Name: Nick Solak
Position: Second Baseman
DOB: January 11, 1995
Batting and Power. With plus plate discipline, advanced pitch recognition, a very patient approach, a short and compact swing, and one who uses the whole field, Solak is simply a born hitter, plain and simple. That's not to say he doesn't work hard at his craft -- he absolutely does and it makes him even better -- but few can match his propensity to square up the baseball so consistently. And so despite not being one of the bigger physical players around, his uncanny ability to barrel up the baseball combined with his excellent bat speed allows him to hit for solid power too, and not just of the gap variety either. He can launch a few home runs over the fence too and he also has the kind of physique that could add on some useful muscle mass in the comings years so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that his average power could tick up a smidge as he gets stronger and turn more of those doubles into four-baggers.
Base Running and Speed. Solak gets noted for his speed and rightfully so but he's more above average than truly plus speed-wise, perhaps just a tick over above average and borderline plus. However, it's also a good news, bad news situation. As speedy as he is, he is also quite intelligent on the base paths, making him a borderline elite runner station to station -- that's the good news. The bad news is, at least in the early going, he doesn't appear to be quite as aggressive taking his chances stealing bases. As quick as he is and as smart as he is, and given how consistently he gets on base too, he should be able to swipe more bases. He has legitimate 30-plus stolen base potential, he just has to give himself the green light more.
Defense. Solak's great speed gives him excellent range at second base and he shows real agility and nimbleness around the bag, so much that scouts don't have any trouble envisioning him mastering the double-play pivot as he continues to gain professional coaching and experience. A former amateur shortstop, he has good hands and, one who played some outfield in college too, his arm strength is a plus tool at second base. He has game-changing defensively ability at times given his athleticism but more than anything, with virtually no weaknesses, he should wind up being one of the more consistent defensive second baseman around.
Projection. Physically and mentally Solak has everything already in place to project nicely as a potential big league starting second baseman; plus hitting potential, plus on-base abilities, average power with the chance for more, above average or better speed, and above average or better defensive abilities. Throw in plus makeup and a plethora of the not-talked-about sixth tool [consistency], Solak is one of the safer bets to realize his ceiling too. He has a Rob Refsnyder-like bat but with better speed and vastly superior defensive abilities. What still has to be determined and what may take a while to figure out is where his power potential will eventually fit into a big league lineup. He has the kind of discerning eye at the plate, the consistency of the bat, and the kind of speed to potentially hit in the upper-third of a big league lineup someday. He compares himself to former Texas Rangers and current Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler -- a very apt comparison indeed -- and just like with Kinsler, Solak's in-game power may not show up until he gets closer to the big league level.
ETA. 2019. Solak is not going to be long for the minor leagues, his game is just too advanced not to move quickly. Whether the massive middle infield depth for the Yankees pushes Solak to begin the year in low-A Charleston or not [he really should skip and go right to high-A Tampa], he should see ample at-bats in the Florida State League in 2017 but with a decent chance to potentially get some Double-A time in later in the year too if things break right.