Yanks Go Yard is combing through the New York Yankees minor league system in search of hidden gems in this ongoing series. Today, we look at outfielder Kendall Coleman.
Kendall Coleman’s strong finish to his 2015 campaign with the Pulaski Yankees had many analysts predicting that 2016 would finally be the year when the perennial breakout candidate would put it all together and establish himself as one of the organization’s premier power hitters.
Instead, Coleman regressed badly at the plate, hitting just .202/.301/.277 while striking out in 32.1% of his plate appearances following an aggressive assignment to the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs in the Sally League.
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When the New York-Penn League kicked off in June, Coleman found himself demoted back to short-season ball, but the weaker competition did not help him find his rhythm. Coleman continued to look lost in the batter’s box, putting up an even-uglier .194/.308/.237 slash line in 221 plate appearances with the Baby Bombers. He did cut his K rate to a more manageable 24.8% in Staten Island.
Lauded by scouts for his plus bat speed and advanced approach at the plate, Coleman is a natural hitter whose raw abilities have yet to translate to any kind of consistent production during his four professional seasons since being selected in the 11th round of the 2013 June amateur draft. Listed at 6’4 and 190 lbs, Coleman also has considerable untapped power potential.
After missing the majority of his first two seasons of rookie ball to injury, it’s not overly concerning to see a raw prospect like Coleman take a little while to develop, but as a bat-first prospect, Coleman will need to hit sooner rather than later if he wants to keep evaluators interested.
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The rest of Coleman’s game is nothing to write home about. He’s not a bad runner for such a big guy, but he will never be more than an average defender in an outfield corner, and his lack of arm strength pretty much limits him to left field in the future.