Saturday, February 11, 2012

2012 Top Prospects #15: Christopher Hawkins

Name: Christopher Hawkins
Position: Left Field
Acquired: 3rd round (2010)
Opening Day age: 20
Height/weight: 6’2”/195 lbs
Best/worst tool: Bat/fielding
Risk factor: Medium
ETA: 2015

Scouting Report

When Toronto selected Hawkins in the third round of the 2010 draft, he was announced as a shortstop. Since then, he has moved to third base, and subsequently to left field –- certainly not the path you’d like a young player to follow on the defensive value flow chart. It’s not that he’s a poor defender, he just doesn’t have the smoothness and grace required to play an infield position -– he’s a lot like Brett Lawrie in that regard, though Lawrie appears to have overcome that flaw. In the outfield his fielding skills are average, as his lack of smoothness is countered by above average athleticism that allows him to close ground on balls quickly. He has an above average arm, suggesting he might be able play one of the more demanding outfield positions –- center or right. Hawkins truly shines in the batters box, as he has a plus bat and solid-average power potential. He has excellent pitch recognition and good bat speed, causing his swing to generate a lot of line drives. His power ceiling might only be 15 home runs –- not a lot for a corner outfielder -– but his bat and athleticism should create enough doubles and triples for him to maintain a healthy slugging percentage regardless.

2011 Statistics and Analysis

242 AB, .318/.375/.492 (.866 OPS), 15 2B, 6 3B, 5 HR, 52 RBI, 14 SB, 22/46 BB/K

Hawkins made huge strides in his second season in short season ball. After struggling to a .674 OPS with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays in 2010, Hawkins exploded onto the scene with Bluefield, putting his entire array of tools on display. His bat was impressive, but the way in which he succeeded with it was most peculiar. With the bases empty, Hawkins hit a mere .230/.297/.333 (.630) in 126 AB. With runners on, the batting line spikes to .414/.457/.664 (1.121) in 116 AB. Obviously the sample size isn’t the largest, but if he maintains that kind of success with runners aboard, he would be the ideal 2-hole hitter. The power showed a marked improvement over 2010, as his ISO nearly doubled, growing from 095 to 174. Hawkins also maintained a healthy walk rate, exceeding 8% for the second consecutive season.

Expected 2012 Assignment: Single-A Lansing

Future Outlook

Should Hawkins make the leap to full season ball with Single-A Lansing as expected, he’s set up for a potential monster breakout. He has the type of bat than should handle Midwest League pitching quite well, and the rest of his tools should create balanced and impressive statistics over the 500+ at-bat season. If he continues his offensive success moving forward, Hawkins could find himself in the upper minors in 2014, and knocking on the door for a MLB job as early as 2015. With a polished bat and his defensive home already found, the risk with Hawkins is lower than the typical player who is preparing to make his full season debut.

Perfect World Projection: Every day LF who hits at the top of the lineup.

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