photo: Scott Hurst (Allison Rhoades/Peoria Chiefs)
FREE article. The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown for 2019 continues with St. Louis’ top draft pick from 2017 who looks to put an injury-plagued 2018 behind him.
By The Cardinal Nation staff
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Link to Scott Hurst’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.
Selected 2018 stats
TCN Scouting Grade: 4, Risk: high (click here to review scales)
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (41): Hurst dropped from 38th in the community vote to 41st this year after manning the outfield primarily for the A-ball Peoria Chiefs and the High-A Palm Beach Cardinals. Hurst was first selected in the community vote this year at #30 by Bw52.
Hurst caught CariocaCardinal’s eye during August after he went 0-for-20 after his promotion to Palm Beach, then went 10-for-12 after. Grenadier1 stated that if Hurst can stay healthy, he could see him moving up rapidly in the system as he has a good hit tool and a great arm. Stlcard25 believes Hurst has a higher ceiling than another Cardinals outfield prospect, Chase Pinder. He likes that Hurst doesn’t strike out a lot and is a decent defender.
Desmetlas12 posted that Hurst had an overall line in 2018 of .312/.389/.447 and he liked that Hurst performed better after getting promoted to Palm Beach. Robert Reed mentioned that Baseball Prospectus and Clay Davenport like the defense in centerfield and he believes that Hurst’s likeliest outcome is Shane Robinson, a mighty fine bench guy for a few years. – Jeremy Byrd
Derek Shore (38): After a solid start to his pro career with Low-A (short-season) State College, Hurst’s performed well in a 2018 season during which he was on the disabled list four different times.
Only because of a minor arm injury did Hurst, the Cardinals’ highest-drafted player last June, remain behind in extended spring training to start the year. The only question was whether St. Louis’ third-rounder from Cal State Fullerton would make his full-season introduction at High-A Palm Beach or Low-A Peoria.
The latter wound up being the case as he was assigned to Peoria on April 25.
But two months later, the 22-year old, who slashed .295/.361/.411 over 49 games for the Chiefs, landed on the shelf with a hamstring injury.
Hurst returned to official action on August 1 with Palm Beach, where he hit .354/.439/.542 in 14 games in-between two DL stints.
Despite spending the majority of the season on the DL, Hurst still opened the eyes of his coaches.
“He is an exciting player,” Peoria manager Chris Swauger said. “He did a lot of things well. He has got a good amount of fast-twitch characteristics. Good runner. Very explosive bat. He has some impressive power at times. Very good arm strength. Very good defender at all three outfield spots.
“He has got some versatility. He takes good at-bats. He just does a lot of good things. When you look at him on the surface you might not think there is a ton there, but then you watch him play a game or two and you realize this is a very exciting player. He has some true assets and will play at higher levels.
“I’m excited to see what he can do as long as he is healthy.”
From a scouting standpoint, Hurst is a tweener through and through. The California native is a fine defender in center field and above-average in the corners, might hit enough to play every day but he profiles best as a reserve outfielder.
The main reason why he is a tweener is because he doesn’t have the power for a corner (projects to hit for doubles power) and will have to prove he can stick in center despite just average speed.
Hurst will get that shot at either Palm Beach or Double-A Springfield to open 2019.
Brian Walton (44): It is not Scott Hurst’s fault that he is the flag-bearer for the Cardinals’ shortened 2017 draft class. That blame goes to Chris Correa for his illegal activity and to his former colleagues in the front office for their decision to sign then-free agent Dexter Fowler. As a result, three picks were forfeited and Cal State Fullerton’s outfielder Hurst became the organization’s initial pick, at 94th overall, in the third round.
It is also not Hurst’s fault that the remainder of his draft class has not yet delivered on its collective promise. Other than Evan Mendoza and Evan Kruczynski, two prospects yet to come in this prospect countdown, Hurst is the best-ranked prospect from his class – at 40th overall in the system. Ouch!
Still, it is difficult not to consider other standout Cardinals such as Andrew Knizner, Harrison Bader, Jordan Hicks and Paul DeJong, all of whom were drafted later than 94th overall in the two years immediately prior to 2017.
It is also not Hurst’s fault that he was injured so much in 2018, but the reality is that he was. Instead of his first full season being a triumph, it became a morass of DL stints and rehabs. Instead of a full-season of about 140 games, Hurst played in just under half, 68. At least the injuries do not appear chronic, with a later issue being hamstring-related. Still, his legs are key to his game.
At the start of August, the 22-year old was promoted to Palm Beach. (In fact, he had already been rehabbing for some time in Jupiter, making the final month move easy,)
While Hurst’s numbers took an uptick at high-A around his final two DL moves, his BABIPs should cause concern. An already-high .353 mark at Peoria jumped up to an unreasonable .421 in the Florida State League. In other words, a considerable downward correction was likely just ahead.
When all is said and done, instead of stepping forward in his first full season, Hurst lost ground in our prospect rankings year to year.
It is clearly not all negative, but as Derek already outlined, Hurst is a jack of all trades, but likely will be a true master of few at the big-league level, with a most likely ceiling of a reserve outfielder. This is reflected in the “4 high” scouting grade. Hurst can get on base, but doesn’t steal a lot. He can hit for average, but not with power. He can play all three outfield positions well, but isn’t a prototypical specimen at any.
It seems like the Cardinals have had so many outfielders with a similar profile in the past. Specifically, it is hard for me to get overly excited about a Shane Robinson II from a third-round pick.
Again, my caution based on others who came before him may not be fair to Hurst. He can change my tune with a healthy and productive breakout in 2019. There should be roster room when he shows he is ready for Double-A. Triple-A may be another matter, but first things first for Hurst.
Our 2019 top 50 series continues
To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 50 countdown and 10 in-depth, follow-up articles coming up next. Most of them are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation. If you are not a member, join today so you do not miss out!
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