Player: Ti’Quan Forbes
Drafted by: Texas Rangers
DOB: 08/26/1996 (Age: 17)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 177 pounds
School: Columbia High School (Miss.)
College Commitment: Mississippi
In addition to being one of the most gifted and projectable players in this year’s draft class, prep shortstop Ti’Quan Forbes is also one of the youngest, as he won’t turn 18 until late August. However, one would never assume that much based on his performance over the last two seasons at Columbia High School.
As a junior in 2013, Forbes posted an impressive .391/.447/.794 batting line to go along with six doubles, six home runs, 39 RBI and 10 stolen bases. The right-hander also excelled on the mound for the Wildcats, highlighted by his outstanding 1.35 ERA and 60/19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 41.1 innings.
Forbes continued to improve this spring despite the added scrutiny of playing in front of droves of scouts, as the senior batted .427/.488/.654 with 12 doubles, three home runs, 49 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 33 games. Furthermore, he once again anchored his team’s starting rotation, posting a solid 2.02 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 45 innings.
Forbes’ time on the mound will come to an end with his inevitable selection in this year’s draft, but his promising career as a position player is just beginning. And even though he’ll likely require considerable time to develop in the minor leagues due to his age and lack of experience, it’s not hard to envision him emerging as an impact player in his prime.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
6’4”, 177-pound right-handed batter is wiry strong and loaded with quick-twitch muscles; sets up tall with slightly open stance; showcases plus bat speed thanks to strong wrists and forearms; bat path is consistently short and direct; good balance throughout swing despite a toe-tap load; explosive weight transfer with excellent hip rotation; hits absolute lasers to all fields, with most of his pop going to the gaps; present feel for going the other way and good contact skills; slight hand hitch in swing
Shows some power to the pull side but hits mostly booming line drives; should develop at least average power by adding strength to projectable frame; high setup and direct bat path suggest plenty of untapped raw power.
Speed is above-average when underway; covers ground quickly with long, gliding strides.
Arm is average as of now but expected to improve as he adds strength and grows into his frame; shows the ability to work from creative arm angles at shortstop; already adept at throwing on the run, laterally and when charging the ball; gets rid of the ball quickly but doesn’t always get a lot on it.
Forbes’ effortless athleticism translates to smooth, graceful actions at shortstop; range is a tick above average but tends to play up in games thanks to his long strides and strong instincts; reads the ball well off the bat; demonstrates excellent body control while moving in all directions; plays position with sense of creativity; potential above-average defender at shortstop but could potentially outgrow the position and move to third base or center field; projects for higher ceiling in center, where his range could be a plus.
MLB Player Comparison: Adam Jones
Jones spent the first three seasons of his minor league career at shortstop before eventually settling in center field, so there definitely could be similarities on that front if Forbes changes positions. The 17-year-old doesn’t project for 30-plus home run power like Jones but has the potential to develop into a more complete hitter than the Orioles center fielder.
Projection: Ceiling: First-division center fielder/floor: fourth outfielder/utility infielder
Major Leagues ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 80 percent
Forbes is one of the younger position players in this year’s class and, more importantly, one of its more well-rounded and projectable talents. He’s committed to Mississippi next season, but numerous teams should compete for his future services on Day 1 of the draft and be willing to offer a favorable signing bonus.