Coming into this year, Triston Casas was a top-5 high school prospect according to Baseball Factory, as his huge frame and raw power potential made him a darling of the summer showcase circuit. Since then, scouts have cooled on him a bit with more time to scrutinize a swing that, while capable of developing, has plenty of issues.
Projected as a first baseman out of American Heritage School (yes, just like Eric Hosmer), Casas is another high upside prospect. At 6’4” and 240 pounds, scouts love how the ball flies off his bat and imagine a future for him where smacks 35-40 home runs a season. He’s probably only second to Nolan Gorman in terms of power potential in this class, and by all accounts, he has a relatively advanced approach at the plate, as well.
But Casas’ left handed swing isn’t nearly as clean as Gorman’s. He has a long stride that becomes a toe tap with two strikes, and his swing has a pretty steep upper cut path, which helps increase the loft he gets but increases his swing and miss potential and weak contact rate, as well. With an upper cut like that, he’d need supreme hand-eye coordination to barrel the ball consistently, which he doesn’t have yet.
Two important issues stick out to me with his swing. 1) I think he struggles with consistency in that long stride. As a result, he looks off balance at times. Well, that and he swings all out nearly every time. After he plants, his hips open very early. I worry this will hurt him against off-speed pitches away. 2) The timing of his load is inconsistent. Sometimes, it comes as he starts to bring his front foot down. Sometimes, it comes when the foot is nearly down or already down. It makes his timing inconsistent.
Casas has contact issues because he’s tall with a complicated swing. Some teams won’t care about the issues; they’ll see the potential and think they can work on his swing. And the potential is certainly there. If a team can clean up that swing, he could become an All-Star. But the probably of him busting is higher than someone like Gorman who has a cleaner swing.
Casas projects as a solid defender at first base with an above average arm for the position (he’s hit the low 90s as a pitcher). He plays third base for American Heritage and moves well as a defender, despite his lack of foot speed. Of course, he’ll need to work on the finer points of playing first, picking balls for example. He’ll offer very little on the base paths but won’t clog things up tremendously.
GIF and photo courtesy of Baseball America