Scouting Report: Cole Brannen

After the Boston Red Sox drafted Tanner Houck in the first round, they drafted outfielder Cole Brannen 63rd overall.

Cole Brannen

The 6’1” left-handed hitter is known for his speed and athleticism. As a senior in high school at Westfield (GA), Brannen batted .439 (36-for-82). This came with a total of 23 doubles, three triples, and five home runs. He also scored 42 runs and stole 22 bases, drawing 26 walks against only 11 strikeouts. There is definitely some potential for power, but I think the Red Sox will let him develop based on his young age.

In the summer of 2016, he competed in the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field and in the Nike Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park.

Due to his tremendous exposure, Brannen had originally committed to play ball at Georgia Southern, but told reporters “I made up my mind. I’ve known for a long time that’s what I want to do. I want to play ball. I’ve wanted to play professional baseball since I was three years old. That’s always been my goal. I’ve worked hard. I’ve put in a lot of time and a lot of effort. God’s given me a lot of things that I can do that a lot of people can’t do. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for him. I’m very thankful and blessed for all the things I’ve gotten to accomplish.”

Breakdown

There is no question that the hit potential is there. But in addition to that, Brannen’s athleticism allows him not only to steal bases and advance but also to play any of the outfield positions.

However, Brannen doesn’t have a ton of experience against high-level pitching, so there will definitely be at least a few periods of adjustment. Additionally, his swing is a tad lofty, so long-term power as he ages is no guarantee. Despite that, I still see him as a potential plus-hit for average tool.

It is unclear what the Red Sox plan to do with Cole Brannen long-term. But short term, he’ll probably play the rest of the season in the Gulf Coast League. Should he still be with the organization next season, he’ll probably split time between Lowell and Greenville based on his performance.

Right now, I feel comfortable comparing him to Danny Mars or Aneury Tavarez, both of which are other outfielders in the farm system. Brannen’s absolute ceiling would be comparable to Jackie Bradley Jr, but perhaps with less defensive ability.

Andrew Benintendi Already Turning Heads

Andrew Benintendi can play. The Red Sox first pick in the 2015 MLB Draft is already showing the organization that he has some serious potential in his first few months as a member of the Red Sox organization.

Right now, Andrew Benintendi is with the Class A Short-Season Lowell Spinners, but is Andrew Benintendiheading for a late season promotion to Low-A Greenville with the way he has performed so far, according to NESN. He’s shown a little bit of everything in Lowell, hitting .278 with 7 home runs and 6 stolen bases so far in 31 games with the Spinners. He hit 2 home runs on Tuesday, giving him 3 in 3 games. And he’s drawing positive reviews from his coaches. Spinners hitting coach Iggy Saurez said that it seems like nothing bothers him, and wondering how he can be so calm amidst the hype that being picked 7th overall can surely bring, according to NESN.

This speed/power combo that Andrew Benintendi has shown is one of the main reasons the Red Sox were looking at him in the first place. Also worth noting is his plate discipline – he has 23 walks to 15 strikeouts with the Red Sox organization.

Benintendi also mentioned that he is learning a lot, according to NESN, which is a good thing for him, obviously. It’s great to see him putting in the work, and he seems genuinely excited to try and get to the big-league Red Sox, which is a good thing. NESN points out, and rightfully so, that it’s hard to pinpoint where his ceiling is right now, but I think it seems pretty high at the moment. He’s got the work ethic, and the talent to go with it, and I’m really excited to see where this kid can go.

It’s still a while before he’s major-league ready, but if he keeps going like this, then he’ll get there sooner rather than later. It’ll still be interesting to see where he ends up in a couple years, with the Red Sox outfielder situation at the moment, but he has the talent to make an impact. Assuming he keeps putting in the work, which won’t be a problem, I don’t think.