2014 Draft Profile: Taylor Sparks

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School: UC Irvine; Class: Junior

Position: 3B; B/T: R/R

Height: 6-4; Weight: 225 pounds

Previously Drafted: Cleveland Indians, 24th round, 2011


Background: On a roster loaded with first round talent – Kyle Schwarber, Michael Conforto, Bradley Zimmer, Mike Papi and Trea Turner – it was Sparks’ bat that lead the way for the USA National Collegiate Team last summer. The 6-foot-4 third baseman hit a scorching .396/.475/.434, though that came at the expense of power; he hit just one extra-base hit, a triple.

After playing sparingly as a true freshman, he exploded offensively in 2013, hitting .360/.388/.581 with 11 doubles, four triples, 10 homeruns, and seven stolen bases. His production declined a bit through UC Irvine’s first 51 games this season: .295/.382/.490 with 13 doubles, seven triples, four homeruns, and seven stolen bases.


Projection: Now the bad news: while Sparks’ plate discipline has taken a major developmental step forward this season, it’s still quite underwhelming; he’s posted a 58-to-25 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which has improved from 40-to-6 last season.

He’s going to swing-and-miss a whole lot during his professional career, likely regularly topping 120 strikeouts in a year, and isn’t going to walk a whole lot either. The power, though, is solid average to a tick better, with the potential to reach 25-HRs if everything breaks right.

Not a true impact bat, but one that could an above-average everyday player. But make no mistake about it, there’s some risk here.


Ceiling: 3.0-win player (starter) to 3.5-win player

Floor: 1.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

Draft Projection: Second Round


Photo Courtesy of UCIrvineSports.com.



After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.