Scouting Mets Prospect #20: Sean Ratliff

Ratliff missed the entire 2011 season

The New York Mets selected outfielder Sean Ratliff in the fourth round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of the Stanford University. On the short list of potential in-house outfield candidates a year ago, a horrific eye injury forced him out of the action for 2011 but he still offers the Mets some real long-term potential if and when he can come back from the injury.

Vital Statistics
Name: Sean Ratliff
DOB: February 24, 1987
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 195
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Batting and Power: Ratliff's best offensive attribute is his home run power to all fields. He doesn't boast the quickest bat, but he clears his hips very well and his steady hands and balance give him a seemingly effortless swing to drive the ball out of the yard. He has a fairly pronounced uppercut, yet his extension provides him good plate coverage. He is particularly quick on fastballs on the inner half, and has the patience to sit back and drive breaking balls to the opposite field. He is still susceptible to a high strikeout rate given he is more of a low-ball hitter, but his plate coverage and ability to read counts and tendency help him hit for average in addition to power.

Base Running and Speed: Ratliff is a big, strong-framed outfielder, but moves well for his size. His speed isn't a true weapon, yet his field awareness allows him take bases aggressively and even swipe a good number of bases as well.

Defense: Ratliff has spent some time in center field in the minors, but he is best suited for left field. His range is somewhat limited. He has a flair for making the big play and fields the ball very well charging in on the ball. Ratliff is a player who takes pride in his defense, and offers consistency above trying to do more than his range allows. He has average arm strength, but has clean throwing mechanics and makes the appropriate play.

Projection: The biggest factor in Ratliff's future is how he comes back from the devastating eye injury he suffered during Spring Training in 2011. Even Ratliff has acknowledged he doesn't know how his vision and hand-eye coordination will operate once back on the field. However, he has been given a positive prognosis, even if his recovery period is slow. When healthy, he has a sound combination of average, power and defense that can play at the highest level. Ratliff still has hurdles to clear in his recovery. Nevertheless, he is definitely a player in this system when healthy.

ETA: 2013. Had he not suffered the injury, Ratliff would have had a chance to breakthrough this upcoming season. The injury, however, has definitely set him back at least one season. Seeing as he will likely miss the start of the season, it's difficult seeing him get a shot at New York until the 2013 season.

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