|No. 9 — Braden Bishop, CF
|Acquired: Third Round, 2015 Draft — Washington
Seems most are higher on Bishop than am I, which surprises me because I became a huge fan late in 2013 when he first showed well at Washington.
Bishop can flat out play center fielder, projecting even better than Powell, and he brings plus speed to the table (he’s not a burner like a Mike Trout or Carlos Gomez. Think: Andrew McCutchen), although he has yet to show he can use it well enough for it to be a game-changing skill. He made enough solid contact last summer in the Northwest League to believe he’ll hit enough for a role in the majors, but the game plan and ability to work a pitcher aren’t there yet, suggesting he’s a little further away than others may believe.
Bishop drew just five walks in 219 at-bats (not plate appearances), but it’s not quite as bad as it looks on the surface. The right-handed batting Bishop worked all five of those bases on balls versus right-handed pitching (142 at-bats) and took the donut versus lefties, which could very well be a small-sample anomaly, just as the overall performance may be (.320/.367/.393).
He handles the bat very well, is a terrific bunter with plus bat control and while he’s a good-not-great base stealer, he is a very good baserunner. The plus range in center field comes with a plus arm, too; Bishop was up to 92 mph from the outfield out of high school.
Like Powell, there’s almost no power in the swing, but Bishop could stand to get stronger and reach the gaps more. There’s not a lot of room on his 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame for more weight, but stronger hands, wrists and arms could suggest a slight swing adjustment will produce more doubles pop without sacrificing contact.