Toronto Blue Jays Top-30 Prospects #24: Reggie Pruitt

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Blue Jays outfield prospect Reggie Pruitt has the athletic talent to dream on after Toronto stole the top-end athlete away from Vanderbilt in the 2015 Draft

Hon. Mentions Part 1         Hon. Mentions Part 2
#30: Freddy Rodriguez      #29: Evan Smith
#28: Deiferson Barreto      #27: Chad Girodo
#25:  Rodrigo Orozco

Reggie Pruitt was a highly-regarded prospect in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft out of Kennesaw Mountain High School in Georgia, so much so that it would not have been shocking to see him selected in the opening three rounds.

His free fall to the 24th round was due to a Vanderbilt University commitment, but much like Rowdy Tellez and his commitment to the University of Southern California in 2013, an extreme over-slot signing bonus helped lure the talented High Schooler into the Blue Jays system early. In all essence, Pruitt is a classic Alex Anthopoulos pick.

Name: Reggie Pruitt
Position: CF      Age: 18
Height: 6’0”      Weight: 169
Throws: R     Bats: R
Acquired: Round 24, 2015 Draft

Like many of the outfield prospects left over from Toronto’s past regime, Pruitt is a young player that comes with premium grades in speed and athleticism. An MLB.com scouting report gives him a 70-grade speed tool, which seems fair given that Pruitt can cover 60 yards in under 6.5 seconds and reach first base in 3.6 seconds flat out of the box on a bunt.

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With this comes the obvious potential to develop into a base stealing threat down the line, but a handful of similarly-skilled athletes in Toronto’s system have shown us that speed does not always equal base running success. Developing a feel for reading pitchers and reacting to the running game will help to expedite his development a year or two down the line.

Pruitt’s defensive potential, like Anthony Gose, Dalton Pompey and several others before him, has an extremely high ceiling. His raw speed allows Pruitt to cover a great deal of ground and scouts seem optimistic about his ability to react to balls off the bat and execute efficient routes.

Furthermore, he’s got an arm that plays. This is often the missing piece defensively with speed-first players, so all things considered, he has a legitimate shot to stick at the position longterm with the ceiling of a true impact defender.

So, where’s the ‘but’? As you’ve guessed by now, that comes at the plate.

“Choppy” is the word you’ll see consistently used to describe Pruitt’s swing from the right side, but this is not news to anyone in the Blue Jays organization. This was the one tool holding him back from being a top-50 talent, and it’s accepted that this will be his primary developmental hurdle.

Pruitt kicked off his pro career in the Gulf Coast League this season, appearing in 36 games and posting a triple-slash line of ..223 / .309 / .289. He managed just seven extra-base hits and his 37 strikeouts were certainly troubling, but it’s a terribly small sample size, and Pruitt did manage to cash in on his speed tool with 15 stolen bases in 17 attempts.

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In an ideal world, Pruitt will add some more bulk onto his 6’0″ frame as he matures through his age-18, 19 and 20 seasons. Home run power is unlikely to take up much of his arsenal, but the Blue Jays will hope to see him grow into more line drive power that would allow his speed to be maximized. The maturation of his plate approach will also be critical in his young career, as well, given the value of his legs on the bases.

This doesn’t need to mean 40 doubles with a .295 average and .380 on-base percentage, though. Especially if Pruitt’s defense can continue along this same projection line. The foundation elements of his game are quite strong in those areas, but his bat has the ability to make or break his prospect status.

Pruitt is still far off from the Major Leagues and remains a complete lottery ticket, but his ‘boom’ potential ranks among the highest in the entire Blue Jays organization should he round out these tools.

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