Haydn McGeary – Picture by Tennessee Smokies

In about 10 days, North Side Bound is going to drop its midsummer prospect list. The two Greg‘s and I will do our individual lists and then we will have a collective one. For me, the biggest riser in that list is going to be in Haydn McGeary. The current first baseman for the Tennessee Smokies is taking the Southern League by storm after dominating at South Bend and the Midwest League in April.

I first wrote about McGeary after the Cubs signed him after taking him in the 15th round last summer.

What McGeary is doing now is something quite different than what Matt Mervis did last summer It’s much more than we could’ve hoped for or even expected for someone from a Division 2 school to just come out, dominate, adjust, and dominate some more. When my prospect list comes out, don’t be shocked to see McGarry in the top 20. I’m not gonna say where yet because I have not decided. I am also interested to see where the other two Greg‘s place him and hopefully they do place him fairly high.

What makes McGeary such a special talent?

There are several answers to that question.

1. Attitude

I met McGeary back in April in Davenport, I said I would see him around at either Appleton or Beloit in May. I didn’t get those opportunities. He was gone and in Tennessee. But just in our brief chat, he came across as a pretty serious dude. He’s not here to get a haircut, he is in the Cubs System to smash some baseballs and get to the majors.

2. Pitch Recognition

It was clear early on in McGeary‘s career last year in Myrtle Beach that he sees the ball really well. After a winter of professional coaching, he sees it even better. For him to come out and hit over .300 at two levels that are advanced tells you that he is seeing the ball really well. But when you watch video of him, he’s not just hitting fastballs. He’s hitting all kinds of pitches and using the whole field to do it.

3. Approach.

This goes along with pitch recognition as McGeary is quite a fan of the strike zone. He knows where the strike zone is fairly quickly in a game, depending upon the ump’s calls. And when a ball is in the strike zone, he tends to do something with it. But he’s not afraid to take a walk. I can’t emphasize that enough that if he doesn’t get a good strike to hit, he will often layoff them early on to wait for one that he can do something with. If he doesn’t get it, he’ll take a free pass.

4. Not a lot of moving parts

When you watch him swing, there is minimal amount of stuff going on. The smooth swing gets going quickly, there’s not a lot of herky-jerky things taking place when he loads or starts moving his hands forward. He just accelerates the bat through the zone. And with his size, which will talk about in a minute, he can keep the bat in the zone longer if he needs to.

5. Size/Exit Velo

When I stood next to McGeary in Davenport, I already knew that he was a big man. But he’s a rather big man and it does not look like he has a whole lot of fat going on in his body. I know it was April, but he is yoked. He has like Steve Garvey forearms, and he is able to do some damage to some baseballs with little to no effort. That also allows him to adjust to pitches where other people would break their wrists trying to change their swing.

For those of you that are fans of McGeary, I am with you. He’s not Matt Mervis. He’s Haydn McGeary. Mervis was an isolated incident, but I am more impressed with McGeary than I was with Mervis. Mervis had a lot of home runs, but McGeary is a much better and more disciplined hitter. I would not be surprised to see McGeary in Iowa at some point in the middle of July or late July to early August. If he continues raking like this, he’s going to force the Cubs to move him up. And with two months of Double-A under his belt, that should be enough to get him a step to the next level. Where he goes from there is something we’ll just have to wait and find out.