Player: Ryan Ripken
DOB: 7/26/1993 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6'5", 193 lbs
School: Indian River State College
Previously Drafted: 2012, 20th round by the Orioles
It's hard enough to play baseball, but when you are the son of a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players in history, the microscopic attention can be overwhelming.
Ryan Ripken, son of Cal, has handled his amateur career nicely in preparation for this draft. He was drafted in the 20th round by Baltimore two years ago, but that was one of those courtesy selections teams often do in the later rounds rather than a sign that the youngster was going to contribute in professional baseball at the time.
He wound up not signing and playing one year at South Carolina before transferring to Indian River State College in Florida. Since it's a junior college, Ripken has regained draft eligibility a year sooner than he would have had he stayed with the Gamecocks, so the benefit of that extra development year could make him a significantly higher pick than he was two years ago.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Ripken's swing is very reminiscent of his father's; starts with hands back and brings them down before quickly loading with big leg; long levers and trigger make it difficult to catch average velocity; bat speed is average; clean bat path; smooth through the zone; big-time pull hitter; doesn't use enough of the field.
Since the bat speed isn't great, Ripken is at the mercy of natural strength to drive the ball; his bat path is flat and creates little elevation on contact, so any balls going to the outfield will find gaps; hip rotation is slow; lanky build doesn't profile well for over-the-fence pop; power could play fringe-average to the pull side; won't hit balls hard the other way.
Plate Discipline: 40/45
Solid-average approach at the plate gives hit tool a slim chance to play up; has feel for the strike zone and can read off-speed pitches; will get caught lunging at balls, leading to more weak contact than you would like; problems with the bat speed and lack of natural strength will see him beaten a lot at every level.
Despite having some athleticism, Ripken doesn't offer much foot speed; plays first base for a reason; purely a station-to-station runner on the bases; won't have to move much in the field; has experience playing the outfield, but that won't happen in pro ball.
Ripken's glove at first base is as good as it needs to be; doesn't have much range to his right, but a left-handed thrower doesn't have to move a lot to make plays; shows the ability to start a double play; some awkward actions and footwork lead to sloppy/careless errors.
Arm strength is adequate, could play in left field if absolutely necessary; shows good accuracy on throws across the diamond; good enough thrower for the left side of the infield.
MLB Player Comparison: Chris Colabello
It's not an easy comparison to make, especially if you put value in his last name, but Ripken doesn't profile well for professional baseball. That may not come as a shock given his draft position, but his best hope to have any MLB future is in going to a team in a long-term rebuild that will eventually need bodies to run out there.
Colabello has been the beneficiary of a rebuilding Minnesota franchise, playing nearly 100 games in the big leagues the last two years despite having a career OPS in the .640 range. He doesn't have power, is a below-average defender and has little value on the bases.
Projection: Org. guy in first-division organization
MLB ETA: 2017
Chances of Signing: 65%
Some players transfer from a major college program to a junior college simply to gain draft eligibility sooner, but Ripken left South Carolina because he didn't make the 35-man roster in 2013 and wanted to go somewhere he could play.
The opportunity presented itself at Indian River State, where Ripken played 42 games this season and hit .321/.371/.390. This will be the second time he is drafted, so it would be a surprise if the chance to sign didn't appeal to him. His stock isn't going to get any better since this is pretty much the player he's going to be moving forward.