Monday, February 10, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #21 Brett Eibner

21. Brett Eibner Outfielder

Age: 25
Height: 6'3" 
Weight: 195
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft

2013 Rank: 28

2012 Rank: 19

2011 Rank: 12

Landon Adams (22): Entering the season, I have to admit that I had written Eibner's future as a Royal off. My one fallback was that I thought there was still a chance that he could be converted into a valuable relief arm. Despite all of this a part of me was optimistic that a return to Razorback country might ignite something in Eibner, who had achieved almost legendary status in the area due to his performances in the College World Series for the University of Arkansas.

When Eibner started the year on a 1-32 slump I was convinced that his days as a hitter were numbered. Then a funny thing happened, Eibner started hitting. By the end of May he had bumped his line up to .208/.301/.344, then he hit .245/.310/.453. In July he hit an even better .270/.357/.595. Ultimately, Eibner would cool off, but still manage to post a strong OPS to finish the season. Unlike some of my fellow posters, I think there is no doubt that he will be open the 2014 season in Omaha. 

I saw Eibner first hand regularly last season. At the beginning of the year Eibner appeared broken. The fact that he rebounded to put together such a solid season, is a huge testament to the Razorback. Throughout the season he wowed Naturals fans with a strong arm, impressive range, and laser shots into the left field bleachers. Age isn't on Eibner's side, but for the first time in his career he is coming off a legitimately good season. - @Landon_Adams

Paden Bennett (23): I've had my doubts about Eibner, that is for sure.  However Eibner showed me something last season with a .243/.330/.451 slash and 19 homers.  Eibner now 25 HAS to make more improvements this season and get to Omaha at some point this season for me to really think he could be something.  Eibner does have good power with a .209 ISO but he does strike out a lot with 149 in 504 plate appearances last season.  I don't think he will ever cut down his strikeouts by a lot, but if he could just cut them down a little bit and make more contact it could really help him make that jump to the next level. - @PadenBennett22

Joe Cox (27):  Eibner could be organizational filler, but the Royals' organization is probably squinting and hoping he can turn in to a different skill set/ similar role player to a guy they just traded, David Lough.  Eibner is 25 years old and have never had an at bat over the AA level.  Another thing that is clear about Eibner is that he strikes out quite a lot, with a career minor league strikeout rate of just over 30%.

We know that Brett Eibner has displayed pretty impressive power in the minors.  Last year in AA he achieved a .209 ISO with 19 homers in 504 PA’s.  Eibner feels to me like a replacement level talent, a guy who would accumulate roughly 0.0 WAR in the event he made it to the big leagues.  In 2014, Eibner will likely eventually make his AAA debut, and will hopefully continue to display impressive power while learning to make some more contact.

Dan Ware (20): Now 25, Eibner wasn't an absolute disappointment at the plate in 2013. In his two professional seasons, Brett has failed to prove that he can hit minor league pitching.  Joining NW Arkansas in Springdale, a neighboring town of his Alma Mater of the Univ. of Arkansas, he had a slow couple months in his Double-A debut, hitting .221 before the All-Star break with 8 HR and 18 RBI, striking out 68 times while racking up only 22 walks. 

The second half of the season was a little more promising from the young outfielder.  In July, Brett went on a power surge, hitting 8 HR, matching his Pre-All-Star total.  Eibner then cooled off to end his 3rd season, finishing with a line of .243/.330/.451 and a career high in HR (19) and hits (107) in 504 plate appearances. There's no question Eibner offers solid power at the plate, but he has issues making contact, even missing hittable pitches. Hopefully, Brett can continue making strides to raise that batting average this spring. - @Daniel_L_Ware

Nicholas Ian Allen (--): The book on Brett Eibner is well known. He certainly has power, strikes out too much, has dealt with numerous injuries, and is one of the best defensive outfielders in the system. As a 2nd round pick, you know he is talented. However, he has not been able to hit for average or drive in runs consistently in his professional career.

Eibner began 2013 0-for-20 and 2-for-34, which is a start you would not wish upon your worst enemy, much less a prospect entering such an important season in his young career. The Royals stuck with him, gave him as many at bats as possible, and he cobbled together some promising moments. Eibner hit leadoff for all but four at bats in Northwest Arkansas in 2013, with one of those coming as a pinch hitter. Despite his overall low numbers, the outfielder is comfortable at the top of the order. He hit .266/.371/.509 leading off an inning, with five triples in 173 at-bats displaying his good speed.

Eibner got stronger through the season and put together a very solid July. In 27 games during the month, he hit .270/.357/.595 - each his best of any full month. In all, his second half was strong as he compiled a .259/.352/.502 line with 12 home runs and six triples. Other signs of promise for the outfielder include his impressive numbers against lefties (.341/.442/.635 with five homers and five triples in 85 at bats), and the fact he was successful in his first seven stolen base attempts of the season.

Things are moving in the right direction for Brett Eibner. Look for him to play the majority of 2014 in Omaha. If he can stay healthy, he still has the tools to meet his potential. If he can put together a strong season, he could possibly sniff the big leagues by the end of summer. - @NicholasIAllen

Total Points: 32

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