Round 2: Michael Gettys, OF
Ranked as the #37 draft prospect by MLB.com and #40 by John Manuel (Editor of Baseball America magazine), Gettys is a polarizing player in this draft. Recognized widely as having exceptional defensive ability in center field, with a tremendous arm, and amazing speed on defense and offense, Gettys also has strong hands and wrists with plus bat speed that translates into tremendous power potential.
So what’s the problem?
He has a balance problem with a big weight shift and toe tap that will be exploited by upper level pitching and his off speed approach is easily defeated. He gets ahead of the ball and swings and misses much too often. Gettys was a 2-way player throughout his high school career with a 92-94 mph fastball and plus breaking ball which would allow him to be a top 100 prospect as a pitcher but with his tremendous athletic ability he has been scouted for this draft as an outfielder. It has to be noted that he has not concentrated his baseball skills on one position until now and there is a chance that his hitting flaws are correctable and he could develop into a superstar.
As unbelievable as it may sound, the draft analysts commenting on MLB Network during the draft (BA’s John Manuel) compared Gettys to Mike Trout if he should develop his hitting ability. Minorleagueball.com comments on his great athletic ability and his incredible energy that will drive him to outwork anyone in his goal to improve his skills. John Manuel compared Gettys to Mike Trout but, in his scouting report on Baseball America, he felt his fall in draft status was reflective of his poor spring performance on the field and the lack of improvement in his contact frequency and his quality of contact. His lack of balance at the plate and apparent shortage of hitter instinct counts against his ability to change his hitting mechanics and produce the effect that his athletic ability projects.
This pick reminds me of the Padres selection of Allan Dykstra, drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft, but he was a college player and never developed the hitting ability that his projection predicted. He had a successful college career but was never able to translate it to the professional level. The Padres traded him to the Mets in 2011. He never advanced beyond A ball with the Padres and has continued to battle the hip problem that slowed his development since college. He has never reached the major leagues.
Gettys is healthier and much younger than Dykstra when he was drafted but the gamble is similar. The Padres have a history of selecting players with upside but are a risk for the organization. Up till now none of those gambles have played out. Hopefully this one will change the trend and the Padres will win big for once.