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December 9, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Alex Binelas and David Hamilton


Less than an hour before MLB's owners locked out the players, the Red Sox announced they had acquired outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., third baseman Alex Binelas and shortstop David Hamilton for outfielder Hunter Renfroe

The deal brings a reunion with Bradley after he left in free agency following the 2020 season. Bradley was the Red Sox' 2011 first-round pick out of South Carolina and was a key contributor during his eight years on the team, making one All-Star Team and winning one Gold Glove. Bradley really struggled at the plate with Milwaukee in 2021, hitting .163/.236/.261, but did play his usual standout defense. Bradley is due $9.5 million in 2022 and has a substantial buyout of $8 million in 2023 if his $12 million mutual option isn't picked up. Given his performance, the Bradley deal is an overpay, so in return for taking it on, as well as sending back Renfroe, the Red Sox received two prospects. 

Alex Binelas was the Brewers' third-round pick in this year's draft out of Louisville. Binelas had an up-and-down spring with Louisville, hitting .256/.344/.621 with 19 home runs and 51 strikeouts to 21 walks, and saw his draft stock fall after once being seen as a potential first-round pick. Breaking his season down further, he hit .145/.247/.274 in 62 at-bats in the first 16 games of the season, then hit .308/.395/.782 with 18 home runs in his final 133 at-bats of the season. After signing with the Brewers, Binelas was very impressive in Low-A after a brief stint in the Arizona Complex League. With the Carolina Mudcats, Binelas hit .314/.379/.636 with 9 home runs in 132 plate appearances.  

David Hamilton was the Brewers' eighth-round pick in 2019 out of the University of Texas. Hamilton missed his draft season after tearing his Achilles tendon, then spent the lost 2020 minor league season playing in the independent Constellation Energy League for Team Texas, hitting .296/.430/.370 in 100 plate appearances. In 2021, Hamilton finally made his affiliated debut, and between High-A and Double-A, he hit .258/.341/.419 with 8 home runs and 52 steals, the fifth-most swipes in all of minor league baseball. 

Here are our initial scouting reports on Binelas and Hamilton, based on conversations with industry sources and evaluators. These reports will be updated further once the SoxProspects scouting team has seen the players in person. 
Physical Description: Filled-out, sturdy frame. Strong. Minimal remaining projection.

Hit: Starts square with a slight toe tap timing device. Quiet swing mechanics, direct to the ball. Solid bat speed. Will take a walk. Solid plate discipline. Has considerable swing-and-miss and his game. Might not show up in his strikeout rate, but misses a lot of pitches in the zone. Development of hit tool will be key in determining future success. Potential fringe-average hit tool.

Power: Natural loft in swing. Can drive the ball with authority to all fields. Hits the ball very hard and produces impressive exit velocities. Plus-to-better raw power. Potential for plus in-game power.

Run: Fringe-average speed. Athletic for his size, but takes some time to get going.

Field: Stiff in the field and hands are a little rough. Potential fringe-average defensive profile. Hands, footwork, glove, and overall actions are better suited for left field or possibly first base.

Arm: Average arm strength, enough for third base and would play at other positions to which he may move.

Career Notes: Impressed as a freshman with Louisville, hitting 14 home runs in 2019. Broken hamate bone caused him to miss time in 2020. Once slated as a potential top-15 pick in the 2021 draft, early-season offensive struggles caused him to slide to the third round. Showed flashes of his offensive potential in first pro year in 2021.

Summation: Bat-first prospect with upside. Has the potential to develop into a platoon bat if he can show enough with his hit tool and keep his strikeout rate in check. Will need to show he can handle more advanced pitching. Should continue to get a shot at third base, but could end up at first base or in left field. Athletic enough to handle the outfield.
Physical Description: Undersized, very athletic.

Hit: Short, compact swing. Solid pitch recognition and knowledge of the strike zone. Has feel at the plate and contact skills. Will strike out some and there are questions about how his hit tool will play against more advanced pitching. Potential fringe-average hit tool.

Power: Below-average raw power. Not a major part of his game. Swing is designed to go gap-to-gap, rather than for over-the-fence power. Well-below-average power potential.

Run: Plus-plus speed. Solid baserunning instincts. Seems to have recovered fully from his Achilles injury.

Field: Soft hands and smooth actions in the field. Not a standout defender, but steady enough and playable at shortstop. Potential average defender.

Arm: Fringe-average arm for shortstop, but makes up for it with a quick release. Arm could be better-suited long-term for second base or the outfield.

Career Notes: Missed his entire junior season at Texas due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. Spent time with an independent team in Texas coached by Roger Clemens during the lost 2020 season. Impressed scouts during 2020 Fall Instructs. Did not make his affiliated debut until 2021. Had the fifth-most stolen bases and third-most triples in all of the minor leagues in 2021.

Summation: Relatively high floor. Potential backup infielder type who is carried by his speed and defensive versatility. Does not have the highest ceiling unless his offensive production improves, due to lack of power and average-at-best hit tool. Type of player who could stick around at the major league level for a long-time in the right role.

Photo Credit: Jackie Bradley Jr. by Kelly O'Connor

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.