This young man is still a ways away from the majors, but is an intriguing prospect all the same, even considering all the other infielders contending for attention in the organization.
8. Marcus Littlewood
Position: SS | Hits: S Throws: R
DOB: 3/18/1992 | HT: 6’3″ WT: 200 LB
Notes: Littlewood is a big kid for a shortstop, but he has some good talent to him, and his switch-hitting bat makes him a very interesting young man.
Littlewood is just 19 and still playing in his first couple of weeks of professional baseball, having signed late in the process last year. He has experience in the Team USA youth system, however, so he’s not unfamiliar with a well-drilled and professionally run environment.
The young man brings a very mature approach to the plate, one unlike what you usually see in such a young player. Littlewood is a guy who’s perfectly willing to force the pitcher to get him out, instead of doing the pitcher’s work for him. He’ll sit back and take bad pitches, and foul off mediocre ones until he gets something he’d rather try to hit. It’s not very common to see that in a 19 year old.
Hitting comes naturally to Littlewood, with a simple, sound swing that he repeats easily on either side of the plate. He’s never going to be a slugger, but he could get good pop for a shortstop, somewhere in the range of 10-15 homers a year. His swing generates line-drive type power, and he’ll probably be more of a doubles guy as he progresses.
Littlewood’s defense is where things could get a little sticky. Naturally a shortstop, he’s large for the position and while he’s athletic, he doesn’t have the same sort of athleticism that a Troy Tulowitzky type of guy has that lets him play at a high level anyways. Littlewood’s range is already average for a shortstop, and it could decrease as he finishes developing physically and thickens up.
Some feel that a move to second base is in Littlewood’s future, but I think I see third base as being more his spot in the future. He’s got a good, accurate arm that can handle even the longer throws at short, and his instincts are good enough to play well at any position. Second base would fit his likely bat profile better, but his range would still be an issue there, albeit not as big of one as at short.
2011 Outlook: Should spend all of season with Clinton, learning the ropes of professional baseball and showing the organization what all he can do. Should mostly play shortstop, but may get a few cameos at other spots as well.
Major League ETA: 2014