Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Jays Interested in Ti'Quan?

   According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, the Blue Jays have been following Columbia (MS) High School Shortstop Ti'Quan Forbes.
   Forbes has been described as athletic, but raw, much like fellow Mississippians DJ Davis, who the Jays took with the 17th pick of the 2012 draft, and Anthony Alford, who was taken in the 3rd round of that draft, despite his college football commitment.  Given the fact that Forbes is a 3-sport star, and is one of the youngest players in his draft class, along with the locale (a state where high school football is king) prompted Clint Longenecker of Baseball America to claim that these factors "give Forbes an expansive gap between the player he currently is, and the player he projects to be."
   It's remarkable how similar Forbes is to Davis, actually.  Raw but toolsy, and young for his draft class.  Scouts have drooled over Davis' toolkit, but the Jays have taken things slowly with him, and the numbers have yet to really show a refinement of his bat.
   The 6'3", 180 lbs Forbes was described by one scout as having above average bat speed, but below average strength.  Wiry (skinny is more like it, judging from the videos we've seen), Forbes has a projectable frame such that his hit tool, which currently grades out at 30,  could be a 60 once he matures.
   Forbes' foot speed is not questioned, although given his relative lack of experience, it could take him time to learn to be able to use it effectively on the base paths (Davis is still learning - only 4-8 in stolen bases at Lansing this year, despite possibly being the fastest player in pro ball not named Billy Hamilton).  Unlike many other high school shortstops, he is projected to stay at that position, although some scouts have graded his arm as only average.
   Forbes' swing will need work, although he wouldn't be the first high school prospect that's happened to.  He uses his hands too much, and has a bit of a hitch in his swing as a result.  He also opens up his front side too soon, and doesn't get good weight transfer.  He's obviously athletic, however, and would likely correct these flaws quickly with quality instructions and playing every day.
You can view BA's video of his hitting stroke here.
   Forbes definitely fits the mold of the ahtletic, high-upside prospect the Jays covet.  That he is raw and comes from Mississippi has limited his exposure to the scouting community, and it seems to fit well with the Jays' outside-the-box thinking when it comes to top draft choices.
   Forbes has committed to Ole Miss.
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