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Viva El Birdos Cardinals 2018 Prospect Rankings: #27 Chase Pinder

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This 2017 draftee had an impressive debut

Cape Cod Baseball League
This is the only image of Chase Pinder in our database
Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe 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

#27: Chase Pinder, OF

6’1”, 190 lbs; Bats/Throws: Right/Right

DOB: 16 March 1996; Drafted Rd. 7 2017

Level(s) in 2017: Johnson City (SS)

Notable Numbers: .320/.442/.438, 14.8% BB, 18.7% K, .398 BABIP

So, what’s so great about this guy?

Chase Pinder, selected out of Clemson in this most recent draft, represents an interesting insight into what the Cardinals seem to be favouring right now. The Randy Flores scouting department has shown a bias toward players with excellent plate discipline numbers, strong contact skills, and overall athletic profiles that don’t necessarily include huge power projection. Now, some of that, of course, is simply looking for good players, hence the contact and plate discipline parts, but there have been numerous selections used on hitters of modest stature, whose best tool is either contact or speed. Guys like Tommy Edman and Scott Hurst, both of whom are still to come on this list. Kramer Robertson, who showed up in the honourable mentions section. It’s not such a strong trend we should change our perception of the type of team the Cardinals are trying to build or anything like that, but it’s worth noting that the Cards seem to be taking more chances on smaller athletes if they fit a given set of profiles.

Such is Pinder, who boasts easy plus speed that translates into above-average range in center field and very good command of the strike zone that translated into a near-1:1 strikeout to walk ratio in Johnson City. That wasn’t a new development for Pinder, either; he walked nearly as often as he struck out at Clemson as well. He knows his strengths and weaknesses, and will take what a pitcher gives him.

The downside is a lack of physicality from Pinder, who is not big (that 6’1” and 190 might be accurate, but he looks smaller), and doesn’t really have the functional strength to drive the ball effectively. That’s especially concerning for the effect it could have on his plate discipline; we’ve seen players with outstanding approaches sabotaged by a lack of power in the past. If pitchers are not at all afraid to challenge a hitter, no amount of patience is going to bring the walks back. Well, unless you’re Greg Garcia, I suppose, but he is most definitely the exception rather than the rule. Pinder’s speed has never really gotten him much value in terms of baserunning, which serves as another limiting factor on his ceiling.

Pinder should be able to stay in center field, which raises his floor considerably, and if he can continue to control the zone as he heads up the ladder there’s a chance he could end up a starting-quality outfielder. More likely, though, he’s a better fit as a fourth outfielder, capable of playing all the positions a la Shane Robinson. And actually....

If he’s good, it will look like: Shane Robinson isn’t a bad example of the type of career a guy like Pinder could pretty easily have, handling a tough defensive position and getting on base just enough to be a useful player for a while. A Chase Pinder who traded in some contact ability for more power might look more like the Anaheim (read: really good), version of Peter Bourjos. Maybe the live ball helps bring Pinder’s numbers up and he becomes a better player than the typical guy of his type, but it’s a narrow margin for players like this to really make it as more than bench players. If you’re Kevin Pillar great in the field you can make it, but short of that it’s a tough road.

via 2080 Baseball: