Renfroe sells out for power and it works occasionally. Is he better suited on the mound?
Hunter Renfroe, C/OF/RHP, Mississippi State
Birthdate: 1/28/92 Age at Draft: 21.49
Gone - Hunter Renfroe HR Montage (via Alan Dobbins)
At 6'2", 200, Renfroe looks like a durable player who could catch 120 games a year but isn't great defensively. He has played in the outfield and could be a good right fielder with his plus arm. He should be able to cover enough ground to be average or better there. His arm is an asset but most of what make Renfroe a prospect is at the plate.
Renfroe packs a big punch at the dish. He has massive power. He has quick wrists and a short powerful swing. He sells out for power most of the time but in his summer league runs, it has paid off. He was named Cal Ripken League MVP in both 2011 and 2012. He hit ..395 with a .581 SLG in 2011, followed by a .366 mark with an .866 SLG in 2012.
At Mississippi State, it hasn't paid off. He hit just .252/.328/.374 last year with 21 walks and 51 strikeouts in 230 at-bats; too many whiffs, not enough walks. Performance-wise, he looks like he is a well below average hitter if you just look at his college career. Many hitters take large steps forward as juniors and that's what the people who like Renfroe's bat are banking on.
Renfroe is a good athlete with above-average running speed. He also has a quality throwing arm. He has been in the upper 90's off the mound in the past, but didn't pitch last year and threw just 4.2 innings as a freshman.. He has had very little success with command but the in-game action has been extremely minimal.
Renfroe is a player that is far from a known commodity but the potential of having the ceiling of a power-hitting catcher (or right fielder) with two plus tools is intriguing. On the other hand, the possibility that he won't hit enough for the power to play is a serious risk here. This spring could make or break his draft status. While I tend to think the power is real, it's hard to know if it will play against better velocity. I believe in him and think he should be one of the top hitters in the draft as long as he doesn't replicate his first two collegiate seasons.