Originally drafted from the Georgia prep ranks by the Rangers in the first round (#30 overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft as a high-upside, raw potential power source playing up the middle of the diamond, the hyper-athletic Demeritte was acquired from the Rangers in 2016 for Lucas Harrell (RHP, Blue Jays) and Dario Alvarez (LHP, Mariners). He went unprotected in the 2017 Rule 5 draft, and I recently viewed him over the course of two series as he repeats a tour of Double-A in Mississippi this year.
Demeritte’s physicality stands out immediately, namely his plus strength. The muscle clearly manifests at the plate, where he displays plus raw power, showing regular fence-clearing pop to dead center field. However, Demeritte’s ability to get to that power in games is severely limited by significant swing-and-miss (27% K-rate 2017-18). Demeritte’s violent cut is vulnerable to high-minors spin both in and out of the zone. With plenty of bat speed, he can punish an ill-placed fastball, and I watched him square up a bomb to dead center field in Birmingham July 10th, but the hit tool profiles as a 30, and his game power regresses to fringy as a result.
Defensively, Demeritte is playing more left field this year, where he is a below-average defender, showing poor reads and twisting routes at times, and his above-average speed is not enough to make up ground tracking the deep ball or heading to the line or the gap. His fringe average arm limits him to left field, and it also limits his utility to second base, where he has previously played the majority of his minor league games. He has some quickness that is lost in the OF and may match better on the dirt; playing both positions will up his chance for a bench role.
Demeritte’s raw athleticism does not translate on the field, positioning him as a fringy high-minors prospect with enticing raw power who could bloom late if he adjusts his approach for more consistent hard contact. His present defensive limitations and future 30 hit tool a Role 30, up/down prospect providing organizational depth with moderate risk to the profile based on his ability to make strides with the bat.