Position: Second Baseman
Although he's no relation to the Indian's 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 during his pro debut 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 (.393), slugging (.435), and OPS (.828).
Despite an advanced approach to the game and a solid showing as a shortstop with Oneonta, Sizemore was assigned as the everyday second baseman with the West Michigan Whitecaps in 2007. After a rough start to the season, Sizemore got on track and broke out in a big way; posting a nice .286/.376/.424 line from June 1st through the end of the year. In the process, he was named West Michigan's Player of the Month by TigsTown, and earned a trip to the Arizona Fall League after Michael Hollimon left the league to play for Team USA. While with Peoria, Sizemore continued to deliver at the plate, notching an outstanding .356/.420/.578 line in the fall league.
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. 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 15-20 bases annually as a pro.
Defensively, Sizemore is proving he can handle not only second base, but shortstop as well; showing well at short again in the Arizona Fall League. He was thought to need some work at the keystone, and short was thought to be out of reach for him, but he has proven adequate a the game's most difficult infield position. Offensively, he should be able to carry either position. He has good defensive instincts, but lacks the range and hands to make some of the more challenging plays.
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. He does not project to be a star at any level, but he has the ceiling to develop into a quality player at either middle infield position.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A
To date, Sizemore has been healthy and durable. After playing in 125 games with West Michigan last year, there is little reason to believe he can't continue to play the bulk of the season going forward.
While fans clamor for Sizemore to be assigned to Double-A Erie, the more likely scenario involves him starting the season at Lakeland. There is some precedent for sending him to Erie, as the Tigers sent Michael Hollimon from West Michigan to Double-A last year. An assignment to Lakeland is likely to see Sizemore continue to post nice numbers and forge himself into a reliable prospect. An assignment to Erie should provide a much more stout challenge, and give a much better read on what might be expected of him at the Major League level.
In the long term, Sizemore projects as a quality second baseman in the mold of Marcus Giles; with the ability to drive the ball to the gaps, play solid defense, and generally be a solid all-around performer. It should not take much time for Scott to become Major League ready, and it is likely he will be ready before Placido Polanco's contract runs out in Detroit.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.