Thursday, April 19, 2012

MLB Draft Prospect Scouting Report: Chris Burke

“The hardest thing about this is figuring out who the hell is going to hit.”

Almost every scout I’ve pestered over the past two years has expounded some version of that statement.  It’s true.  Understanding swing mechanics is the most difficult task I’ve undertaken since deciding to try my hand at this scouting thing.  It gets harder as you venture down to A-ball and harder still when you’re looking at amateurs.  Thankfully when I went to scout Iona 3B Chris Burke I had a double header’s worth of at-bats to look at.  I made the most of them, and so did Burke.

At a listed 6’1”, 195lbs, Burke has little projection left in his body.  He could get bigger, sure, but he’s not presently the most limber and agile individual so I’d advise against it.  A bigger, slower Burke means a move to an outfield corner or across the diamond to first base and his value would suffer.  I already have questions about Burke at third base.  He has slightly above average arm strength, enough to play the position, but he struggled with accuracy.  His reactions and hands are both unexceptional.  Of course whichever team drafts Burke needs to let him play third base where he’ll simply sink or swim.  His best chance to make noise in the big leagues is at the hot corner.  He’ll need to sort out his deficiencies there to make it, mechanical, mental, whatever.

Unfortunately I was unable to arrive early enough to evaluate Burke in the cage.  While certainly regrettable, I still managed to get several looks from the appropriate perpendicular angle that is optimal for evaluating swing mechanics.  Burke’s motions are fluid and fast, but what impressed me most was how quiet everything was.  Shoulders between the knees, knees between the feet, barely a stride, clean, simple and fast.  Burke keeps his hands inside the ball allowing him to drive balls to all fields.  He absolutely wrecked Lehigh pitching when I saw him.  He didn’t see a ton of pitches but you can’t blame him since the pitches he decided to swing at were obliterated. 

Burke has a bat, but is it enough bat to profile at a corner? I can’t help but be concerned about the level of competition he’s facing.  If he cleans up the defense he has a shot.

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