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
#12: Max Schrock, 2B
5’8”, 180 lbs; Bats/Throws: Left/Right
DOB: 12 October 1994; Drafted Rd 13 2015
Level(s) in 2017: Athletics’ Double A
Notable Numbers: 457 PA, .321/.379/.422, 128 wRC+, 7.4% BB, 9.2% K, 78 FFA (Fringe Five Appearances)
So, what’s so great about this guy?
Max Schrock is a hitting machine.
Alright, alright, I’ll give a little more information on Maximillian Schrock (almost certainly not his real name), before moving on.
I think most of the readers of this blog are probably also quite familiar with FanGraphs, and probably at least somewhat familiar with that site’s resident bohemian dilettante Carson Cistuli. Well, Max Schrock just happens to maybe be Cistuli’s favourite player, ever since he predicted Schrock would win an MVP award based on, well, some fairly interesting criteria.
Preposterous suggestions by walking nervous tics aside, there is a lot to like about Schrock’s offensive profile, to the point I like him more than Yairo Munoz, in spite of Munoz possessing much more in the way of outwardly, immediately visible physical tools.
What Schrock brings to the table in spades, to a degree few other players can, is a pure ability to make contact with a baseball on something resembling the barrel of the bat. He has a simple, efficient swing without a ton of load, and simply puts the bat on the ball. His approach is beautiful and intelligent, as he manages to make said copious amounts of contact without being overly aggressive. Max Schrock is one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues.
Now, for the downside: Schrock is 5’8”, shows very little power, and while he looks solid at second base, he isn’t the kind of athletic specimen, say, Jose Altuve is, who obviously provides the most current awesome-small-second-baseman point of comparison. Schrock also doesnt’ swing from the heels and still make contact like Altuve or Dustin Pedroia, the previous awesome-small-second-baseman point of comparison. So while Schrock has one of the best feels for hitting you’re likely to see anywhere, he still has the feel of a somewhat limited ceiling.
However, when considering the upside of a player like Schrock, it’s also important to recognise that, in the current environment of baseball, offensive ceilings seem to be much more fluid than ever before. After all, the Max Schrock profile is essentially the Jose Martinez profile, meaning if you were looking for a specific type of player to try and make the contact-for-power tradeoff, it would be a player exactly like Martinez and/or Schrock. Of course, the fact Jose Martinez is almost a foot taller than Max Schrock is a complicating factor when trying to compare their physical tools.
It’s an open question how much power Max Schrock is ever going to show, and absent truly elite defense (which he has not, to this point, displayed), he’s always going to get dinged for a limited upside. But the longer I’ve done this, the more and more convinced I’ve become that natural hitting talent can trump a whole lot of other concerns, and that’s the thing Schrock possesses in the greatest quantity.
If he’s good, it will look like: I don’t know. The good version of Freddy Sanchez, maybe? Chuck Knoblauch is probably too optimistic, even for me, so I’ll stick with Sanchez.