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 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.
As optimism continued to build surrounding Sizemore's future, he was assigned to High-A Lakeland for the 2008 season where he hit at a solid .287.357/.409 clip through the season's first 53 games. His season ended in June after a wrist injury, and he did not return to action until the Fall Instructional 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 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. 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 swipe 15-20 bases annually as a pro.
Much to the surprise of many scouts, Sizemore hasn't been completely over-matched at shortstop in the pro ranks, and he could play there in a pinch going forward. His range lends better to second base and he actually has above-average arm strength for the keystone. He's improved his pivot on the double-play and looks more fluid in nearly all of his actions at the position. He'll never wow anyone with the glove, but he should be a solid defender long term.
His overall prospect status will hinge entirely on his ability to come back from his 2008 wrist injury. If he returns with a strong stroke and good hands in the field, he'll be back on track to become a viable Major League second base option.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
Sizemore's fractured wrist last year was a freak injury and not something that should be considered the start of a trend – at least right now. Wrist injuries are notoriously tough on power hitters, and while Sizemore is not a true power hitter, he has relied on strong wrists and forearms to generate good bat speed. His recovery from this injury is still very much in the air, and he will warrant very close attention in spring training.
The Tigers invited Sizemore to big league camp as a non-roster player, likely with two motives in mind, 1) to continue evaluating him as a potential replacement for Placido Polanco as soon as 2010, and 2) to more closely monitor his return from the wrist injury.
If healthy, Sizemore is a strong candidate to start the 2009 season with Double-A Erie; a strong test for a player with an advanced approach and a burning determination to succeed. He has the raw ability to become a legitimate MLB second baseman if his bat continues to develop. If his bat stagnates or some of his gap power is sapped by the injury, he will need to continue polishing up his defense at more than just second base to secure a job in the big leagues. Sizemore's time in the big leagues could arrive as soon as 2010, or he could be held off until 2011 with both Michael Hollimon and Will Rhymes possibly able to hold down the fort until he is ready.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.