Wednesday, December 14, 2016

DrB's 2017 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #5 Austin Slater

Austin Slater, OF.  DOB:  12/13/1992.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 194 lbs.  Drafted 2014 Round 8 out of Stanford.

2014 SS:  .347/.417/.449, 6 2B, 2 HR, 7 SB, 7.6 BB%, 12.9 K%, 132 PA.
2015 A+:  .292/.321/.396, 15 2B, 3 HR, 4 SB, 3.8 BB%, 16.6 K%, 265 PA.
2015 AA:  .296/.350/.362, 11 2B, 0 HR, 6.4 BB%, 22.0 K%, 218 PA.
2016 AA:  .317/.413/.490, 8 2B, 5 HR, 6 SB, 14.0 BB%, 20.9 K%, 172 PA.
2016 AAA:  .298/.381/.506, 12 2B, 13 HR, 2 SB, 11.9 BB%, 19.1 K%, 278 PA.

Austin Slater was widely considered the top HS prospect in the state of Florida going into his senior season.  He suffered a fractured ankle in a Frisbee game and missed his entire senior season which dropped his draft stock.  With a Stanford commit in hand, he went to college where he put up decent, but not outstanding numbers.

He has hit at every level in the pros including his first full season when he was given an aggressive placement to High A with a midseason promotion to AA all while playing a new position, 2B.  He moved back to the OF for 2016 playing mostly CF at both AA and AAA levels.  He's always had good raw power, but he showed it for the first time on the field, although 5 of his 18 dingers came in a single series in Reno, a well known minor league launching pad.  In addition to the power spike, he dramatically improved his walk rate at both levels while maintaining a K rate at 20%.

On video, he has little load or weight shift with only a small slide step for the front foot.  The swing path is remarkably short and quick to the ball albeit a bit stiff-handed.  It's more of a gap power swing, although Slater is big enough to generate some HR power from it.  It does appears to have an uppercut path which should get the ball in the air enough to give him chances for dingers.  I don't know if the Giants are scouting players with this type of swing or teaching it to their prospects, but they have an assembly line of similar hitters, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Kelby Tomlinson, Christian Arroyo, Slater to name several.

Slater is another "tweener" who has borderline speed for CF and borderline power for corner OF.  He ran a 6.72 60 in HS and was clocked at 92 MPH on an IF throw, so he has tools.  Most analysts have him pegged as a 4'th OF.  He may be more than that if he can play a passable CF in the majors or maintain the power spike from 2016.  He'll likely start 2017 back in Sacramento, but could be in line for a midseason callup if there is an OF injury or if Mac/Parker fail to nail down LF.


  1. I really don't understand why more people are not excited about this kid. I think he could become at least .280 hitter with enough power to hit around 50 extra base hits. Who couldn't use that?

    1. Agreed. And he has the feel of a guy who can just continue to hit at every level - Similar to Panik and Duffy, when they came up to the Major League level and just were not phased. After some adjustment, I'd say the contact/OBP/gap+HR power game should play really well for Austin Slater.

      Glad he's your #5 Doc.

      The main question is - Do you think he or Dugger are a more likely possibility for taking out the incumbent Span in CF???

    2. @RainBall Duggar may be the better outfielder, but I don't think either might be able to play CF for the Giants ( At least not everyday.). Span may have a dead arm, but he is a smart fielder and can cover a lot of ground.

    3. That's a bummer, if true. Really changes the status of Duggar, in particular. I have a feeling the bat on Slater might grade out very well when all is said and done.

  2. David Dejesus feels like a good comp.

  3. I think I posted "I like Slater." Or maybe not. Don't have much to add in either case but I like him. In 'not Slater' talk, John Sickles has been posting his 20 Prospects...' list for the MLB clubs. You can find it here:

    I like it. I think he really tries to be fair.

    1. Sickles does good work. He's my favorite non-Doc prospect evaluator.