Profile: OF - 6'1" - 195lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 22
• Hit: 40-50
• Power: 35-45
• Eye: 35-45
• Range: 50-50
• Hands: 60-60
• Arm: 45-45
• Run: 50-50
Brandon Short is a difficult play not to like. He certainly isn't the most talented young man in the world, and after being drafted in the 28th round of the 2008 draft, clearly wasn't the most sought-after either. Still, his perseverance and work-ethic are admirable.
In terms of pure skills, Short doesn't have many that scouts look for. He's built like a speedster, but he's not particularly fast. And though he's hit decently in the minors, he doesn't have ideal bat speed, he won't hit for power in the Majors, and he doesn't have an impressive eye at the plate. His greatest asset are his quick hands which allow him to slap line drives around the field.
Short is the definition of a fringe player - one with enough talent to continue to push forward, but no one skill that really sets him apart. If everything breaks right, he could be essentially average is most regards. His work ethic has allowed him to make consistent progress through three levels of minor league ball, progressing throughout.
Defensively, Short is the definition of mediocrity. He's got corner outfield range and a left field arm but the Sox have stuck with him in center for the most part. Long term, he likely won't stay there unless he improves his speed by a fair amount. There are some players that can make a subpar bat work in a corner outfield position
I see some things I like. For one, Short didn't have the big uptick in K rate that a lot of players have when they progress from Rookie Ball to A Ball. Furthermore he's actually shown increased power as he's continued to move up levels with ISOs that have risen each year.
There are problems however. Big ones. First and foremost, he's failed to post strong batting averages despite consistently beneficial BABIP rates, including a huge .372 last year. That's a symptom of not driving the ball with authority on a consistent basis, being a bit on the slow side, and having a pretty high strikeout rate. There is also the issue of the steadily decreasing strikeout rate. A player like Short who simply doesn't have the swing or pure strength (or the body to project it onto) to hit for above average power at the MLB level will need to draw plenty of walks to be an effective offensive option.
His upside would seem to be as a 4th or 5th outfielder. And even in that role, he's not ideally suited since there isn't any one area of his game that makes you think he could come off the bench and be a significant role upgrade. Still, he's put himself on the map with his play, and seems to be an overachiever. My head is screaming no, but my heart wants to see him prove me wrong.
Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates and random thoughts.