DOB: April 3, 1983
If Jeremy Pickrel had his way, every high school baseball player in America would be playing summer ball. After all, it was his work the summer after his senior season of high school that put him on the collegiate radar. Not heavily recruited in high school, he used the strength of a monster summer league season to springboard him to an athletic scholarship to Illinois State University.
After hitting just .287 during his senior season of high school, Pickrel joined the American League Post 285 squad, of Galesburg, Illinois. During that summer, the slugger batted .548 that summer, and the rest is history. He would go on to smack 23 hits in 42 at-bats, stroke seven home runs, and 14 overall extra-base hits.
After starring for three years at Illinois State University, Pickrel was taken by the Minnesota Twins in the 10th round of the 2004 June Draft. He was included in a draft class that featured stars such as Trevor Plouffe, Glen Perkins, Jay Rainville, and Anthony Swarzak to name a few. After signing on June 16, 2004, he was assigned to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League.
During his inagurual season of professional baseball, Pickrel batted .266 in 49 games. He committed only three errors in the field, and drove in 27 runs. On the down side, his strikeout numbers were horrendous, whiffing 61 times during his 49 games. He did play well enough to be granted a promotion to full season Beloit in 2005.
This past season, Pickrel batted .277 for the Snappers, and was one of the best hitters in the Beloit lineup. He finished fourth in the Midwest League with seven triples, and his 12 home runs tied him for third on the team. He also finished second on the team with 15 stolen bases, although he did strikeout 121 times, which led the team.
Batting and Power. Pickrel is a big guy, and has the ability to drive the ball to all areas of the field. He has the ability to hit the home run, but is more of an extra-base hit kind of batter. Every stop he has made, he has shown the prowess to hit for doubles, and triples. The reason he is not a .300 hitter, is because he has yet to show patience at the plate. In 157 career minor league games, Pickrel has struck out 182 times, and has walked only 77 times. He has the ability to hit .300, but needs to grow as a hitter first. In 2006, he should bat near .280 in the Florida State League, a league notoriously pitcher-friendly.
Base running and Speed. For a guy who is 6’4’’, and weighs 225 pounds, Pickrel has some good speed. He finished second on the team with 15 stolen bases this past season, and has 20 for his career. He also grounded into a double play only five times this past season, a sign that he is definitely getting down the line. He also covers a lot of area in the outfield, and has shown the ability to get to balls most outfielders don’t get to. He was caught stealing five times last season, but a 75% clip is still very good. He also is very knowledgeable about the game, and hardly ever gets caught in a run down or picked off.
Defense. As I alluded to before, Pickrel is a very solid defensive outfielder. After committing three errors in 49 games his first professional season, he committed only three of them in 108 games this past season. He has tremendous range from his right-field position, and even had two assists in 2005. He is in no way a liability, and should continue to flourish as a defensive player in 2006. He was a part of a slick defensive outfield in 2005, as he, Deacon Burns, and Tarrence Patterson combined to commit only nine errors.
ETA. 2008. Pickrel has been playing this game a long time, and he should continue to progress in his development. At 22-years old, he needs to produce at High-A Fort Myers next season though, to remain a top prospect. However, he was one of a few players in the organization to hit 10+ home runs, and steal 10+ bases in 2005, and has the defensive ability to crack a Major League roster someday. If his past is any barometer, he will beat the odds and make it to the Show one day.