The Jays Journal staff returns with our yearly Top 30 prospect rankings. The #18 spot goes to Griffin Conine, a young and athletic corner outfielder with raw power and a solid glove.
Though he is still young and inexperienced, Griffin Conine, son of Florida Marlins legend Jeff Conine, has shown, albeit in limited at-bats, that he has the potential to become a genuine major-league asset.
In 55 games for the Short Season-A Vancouver Canadians in 2018, the native of Plantation, Florida slashed .243/.314/.430 with 15 doubles, 33 RBI and 25 runs scored. Unfortunately, he was suspended for 50 games in November for testing positive for Ritalinic Acid, causing his stock as a prospect to fall slightly.
Still, he posted good numbers in his first season and his athleticism and bat-to-ball abilities make him an intriguing name to watch going forward. TSN’s Scott Mitchell projects that he will start the 2019 season in extended spring training.
- Name: Griffin Conine
- Position: RF Age: 21
- Height: 6’1” Weight: 200 lbs
- Throws: Right Bats: Left
- Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft
Fangraphs has Conine listed as a 30/45 hitter, while MLB Pipeline has him at a 55 for power and a 45 for general “hit” (contact). The Pipeline scouting report observes that “there already were concerns about his propensity to swing and miss…and they were exacerbated during the spring as he has tried to lift nearly every pitch he saw out of the park.”
This much is certainly true. In 230 plate appearances in Vancouver, he struck out a staggering 63 times, producing a 27.3 K% in his first season of professional ball. He possesses raw power, of that there is no doubt, but improving his eye at the plate (he only managed 19 walks), will be key for him going forward.
Boasting a 60/60 “Raw Power” rating on Fangraphs (a figure that is considered to be a “plus” in scouting terms), the Duke University product certainly has the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Though he only managed to smash seven homers in 57 games, MLB Pipeline points out that he has ample potential as a power hitter.
A left-handed hitter who can drive the ball to all fields, his production dropped off a tad in his first season of minor-league baseball, but many project him to bounce back in terms of raw power.
A 45/40 runner on Fangraphs, Conine has the ability to steal some bags, though likely won’t depend much on it as he rises through the minor-league hierarchy. MLB Pipeline said of his abilities on the basepaths: “He can flash average run times but hasn’t showed that kind of speed this spring”.
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Furthermore, they added that he possesses “modest quickness” that makes him a “sound defender on the outfield corners”. So, while he might not use his speed to steal bases, he’ll surely put it to use tracking down fly balls in the outfield.
With a quietly strong (60/60) arm, Conine profiles as a slightly above average corner outfielder. His quickness makes him agile and his athleticism lends itself to dependable defensive performance. Keegan Matheson of Baseball Toronto describe his range as “average” in his recent analysis.
While he might not blow anybody away with his defence, he showed that he can handle both corners with efficiency and can continue to improve with the glove.
Many reports, including the aforementioned MLB Pipeline rundown, project him to slot in long term at right field, seeing as his power, build and skill set play well to the typical corner outfield. At 21, he likely won’t be with the big league club for quite some time, with Pipeline and Fangraphs estimate him to join the Blue Jays in 2021 and 2020, respectively.
With a crowded upper minor league outfield pictures that consists of Jonathan Davis, Dwight Smith Jr., Joshua Palacios, Anthony Alford and Forrest Wall, it’s hard to see him being a cornerstone piece of the future, though he could certainly provide some sneaky value as he develops.