Tigers Prospect Profile: OF Jeff McVaney

McVaney has spent 2013 in Lakeland

After being drafted last summer, the Tigers were aggressive in Jeff McVaney's assignment to start 2013 in Lakeland, and he came out of the gate hitting well. What sort of prospect is McVaney, and can he keep it up?

Jeff McVaney
Position: Outfielder
Height: 6-2
Weight: 210
Born: 1/16/1990
Bats: Right
Throws: Left

Acquired: 2012 MLB Draft, 8th Round
Ranking History: #95, 2012

Background
Signed as an 8th round pick of the Tigers in 2012, McVaney inked for just $35,000 following his senior season at Texas State.

McVaney debuted in the New York-Penn League last summer, posting a .288/.413/.346 line in just 15 games before being promoted to Low-A West Michigan. Once with the Whitecaps, McVaney notched 21 extra-base hits in only 56 games, including 13 doubles and four home runs. His final line with the Whitecaps was .250/.298/.400.

The Tigers pushed McVaney to Lakeland to start the 2013 season and he got off to a roaring start with a .311 batting average and 12 extra-base hits in 24 games during April. Since that time, McVaney has hit only .212 with six extra-base hits in 21 games.

Scouting Report
McVaney is a good athlete, having originally earned a football scholarship to Texas State where he was slated to play fullback. He has a sturdy 6-foot-2 frame that has good muscular definition and strength. Along with his athleticism, McVaney is a decent runner, though it does not always play in short bursts on the bases. He runs better once underway in the outfield.

McVaney is a fringy defender that struggles with his reads off the bat. He is an aggressive defensive player that can overcome some of his mistakes through extra effort. His plus arm plays well in right field.

Offensively, McVaney has a strength-based swing that gets a little long at times. He likes to extend his arms to drive the ball and he will swing through better velocity fastballs that get on him before he gets the bat to the hitting zone.

McVaney is ultra-aggressive at the plate, starting his trigger early and swinging frequently. He lacks pitch recognition skills and is regularly caught out front on breaking balls and changeups. His propensity to commit too early on secondary pitches leads to some wild and weak swings at pitches well out of the strike zone.

With his propensity for swinging the bat and inability to properly identify pitches he can drive, McVaney will have a tough time hitting for average as he moves up the ladder. Pitchers will exploit his willingness to expand his strike zone and even when they challenge him with velocity, they can do so with a belief that they can get the ball past him. McVaney profiles as a well below-average hitter at the highest level.

Because of his projected trouble as a hitter, McVaney's average raw power is unlikely to play in games outside of A-ball. He will still manage to drive some mistakes here and there and he has the strength for power, but he won't be a considerable source of power without major improvements to his offensive approach.

McVaney has some interesting tools for an inexpensive senior sign but the flaws in his game are glaring and there is little hope for significant improvement at this point in time. His long term profile exists as organizational player with limited upside.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

A+

Lakeland

188

.266

8

5

22

37

7

.310

.441


Health Record
McVaney has not had any significant injuries. He trains hard and is in excellent physical condition.

Projection
The Tigers drafted McVaney several rounds ahead of where his tools and baseball ability suggested he should go, in an effort to save money for other picks in the draft. Regardless of his draft position, McVaney lacks the carrying tool(s) to profile as even a bench Major Leaguer, and his likely struggle with contact at higher levels will cement his future on the farm.

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