Scouting Yankee Prospect #23: Tim Battle

The Yankees selected Tim Battle in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft. Battle is a toolsy player with great speed and outstanding defensive abilities. Despite his trouble adjusting with the bat at the pro level, Battle is still quite highly regarded. It's these reasons that he's our Yankee's prospect #23. (Free Preview!)

Vital Statistics
Name: Tim Battle
Position: Center Field
DOB: September 10, 1985
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

When draft day rolled around, the Yankees had no idea that Tim Battle would even have a chance ending up in their organization. He was someone who had impressed Yankee scouts but everyone had him landing with the Angels or Braves in rounds 1 or 2. However, the first and second rounds passed with Battle still on the Yankee draft board. And, to their great pleasure, Battle was miraculously still available at pick #94. The Yankees pounced on the opportunity but now came the task of signing this young star. The fact that he slipped down a couple of rounds didn't help his signability. He had narrowed his choices between junior college and professional baseball.

"Well it was between going to a JUCO college (Junior College) or signing with the Yankees and in the end after talking with my parents I decided to sign with the Yankees," Battle told The Yankees were able to throw enough cash along with the glamour of the pinstripes at the 18 year old to get him to sign the deal. As soon as he signed the deal, Tim was sent to the Gulf Coast League to launch his professional career. However, things did not go anywhere near according to plan. Battle struggled terribly in his first pro season, batting a dismal .208 with no home runs and only 5 RBI in 106 at bats. All around, it was a season to forget for the raw teenager. However, was there a physical problem with the Yankee's stud draftee? It turned out to be an incredibly serious problem not only for his game but in his life. After the 2003 season, he was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer in his ribcage. "I had a little pain in my ribcage but I kept battling through it, I figured it was a pulled muscle or something and I kept playing through it," Battle told "I underwent chemotherapy in November and now I just feel great and really strong. I did struggle a little last year however I don't think that was the reason for me struggling, however I worked hard and now as I said I just feel great." Despite the seriousness of the problem, the organization stood behind their young prospect, as the boss himself, George Steinbrenner paid for all his medical bills. Thanks to the best treatment in the medical world, Tim Battle is now cancer free.

Grateful for his health now, Tim Battle came into spring training in 2004 as a man on a mission, to prove he was far better than he showed in 2003. Again, he would play in the Gulf Coast League and he started off on a tear. Off to a .320 start, the Yankees felt it was time to send Battle to an offensively weak, Staten Island Yankee's team. And, again, he started off on fire, hitting well over .300. But, suddenly, he fell into a slump that would dip his batting average into the .240's. It just seemed that he couldn't buy a base hit as the season was winding down. He ended the season batting .246. However, the Yankees were still pleased with the progress he had made over his first calendar year in the organization. In fact, organization coach, Bill Mosiello feels comfortable saying that Battle should be playing in low A Charleston in 2005. "Yes, I really expect it to shake out that way. I know he has struggled a little bit this year but you have to remember what he is coming back from. Remember, he really just had one bad streak that killed his stats. But, we really like his play in center field. He has an amazing arm and his range is excellent also. He is a five tool player and has plenty of time to develop. Once, he just learns to make a little more contact, he is going to be special. I know making contact is the most important thing but I think he can really make some progress."











2003 GCL .208 106 5 0 5 14 5 7 33 .255 .270
2004 GCL .320 50 3 0 4 11 5 4 15 .560 .364


Staten Island







13 14 74 .322


Batting and Power. A lot of Tim Battle is all about the potential. At this point in his career, the speedy center fielder is quite streaky with the bat. He gets into hot streaks where he looks like the best prospect the Yankees have. But, then he'll fall upon a slump where it looks like he may strikeout in every at bat. Most of that has to do with his inconsistent stroke. Basically, it is a matter of fully adjusting his swing to the pro level. The good news is that he is starting to shorten those slumps and extend those hot streaks. If he can keep his swing short and compact rather than becoming overly pull conscious, he could develop into a .300 hitter with good pop. Obviously, his strikeouts are astronomically too high and his walk totals equally too low. But, much of Battle's offensive development has to do with his maturity and experience. The Yankees were aware that when they drafted him, he would need some work on shortening his swing. With some more patience from the organization, it appears that they may be able to keep his swing short for the long haul. And, his patience and ability to make contact should follow. The organization would rather that Battle focus on hitting line drives because his power is yet to come. When he does make contact though, the ball explodes off his bat. He is a project offensively, but has the explosive offensive potential to make it worth while for the Yankees.

Base running and Speed. To put it as simply as possible, Tim Battle can flat out fly. To put things in perspective, he does a 6.49 second 60 yard dash. And, he is considered to be a legitimate base stealing weapon in the Major Leagues down the road. As a matter of fact, it is widely speculated that even if his bat never does develop to it's fullest potential, his speed will be enough to propel him to the Major Leagues. It just goes to show you how fast he really is. Battle is about as athletic as they come and because of his range and speed he is a lot of fun to watch. He has fantastic base running instincts which adds to his outstanding makeup. Overall, he is a plus, plus base runner and has plus, plus speed.

Defense. Just as with his speed, this is a category where Tim Battle could be very special. His range is absolutely outstanding and he will only need experience to make him into an elite outfielder. He can track down a deep drive with the best of them. However, his best asset in the outfield is his uncanny ability to come in on the ball. Not to mention, he has a plus throwing arm. In high school, he even hit 91 MPH on the radar gun. All around Tim Battle could be a tremendous center fielder.

Projection. With the ceiling that Tim Battle has not met as of yet, it is easy to say what he could be, but difficult to tell what he may end up being. He has plus tools in all five categories but his offense is still somewhat of a project. He does have the potential to be an exciting center fielder who hits .300 with 20 HR power. But, he has a very long road of development ahead of him.

ETA. N/A. At this stage in his young career, it is far too early to even consider when Tim Battle may be ready for the big leagues. Although his potential is through the roof, he needs a lot of seasoning on his offensive game. He will likely be roaming center field for the low A Charleston River Dogs in 2005 so time will only tell how he reacts to his first full season experience. The Yankees will move him very slowly through the system, hoping he will utilize the necessary time to make offensive adjustments. But, it is fairly probable that the 19 year will not make it to AA until 2007. With that being said, it is much to early to predict his landing in the show.

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