Wichita State has probably one the best hitters in college baseball with Casey Gillaspie. The junior switch-hitting first baseman definitely looks the part at six foot four, 238 lbs and he has backed up the image with some outstanding production. His major flaw will be his glove and it may affected his final daft status quite a bit.
Gillaspie came into the 2014 season with quite a few honors. He was named an All-American by Perfect Game and Louisville Slugger. He was on the Cape Cod league all-star team after leading the league in home runs. When I asked how was it different hitting with a wooden bat in the Cape Cod League, he said, "It takes a little getting used to. You try and use it as much as possible before you go up there once school is over. There isn't much difference with the N[ew] BBC CORE bats used now at school. It takes a couple of weeks to get used to." Then I asked him about adjusting to the higher quality pitching, "Just like using the wood bats, it takes time for your eyes to adjust to the speed. Its exciting. You just try to get your best at bats."
In his first two college seasons, he hit .287/.415/.481. A couple of points from his stats. First, he walks quite a bit with a 13% BB% his freshman season and 21% last year. His walk rate is not inflated by intentional walks . He was issued only one his freshman year and four last season. Besides Gillaspie, the Wichita State lineup really doesn't have many decent hitters, so he does get pitched around. He has not taken to hacking at pitches out of the strike zone and will just take the free pass.
Additionally he switch hits. He seems to produce from both sides of the plate. In 2012, he hit .275 vs. right-handed pitching and .273 vs. left-handed pitching. In 2013, it was .300 vs. righties and .297 vs. lefties. He admits some days he feels better from side than the other, "Depending on the date, sometimes one feels better than the other. It is just part of switch hitting."
Video of Gillaspie taking throws at 1B and his four at bats this past Saturday against SIU Edwardsville (quality is rough, I am also in spring training mode)
He is pretty much a first baseman. I saw him in the outfield last season and it was pretty rough. At first base, he is very mechanical (not athletic). It is not a smooth 1B and at best he is would be average. As seen in the above video, he has a bit of problem digging balls out of the dirt (I have seen other instances last season).
He is not fast (no good home to first time yet - about 5 secs to 1B on the double).
If he gets drafted, it will be because of his bat. In the above video, the second swing was for a home run (he hit two over the weekend). He is also able to go the opposite way as seen by the last at bat. He has great bat speed from a basic balanced stance. As noted above, he has outstanding plate discipline and it only helps him get better pitches to hit.
One issue I have with my evaluation is the quality of the players I have seen. Gillaspie is definitely a men among boys at the plate. I will like to go back and look at him at a later date after watching a few more players this season.
Matt Garrioch at Minorleagueball.com has Gillaspie ranked 160th for the upcoming draft which would put him around the 5th round. I think he may end up going a bit higher. His bat reminds of Seattle's D.J. Peterson who went in the middle of the first round last year. Gillaspie defense will bring him down a bit, but his power and plate discipline should put him into the first 2 to 3 rounds.