Demeritte, the New York native and 2013 1st-round draft pick, is headed to the Futures Game next month, and deservedly so. Through 73 games, the second baseman has put up a .904 OPS and a .340 OBP, which is doubly impressive seeing as he strikes out over 30% of the time. Demeritte has a lean, wiry-strong frame and is a very good athlete. His swing has a slight uphill plane that results in too many lazy fly balls, but his lightning-quick hands translate to plus bat speed that should play well as he advances. He leads the Cal League in home runs, but at least some of that should be attributed to the incredibly hitter-friendly parks that he is playing in every day. He has a very pull-oriented approach at the plate right now, and when down in the count he’s far too susceptible to breaking stuff out of the zone. However, the raw power is real, he gets excellent carry on his line drives, and his swing is short enough to where he should eventually find his share of doubles in the right-center field gap as he learns to adjust.
He has not been overly tested on defense in my looks thus far, but the athleticism is obvious, and the actions are very smooth. He has very loose arm action, and arm strength that he can maintain on the move from different angles. At times his actions are so easy that it may look like the effort isn’t there. He is not a real high-energy guy to begin with, and he definitely has some swagger to his play, but ultimately I see him as the type of player that will respond to challenges and be able to make the adjustments at each level going forward. I did not get to see him run much in the games that I saw, and while I don’t expect him to be a big base-stealing threat, saying he will stay an average runner isn’t a stretch. Given the body type, position, actions and power potential I am sure there are those who want to compare him to Brandon Phillips (2B, Reds). However, Phillips has been an elite defender for many years – I’m not sold that Demeritte is of that ilk. Also, the swing and miss that will plague Demeritte as he moves up was never that much of an issue for Phillips.
I will need to see more of Demeritte before being comfortable with a true big league comparison, but with the athleticism, bat speed and strength potential, the ingredients appear to be there for him to eventually impact a big league roster. The Rangers sit atop their division right now, and given how they have Rougned Odor manning second base for the foreseeable future, Demeritte has to be a tempting trade piece should the club look to bolster its pitching staff at the trade deadline next month.