As we move near the end of the 2019 MiLB season, the Miami Marlins have made immense strides as a franchise across all levels of the Minors Leagues this season. From the new affiliate in Clinton, Iowa to the super rotation that started the year in Jupiter (and pepper in what Isan Diaz hitting 25 homers in New Orleans), there’s been extremely exciting baseball has been everywhere you looked. A player who has stood out in my eyes, and who’s already playing everyday in High-A as a 19-year-old, is Connor Scott. I was lucky enough to spend some time with him last week to find out how this season has been for the 2018 draft pick.
Coming off of his first pro season where he was thrust into full-season ball for Greensboro Grasshoppers almost immediately, 2019 started at the same level but with a new affiliate in the Clinton LumberKings. Results were less than ideal early in the year, but as soon as the calendar hit May 1, Scott hit his summer stride and he told me the support from the organization was vital in the process. I asked him how important it was to have this confidence from the team to promote him to Jupiter as a 19-year-old.
“Whether it’s been my up’s or down’s, they’ve always been there for me because they understand the process,” he said. “They are all player people. I mean, they mostly all have 30+ years of baseball experience, and I think it’s just so important to be able to connect with the front office guys knowing exactly how you feel.”
Scott’s “speed” and “hit” tools are what will carry his career until he can find a way to tap into the raw power he possesses in his 6 foot 4 inch frame. 25 doubles and 23 stolen bases across 111 games in 2019 is a huge jump from the numbers he produced in 2018 — just a pair of doubles and 9 for 17 on stolen bases in 50 games.
Those are not the numbers you’d want to see from a player with the tools he brings to the table. So, what changed this season?
“This offseason was huge for me. I think getting my feet wet last year was big, but going through Captains camp and my first spring training was big for me really maturing as a player,” Scott said. “[I’m] Just getting bigger and stronger while picking the brains of guys older than me.”
This is one of those rare times when colored dots make you excited, but look at this spray chart from Statcast. Its beautiful *chef’s kiss*.
Scott has been able to use his polished swing that scouts have raved about and hit the ball to all fields while showing some improved power. As I revert back to 2018 where Connor mustered only 8 extra base hits to 35 this season, I see he’s shown big time progression in terms of making an impact on the ball, while making strides with plate discipline as well. In his 16 games in Jupiter since being promoted, Scott has posted an OBP of .333 and a walk ratio of 13.6% — both are currently career highs in his young career. You know we all love a good overreaction to a small sample size, but seeing his at-bats live has been impressive. If he can continue making these minor tweaks to his game, this dynamic outfielder could begin to unlock the tools Marlins fans can dream of.
Lately, Marlins fans and scouts alike have been enamored with the newest additions to the revamped system, and rightfully so, but the 2018 first round pick was truly the new front office’s first decision made with no connection to the past. It could be a benchmark for years to come. Do you think that would bring some added pressure? Not for Connor Scott.
“I think it’s more exciting than anything,” he said. “We’re all bought in on this as a championship organization, and the strides we are making are forward. I think we are all excited. We can win a World Series here.’’
When you ask a kid just a year removed from high school about pressure and that’s the response you get, you can only get excited. From Luis speaking with Trevor Rogers last week or Jazz Chisholm on the Swings and Mishes podcast 2 weeks ago, every young star in this organization seems ready to win championships in Miami. The future is beyond bright right now.
Connor Scott is on his way to being in the thick of the best prospects in the system, and he’s only getting better, but he’s an old school grinder with an old school/no glove look that you have to love. His reasoning behind that look? ‘’It’s always something I’ve done. I mean they’re super expensive and kind of pointless to waste my money.” Respect you, old soul.