School: Arizona; Class: Junior
Position: SS; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-1; Weight: 180
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: The recognitions that Newman, a former undrafted prep player out of Poway, California, reads like novella born out of a potential top pick:
- 2013 Pac-12 All-Conference
- 2013 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American
- 2013 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award
- 2013 Cape Cod All-Star
- 2013 Cape Cod Batting Champion
- 2014 Pac-12 All-Conference
- 2014 Pac-12 All-Defensive Team
- 2014 Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List
- 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List
- 2015 D1Baseball Preseason All-American (Third Team)
- 2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American (Second Team)
- 2015 Perfect Gam Preseason All-American (third team)
And let’s overlook the simple fact that in the Cape Cod Summer League’s illustrious history, something that spans more than 100 years, no player has ever won back-to-back batting titles. Until Newman.
After hitting .336/.398/.392 as a true freshman for the Wildcats in 2013, Newman’s production took a noticeable dip during his sophomore campaign when he batted .304/.362/.383. He has, however, bounced back in a large way through his first 32 games in 2015, mashing to the tune of .391/.441/.481.
Projection: It’s quick simple, really. Will Neman’s hit tool, something that’s been on display at every point during his collegiate career, be enough to compensate for bupkis power? And even dropping the term “power” is a bit misleading. Through his first 142 collegiate games and another 71 Cape Cod contests, the 6-foot-1 shortstop has “slugged” one homerun. That would be fine if he was a doubles machine a la Craig Biggio, but he has just 38 two-baggers to his resume. And not to harp on it – though it’s a glaring red flag – but his career ISO at Arizona stands at .072.
Only lessening his potential professional offensive impact is his lack of patience at the plate: he’s walk just 48 times in his first 666 plate appearances, or just a little over 7%.
Newman’s a fantastic collegiate player, but unless his defense grades out at a Brendan Ryan or Brandon Crawford level there’s just not a whole lot of big league impact in his future. Newman’s the type that will dominate in the lowest levels and struggle in Class AA/Class AAA.
Solid backup, fringy everyday guy ceiling.
Ceiling: 1.5- to 2.0-win player
Floor: 1.0-win player
Risk: Low to Moderate
Grade: Late First/Early Second Round