Max Scherzer’s and Ian Kinsler’s alma mater, the University of Missouri, sends a promising prospect to this June’s draft. The young Mizzou Tiger is projected to go in the first round. If so, he will be the first Missouri positional player selected in the first round since Steve Patchin was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1971. The Tiger player with first-round aspirations is outfielder/first baseman, Kameron Misner.
Kameron Misner 2019 Draft Profile
The Kansas City Royals drafted Kameron Misner in the 33rd round of the 2016 draft, but he chose to develop himself further at Missouri. His decision paid off. Misner is now a legitimate five-tool player and MLB.com lists him as the 30th best prospect in the draft. Normally, a player with Misner’s skillset is projected to go much higher. However, a broken foot ending his 2018 season combined with a 2019 statistical regression has caused his stock to drop. If Misner falls anywhere near the 30th pick of the draft some astute scouting department will be celebrating heavily.
MLB.com lists his scouting Grades as follows:
Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
Kameron Misner University of Missouri Stats
Statistics Courtesy of The Baseball Cube
Misner is a disciplined hitter with a good feel for the strike zone, walking almost as much as he strikes out. This helps him to frequently make solid contact. He combines his sizeable 6’4” frame with quick bat speed to generate solid power, most of which is to right field. As he grows into his large frame, his power potential will increase. He also has surprising speed for a big man, stealing 50 bases in 63 attempts during his Missouri career. Misner also played in the Northwoods Collegiate Baseball League (NCABL) after his freshman year, which is a wooden bat league. He excelled with a .378/.479/.652/1.131 slash line, reassuring scouts he will be able to transition to wooden bats as a pro.
Some scouts say Misner can handle center field. Even if he does not end up in center he will be a premium corner outfielder. As an added bonus, he also has proven to be a capable defensive first baseman. His versatility is a product of his athleticism.
Mizzou coach Steve Bieser told Joe Healy at Baseball America, “He hadn’t played first base, (and) we asked him to play first base for us every day, and he became a very solid defender over at first base. Then we moved him back out into center field this year. He’s just being able to be versatile to help the team in any capacity. He’s so athletic that he can bounce around and do those things.”
One should not be surprised by Misner’s athleticism and ability to “adjust on the fly”. After all, he started performing acrobatics as an elementary schooler while downhill skiing. Jack Parodi of the Missourian gives the play by play in his article on Misner entitled All Gas No Brakes, “Midway down the hill, the front of Kameron’s ski caught an edge, sending him in the air and turning him completely around. To nobody’s surprise, the skinny elementary-schooler casually landed it, skied backwards for a bit and hopped around 180 degrees in the air to continue bombing down the slope.”
Scouts are most worried whether Misner will hit enough at the professional level. He was tearing up the SEC in 2018 when he injured his foot, forcing him to miss half the season. Consequently, many were looking to see how well he would perform in 2019 to determine whether his stats from the previous season would continue. Unfortunately, his slash line dipped from .360/.497/.576/1.073 to .287/.443/.485/.928.
However, it is still an increase from his freshman year of .282/.360/.446/.806. Keep in mind that Misner’s great 2018 season came after he played in the NECBL. This author feels it was the extended playing time, which helped propel him to a great start in 2018. Similarly, his long layoff from baseball after he broke his foot in 2018 contributed to Misner not being able to find the same groove in 2019. Quite simply, young players need to play to continue developing.
The most concerning knock on Misner is his play in the SEC. According to Jim Callis of MLB.com, Misner struck out 39 times in 30 SEC games, while hitting a paltry .222. That raises more questions about his ability to hit at the next levels than his regression does. However, coach Bieser often praises Misner as being the hardest worker on the team. Combine Misner’s work ethic with natural athleticism and pro coaching and it is likely he will prove his doubters wrong.
A decent comparison for Misner is a left-handed Matt Kemp. Both are 6’4″ and hover around 200 pounds. Kemp also played anywhere in the outfield earlier in his career and was adept at stealing bases. While Misner should steal 20 bases instead of Kemp’s 30 to 40 Misner does have the potential to hit slightly more homers. This much is certain: Misner is a high-end talent at a potential bargain price.
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