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MLB Draft Grades: Experts Talk George Springer

Astros outfielder George Springer is an extremely interesting pick for the franchise. He's got the skillset of an elite player: should be a plus defender that may be able to handle center field, should hit for power, has a strong arm, and seems to have good plate discipline as well. Great, so why did he last until eleventh overall? Scouts are worried about his swing. Here's Keith Law on it:

Unfortunately, he's developed a real back-side collapse, so now he's swinging uphill, making lower-quality contact when he makes contact at all. That back side - since he's a right-handed hitter, that refers to the right side of his body - has always been a little soft through contact, but it's much more severe now, and means he's not making the hard contact that you want a potential top-10 pick in the draft to make.

If a hitting coach can clean him up, he has the potential to hit in the middle of a major-league lineup with plus defense in right field, but that's a substantial and very open question.

Baseball America has much the same scouting report at this point, also bringing up the "collapsing backside":

He struggled early in 2011, when his hands were tight to his body and his stance was narrow, and he collapsed on his back side. But he made adjustments and returned to form when Big East play started, showing scouts why he was the Cape Cod League's No. 2 prospect last summer. His early-season struggles scared some scouts who question Springer's swing mechanics, as he can be exposed with velocity on the inner half. He's raw for a college first-round pick, but Springer may have the highest ceiling in the draft.

Despite the questions about his swing, this was a pick that the Astros had to make. Given where Houston is right now, they need to be gambling on the highest ceilings that they can, and Springer absolutely fits in that mold. I'm no draft expert, but I'd give the pick a solid A- based on the type of player they got at No. 11 overall. To get anyone with a chance to be the best player in a draft at 11 is pretty solid.

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