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Here's a scouting report on Charleston RiverDogs first baseman Chris Gittens.

The Yankees selected first baseman Chris Gittens in the 12th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Grayson County Junior College in Texas. He immediately became one of the better 'sleeper' prospects because of his elite power potential and that power has been on full display over the past two seasons.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Chris Gittens
Position: First Base
DOB:  February 9, 1994
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 250
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Batting and Power. Gittens is a pure slugger in every sense of the term, boasting plus power potential to all fields.  A behemoth of a man, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing a listed 250 pounds, he is especially dangerous on the outer-half of the strike zone where he can extend his arms and crush offerings over the opposite field fence.  He has the foundation in place to be a potentially high-average hitter someday too; good plate discipline, solid pitch recognition, plus bat speed, plus patience, and a willingness to use the whole field.  His biggest problem to date, however, has been his swing mechanics.  He uses a leg-tick [like most big league sluggers] to generate more torque and it's a timing mechanism that requires constant monitoring and work.  While the other aspects scream high-average hitter it's the leg-kick that could wind up preventing him from tapping his ultra-high batting ceiling, at least from a consistency standpoint.  The other areas of his hitting allow him to consistently be one of the better on-base guys around.

Base Running and Speed. As big as he is and as non-athletic as he can look sometimes, Gittens is actually surprisingly nimble and quick for a slugger type. He isn't a big factor now or really ever will be running the bases but he can catch opposing pitchers napping when he's on first base and swipe a few bases here and there. As such he isn't a real liability running station to station either and that's a nice feather in his cap for a heart of the order hitter. 

Defense. As expected from a larger-framed guy, one built more like current big league Miguel Cabrera or former big leaguer Randy Milligan, Gittens doesn't offer much range defensively.  What he lacks in that regard, however, he does make up for with solid hands, decent footwork, and some adeptness making short-hop scoops.  Just like in the running game he isn't a liability in the field and projects to be at least average with the glove long-term, just as long as he keeps up on his conditioning daily.

Projection. Gittens is a prototypical slugger type these days, not only one with special plus power potential to all fields but one who can take walks at somewhat prolific rates and become a dual power/on-base threat.  However, while he has that kind of Chris Davis ceiling from a home run and walk standpoint, albeit from the right side, Gittens does have work to do to stay on that path and it's the kind of relentless work that will be key for his remaining playing days to tap his considerable potential.  Not only does his physical frame require constant work and attention to maintain his agility and nimbleness, but his swing mechanics require daily upkeep too to be as consistent a hitter as possible and further maximize his power production.  If he can continue keeping up on his conditioning in particular it would help keep him at first base long-term too because he really doesn't have any other defensive option aside from designated hitter.  He has one of the higher ceilings offensively, especially power-wise, but it doesn't come without the obvious need for continuous daily work.  The good news though is Gittens is a high makeup guy with a good work ethic.  The most apt comparison is to former big leaguer Randy Milligan both physically and potentially production-wise too.

ETA. N/A. The soon to be 23-year old has nothing to prove at the low-A level and his power is special enough that even the pitching-friendly Florida State League shouldn't be able to hold him back in 2017 either.  Expect him to be a mainstay in the heart of the Tampa Yankees lineup this coming season and a promotion to Double-A Trenton later in the year should be in order.  He probably just needs a couple more minor league seasons under his belt considering his power is big league ready right now.

Year Team AVG AB 2B HR RBI R BB SO SB OBP SLG OPS
2016 Charleston .253 383 23 21 70 57 56 126 4 .359 .478 .837
2015 Tampa .143 14 0 0 1 0 1 3 0 .200 .143 .343
2015 GCL Yankees .363 124 9 8 29 25 17 33 2 .452 .645 1.097
2014 GCL Yankees .286 35 4 0 5 6 7 10 0 .400 .400 .800
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