On July 7th, the website Baseball Prospectus released their mid-season top 50 prospect rankings. The Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Kevin Newman found himself ranked #42 on the list.
"42. Kevin Newman, SS, Pittsburgh PiratesWhy He’ll Succeed: If his hit tool proves the doubters wrong, emerging as a plus or better bat despite the near-complete lack of power, and he’s able to stick at short, the entire package equates to an above-average player.Why He Might Fail: A move down the defensive spectrum would put more pressure on a bat that is already without hope for pop, and could push the entire profile into utility territory.link: Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by Baseball Prospectus"
Things I Agree With:
Newman does not have a tone or power or speed. He will be a singles and doubles type hitter. This is okay, he has gotten on-base at a .411 eleven clip between High-A and Double-A this year. At High-A he hit a ridiculous .366 in 41 games. Then he was promoted to Double-A where he has continued to put on a clinic by hitting .333 in 20 games thus far. Newman has line drive power and a great eye at the plate, making him a solid hitter, even with a lack of power. As many Pittsburgh Pirates fans have learned this year we do not need power hitters to have a successful offense, players who can get on base can be just as valuable if they are doing their job.
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Utility player? I do not think so. Newman can play infield. He has a great glove and makes the plays he should. The biggest issues is whether he will stick to shortstop. So far he has done a good job at the position. He has a strong-arm which helps make up for his lack of range. Pittsburgh currently has a shortstop who does not have the greatest of range, but still plays a strong shortstop in Mercer. If Newman is able to keep hitting around .300 at the major leagues and plays solid defense he will find a spot on the field.
All and all Baseball Prospectus’ analysis on Newman is positive. He was not ranked on their preseason top 101 list, and now he is at #42, obviously they like him. Many questioned Newman’s defensive ability and power when being drafted, but he has proven to handle shortstop well and hit a ton. This makes him a legit top prospect.
What do you think of Newman’s ceiling? Comment below