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Travis Demeritte Scouting Report

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Taking a look at Travis Demeritte, the #12 prospect in the LSB Offseason Community Prospect Rankings

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Demeritte Scouting Report: Travis Demeritte ranked #12 on the LSB Community Prospect Rankings.

In the days leading up to Opening Day, I'm going to offer write-ups on the 30 players who made the Rangers' LSB Community Prospect Rankings Top 32 list, and who didn't get traded. I've done this the last couple of years, and I don't want to re-invent the wheel, so some of this will be a repeat of what I've written before, particularly regarding draft history or performance pre-2014. Also, this is not based on my personal observations -- I'm not a scout, and haven't seen most of these guys. I'm just aggregating the numbers and what others say about these players.

So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at Travis Demeritte...

Demeritte is a righthanded hitter drafted out of high school as a shortstop, listed at 6'1", 185 lbs. The Rangers took him with the 30th overall pick in the 2013 draft out of a Georgia high school and signed him to a $1.9M bonus, roughly $200,000 above slot. The first five words of the ESPN pre-draft scouting report on him included the words "raw" and "projectable." He's described as athletic. His pre-draft  has a plus arm, plus raw power, and "excellent bat speed," but there are questions about his approach at the plate and his hit tool.

As far as where he showed up in the 2013 pre-draft rankings, BA had him ranked at #56 in their top 500, Keith Law had him at #44, MLB.com had him at #50, and Scout had him at #63. Not every mock draft had Demeritte going in the first round, but those who did frequently had him going to Texas with one of their two top picks.

Demeritte went to the Rangers' complex league team for 2013 and acquitted himself well, putting up a .285/.411/.444 line in 175 plate appearances. That was good enough to have Demeritte ranked #9 on BA's top 20 prospect list for the AZL.

The Rangers were aggressive with Demeritte for 2014, assigning him to the low-A South Atlantic League, and Demeritte had strong pluses and extreme minuses there.  On the good side, he put up a 760 OPS -- a respectable figure for a 19 year old infielder in full season ball -- with 25 home runs while playing mostly second base.  On the down side, he had a paltry .211 batting average -- the product of registering 171 Ks in 466 plate appearances.  When you're striking out in almost 40% of your plate appearances, it is next to impossible to hit for enough average to be a viable major leaguer.

Opinions on Demeritte vary.  While we had him at #12 (or #13, before Corey Knebel was traded), Jamey Newberg had him slotted all the way down at #21 on his list (or 19, if you take away Knebel and Marcos Diplan).  Keith Law, on the other hand, had Demeritte 12th in the system, and BP had Demeritte at #10.  John Sickels had him 14th (12th if you eliminate traded Rangers prospects), and BA had him 19th (or 17th) on their Rangers list.

Demeritte is viewed as someone who can likely stick at second base or third base, with the question being whether he can improve his contact rate enough for his power to play at the upper levels.  If he can reduce the Ks, he has a chance of establishing himself as a power-hitting infielder; otherwise, he'll likely flame out in AA.

I'm not sure whether the Rangers will have Demeritte start the 2015 season back in Hickory, or if he'll be in High Desert to start the year.  Either way, he's someone who is still pretty raw and has a ways to go, and is probably looking at 2018 or 2019 before he's ready for the major leagues.