Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Nate Spears Report

Nate Spears, 2B/SS, Baltimore Orioles
Drafted 134th Overall (5th Rd), 2003 Draft, HS, Port Charlotte, FL
Bats L/Throws R
19 YO, 5'11", 155 lbs

Here's one to root for. Spears is a young kid with not a lot of power, but he knows how to play baseball. He spent his first full pro season in the Sally League and hit .275/.358/.407 with 12 doubles, 11 triples, 5 home runs, 47 walks, and 63 K's in 371 at bats. Obviously, he has no issues with plate discipline, which is great to see in a 19 year old. Spears has a line drive swing that puts balls in the gaps. He's been compared to David Eckstein, which is a decent comparison. I think he has more upside than Eckstein, but he's the same general kind of player.

Right now Spears is playing second base, but scouts say he still can play short if needed. He's probably more suited to play second long term, but the Orioles would be well suited to give him regular playing time at short to maintain that versatility, the value of which I think is underrated. Being able to carry around a backup infielder who may not have the ability to play short, but who can hit is something that could come in handy. Second basemen with flexibility help teams really use the Earl Weaver roster construction principle of keeping you backup shortstop in Rochester.

Spears has some speed, as he has 25 career steals in 153 games, but he needs to be more selective in using that speed as he has a 70% success rate, which won't kill his team, but won't help it much either.

ETA: 2007
3 Stars

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