Scouting Report: Kendall Coleman

Coleman brings a ton of upside

The Yankees selected outfielder Kendall Coleman in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Rockwall High School in Texas. He struggled a little bit in his first taste of professional baseball with the Gulf Coast League Yankees this year but started to make the adjustments in two Instructional League camps this offseason.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Kendall Coleman
Position: Outfield
DOB: May 22, 1995
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 190
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

His selection back in June was perceived by the Yankees as taking a shot at a high-ceiling prospect, one with a ton of projection to him.

"This is a ceiling player," Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said back in June. "He's athletic, he's got a good, big body that still has room to grow even more and fill out, he's got power, and he's got a pretty good swing, so it's kind of our shot at a Domonic Brown type guy - we thought this might be what he was like out of high school at the same stage."

Not exactly thought of as a raw project, Coleman hit just .143 in his first ten games with Gulf Coast League Yankees2 in his debut season this year. As lost as he looked though in the first handful of games, he looked quite strong at Instructs in both Tampa and the Dominican Republic this offseason.

"It could have gone better stats-wise but I felt I learned a lot of stuff," Coleman said. "If I can just apply that to the next upcoming months, Spring Training and all of that, I think it will all work out. It was good."

As is the case with every first-year pro, especially for those coming out of high school, there were a number of initial basic adjustments that needed to be made.

"How to make adjustments pitch to pitch," he said of the biggest thing he learned. "If a pitcher beats you with a fastball you have to know what he's going to do next.

"You almost have to think two steps ahead of the pitcher to be successful. My coaches helped me make a pitch to pitch adjustment.

"I had to use my legs a lot more. In high school we can get away with [using our upper body only] so I was never really taught how to use my legs until I got down to Tampa. They taught me and it kind of killed my legs but you can definitely see improvement."

Drawing a lot more walks at both Instructional League camps and driving the ball more into the gaps, Coleman quickly began to see the fruits of his labor.

"I could see it in myself but the one thing I definitely need to improve on is the consistency," he admitted. "If I do everything right -- stay on my legs, have a solid swing -- I'm going to hit it pretty far every time, but I'm not consistent with that right now so that's what I'm trying to get to."

Consistency is what every ballplayer seeks and now that he has gotten his feet wet at the professional level and overcome the initial deer in the headlights aura he can really get to work on improving daily.

"Oh yeah, when a couple of guys got hurt in the season and had to come down [to Tampa] to rehab I got to talk to them and they kind of set me straight," he said. "I wasn't like a deer in the headlights anymore.

"I was when I first got there but once I got to talk to a lot of the older guys who came out of high school like [me] it really calmed me down."

Not only did he start using his legs more and think more about how pitchers were attacking him, but once he did settle down and began to believe that he belonged the results started showing up better.

"Not swinging at bad pitches -- my hitting coach 'Gonzo' [Edwar Gonzalez] made me focus on one spot until I get my pitch to hit and until I get it to not swing any bad pitches, just the pitch that you want. If you miss it, you miss it, but you have to look for that pitch."

Already going up to the plate with a plan is really the first step in tapping one's potential and Coleman himself realizes he has just begun his work. Lucky for him this is where he excels.

"My work ethic I think is my best attribute to be honest," he said. "I'm not going to get outworked by anybody. [Tools-wise] I think it's I can do a lot of things pretty well.

"I don't have the one tool that just stands out right now but we're trying to get the power, the arm, defense -- we're building to get to the good stuff."

He accepts that his development is going to be a process, one that takes some time, but he can't help but think he is already a better ballplayer just a few months into his career.

"To be honest I'm still trying to find my way a little bit but that first summer and the two Instructional Leagues made it a lot easier. They're getting me on the right path. I think come Spring Training I'll find it and get going," he concluded.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2013 GCL Yankees2 .143 28 1 0 0 1 0 2 11 .200 .179


Batting and Power. Coleman enters pro ball with advanced patience at the plate [he walked 17 times in 13 games at Dominican Instructs] and a rather short, compact swing for such a tall player. He also shows a willingness to use the whole field already and he doesn't swing and miss too much, giving him the foundation to be a solid average hitter in due time. With a lean, muscular build, one that has a ton of room to fill out in the coming years, he has above average or better power potential too.

Base Running and Speed. Coleman has a lot of natural speed and he uses his long legs to take extra bases, but he is still a baby in terms of stealing bases so there might not be much of a stolen base impact short-term while he learns the nuances of the running game. He does, however, have 20-plus stolen base potential given his slightly above average speed.

Defense. As quick as he is he does have enough speed to man centerfield [his position in high school] in spots should the need arise, but in pro ball he is better served in the corners. With average at best arm strength, left field seems like his eventual position destination where he should eventually be an average or better defender.

Projection. Projection is the key word with Coleman. A big, strong, left-handed batter with a ton of room to grow, one who shows somewhat advanced hitting ability at a young age for such a tall player, gives him a sky-high ceiling as a potential run producing slugger who could eventually hit in the heart of a big league order someday. Throw in extremely great makeup and a tremendous work ethic, the chances of tapping that potential are pretty good for a teenager. However, there's a ton of work to do towards tapping that kind of potential and there will be some inevitable growing pains short-term.

ETA. N/A. With just 28 professional at-bats under his belt and two rookie league teams to fill, the smart money has Coleman back in the Gulf Coast League in 2014. A strong showing there could put him on a one level per year track towards the big leagues.

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