Xavier Avery Scouting Report (2009)
The South Atlantic League saw a number of “toolsy” center fielders pass through including former 2nd round pick Xavier Avery. On the surface, his .262/.306/.340 line is pedestrian with peripherals which show just how rough around the edges Avery is. In person, Avery’s skill set is more impressive as he works off his best tool (speed) and uses it to carve out the rest of his game.
Strengths – A tremendous athlete, Xavier Avery had a lean, athletic frame, and uses his blazing speed in all areas of his game. On offense, his wrists are quick, and his bat is short through the strike zone. Avery worked deep counts and showed the ability to pepper ground balls back up the middle. With two hits and a walk on full counts, Avery played the role of prototypical lead off hitter perfectly. His K% dropping 6% from 2008 totals is also a positive sign. He did not attempt any steals, but legged out a couple of ground balls which put his wheels on full display. Avery also covered center field from gap to gap making a couple of highlight reel catches.
Weaknesses – Avery’s build does not project for much future size or power potential. Add to this poor weight transfer during his swing and Avery projects as an outfielder with little to no power. With his skill set, Avery will have to show enough pop to keep opposing outfielders honest so the hits continue to fall in. Another concern is a walk rate of just over 5% which negatively effects his on base ability. In the outfield, he dropped a routine fly ball to end a game which people in the stands were still talking about the following night. On the evening I saw him play, another routine fly ball became an adventure caught just off of his hip. He made two impressive catches by running down hard hit balls down in the gaps, but the snags only seemed otherworldly because of poor route running.
Outlook – Having just turned twenty, Avery could find himself back in the “Sally” for another half season. However, his 2009 line was probably enough to warrant a promotion to high-A to start the 2010 season. Avery should be a one level per year player with a potential ETA of late 2012 at the earliest. At this point, he is still learning the game and needs substantial polish. Due to this, he runs a high risk of flaming out at the upper levels of the minor leagues.
18 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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