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Viva El Birdos Cardinals 2018 Top Prospect Rankings: Nick Plummer

Former first round draft pick has had a few setbacks

MiLB: AUG 17 Gulf Coast League - GCL Cardinals at GCL Nationals Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

Editor’s Note: A.E. Schafer aka the red baron has once again compiled a rather impressive list of Cardinals prospects doing a write-up on 40 individual prospects. As a convenience to our readers, he releases the list in a couple big chunks so everyone can read about all of the prospects at once. While that is a convenience to all of us who eagerly await the arrival of prospect lists, it might not be as convenient if you are looking for a player’s particular scouting report. So, as a further convenience, we are putting the individual scouting reports in separate posts to make individual players easier to find. You can find the full lists on our 2018 prospect page here. —CE

Nick Plummer, OF — The first official draft pick of the Chris Correa era — and, ultimately, the only first pick of the Correa era, for reasons we’re all very familiar with by now — I was a fan of Plummer at the time the Cards selected him, even if I was on Team Walker Buehler as a matter of preference. There was a point during the summer before the draft when Plummer looked like a lock to go in the top ten, if not the top five. He just hit and hit and hit some more on the showcase circuit that summer.

Sadly, since that time Nick Plummer’s stock has taken about as big a nosedive as it’s possible to imagine, as he has missed a huge chunk of time over the past two years due to injury. A wrist injury cost him basically the whole season in 2016. An oblique injury cost him another hunk of playing time this year. Nearly a year and a half lost to injury, at age 19-20. That’s bad. Very bad, in fact.

When on the field, Plummer has shown extreme patience at the plate, walking over 15% of the time at both stops where he’s played. The bad news? He hasn’t made contact at anything resembling an acceptable rate for the low minors. To wit, he walked 15.3% of the time this season in Peoria, which is good. He also struck out 31.5% of the time, which is not just bad, but damningly bad.

I see 2018 as a bit of a make or break year for Plummer. He still shows plus bat speed, enough range in the outfield to at least fake it in center, and that obvious patience at the plate that keeps his OBP high even when he isn’t hitting. He’ll play 2018 as a 21 year old, though, so while he isn’t old by any means, he doesn’t have the excuse of playing way above his age, and the contact rate simply cannot stay down where it’s been so far.