Detroit’s deep sleeper was picked in the 10th round of the 2018 draft. Opened up his pro career by hitting 4 HR in 2 days in the GCL. Dripping with athleticism, and has plus speed and arm. His swing is messy. He will struggle to hit for average as he works his way up the ladder. Has natural power, and he’s strong enough now to drive an outside FB to the opposite field for a HR. But his swing mechanics will likely prevent him from realizing the power potential. If you draft Deatherage, you’re banking on him being a good enough athlete to figure it all out.
Upside: .250/.300/.450, 18 HR, 35 SB, defense-first OF, could work as your 5th fantasy outfielder or SB specialist
Downside: AAA-ceiling. No fantasy value.
Listed at 6’1″, 175 lbs. Looks like a free safety. Legs are strong, and he’s light on his feet. Looks a bit bigger than listed weight, and he could probably add 10 more lbs. without sacrificing anything. There is projection on his frame, and he could add additional power.
Left-handed hitter. Open stance, relatively upright, lots of wiggle all over the place when batting. Looks sloppy. Big leg stride and jumpy leg mechanics have me worried about the hit tool, especially as he faces tougher breaking pitches when he moves up. Hands begin about shoulder height. He does not have a quiet swing. Goes into crouch and stance closes as he readies his swing. There’s a lot of moving parts here. Can cover the outside of the plate and will drive the ball the other way if pitched outside. Hands are quick enough to cover the inside and not get jammed.
Able to clear his hips quickly, generating plenty of torque to go with at least average bat speed. Big front leg stride means his body is ahead of his arms when he swings. He has the strength to flash opposite field power already, and he could add more muscle. Also tends to go the other way a lot due to problems with his swing.
Emily Waldon of The Athletic, who has seen plenty of Deatherage so far in 2018, has his speed at 70-grade. I can see where she’s coming from, but I’m not going to put that aggressive a grade on it yet. As Emily notes, the speed will help Deatherage turn anything hit into the gaps into doubles. He’s also aggressive on the basepaths, always looking to dig for the next base.
Scouts love the range and arm strength. You can see the range and athleticism on display by watching him on tape. He’s a natural CF, and his arm is probably strong enough for RF, so his defense should not concern fantasy owners. He’s started 32 games in CF, 1 in LF, and 5 in RF as of 8/7.
Literally opened his professional career by hitting 4 dongs in 2 days. Tigers wisely pushed him right up to A-Full Season West Michigan. He will be challenged in Full Season ball for the remainder of the summer. I think he might need to face tougher pitching (Florida State League maybe?) to induce changes to his swing, but there’s no need to force that issue until 2019.
25.3% K-rate, 7.4% BB-rate in the Midwest League. He’s hitting .290 currently, but a .385 BABIP is inflating things for him. He could definitely be a player with a higher than average BABIP due to his speed and athleticism, but it won’t be this high. With correction, don’t be surprised to see the batting average slip 40-50 points. He walks just enough to keep the OBP palatable. 23.6% line-drive rate is nice, 50% GB rate is fine for his profile. He goes the other way a lot. 34% opposite field approach so far in 2018.
Deatherage has posted a .145 ISO in 162 A-Full Season PAs. His HR/FB rate of 7.4% is a bit low. It could relate back to his hitting profile of driving so many balls to the opposite field. 7 2B for West Michigan might be as much a function of his speed as his hitting power.
He’s got the green light for West Michigan, and he’s made the most of it so far. He’s swiped 15 bags in 18 attempts, good for an 83.3% clip. Excellent speed score of 8.9. He’s also hit 4 triples. The speed is very real, and it might be his calling card until he can get his swing figured out.
All stats current as of August 7th.