Scouting Yankee Prospect #13: Tim Battle

The Yankees selected Tim Battle in the 3rd round of the 2003 MLB Draft out of McIntosh High School in Georgia. Despite his propensity for high strikeout totals, Battle is one the toolsiest players in the Yankee farm system. Ranking #13 among the Top 50 Yankees' Prospects, here's a scouting report on Tim Battle.

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

Not many players are able to elicit so many varied opinions than Tim Battle. But whether good or bad, the bottom line is that Battle has all of minor league baseball talking about him.

"Battle is among the league leaders, both positive and negative," Charleston Riverdogs' broadcaster Josh Maurer told us in late August. "He's up there in runs scored. He leads the league in triples. He's up there in doubles and extra-base hits. But then you look at the errors he's made. He has made a ton, way too many. The strikeouts. He was on pace to break the all-time league record for strikeouts. So he's been fantastic to watch but also maddening a lot of times."

While many scouts will point to his incredibly high strikeout totals as a clear negative to his game and will use it as evidence that his odds of reaching the big leagues are hurt because of them, like Maurer, they'll always settle back and come away impressed more with his his positives.

"Sometimes you just want to pull your hair out," Maurer contined on Battle's inconsistent play. "But he's just 19, so that's what you get at times. But he's a great prospect. He's really a great prospect."

Battle had a breakout year with the Charleston Riverdogs in 2005, hitting .259 with 33 doubles, 11 triples, 16 home runs, and 40 stolen bases. And while his offensive numbers were tremendous for a 19-year old in the South Atlantic League, it was Battle's defense and his approach to the game that were even more impressive.

"He's got unreal power," Charleston teammate Christian Garcia told PinstripesPlus.com in a recent interview. "He's a definite five-tool player. He gives me so much confidence when I'm on the mound that I know he'll catch anything hit in the outfield. He can cover the outfield from foul pole to foul pole and play center field with the best of them. He also has a great arm and his amazing speed is obvious."

"Aside from his tools though, what I love about Battle is his swagger and attitude on the field," Garcia added. "He has so much heart and he's always hustling. He has so much love for the game and it shows in his play."

Ever since being selected 94th overall in the 2003 MLB Draft, Tim Battle has impressed scouts, coaches, and teammates with his skill set. And even though he had collected just a .245 batting average with two home runs in his first two professional seasons, Battle still garnered a lot of attention, even securing a #23 ranking in our prospects rankings in 2004.

But while he has flashed incredible tools across the board, Battle has still struck out nearly once in every three at-bats over his career and his 195 strikeouts in 2005 equaled the all-time Major League strikeout record for a season, set by Adam Dunn, and Battle did it in less games! Still, Battle remains confident he can overcome his whiffing.

"I think I improved the most in my approach at the plate," Battle told us. "I got a lot better later in the year and now I can't wait for next season. I can't wait to see how this working out this offseason pays off next year. Don't get me wrong. Last season was cool. I feel my strikeouts will come down. I don't want to stay the same. I'm always trying to improve because I really want to win a championship."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2005 Charleston .259 525 33 16 60 97 40 50 195 .335 .445

2004

Staten Island

.246

199

8

1

20

28

13

14

74

.302

.322

2004

Gulf Coast

.320

50

3

1

4

11

5

4

15

.364

.560

2003

Gulf Coast

.208

106

5

0

5

14

5

7

33

.270

.255



Batting and Power. A lot of Battle supporters will proclaim him a five-tool prospect. He really isn't. He simply doesn't make enough contact with the bat and with his ability to rack up the high strikeout totals, Battle doesn't project to hit for a high average. However, he's about as special a "four-tool" prospect as there is and his power is a big reason why. Even before his breakout year in 2005, Battle would always sting the ball when he made contact. What is truly a scary thought is that his 16 home runs last year and his 60 extra-base hits possibly could have just scratched the surface of his offensive potential. While he's been batting leadoff so far in his career, Battle projects to hit further down in the lineup because of his power and his lack of contact hitting.

Base running and Speed. Battle, who does the 60-yard dash in 6.49 seconds, can flat out fly. Just like his power however, his base running is still very raw. He flashed his plus speed with 40 stolen bases with the Riverdogs last year, but he still has a ways to go in learning the nuances of base running. Battle was caught stealing 16 times in 2005 and he'll need to improve on his 71.5% success rate in his career. As athletic as they come, Battle can turn quite a few gappers into triples with his speed. He's a major factor on the base paths and he only figures to get better with more experience.

Defense. With Battle's speed and range in the outfield, he has Gold Glove caliber defensive ability in center field and a strong enough arm to play right field. He continually makes the impossible plays look routine, but at the same time, will have costly errors on simple plays when his head is not in the game. Of course, with Battle just turning 20 years old, that could be a product of his age.

Projection. As good a year as Tim Battle had in 2005, he still has a long way to go towards tapping his full potential. His power and speed combination, along with his tremendous defensive ability, are enough to project him as a starting outfielder at the Major League level. However, he drastically needs to cut down on his strikeouts. Often compared to former Met Mike Cameron for all of the reasons listed above, even Cameron didn't come close to Battle's strikeout marks at the minor league level. Some scouts believe he could possibly hit for a higher average once he sees better pitching at the higher levels. If he can't, Battle may not realize his vast ceiling. Right now, he projects to be a starting outfielder who'll hit sixth or seventh in a Major League lineup and could possibly produce 20-20 seasons with regularity. The Mike Cameron comparisons are dead on.

ETA. 2008. Battle could easily use three more full minor league seasons to help advance his eye at the plate and cut down on his strikeouts, which is the only thing preventing him from becoming an elite prospect. With Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson now at the center field spots, the Yankees might be tempted to move Battle over to right field to accommodate everyone and make better use of Battle's arm. He should open up the 2006 season with the Tampa Yankees and needing to be protected on the 40-man roster next winter, he could possibly be challenged and see some time with AA-Trenton.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics
\r\nName: Tim Battle
\r\nPosition: Center Field
\r\nDOB: September 10, 1985
\r\nHeight: 6'1\"
\r\nWeight: 180
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nNot many players are able to elicit so many varied opinions than Tim Battle. But whether good or bad, the bottom line is that Battle has all of minor league baseball talking about him.
\r\n
\r\n\"Battle is among the league leaders, both positive and negative,\" Charleston Riverdogs' broadcaster Josh Maurer told us in late August. \"He's up there in runs scored. He leads the league in triples. He's up there in doubles and extra-base hits. But then you look at the errors he's made. He has made a ton, way too many. The strikeouts. He was on pace to break the all-time league record for strikeouts. So he's been fantastic to watch but also maddening a lot of times.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile many scouts will point to his incredibly high strikeout totals as a clear negative to his game and will use it as evidence that his odds of reaching the big leagues are hurt because of them, like Maurer, they'll always settle back and come away impressed more with his his positives.
\r\n
\r\n\"Sometimes you just want to pull your hair out,\" Maurer contined on Battle's inconsistent play. \"But he's just 19, so that's what you get at times. But he's a great prospect. He's really a great prospect.\"
\r\n
\r\nBattle had a breakout year with the Charleston Riverdogs in 2005, hitting .259 with 33 doubles, 11 triples, 16 home runs, and 40 stolen bases. And while his offensive numbers were tremendous for a 19-year old in the South Atlantic League, it was Battle's defense and his approach to the game that were even more impressive.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got unreal power,\" Charleston teammate Christian Garcia told PinstripesPlus.com in a recent interview. \"He's a definite five-tool player. He gives me so much confidence when I'm on the mound that I know he'll catch anything hit in the outfield. He can cover the outfield from foul pole to foul pole and play center field with the best of them. He also has a great arm and his amazing speed is obvious.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Aside from his tools though, what I love about Battle is his swagger and attitude on the field,\" Garcia added. \"He has so much heart and he's always hustling. He has so much love for the game and it shows in his play.\"
\r\n
\r\nEver since being selected 94th overall in the 2003 MLB Draft, Tim Battle has impressed scouts, coaches, and teammates with his skill set. And even though he had collected just a .245 batting average with two home runs in his first two professional seasons, Battle still garnered a lot of attention, even securing a #23 ranking in our prospects rankings in 2004.
\r\n
\r\nBut while he has flashed incredible tools across the board, Battle has still struck out nearly once in every three at-bats over his career and his 195 strikeouts in 2005 equaled the all-time Major League strikeout record for a season, set by Adam Dunn, and Battle did it in less games! Still, Battle remains confident he can overcome his whiffing.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think I improved the most in my approach at the plate,\" Battle told us. \"I got a lot better later in the year and now I can't wait for next season. I can't wait to see how this working out this offseason pays off next year. Don't get me wrong. Last season was cool. I feel my strikeouts will come down. I don't want to stay the same. I'm always trying to improve because I really want to win a championship.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

Team

\r\n

AVG

\r\n

AB

\r\n

2B

\r\n

HR

\r\n

RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

SB

\r\n

BB

\r\n

SO

\r\n

OBP

\r\n

SLG

\r\n 2005\r\n Charleston\r\n .259\r\n 525\r\n 33\r\n 16\r\n 60\r\n 97\r\n 40\r\n 50\r\n 195\r\n .335\r\n .445
\r\n

2004

\r\n

Staten \r\n Island

\r\n

.246

\r\n

199

\r\n

8

\r\n

1

\r\n

20

\r\n

28

\r\n

13

\r\n

14

\r\n

74

\r\n

.302

\r\n

.322

\r\n

\r\n 2004

\r\n

\r\n Gulf Coast

\r\n

\r\n .320

\r\n

\r\n 50

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n .364

\r\n

\r\n .560

\r\n

\r\n 2003

\r\n

\r\n Gulf Coast

\r\n

\r\n .208

\r\n

\r\n 106

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 14

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 33

\r\n

\r\n .270

\r\n

\r\n .255


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. A lot of Battle supporters will proclaim him a five-tool prospect. He really isn't. He simply doesn't make enough contact with the bat and with his ability to rack up the high strikeout totals, Battle doesn't project to hit for a high average. However, he's about as special a \"four-tool\" prospect as there is and his power is a big reason why. Even before his breakout year in 2005, Battle would always sting the ball when he made contact. What is truly a scary thought is that his 16 home runs last year and his 60 extra-base hits possibly could have just scratched the surface of his offensive potential. While he's been batting leadoff so far in his career, Battle projects to hit further down in the lineup because of his power and his lack of contact hitting.
\r\n
\r\nBase running and Speed. Battle, who does the 60-yard dash in 6.49 seconds, can flat out fly. Just like his power however, his base running is still very raw. He flashed his plus speed with 40 stolen bases with the Riverdogs last year, but he still has a ways to go in learning the nuances of base running. Battle was caught stealing 16 times in 2005 and he'll need to improve on his 71.5% success rate in his career. As athletic as they come, Battle can turn quite a few gappers into triples with his speed. He's a major factor on the base paths and he only figures to get better with more experience.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. With Battle's speed and range in the outfield, he has Gold Glove caliber defensive ability in center field and a strong enough arm to play right field. He continually makes the impossible plays look routine, but at the same time, will have costly errors on simple plays when his head is not in the game. Of course, with Battle just turning 20 years old, that could be a product of his age.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. As good a year as Tim Battle had in 2005, he still has a long way to go towards tapping his full potential. His power and speed combination, along with his tremendous defensive ability, are enough to project him as a starting outfielder at the Major League level. However, he drastically needs to cut down on his strikeouts. Often compared to former Met Mike Cameron for all of the reasons listed above, even Cameron didn't come close to Battle's strikeout marks at the minor league level. Some scouts believe he could possibly hit for a higher average once he sees better pitching at the higher levels. If he can't, Battle may not realize his vast ceiling. Right now, he projects to be a starting outfielder who'll hit sixth or seventh in a Major League lineup and could possibly produce 20-20 seasons with regularity. The Mike Cameron comparisons are dead on.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2008. Battle could easily use three more full minor league seasons to help advance his eye at the plate and cut down on his strikeouts, which is the only thing preventing him from becoming an elite prospect. With Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson now at the center field spots, the Yankees might be tempted to move Battle over to right field to accommodate everyone and make better use of Battle's arm. He should open up the 2006 season with the Tampa Yankees and needing to be protected on the 40-man roster next winter, he could possibly be challenged and see some time with AA-Trenton.
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