PP 2004 Scouting Report: 2B/SS, J.T. Stotts

The New York Yankees acquired infielder JT Stotts on December 18th of 2003 along with relief pitcher Edwardo Sierra in a deal that involved pitcher Chris Hammond being sent to Oakland in return. Many felt that the Yankees got a steal when they picked up this talented young infielder and it also enraged many Oakland fans that they would give up a such good prospect for an only marginal lefty relief pitcher. (Free Preview of Premium Content)

Vital Statistics:
Name: J.T. Stotts
Position: SS/2b
DOB: January 21, 1980
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Valencia, California
How Acquired: The New York Yankees acquired infielder JT Stotts along with relief pitcher Edwardo Sierra in a deal that sent left handed reliever Chris Hammond to the Oakland A's in exchange.

After a very strong, short career in the Oakland organization, the Yankees have high hopes for this young man and are expecting some big things from Stotts over the next couple of years. JT Stotts had a strong college career at Cal State Northridge University and impressed many major league scouts who expected him to be a top 10 round draft pick in 2001 amateur draft. When the draft rolled around in 2001, Stotts indeed was drafted in the first 10 rounds by being drafted in the third round by the Oakland Athletics in the 3rd round (101st overall). The Oakland organization predicted a very bright future for Stotts and foresaw him as a a solid offensive player that also played solid defense. Later on, scouts said that JT Stotts' skills were comparable to those of Anaheim Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy and that he could eventually end up being the same caliber player. Oakland officials were excited about his very refined defense and his professional approach to hitting as well.

Stotts started his career in 2001 with the Oakland organization at the Athletics low A affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians at the age of 21 years old. He had a solid rookie campaign with the the ball club and continued to show that he had the skills to be a future big leaguer. With Vancouver, he hit .270 with 0 home runs and with 17 RBI. However, despite his lack of power, Stotts showed his excellent speed in 2001 when he stole an outstanding 19 bases while only being caught 4 times. Another thing to take into consideration is that these totals were compiled in only 62 games and in a full season they would most likely be much higher. The next season, Stotts would get this chance to play a full season and prove that he could be an excellent player.

In the 2002 season, Stotts was a consistent offensive and defensive presence for Oakalnd's Visalia Oaks affiliate as his stock continued to rise in the organization. He played most of the season as a second baseman where he played tremendous defensively and added to an already strong reputation as a slick fielder. The speedy Stotts also swiped 13 bases in 2002 while being caught 6 times. There was a significant improvement in his offense from the season prior as well. Stotts hit .275 with 2 home runs and 64 RBI in 483 at bats. Along with that, he became even more adept at keeping his strikeout totals fairly low (75) as well as decent walk totals (65).

More and more, it became clear to scouts and coaches that the 23 year old JT Stotts was the type of player that seemed to get better and better every year. During the 2003 season, he proved this theory to be completely correct. He started the season with the Athletics high A affiliate in Modesto and once again improved upon his statistics from the season prior. With Modesto, Stotts hit .284 with 2 home runs and 37 RBI. He also added 11 stolen bases while being caught stealing 4 times. Stotts played 75 games with Modesto, before being promoted to the AA Midland Rockhounds where he shined. In Midland, he posted his highest batting average of his career hitting .307 with 14 RBI in 176 at bats. He also put up a very solid .377 on base percentage.

When JT Stotts was acquired by the Yankees in the winter after the 2003 season, they felt that they got a steal on a potentially very consistent and solid player. As stated earlier, he is viewed as an Adam Kennedy type player that will never be a power hitter but will be slick fielding and a decent offensive middle infielder that could compile a decent major league career.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2003

Midland

.307

176

8

0

14

24

4

18

41

.377

.352

2003

Modesto

.284

292

16

2

37

34

11

31

37

.363

.366

2002

Visalia

.275

483

20

2

64

66

13

65

75

.363

.342

2001

Vancouver

.270

241

5

0

17

35

19

26

34

-

.307


* Stats as of 9/7/03

Batting and Power. JT Stotts will never be known for his power at any point in his career but by no means does that mean that he can't be a good hitter. Power is not a big part of his game, but he has become a good singles hitter that can slap the ball to all fields. Stotts has the potential to be a .290 to .300 hitter in the big leagues with home run totals topping out around 10. He is a very patient hitter at the plate and he knows how to use his speed to his advantage. With this being said, Stotts possesses the natural skills to be an excellent leadoff hitter.

Base Running and Speed. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that JT Stotts has loads of speed and that he knows how to use it to his advantage. He is a very aggressive base runner that has the potential to be and already is a huge stolen base threat. However, the one thing that he may want to improve upon is the number of times he gets thrown out on the base paths which happens a little too frequently in his game. Last season, in 21 attempts, Stotts was thrown out 6 times which isn't terrible but may be needing some improvement if he ever wants to have a major league career.

Defense. Overall, this may be the strongest point in JT Stotts' game. He has been superb in the field throughout his playing career and scouts say that his defense will only get better as he matures and gets older. Even though he has played shortstop, his future will most likely be as a second baseman. Being strong in this area of his game is especially helpful in the career of Stotts' because even if his offense fails him and he never develops into a solid big league hitter he will still have a future as a reserve infielder.

Projection. At the very least, JT Stotts will probably be a major league reserve infielder. However, he shouldn't be counted out just yet as a starter on the big league level. It is still likely that he could be an Adam Kennedy type player as scouts are predicting him to be. He possesses all of the natural skills to do so with his great speed, patience, and a relatively low strikeout total along with the potential to have a high on base percentage.

ETA. Late 2005. It seems likely that Stotts is only about two years away from big league action. For 2004, he will probably be assigned to the Trenton Thunder to start the season but could be promoted to Columbus if he performs well. If all goes well, he will play the 2005 season in Columbus but could be in line for a September call up to the Bronx as reserve infielder.

Shortstops

2003 Team

Erick Almonte

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Deivi Mendez

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Andy Cannizaro

AA - Trenton Thunder

J.T. Stotts AA - Midland Rockhounds
Ferdin Tejada A - Tampa Yankees
Joaquin Arias A - Battle Creek Yankees
Hector Made R - GCL Yankees


COMMENTS


Currently, the organization doesn't have an immediate impact player that could step in and do the job. Joaquin Arias will end up being the most polished player, with a few that may end up being solid utility infielders. With Derek Jeter entrenched as the shortstop in the Bronx, most of these guys will either switch positions or end up being traded in deals.

1.) Erick Almonte- Almonte hasn't developed into the heir apparent to Derek Jeter as he was once thought that he could be. Almonte hasn't improved upon his fielding skills or his power, If he wants a starting position, it certainly isn't going to be with the New York Yankees.

2.) Deivi Mendez- Mendez is still stuck behind Erick Almonte for the starting job in Columbus and it doesn't appear that he will be taking it anytime soon. He is in the same category as Almonte. Could be a good player but needs to find another organization.

3.) Andy Cannizaro- Cannizaro could have a decent future as a possible utility player in any organization. he has been consistent and plats fairly solid defense as well. Needs some improvement with the bat but is still adequate and should be improving as he continues to mature.

4.) J.T. Stotts- Acquired in the deal that sent left-handed reliever Chris Hammond to Oakland, Stotts, 23, has a knack for getting on base and utilizing his speed. Much like Tejada, he doesn't project for much power but plays solid defense. In the A's system during 2003, he split the year between high Class A Modesto and Double-A Midland, hitting .293 with 2 homers, 51 RBIs, and 15 steals in 121 games. Could be a sleeper in the system.

5.) Ferdin Tejada-Excellent defensive player that sprays the ball, uses his speed, and does the fundamentals. Needs to improve from the left-side of the plate. Little power. Needs to get stronger and continue to mature.

6.) Joaquin Arias- Arias has been touted by some scouts as the gem of the farm system. He is a tremendous fielder but needs to work on his consistency on routine plays. Has a very good bat and could even develop into a better power hitter as he matures as well. A possible 5 tool player.

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