2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: Matt Thaiss

By: Burke Granger

Matt Thaiss – C – Virginia.  6’0″ 195.  Bats: L.  Throws: R.  DOB: May 6, 1995.  Last Drafted:  2013 (Boston Red Sox – 32nd Round).

SCOUTED:

Virginia Cavilers @ Pittsburgh Panthers: April 30, 2016 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Thaiss was twice named First-Team All-State out of Jackson Memorial High School (N.J.) before the Red Sox selected him in the 32nd round in the 2013 draft.  Rather than signing, Thaiss elected show up on campus in Charlottesville.

After playing sparingly as a freshman, Thaiss became a star as a sophomore in 2015.  Leading the Wahoos in Slugging (.512) and OBP (.413), Thaiss earned Third-Team All-American honors by Louisville Slugger and NCBWA.

Unlike teammate Connor Jones, who took last summer off after a long season that extended to the the finals in Omaha, Thaiss played for the Collegiate National Team.  Though he hit just .208/.250/.296 over 8 games and 24 at bats, Thaiss only struck out one time.  This high contact rate has followed him well into his junior season as he’s posted an impressive 39:16 walk to strikeout ratio.

STATISTICS:

Through June 7, 2016.

YEAR
AVE
OBP
SLG
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
K
SB/ATT
2014
.265
.306
.338
5
0
0
7
2
13
0/0
2015
.323
.413
.512
18
0
10
64
33
26
4/4
2016
.375
.473
.578
13
2
10
59
39
16
0/1

HITTING:  Thaiss may have the best hit tool among any draft prospect under the catcher phylum in this year’s class save for maybe Zack Collins at Miami.  The challenge is that neither of them may have the catching chops to stay behind the plate.  More on that later. Thaiss has a patient approach at the plate and an excellent feel for the strike zone.  His smooth left-handed stroke sprays the ball to all fields.

POWER:  Thaiss has doubles power to all fields that is augmented when he pulls the ball.  Though he struggled both with Team USA and in the Cape, he did manage a few homeruns in the small sample.  The power is on display in batting practice and plays up in games as evidenced by his 10 home runs in his sophomore season.

SPEED:  If you’re looking for speed, look elsewhere.

ARM:  The arm looks playable behind the plate, though it’s supplemented with quick feet as he gets in position to throw. The transition from his glove to throwing hand is a little clunky.

DEFENSE:  If there is an area of Thaiss’ game that needs refinement, it’s his receiving which has prompted questions as to whether he’ll be able to remain behind the plate as a professional.

FUTURE:  Unlike Sean Murphy or Cooper Johnson who are advanced defenders with questions around their bats, Thaiss is an offense first backstop which provides him some unique appeal in this draft.  If a team thinks he can stay behind the plate, he should be selected in the first day of the draft.  While he may be less appealing if he needs to find a new defensive home at first base or perhaps left field, the hit tool is legit with the ability to play up at whatever position he calls home.

DISCLAIMER:  It’s important to note that I’m not a scout.  I don’t have the training or expertise that they do.  I do however actually go to see these guys play live, which is more than you’ll get from many online “Scouting Reports”.  I also talk to scouts when I’m there.  While scouts reserve their reports for their employer, I can share my thoughts with you, the reader.

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2 thoughts on “2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: Matt Thaiss

  1. Pingback: 2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: Will Smith | Prospect Junkies

  2. Pingback: Live Blogging the 2016 MLB Draft | Prospect Junkies

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