Weight: 200 lbs
Drafted: 6th round in 2006 out of Purdue
Position: Shortstop/Third Base
Tools: The only tool that Hilligoss lacks is power. He has an incredibly efficient swing, which will result in high batting averages throughout his career. It is quick, mechanically sound, and he compliments it with superior strike zone judgement. A college scout once called him "The best pure hitter I have ever seen". That said, for all the praise he profiles to hit less than 10 home runs in a season, slugging near .400. His defense is excellent at shortstop, even though he was moved to 3rd base temporarily for the short season. His arm is especially strong, and he is quite the athlete.
Performance: In three college seasons, hit he .378/.421/.521, with a 57/45 K/BB ratio and 12 in 163 games. He stole 49 bases over that time. He had mixed results in Staten Island, hitting .292/.357/.352 in a strong pitchers league. He hit 3rd for Staten Island for the whole season, racking up 36 RBIs. Pinstripes Plus labeled him the best hitter in the short season.
Outlook: Hilligoss's outlook is muddled. His three extensive seasons in college have him earmarked for Tampa next season, with the possibility of a quick promotion to Trenton. There have been strong rumors that he will be converted to catcher. I can certainly understand this, considering his compact frame and light bat. I can't see Hilligoss being useful as a 3rd baseman, where he played in many of the his Staten Island games, due to the lack of power. That said, he could certainly put some muscle on and acquire Boggs-like power. His plate discipline and athletic build are a strong combination, which will at least assure him a major league bench spot one day.
Grades: Ceiling C+, Health A-, Comparison: Craig Counsell
Friday, December 29, 2006