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Viva El Birdos Cardinals Top Prospects: #18 Nick Plummer

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After a lost season, we are sticking with the Bobby Abreu comp

St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: the red baron has once again written up a very large number of prospects, done a great job on them, and combined them in just a few posts. You can read those posts, including a dozen reports on players who just missed the list by going here. This post contains a write-up of just a single prospect in a perhaps easier to digest form.-CE

#18: Nick Plummer, OF

5’10, 200 lbs; L/L; 31 July 1996

Relevant Stats: Injured all 2016, Did Not Play

So, what’s so great about this guy?

Last year, Plummer came in at #14 on our countdown, and that felt a little light to many people. Including, admittedly, myself, as I struggled with wanting to put him higher, but having concerns over the iffy contact rate he showed in his pro debut, questions about the power projection, and future position. I might have liked Plummer better than a fourteenth-ranked sort of prospect, but when push came to shove, I found reasons to put other players higher in spite of his first-round pedigree and intriguing hitting ability.

One year later, and things haven’t really changed. Then again, they’ve changed quite a lot.

For Plummer, nothing has really changed. He still possesses the same tools, the same skills, the same pluses, and the same minuses. He is still, in fact, pretty much exactly the same prospect he was this time last year.

The reason he’s exactly the same is the thing that has changed, and the one really big negative in his profile: Plummer didn’t play in 2016. At all. He missed the entire minor league season with a wrist injury that eventually required surgery, and wasn’t even able to participate fully in instructional league in the fall due to continued rehab.

The one positive for Plummer this past year was the fact he showed up in spring training, got into some games on the major league side at just nineteen years old, and collected a couple hits. That’s great. Beyond that, though, it was just a lost year.

So now we have a prospect who is a year older, missed an entire campaign’s worth of development time, and now finds himself having not appeared above the GCL level despite turning 21 this upcoming season. Those are all definite negatives.

Nonetheless, it isn’t all bad. Plummer still has the same blend of tools and skills he possessed before, and so long as the wrist/hand issue doesn’t become chronic, one would hope he can continue to develop physically and up that power output a bit. He still possesses one of the better batting eyes in the organisation, plus bat speed, and enough athleticism to potentially handle center field in the long term. I personally think it’s a little more likely he ends up in left, but he projects as a plus defender in a corner.

I tried not to overreact to one bad injury, and one lost year, by dropping Plummer too far down on this list. Plenty of other very good prospects have joined the organisation over the past year, though, and so he had to fall down at least some. The lost development time is maybe my biggest concern at this point. It’s easy to simply think it’s okay, time is still on his side, but we’ve also seen plenty of players who miss out on vital development time at a critical point due to injury or whatever, and it seems to just short-circuit their growth. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen to Plummer, and he assumes his rightful position much nearer the top of this list come next offseason.

Player Comp: I’ll stick with the comparison I made last year and go with Bobby Abreu, as a moderate-power slasher with outstanding plate discipline and surprisingly impactful speed. Abreu put up some fairly big home run totals in the early 2000s, playing in Philly’s small ballpark, so scale those numbers down a bit and you have the kind of player I think Plummer could potentially become.

via Brian Sakowski: