The next prospect up for review is Matt Lipka of the Atlanta Braves
How Acquired: Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 1st round (Supplemental, 35th pick) of the 2010 amateur draft.
Age as of 4/1/11: 18
Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube
Tm Lg Lev G R HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG Braves GULF Rk 48 33 1 24 20 14 22 .302 .357 .401 Danville APPY Rk 4 1 0 1 1 1 2 .125 .176 .125
Hardball Times: #8 (ATL – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #131 (Overall – 2011), #13 (SS – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: NR (2011)
Baseball America: #6 (ATL – 2011)
John Sickels: #7 (ATL – 2011) B
Scouting Book: #24 (SS – 2011), #210 (Overall – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #8 (ATL – 2011)
Lipka was drafted out of high school, and it almost seems a bit surprising that he signed for the slot recommendation of $800 K. He signed early enough to appear in 52 games for the Braves’ 2 Rookie League affiliates. While there, he showed solid plate discipline (15 walks to 24 strikeouts), and posted a .302/.357/.401 line. He didn’t really show a ton of power, as he only had 1 home run and 13 total extra base hits, but he was still just 18 years old during the season. The 21 stolen bases were nice in that time, as he was only thrown out 3 times to go with that.
From MLB Bonus Baby’s scouting report on Lipka post-draft:
At the plate, he’s a solid-average hitter with average raw power, though he shoots more for the gaps at the moment. He has a chance to grow into his frame a little bit, and some scouts believe he’ll actually hit for more than average power, though that’s not the consensus. He’s a plus-plus runner by any stopwatch, though, and that should become a key part of his offensive and defensive game. In the field, he’s currently a shortstop with above-average range, but his hands aren’t suited well for the position, and he might have to move to center field shortly. He’s a fringe-average defender as it is, and he has an above-average arm. If he moves to center field, he could be an above-average defender, though that’s more speculation than actual scouting.
He has a line drive, spray swing with a bit of a long trigger. That’s a metal bat tendency that needs to be addressed. He has an armsy two-handed finish, but needs to stay in a gap-to-gap approach, otherwise he risks pulling off too many pitches that he’s not suited to turn and burn. He’s an above-average defender with a stocky body with enough arm for second base.
I generally don’t like to write about players drafted out of high school, only because there’s not a lot written about them to take a look at in lieu of seeing the player live. That said, I like what I am seeing about Lipka to this point. It seems too early to be sure if he can stay at shortstop or not, but I imagine that the Braves are going to give him that shot at least.
Lipka seems most likely to be sent to the Braves’ low-A affiliate in Rome for the 2011 season, and I would have to imagine that unless he is tearing the cover off the ball, he will likely spend the whole season there.
Prediction for 2011
.280/.340/.390, 2 HR, 20 XBH, 25 SB
Lipka is very young still, and at the most likely rate of advancement I don’t think we will be seeing him in the Majors until at least 2014. He will still be just 23 years old at that point though.