie this season. That leaves the door wide open for Sizemore to leap all the way to Lakeland for his first full season. He over-matched his NYPL counterparts last season, and the Tigers have demonstrated a willingness to push such players in the past.
Joker Marchant Stadium should play to Sizemore's strengths, and his numbers should be very good next season. As a pro, he demonstrated a willingness to remain within his abilities and let the game come to him. If he continues that trend in 2007, good things are bound to happen, as that will allow his immense natural abilities to come to the surface. Sizemore will likely be blocked from any promotions to Erie, no matter how well he performs this season, but a full season in Lakeland will be a good thing. He has plenty of room on the age-development curve, but eventually he could force the Tigers into some very difficult decisions. I expect him to quickly establish himself as the top middle-infield prospect in the system.
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.