Player: Michael O'Neill
Drafted by: New York Yankees (No. 103 overall)
DOB: 6/12/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6'1"/195 lbs
Previously Drafted: 2010, 42nd round by New York Yankees
O'Neill jumped up draft boards last year, especially during the Cape Cod League, when he hit .262 with an impressive 16-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 13 extra-base hits in 30 games. An inconsistent 2013 has hurt him a little bit, but there are enough tools to dream on as a third-round pick.
In a class weak on hitting, O'Neill stands out for his ability to make contact and work the ball all over the field. His defensive profile isn't great, with the possibility that he would have to move from center field, but when you can hit, you will find a spot in the big leagues.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
A good swing with plus bat speed—does use a high leg kick that could leave him vulnerable to velocity on the inner-portion of the plate. His bat control allows him to square-up good pitchers pitches—needs to keep weight back a little more, as he tends to drift forward on his front leg. His ability to make contact and drive the ball will lead to a above-average hit tool.
Has below-average home run power—smaller frame does not lead to much power projection. He will likely hit more line drives into the gap than hitting the ball over the fence but will run into some homers and move into fringe power at his peak.
Plate Discipline: 40/50
His pitch recognition is below-average—will chase breaking balls down in the dirt and fastballs up out of the zone. His natural ability to drive the ball will help down the line, but he must be able to identify the ball out of the pitcher's hand to reach full offensive potential.
His plus speed helps hit tool play up since he can take extra bases and beat out close plays—given lean, athletic frame, he's not likely to see a dip in running ability until after his peak. His speed helps his range in center field.
He's not a traditional center fielder—has speed to track down balls, but he doesn't get the best read off the bat and will take awkward routes. His fringe throwing arm will play at the position, though it is best-suited for left field—should stick in center until he proves he can't handle it.
His lack of arm strength hurts defensive profile—could move to left field and have above-average range thanks to speed, but his bat doesn't translate to corner outfield spot. He needs to prove he can make necessary throws to cut-off man, at least—tweener prospect.
MLB Player Comparison: Tyler Naquin
Projection: Solid-average center fielder who will hit for average.
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 75%
O'Neill has a chance to really cash in right now, despite having a down season after looking so good last year. He does benefit from being one of the few hitters in this class who actually does project to have a big league career.
While not a star-level talent, O'Neill has tools to make a nice career for himself. The key will be proving that he can handle center field, as his profile does not project well for a corner spot in the big leagues.