Saturday, February 4, 2012

Prospect Countdown: #19 Brett Eibner

#19 Brett Eibner

Age: 23
Position: OF
Height: 6-3
Weight: 195
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd Round of 2010 Amateur Draft
From: The Woodlands, TX

Brett Eibner was a two way star at the University of Arkansas prior to being drafted by the Kansas City Royals. He dazzled the Razorback faithful with a 97 mph fastball and walk off home runs. Leading up to the draft he was often slated as a late first round pick. However, when he made it clear that his preference was to hit he fell into the second round, where the Royals happily selected him and signed him to an over slot $1.25 million bonus.

Eibner is a top notch athlete with four very strong tools. He is an above average runner, solid defender with a plus arm. He also has excellent power, as evidenced by his HR/OFB of 15.2%. What will be the key for Eibner, is his contact ability. Scouts say that his swing gets long and last season in the Midwest League his contact percentage came in at just 45.8. This number is much lower than the Midwest League average 58.7%.

Hopefully part of the problem for Eibner, was the strained ligament in his left thumb that occurred in Eibner's second game of the season. Another cause for optimism is Eibner's strong strike zone judgement. Eibner offered at only 20% of pitches outside the zone. Thanks to that number he was able to post a walk percentage of 14.8%, over 6% higher than the league average. If your contact skills are bad, strong strike zone judgement and plus power are one way you can overcome it.

I don't envision Eibner ever developing into a contact hitter, but if he can continue to develop his power and refine his plate approach he could one day be a solid big leaguer in spite of that. If Eibner continues to hit around .200 though there is the possibility of a future on the mound. Eibner will get at least another full season to prove that he can make contact enough to succeed, but advancing to Frawley Stadium may not be the best opportunity for him to break out.

There's a lot to like in Brett Eibner, and to fail he'll have to do so twice before he can be considered a bust. The Royals system has a ton of outfield depth in the low levels, so I wouldn't be shocked if this season is Eibner's last chance before a switch to the mound.

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