Taft, California —— At the top of this post, watch our March 9, 2017 scouting video of Taft College sophomore first baseman/outfielder Nick Kawano, taken from his at-bats in a home game for the Cougars against Central Valley Conference opponent College of the Sequoias.
Nick Kawano scouting report notes
Few players at the junior college level demonstrate the hand-eye coordination of a guy like Nick Kawano while also still flying under the radar to the degree this first baseman/outfielder is right now with Taft College. Part of that may be his station in schools; Taft is one of the smallest JuCo programs in California, always playing up with the big boys but always stationed in a rural, un-traveled part of the state. Good players get found no matter where they may be, though, and Kawano is proving time and again that he deserves to be found. (A sophomore, he’s still picking between opportunities to play baseball at the four-year level come next season.)
He’s hit safely in 21 of 22 games this spring for Taft, and reached base safely in all 22, by doing exactly what you can see in the video above (and another below): he flat out knows how to get the barrel of his bat on the ball. As the Cougars’ lead-off hitter, he’s plainly showed again and again that his hand-eye coordination gets him where he needs to be, and a mature understanding of how pitchers try to work him allows the Las Vegas high school product to hit the ball with ease to all fields. He has enough bat speed to turn on inside pitches, but he’s not afraid to work away, too, and he’s comfortable gap to gap. With good speed, and followed in the lineup by Taft’s big-slugging catcher/first baseman Richard Ortiz, Kawano intuitively understands how to get on base and set the table.
A natural outfielder on defense, he’s playing first base out of necessity right now for Taft, but he’s doing it well and could find himself playing there some more as his four-year career takes off in the fall. He’s a good enough athlete to make that work, though he may not show enough immediate power to station himself as a first baseman depending on the rest of his future team’s lineup. Nevertheless he does have a little pop in his bat—he’s far from a simple slap hitter—and a strength training program will undoubtedly add a bit to his power profile as he continues to grow into his swing and learn how to manipulate it depending on the situation.
Nick Kawano scouting report: 140 characters or less
Hitters hit, and Nick Kawano is a hitter.
Nick Kawano scouting report video + GIFs
Again, for video, watch Kawano at the top of this post swinging the bat against the College of the Sequoias in March, 2017.
If you’re looking for more video of Kawano swinging, here is our clip from the opposite angle (first base side), taken during a March 2017 game against Porterville College:
If you’re looking for specific swing mechanics to get a sense of his physicality at the plate, here are our set of Tilley GIFs from that same March 9 game against Taft:
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