Blue Jays seeing early return from prospect Reggie Pruitt
The Toronto Blue Jays selected outfield prospect Reggie Pruitt in the 24th round of the most recent MLB Amateur Draft. Pruitt played high High School baseball at Kennesaw Mountain High in Georgia, and was fully committed to playing his college ball at Vanderbilt. Concerns about him signing dropped Pruitt, widely considered to be a top-200 prospect, to the 722nd pick.
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Pruitt was tempted away from his Vandy commitment by a $500,000 signing bonus (can you blame him?). The 18-year old fits the blueprint of what Alex Anthopoulos has been chasing with his outfield prospects: pure athleticism. Pruitt has the potential to be one of the organization’s better base-runners and profiles as a plus defender in a premium position at centre field.
These athletic dice-rolls come with great uncertainty, but Toronto’s top-prospect list is beginning to show the high value of those who do click. Both Dalton Pompey and Anthony Alford, ranked #1 and #3 in the organization by MLB.com, have had their “A-Ha!” moment at the dish, developing an offensive aspect to their all-around talent. Even D.J. Davis, who I profiled here two weeks ago, has begun to turn the corner after disappointing earlier in his career.
Pruitt, like the names above, may require some patience in the Minor Leagues. Pruitt’s swing from the right side can get a little hack-and-slash, but at 18, there’s plenty of time to develop a smoother, more contact-friendly approach. MLB.com raves about Pruitt’s speed, though, as the Blue Jays #26 prospect grades out with a 70 speed tool and 60 fielding tool.
"“Pruitt is a true speedster who can cover 60 yards in less than 6.5 seconds and get from the right side of the plate to first base in 3.6 seconds on a drag bunt. He projects a basestealing threat and a quality defender in center field.”"
Through his first 15 games with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, Pruitt has already begun to flash the potential that I predict will send him into the club’s top-20 prospects by next season. Over the admittedly minuscule sample size, Pruitt holds a slash line of .309 / .371 / .364 with three doubles and four RBI. Scouts see some room for power growth later in his development, as well.
Pruitt has also stolen seven bags and been caught stealing just twice. If prospects like Pruitt teach us one thing, it’s that there is a monumental difference between “speed” and “base-stealing”. Look at D.J. Davis, who was thrown out more times than he was successful in 39 attempts last season despite being one of the faster players in all of baseball. Timing is critical, but Pruitt is off to a good start.
At this age and point in Pruitt’s development, we’re likely still two-to-three years from even establishing his MLB timeline, let alone seeing him push the upper levels of the Minors. This is a must-watch name, however, especially with Toronto’s recently-thinned farm system. The talent is there to climb the ladder. Fast.
Next: Meet Ben Revere: Our new Jose Reyes?
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