Scouting Yanks Prospect #50: Kendall Coleman

The Yankees selected outfielder Kendall Coleman in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Rockwall High School in Texas. He has battled some nagging injuries the past two years that has limited his on the field action thus far but he still offers one of the higher ceiling projections in the entire farm system.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Kendall Coleman
Position: Outfield
DOB: May 22, 1995
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 215
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

He played in just ten games in his debut season as he endured a few nagging injuries and struggled with some initial ineffectiveness while making the adjustment to professional baseball. He made some tangible improvements, however, during two Instructional League camps last offseason and reported to Spring Training camp like a man on a mission heading into the 2014 campaign.

"I gained about 25 pounds," Coleman said right after Spring Training. "I just worked out every day and ate a lot. Not junk food though. I feel a lot more balanced at the plate. That's coming from the strength from my legs. I can tell because the ball travels a little bit further and harder. Physically, I feel a lot stronger."

He not only added some much needed weight to his once slender frame but he also had a very noticeable, rapidly developing approach at the plate, one that began using the whole field more and saw an increased ability in overall pitch recognition too.

"I think he did a great job," GCL hitting coach Drew Henson said early in Extended Spring Training. "He's certainly improving each month. He's bigger, he's stronger, he's put on good weight, good muscle.

"His at-bats are consistently getting better. He's looked good. He has a nice approach at the plate and he's got a bunch of potential."

A clear standout behind the scenes in regular Spring Training and in Extended Spring Training, one who seemed poised to break out in a big way in 2014, Coleman began having some more nagging health concerns at the short-season leagues were getting ready to open up in late June.

"It was just a really bad stress reaction in my shin," Coleman said. "I've had a few of them. They're most commonly known as shin splints but they were just really bad so I could never get healthy [this year].

"It happened in May and I tried to play through it for a month and half to two months but then it started getting worse so they just shut me down."

For the second straight year he was unable to get anything more than just a handful of at-bats in the Gulf Coast League. In fact, despite getting a ton of experience behind the scenes at the minor league complex from the end of his debut season through the beginning of his second stint in the Gulf Coast League, he amassed even less official at-bats in 2014, collecting just 23 this past season [compared to 28 in 2013].

Still, while the limited numbers in his first two professional seasons might suggest otherwise, Coleman has made some marked improvements to his game in relatively quick fashion. With upside galore too, many team insiders believe it's just a matter of time before he becomes an impact prospect for the Yankees.

"He progressed so much and I was really proud of his offseason regiment last year," GCL Yankees1 manager Travis Chapman said. "He came back ready to play. He got better in all aspects of the game and had a very nice Extended [Spring Training].

"As the [GCL] season started he kept trying to get through those shin splints. He's a guy who is a hard worker and has really gotten a ton better."

"I actually feel a lot more confident at the plate now," Coleman added. "In my first season the confidence wasn't really there but this past Spring [Training] and Extended Spring [Training] I started to gain a lot of confidence.

"I was looking forward to a good year, a great year. Yeah I was ready for a good year but there was nothing I could have done."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2014 GCL Yankees1 .130 23 0 0 2 4 0 8 8 .355 .130
2013 GCL Yankees2 .143 28 1 0 0 1 0 2 11 .200 .179


Batting and Power. His official numbers thus far have been pretty abysmal, amassing just a career .137 batting average in 51 at-bats. However, they belie his actual hitting ability and overall rather advanced offensive approach. He has an extremely patient approach at the plate and not only shows a willingness to draw walks but a real proclivity to doing so. He uses the whole field very well, doesn't swing and miss all that frequently, and the added weight he has put on over the past calendar year has had his power potential beginning to emerge somewhat. With the potential to add on some more useful mass in the coming years, he has long-term above average or better power potential and a chance to be one of the more consistent hitters around too.

Base Running and Speed. Just like with his hitting, Coleman has a bit more speed than his modest numbers suggest. In fact, he hasn't stolen a base yet in an official game. But he is an average to slightly above average runner right now, one that could easily approach the 20-stolen base plateau over the course of a full season, especially with his ability to get on base. Long-term, however, it remains to be seen if the speed potential will sustain itself as he continues to get bigger and stronger.

Defense. Coleman made some marked improvements defensively in 2014, including getting better jumps on balls and cutting down routes on fly balls. Still, with average at best arm strength, he is best suited for left field where he will most likely be an adequate defender and not really a standout on that side of the ball.

Projection. Coleman is the epitome of 'projection'. Physically he is already a bit of a monster among his peers, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 215 pounds, and he has room to grow too. If he can begin to remain healthy and start utilizing his patient and advanced hitting approach consistently, the power will surely follow suit. He has a sky-high ceiling as a potential run producing slugger who could be a mainstay in the heart of a big league batting order someday, especially given his great makeup and second to none work ethic. For him though it's all about staying healthy and in the everyday lineup in order to maximize his development time.

ETA. N/A. With just 51 offical at-bats under his belt through his first two seasons, Coleman's immediate track has him most likely destined for the short-season leagues in 2015, either with rookie league Pulaski or more likely in short-season Staten Island. It is not far fetched, however, to imagine a Dustin Fowler-like scenario where Coleman tears through Extended Spring Training early and bypasses the short-season leagues entirely, and sees significant playing time with low-A Charleston later in the season. He has the talent to duplicate Fowler's efforts this past year.

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