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Player: Nicky Delmonico
Position: third base/first base
Age at 11/2011: 19y4m
2011 level(s): N/A
2011 statistics: N/A
Grades - Now (Future):
Hit: 35 (50)
Power: 35 (55/60)
Arm: 40/45 (45)
Defense: 35/40 (45/50)
Speed: 40/45 (40)
Feel: 40/45 (50/55)
Overall Future Potential: 47-53
Prospect Grade: B
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6th Round selection in the 2011 draft, out of Farragut HS (Knoxville, Tenn.). Signed for mid-1st Round money, receiving a $1,525,000. Heavy bloodlines;.
Strong, thick build. Broad shoulders and wide through hips with muscular core and trunk. Lacks projection but athletic and already looks the part.
When everything clicks, Delmonico shows an easy swing and generates good leverage and power. He takes an impressive BP and is capable of spraying balls from line-to-line. In-game, he shows a good approach for a prep talent, though he has yet to be challenged by advanced stuff on a day-to-day basis. On good days Delmonico shows balance and good whip in his barrel. On bad days, he creates too much length in his load, gets uphill with his swing plane and can extend early causing some drag in his barrel.
Delmonico spent his scouting circuit summer and senior spring behind the plate, but consistently struggled with his transfer, footwork and throws. Mechanics aside, Delmonico's throws show consistent bow and it is far from certain that he will have enough arm strength to make all the throws from the hot corner -- his announced position on draft day. Additionally, Delmonico's lower-half could give him trouble in the infield, though his hands should play well at either of the corners. Defense is an area that can develop quickly under pro instruction and a full-time baseball schedule yielding plenty of reps. He should get a couple of seasons to knock around the infield while Baltimore determines if there is a long-term fit at third. If not, his future success will ride entirely on the development of his bat.
Delmonico represents a significant draft investment, netting the largest ever bonus paid by the Orioles outside of the 1st Round. There is big offensive upside that could come by way of a solid average defensive third baseman, but that tantalizing package is spotted with risk. Delmonico has not been able to produce in-game showings indicative of his natural talent on a consistent basis since the first half of the summer before his senior year of high school, and it is worth considering whether his bonus will serve as a relieving influence on his game or added pressure to produce.
With the skillset to grow into a legit .285/.360/.525 bat, Delmonico could provide an impressive compliment to the Machado/Schoop pairing scheduled to reach Baltimore at some point in 2013 or 2014. Given his background, the expectation should be that his transition to the pro ball lifestyle should be a smooth one, though concerns over his uneven results under the draft scrutiny of his senior year have some evaluators convinced that Delmonico would be better off easing into his first pro season in extended spring training. He'll turn 20 next July, so there is some sense of urgency to get him going.
Were Delmonico a year younger or a better bet to stick at third base, he could easily have snuck into the Supplemental-1st Round, even with his rocky spring. But there are a number of potential pitfalls facing the Tennessee native and, given his limited defensive profile, an immense amount of pressure on both his hit and power tools developing into impact weapons. Outside of Dylan Bundy, he may have the highest ceiling in the 2011 draft class -- albeit with a weighty boom/bust profile.
Ceiling: Above-average third baseman on first division team
Projected: Fringe-average first baseman on second division team