Astros Draft Prospect Profile: Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia
“And with the 15th pick in the 2017 First Year player draft, the Houston Astros select (pause for dramatic effect) Adam Haseley, outfielder, University of Virginia.”
In all honesty, there’s really no way to know which direction Jeff Luhnow will go in this, his sixth draft with the Astros. The organization is stocked with talent at all levels and at most positions. Indeed, the pipeline has been constructed and this organizational depth allows the Astros to expand their focus and to consider a wider range of players. One player that certainly fits the “Astros way” and one that could move quickly to fill a need at the big league level in a couple of years is the aforementioned Adam Haseley.
Haseley is the textbook Luhnow/analytics type of player as he consistently makes hard contact, works counts, rarely strikes out, and uses all parts of the field to spray line drives. This year, in addition to an improving hit tool, Haseley has added more power to his game. While he’s not a classic left handed hitter with his inside out swing, Haseley has shown the ability to jump on balls outside his preferred zone and drive them to left and with loft. In fact, of Haseley’s first seven homers this year, six were hit to the opposite field. Did I say he’s a high-contact lefty? Did I say MMP has the Crawford Boxes? His hitting approach from the left side would prevent any exaggerated defensive shifts as well.
While Haseley has improved his power production, scouts believe there’s even more power to be tapped in to, potentially making Haseley an above league average outfielder at the corner outfield positions. Scouts also believe he could become an even better hitter once he stops pitching and focuses on hitting full time. Even still, his production has been outstanding. As of May 2, Haseley had 32 walks and only 17 strikeouts and was slashing .399/.491/.680. He had 12 HR, 12 2B, and was 9 for 13 on stolen base attempts. While some project him as potentially a BOR starter, make no mistake about it, Haseley’s MLB future and upside rests in his ability to barrel up baseballs. Offensively, what you get with Haseley is a polished and consistent hitter that has shown marked improvement every year.
Defensively, Haseley’s fielding and arm grades vary, with some scouts grading those tools as high as 60 and 65, respectively. His arm, which cranks out low 90s fastballs, is plenty strong at either outfield position, and in left, would be an absolute shutdown arm. His instincts aren’t as quick twitch as you’d like but Haseley makes up for it with his closing speed and his efficient routes.
Haseley doesn’t come without some concerns, however. The Virginia hitting philosophy, which encourages line drive and gap power, may have hindered Haseley’s ability to develop a loft to his swing and may have stunted his power development. There’s some logic to this reasoning, for sure. But, as Astros minor league followers have witnessed with Derek Fisher, another Virginia outfielder, ultimately the power and hit tool can converge, and Haseley has perhaps more natural hitting ability than Fisher did at a similar stage. Some suggest Haseley, while still a fantastic prospect, will never develop into more than a 15 homer a year corner outfielder that hits for decent average, which are nice numbers for a center fielder, but pedestrian for a corner. A team that believes Haseley can stick in center full time will take him early.
Could Haseley fall to the Astros at pick 15? Two things point to Haseley not lasting that far. First, Haseley is starting to garner some pre-draft buzz that is very reminiscent of what Andrew Benintendi received in 2015, when the Red Sox took him seventh overall. Second, Vanderbilt outfielder, Jeren Kendall, who has been considered the top college outfielder and bat in this draft, has struggled mightily with strikeouts and some evaluators have questioned his ability to recognize pitches and have thus moved Haseley above Kendall. While Kendall has more raw tools and a much higher upside, Haseley is now considered by many as the safer pick due to his higher floor. If these two trends continue to play out in this way, Haseley would most likely be taken in the top ten picks, perhaps even in the top five.
Overall, Haseley possesses an intriguing skill set offensively and defensively and the work ethic to go with it. On the standard 20-80 scouting scale, Haseley falls somewhere between 50-60, with some moderately high upside to go along with a relatively high floor, making him one of the safest picks in this year’s draft.
Michael Brantley. Both Brantley and Haseley are tall athletic outfielders with solid double power and potential for 15-20 HR. If Haseley turns out to be a player like Brantley, the team drafting him will be pleased.
**Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images**