Today we turn the minor league spotlight on outfielder Champ Stuart. The Mets drafted Stuart this year in the 6th round and paid him about $50,000 over slot. He's been described as raw and a major project, but he's an incredible athlete with great upside.
Stuart was born in the Bahamas, ended up going to high school in North Carolina and attended a nearby D2 college. He'll turn 21 in October. What stands out the most about Stuart is his speed, which is plus-plus. He's likely the fastest player in the organization, which is saying something (Brad Marquez is a D1 wide receiver at Texas Tech and we've all seen Eric Young run the bases at Citi Field). But as you'd expect from someone that hails from a small Caribbean country, he doesn't have a good understanding of baseball and how to utilize his athleticism in the game.
He needs to learn how to take routes to fly balls, run the bases, when and how to steal bases, and most importantly, swing the bat, all of which could take a while. But he has the arm for center field and the bat speed to have good power if he figures out his swing, even for a guy that's only 6 feet, at most.
Stuart has spent the summer in Kingsport, playing almost every day, and hitting .232/.382/.324. Despite being raw, Stuart has been impressive at being able to take walks (32 in 41 games), so plate discipline is not something he'll have to work on as much as other skills. He does have 55 strikeouts, which is expected from someone of his experience level.
I'm not sure where he'll fall on my prospect rankings this winter, but it probably won't be too high because of how raw he is and how unlikely it may seem for a guy like him to ultimately make the big leagues. But the talent and athleticism are certainly there, and it'll take years for everything to come together, but if it does, he'll be a guy to monitor in the years to come.