In the aftermath of the community prospect rankings wrapping up, we continue our write-ups for each Ranger prospect who finished in the top 25. Once again, I issue my usual caveat that I have no first-hand information about these guys, but am simply offering capsule scouting reports for each player based on the info that is out there...
After the jump, we continue by taking a look at the #13 player in the LSB Community Prospect Rankings, outfielder Jordan Akins...
Jordan Akins is a 6'3", 192 lb. righthanded hitting outfielder who was the Rangers' third round choice in the 2010 draft. Akins was selected out of Union Grove High School in Georgia, and while Georgia's amateur players were considered to be a strong crop in the draft, Akins still didn't make Baseball America's top 200 prospect rankings, and was #14 among Georgia amateurs in BA's rankings, behind, among others, fellow Ranger draftees Jake Skole (who was #13 in Georgia) and Justin Grimm.
When he was drafted, Akins was considered a terrific athlete, but one whose baseball skills were very raw, in part due to the fact that he was a two-sport athlete who was also a Division I recruit as a wide receiver (you can check out video of him playing football in high school here). BA had him at 6.4 in the 60 yard dash and praised his "fast-twitch" muscles and arm, but noted also that he had major issues with breaking balls.
Akins signed quickly, and spent both the 2010 and 2011 season in the Arizona complex league. His stat line in 2010 was brutal, as he posted a .187/.241/.252 line in 116 plate appearances, with 5 walks and 35 strikeouts. He showed improvement in 2011, putting up a .283/.312/.428 line in 190 plate appearances, but again showing issues with plate discipline, walking 6 times and striking out 42 times.
So with Akins, we have an outfielder who wasn't real highly touted pre-draft, who turns 20 in April, who hasn't gotten out of the complex leagues, and who hasn't hit much as a pro...but who came in at #13 on the LSB Community Rankings, in what is a pretty deep farm system. And that ranking is no fluke...Jason Cole has Akins at #13, Jason Parks has him at #10, Baseball America at #12, and Jamey Newberg at #10.
Why? Its all about the tools and ceiling. Akins is viewed by many as the player who may have the highest ceiling in the organization, a guy who could give you power, speed, and a quality glove in center field if it all clicks for him. Jason Parks, in his top 10 Rangers prospects based on "tool-based ceiling" last year, had Akins atop the list, ahead of even #TheLegend, Jorge Alfaro.
The downside with Akins is that he's still a long, long ways away, and his weakest tool, his hit tool, is the one that is most important for a player to advance. There's a lot of ability there, but the chances are a lot better that Akins never sniffs the majors than that he gets close to hitting his ceiling.
What does 2012 hold for Akins? He almost certainly will advance from the complex league, and my guess is that he starts the season at low-A Hickory, although Texas could take it slower with him, keep him in extended spring training and let him join Spokane in short-season A ball when the Northwest League starts out.
And the future? The Rangers aren't likely to move Akins quickly...he's raw and needs time to refine the tools that have so many prognosticators excited about him into baseball skills. If things go well, you'd figure Akins to hit AAA by 2015, and be in a position to contribute to the major league club soon thereafter.