Scouting Yankee Prospect #45: Grant Plumley

The New York Yankees drafted shortstop Grant Plumley in the 9th round of the 2004 draft out of Oral Roberts University. Plumley has already earned the reputation as a slick-fielding shortstop and is one to keep an eye on in the coming years. Plumley ranks #45 in our Top 50 Yankees prospects.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Grant Plumley
Position: Shortstop
DOB: December 21, 1981
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted in the 9th round of the 2004 MLB Draft.

Grant Plumley, a two-time Mid-Continent Conference selection, led Oral Roberts University to two straight NCAA regional appearances and into the collegiate Top 25 in the 2004 season with his excellent defense and hot hitting. He quickly became a leader in the clubhouse and on the field with his gritty play and earned a reputation as a top-notch defensive shortstop. Just how good was Grant in college? He committed just one error in a 46-game stretch for Oral Roberts in 2004. When PinstripesPlus.com asked Oral Roberts' play-by-play announcer Cris Belvin about Grant's defensive ability, he was not short on praise. "I can tell you that I have been covering Division I college baseball for 11 years and I have never seen a better defensive shortstop than Grant", Belvin told us shortly after Plumley was drafted by the Yankees.

While he was known more more his defensive prowess in college, it's not like Grant was devoid of offensive talent either. Grant hit .331 with 5 home runs and 64 RBI in 61 games in his final season at Oral Roberts, including a stretch in mid-March of '04 where he hit .654 (17-26) with two homers and 12 RBI in seven games.

After being drafted by the Yankees this past June, Plumley made his professional debut in New York with the Staten Island Yankees. He did not have a great season for the Yankees but few players making their debuts right out of college seldom do. He committed a team-high 18 errors for Staten Island but did occasionally make the impossible plays look routine. Despite the surprising amount of errors, Plumley played in a team-high 62 games for Staten Island in 2004 and lead the ball club in doubles with eleven. He quickly earned the reputation as one of the more difficult outs in the NY-Penn League and possesses tremendous leadership skills that will only help him as he continues his progression in the Yankees' farm system.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2004

Staten Island

.252

258

11

0

19

30

2

13

45

.297

.310


* Stats as of 9/7/03

Batting and Power. Plumley is not one of the most patient hitters. He's very aggressive early in the count, looking to hit the first pitch fastball. While he won't draw a ton of walks, he's a pesky out. Opposing pitchers find him difficult to get out as he continually fights off the good pitches. Plumley is a line-drive hitter, able to hit the ball into the gaps. He's more of a doubles hitter but can hit a few out of the park. He projects to hit 10-15 home runs annually (possibly topping off at 20 HRs) and should be a 280-.290 hitter for the Yankees. Plumley makes good contact with the bat and has a slew of productive outs, getting runners into scoring position. He's the prototypical small-ball hitter and actually resembles Derek Jeter in the same manner.

Base Running and Speed. Plumley has good speed but does not possess the great speed associated with middle infielders. He's a very smart base runner and will pick his spots to steal if he catches the pitchers napping. He's quicker when in motion, getting from first to third with great hustle. Plumley stole 12 bases for Oral Roberts this past season and that should be the rough amount he'll steal as a professional, around the 10-15 range.

Defense. Forget the 18 errors he committed in Staten Island this past season. You can chalk that up to first time professional jitters. He's an excellent defensive player and it is the strongest part of his game. He has a very good arm with excellent range in the field. He's an intelligent fielder, always getting himself into good position and taking good angles on the balls hit in his direction. He has excellent footwork in the field and his defensive ability is going to aid his progress as a budding shortstop prospect in the Yankees' system. He's definitely an above average player defensively.

Projection. With his defensive ability, work ethic, and small ball skills, Plumley projects to be a starting shortstop in the Major Leagues someday. While he's a feisty player in the batter's box, more associated with a #2 hitter, his lack of power may prevent him from hitting atop the lineup. Right now he compares to former Major League SS Mike Bordick of the A's and Orioles. He has the same type of offensive and defensive ability. Like Bordick, Plumley should top off with about 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases while playing Gold Glove caliber defense.

ETA. 2007/2008. Plumley turns 23 years old in December and needs to put up solid numbers at the higher levels in a hurry. With the logjam of young shortstop prospects in the Yankees' farm system with the likes of Marcos Vechionacci and Hector Made, the Yankees are going to have to challenge Plumley. He could skip a level in 2005 and actually be the first of the aforementioned trio to reach the AA level purely on his age and defensive ability.

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