Delta Cleary Scouting Report (2009)
Entering the 2009 season, Cleary was viewed as a diamond in the rough with potential to break out in a big way. Unfortunately, it’s almost August and the Rockies are still waiting. At 19, he still has plenty of time, but a .246/.303/.370 line for a young player with plus speed is uninspiring. However, athletes turned baseball players often demand a bit more patience than the average prospect and Cleary is no exception.
Physique and Athleticism: As you can tell from the photo, Cleary is long, lean, athletic, and every bit of his listed height of 6’3”. His appearance resembled that of former NBA star Eddie Jones. With room for additional growth, the already muscular Cleary could add size without sacrificing much speed as his long strides cover plenty of ground in a hurry. Keep in mind Cleary was a basketball, football, and baseball star in high school and is simply one of the more impressive athletes you will find in minor league baseball.
Offense: A left-handed hitter, Cleary’s deep crouch and open stance is a little awkward considering his height. In the at bats I saw, his crouch seemed to get in the way of his generating enough bat speed to drive the baseball consistently. When he did make solid contact, the ball jumped off of his bat, but that only happened once during the couple of games he played. With experience, his hitting mechanics should become more repeatable, although I would imagine the Rockies organization will stand him up to take better advantage of his size and leverage. He may never be a serious power threat, but he has projection left and it could improve significantly as he adds size and learns to better incorporate his lower half into his swing.
Defense: Unfortunately, Cleary served as the designated hitter during one start and appeared in center field the other. In center, he had little opportunity to display his fielding chops. I have read Cleary will need to move off of the position in the future, but with his ability to cover ground and his being a work in progress, the Rockies are sure to keep him in center field for as long as possible.
Speed: Jay Austin and Delta Cleary are the two fastest players I’ve seen this season. With his gazelle-like strides, Cleary seemingly moves from base to base in three strides. With 25 stolen bases in 32 attempts, it’s the most advanced part of his game and an area he can build upon.
At 19, Cleary is in the early stages of his baseball career as the former three sport star is learning as he goes. A special athlete, he could take a huge step forward at some point and become one of the elite prospects in the organization. For now however, he’s little more than an intriguing package of tools working off of little more than raw athletic ability and in need of significant polish.
19 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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