School: North Carolina
Born: February 9, 1991
Height: 5' 10"
In general, I get that Michael is a very polished player who is close to who he can be, and should be ready relatively quickly. It's good to see the Twins buck their trend towards prep position players to address an area of definitive need.
Some scouts seem to doubt that he has the range to play shortstop, but has decent hands and a good arm which leads them to believe he'd be a more than adequate defender at second base.
Whatever the case, Michael seems to be a fundamentally-sound player with good intangibles (I'm assuming things like attitude, work ethic, the magical winning makeup, etc), and the pick has met with nothing but approval from everything I've seen.
Videos, scouting reports and numbers after the jump.
Michael arrived early at North Carolina and has been a top performer from day one. He is a polished, versatile player who profiles well at the next level.
Levi has good bat speed and a bit of pop in his bat. His power probably translates to doubles more than home runs as a professional. Michael is also good on the bases, stealing 25 bases in 31 attempts during his college career.
Michael has moved around the infield during his time at North Carolina. As a freshman, he was the Tarheels second baseman. Last season he played third, and he has been moved to short for the 2011 season. There is a general consensus that Michael will eventually head to second in the pros.
- 2011 Golden Spikes Award Watch List
- 2011 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American
- 2011 Baseball America Preseason All-American 3rd Team
- 2010 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star
- 2009 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American
- 2009 NCBWA Freshman All-American 2nd Team
- 2009 All-ACC Academic Baseball Team
National League Area Scout- "He’s pretty similar between both sides of the plate. He probably has a little more power from the right side, I would say. But the contact ability, the ability to barrel the ball, it’s pretty similar from both sides."
Every Draft class has a crop of college middle infielders that is interesting, if not overwhelmingly exciting. Michael has improved over the past couple of years, moving himself to close to the top of this year's class of college hitters who play up the middle.
He can hit from both sides of the plate and, though he is more of a gap-to-gap guy, has gotten stronger and shown a little more pop this season.
When he's healthy, he's got above-average speed and will steal a base. An ankle injury has slowed him somewhat this season on both sides of the ball. Even before that, some scouts felt his range was too limited to be an everyday shortstop as a professional. His average arm is playable there but might be a bit short to profile there all the time. As a result, most see him as a second baseman -- his hands work just fine -- or as a utility type who can fill in at shortstop and not be a detriment.
It may not sound like the most exciting combination of tools, but it should be enough to be gone in the first 60 picks.Click here for his scouting video.
From his page at The Baseball Cube:
Michael has established himself as the best college shortstop in this year's draft, although the competition for that title wasn't very strong. But as a switch-hitter who can run and has shown he can handle the position he's almost certain to go in the first round.
Michael has good bat speed and an excellent eye at the plate, producing contact and working the count well. He tends to meet the ball out front rather than letting it travel; between that and his size he doesn't generate much power even with some torque from his hips.
At shortstop, Michael is solid-average, making routine plays with enough arm but will probably never be plus there. He's a well-above average runner with good feel for the game all around.
There are very few college shortstops this year who project to stay at the position and also project to hit. Michael does, which puts him at the top of the category.
Michael was a solid high school prospect in Lexington, N.C., but he graduated early in order to join the Tar Heels for the 2009 season. He has played a new position each season, moving from second base as a freshman to third base as a sophomore, before settling in at shortstop this year. He's been a reliable defender at all three spots, and scouts are warming up to the idea that he could stay at shortstop at the pro level.
He missed a couple of games with an ankle injury and was still getting back to 100 percent, but he still showed ability in all facets of the game and was hitting .311/.461/.464 with 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts in 196 at-bats. He is a patient hitter with a good eye for the strike zone from both sides of the plate, with a 43-27 walk-strikeout ratio. He hits to all fields and could hit at the top of the batting order, though he shows pop and is naturally stronger from the right side. He's an above-average runner, though he hadn't quite returned to that level since the injury. Scouts don't view the ankle as a long-term concern.
Defensively, he has good actions and enough arm strength for shortstop. The only concern is his range, but he'll get every chance to prove himself before potentially sliding to second base.
By the numbers: