If one reads Baseball America or Baseball Prospectus then one is familiar with the term prospect fatigue. If not, Prospect Fatigue is when a prospect has been in the “public eye” for an extended amount of time and may have lost their luster or shine. It happens often to prospects that don’t rocket through a system or move more than one level at a time, not always based on their skill level change but just too much exposure. You can hear it often in terms of baseball prospects, but one can also hear it being said about a football player that decided to return for his senior season of college, or with a basketball draftee that may have stayed in college for an extra year. That prospect fatigue can also have an effect on a player’s status in the draft as often a player that has been seen by scouts for an extended period on the showcase circuit who has been consistent over a long period can fall behind that late blooming helium prospect.
One such player that might be experiencing this effect in this draft year is California high school shortstop Brice Turang. Ranked as the top positional prospect in his class for a couple of years now, he has started to see his status drop after an average if not spectacular 2017 summer. Prior to that summer, Turang was ranked by Baseball America as the top positional prospect in the 2018 draft. This was a continuation of a ranking that he had held since his freshman year, being ranked by either BA or Perfect Game as the #2 overall prospect in the draft class in both of their publications since the winter of ’16. Most recently those same publications have moved him down their rankings to #5 at Baseball America and #17 via Perfect Game. The shortstop’s ranking is starting to fall despite him finishing second in hitting on the Team USA under 18 squad during their run to a Gold medal. Some of the reasoning behind the dip is that questions have arisen to Turang’s ability to stay at shortstop due to an average arm. In addition to those concerns, a lack of projectable power is present from Turang’s lean 6-1, 165-pound frame that may struggle to add muscle and weight in the future.
What he does bring to the table though is an above-average baseball IQ, which translates in a selective plate approach, proper placement in the field and smart baserunning. That patient approach combined with a plus hit tool, a balanced stride into the ball should lead to a high batting average at the pro level, as he’s already exhibited good coverage at the dish and the speed to beat out infield hits. Turang’s plus speed is the one above average tool and helps him with excellent range in the field, giving him an above average shot to stay at shortstop despite the average arm and it also makes an impact once he’s on base.
While currently out of the Royals range as a possible top ten pick, it wouldn’t shock me if he would fall to their range should he not exhibit more power during his senior season. The lack of power would leave him with a limited ceiling but an ability to play up the middle while also bringing a patient and intelligent approach at the top or bottom of a lineup. A decent comp already in the system could be Nicky Lopez with a tick more pop in the bat.
Featured Photo: Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY Sports