Player: Casey Gillaspie
Drafted by: Tampa Bay Rays
DOB: 01/25/1993 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 238 pounds
School: Wichita State
Previously Drafted: Never
The younger brother of Chicago White Sox corner infielder Conor Gillaspie, Casey, a switch-hitting first baseman, has done nothing but improve since arriving at Wichita State.
After going undrafted out of high school, Gillaspie made an immediate impact for the Shockers in 2012 as a freshman, batting .274/.378/.442 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and a respectable 43/34 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 59 games.
The 2013 season marked Gillaspie’s coming out party, as he jumped on the draft radar with a .299/.447/.517 batting line, 16 doubles, 11 home runs and 46 RBI in 66 games for Wichita St. More importantly, the 6’4” switch-hitter’s drastically improved approach and plate discipline produced 62 walks against 35 strikeouts on the season. Gillaspie’s eye-opening performance would carry over into the Cape Cod League that summer, where he raked to the tune of .321/.402/.521 and paced the circuit with eight home runs. Amazingly, Gillaspie’s 2013 season turned out to be a warm-up for his junior campaign.
Gillaspie’s production this spring ranked among the best in Division I baseball, as the 21-year-old posted a robust batting line of .389/.529/.682 to go along with a career-high 15 home runs, 50 RBI and 28/58 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 59 games.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Gillaspie has made significant strides as a hitter over the last two seasons; regarded as the top switch-hitter in the nation; excellent plate discipline with pitch recognition that continues to improve; feel for the strike zone allows him to work deep counts and accrue a high number of walks; swing has some length from both sides of the plate, but he offsets some of those concerns with excellent pitch selection; shows more consistency from left side of the plate.
6’4”, 238-pounder’s bat speed is above average and aided by his sheer strength; excellent use of strong lower half; above-average power potential could produce seasons of 20-plus home runs as a professional, possibly even more; power plays to all fields from both sides of the plate.
Speed is below average and will limit him defensively.
Average arm strength is suitable for career at first base.
Defense at first base is a tick above average and better when compared to his peers in the draft class; consistent, smooth glove allows him to dig balls out of the dirt and bail out infielders; displays good footwork around the bag; exhibits strong instincts and a natural first step.
MLB Player Comparison: Mark Teixeira
Gillaspie draws comparisons to Mark Teixeira for his potential to hit for average and power as a switch-hitting first baseman, as well as his potential to save runs with his consistent defense.
Projection: First-division first baseman
Major Leagues ETA: Late 2016
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
As is the case with many of the other advanced college hitters in this year’s class, Gillaspie’s offensive prowess makes him a candidate to come off the board early. Plus, the team that drafts the switch-hitting first baseman will likely do so based on the belief he can move quickly through the farm system.