Way back in July of 2012, I did a little email interview with the newly drafted youngster Austin Schotts. If you are interested, you can check that out here. Austin was more than gracious in dealing with me, so I will be definitely be rooting for him as he moves up the Tigers ladder, but it is his talents that landed him in the top ten of the MCB top 50 prospects list this year.
Time to take a more in depth look at Austin.
Austin was drafted out of a Texas high school in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. Drafted as a center fielder, Austin played SS in high school, but given his talents, the Tigers believe he is a better fit in the outfield. Austin wasted no time showing off his skills after signing, posting strong numbers in the Gulf Coast League. In 40 games in the GCL, Schotts hit .310, while posting an OPS of .812. He also stole 15 bases in 19 attempts, and while he did get on base at a .360 clip, he did strike out 41 times in 155 at bats. Austin did miss some time with a hand injury, but managed to come back before the season ended. At 19 years old to start the 2013 season, it is expected that Schotts could start in West Michigan with the Whitecaps.
Schotts is a real good athlete who played football in high school as well as baseball. Solidly built, Schotts takes a pretty aggressive approach at the plate, taking a pretty healthy cut. As a youngster, he is still developing the finer points of hitting, and will have to cut down on his strikeouts as he moves up the latter. He can get into trouble being overly aggressive and will need to recognize pitches a bit better. Still, the approach is pretty solid.
His speed is his greatest asset at this point, and will help him both at the plate and in the field, where he is learning a new position. His arm is probably the weakest part of his game, but that won’t matter as much in center field where range shouldn’t be a problem for Austin at all. Repetition is going to help with jumps off the bat, so I worry little about that at this juncture.
As mentioned, Schotts takes a healthy cut, and could hit for solid power as he gets older. Most likely gap power, but Austin Jackson type pop isn’t out of the question.
There is a lot to like with Schotts. Good athlete, and the intangibles are there too. Ultimately, if he is to reach his ceiling, we are talking an every day center fielder who can play above average defense and take up a spot in the top of the order. If the power doesn’t develop, he could be a lead off type that steals 40 bags. A little bit of pop however and Schotts might end up being a 3rd place hitter.
There is a long way to go of course, but he should be an interesting prospect to watch in 2013.