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Selected by the Detroit Tigers in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of Tennessee, shortstop AJ Simcox reached Double-A in 2017, spending the entire summer with Erie in the Eastern League and playing every day at shortstop there. In 125 games with Erie (436 at-bats), Simcox slashed .250/.293/.378/.671 with 22 doubles, eight home runs, 12 stolen bases, 36 walks, and 72 strikeouts. In his career, across more than 1,300 professional plate appearances, Simcox is a .269/.308/.366/.674 hitter.

The Detroit Tigers prospect also spent the past six weeks playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, which is where Baseball Census observed him nearly a dozen times against some of the best prospects in baseball. In 26 games for Mesa, AJ Simcox slashed just .194/.229/.330/.559 over 103 at-bats, with six doubles, two home runs, five walks, and 29 strikeouts. From those viewings at the AFL this fall, we’ve pulled together a full AJ Simcox scouting report that you can see below — including game video, tool grades, analysis, future projection notes, and more.

AJ Simcox Scouting Report, Detroit Tigers — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

Hit (35)
Long swing; liable to get beat by even average velocity on the inner half; will get tied up with bat wrap and become overly horizontal through rotation to contact. Stands far off the plate to help with inner half, and struggles with full plate coverage; weak contact on outer half with little consistent ability to hit the ball the opposite way with authority. Weak hands and wrists; lacks barrel manipulation and shows below-average bat speed. Susceptible to lunging out and/or rolling over to produce weak ground ball contact from outer half. Quite a few holes in his swing; well below-average bat with serious issues that will be exploited in upper minors.

Power (35)
Hit tool issues carry over into power; inconsistent power alleys with poor plate coverage and lack of access to actionable game power. Weak hands and wrists; below average bat speed. Too slow to fastballs, especially on the inner half, to produce consistent power.

Glove (50)
Reliable glove at shortstop; good situational awareness and reactions there; lacks ideal shortstop range, but has a good, quick first step and dive to both sides. Can pick it a little bit; glove will prove to be carrying tool. Likely third baseman/utility infielder moving forward rather than everyday shortstop, but glove to play any infield position with some measure of success.

Arm (45)
Reliable and consistent arm; accurate, but lacking some in velocity and strength behind throws, especially from backhand deep in the hole. As with glove, arm profiles better at third base long term.

Speed (35)
Had him once at 4.47 up the line to first; two first base turns at 4.69 and 4.74. Plodding, heavy feet, lacking athleticism in run, even at full speed. Definite lateral quickness with a good first step in the field, but poor foot speed out of the box and on the bases with lots of moving parts; unathletic, long and awkward. Won’t be a speed threat moving forward.

Bat was exploited at AFL by better pitching, made for a rough fall season; will plateau in upper minors; little else of note here.

AJ Simcox Scouting Report, Detroit Tigers — 2017 Game Video

AJ Simcox Scouting Report — Notes, Analysis & Projection

A tough fall season in Mesa has probably only solidified AJ Simcox’s fate after larger offensive struggles at Double-A Erie during the summer of 2017. There are some workable pieces here, most notably some of the things he’s flashed defensively with a good glove at shortstop, but beyond using that as a carrying tool towards an up-and-down role, I’m skeptical there’s too much more the Detroit Tigers can develop into a serviceable big leaguer. Simcox has a lot of issues at the plate, and he was exposed in a few different ways in the Arizona Fall League; a slow bat with weak wrists and little manipulation doesn’t bode well for a big league job. Because of that, it’s likely he’s destined more for a bench/utility role than an everyday job, and I think his athleticism and defensive profile points to a more natural position at third than shortstop as the years go by.

Expect AJ Simcox to begin the 2018 season with Triple-A Toledo, with the outside shot that he could find himself up with the Detroit Tigers at some point later in the summer depending on roster needs. That’s likely where the infielder’s career is headed long term, too; Triple-A life with an up-and-down profile that should get him a little bit of big league time for a couple years here, but with offensive issues serious enough to prevent him from ever gaining a true foothold in The Show.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Limited bat, corner profile push him to bench role at ceiling; for me, more likely he fills out organizational depth with up-and-down profile (35)

MLB ETA: 2018

Did you like this AJ Simcox scouting report? Get more prospects here:

Detroit Tigers 2B/3B Kody Eaves — CLICK HERE

Detroit Tigers RHP Spencer Turnbull — CLICK HERE

Washington Nationals RHP Austen Williams — CLICK HERE

Los Angeles Dodgers OF Shakir Albert — CLICK HERE

Arizona Diamondbacks 3B Eudy Ramos — CLICK HERE


More from our AJ Simcox scouting report and other Detroit Tigers prospects:

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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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