SECOND BASE PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT: JORDAN WESTBURG
Welcome to a continuation of our new Prospect Spotlight series, where we pair our prospect rankings with a deep dive on one of the players in that ranking. Here, we’ll dive deeper into the prospect’s fantasy profile, highlighting their background, skill set, and what we see for them coming down the pipeline. Prospects are the lifeblood of any dynasty league and we hope to bring you more great info on these rising stars in 2021 than ever before.
After spending three years as a starter at Mississippi State University, the Orioles selected Westburg with the first Competitive Balance A pick of last June’s draft (30th overall). He ended up signing for the pick value of $2.37 million but might have been a bit of a bargain pick there according to some consolidated pre-draft rankings. A right-handed hitter, he’ll already be 22 years old (born February 18, 1999) when spring games are scheduled to start and measures in at 6’3” and 205 lbs. He has limited projection left, as he looked physically mature going into draft day.
A very quiet setup at the plate, Westburg waits for the pitcher to wind up already in hitting position. Except for a slight lean back allowing his weight to load, and a very minor toe tap, he’s ready to hit as soon as he steps into the box. He has a quick bat, above-average to possibly plus bat speed, that moves through the zone cleanly. His swing is smooth and limits body and head movement very well, both vertically and horizontally. Once he makes contact, he tends to use the entire field, with the ability to shoot the ball to the opposite field regularly. The tools are here to have an above-average hit tool, possibly a plus hit tool, even if it’s ultimately limited by some swing and miss issues.
— Kyler Peterson (@KPeterson813) February 4, 2020
A college career strikeout mark of 22% suggests some swing and miss tendencies, but he was also able to walk rate of 10.2%, so there is some patience too. In his senior season (’20 so a small sample) he did lower his strikeout rate to just over 20%, but that’s still a fairly high figure for a college hitter. It’s nice to see him willing to take a walk, but the strikeouts could be an issue as well unless he’s able to make an adjustment and contact the baseball more.
Despite having a strong build and above-average bat speed, Westburg’s game is doubles power. His swing comes through the zone a little too horizontally and doesn’t create enough loft to be considered a power hitter. While he does use the entire field to hit, his power stroke is mostly pull-side. He can drive balls into gaps the other way, but any over the fence power is to left field. Regardless, doubles power plays at the highest level, and Jordan did manage 38 two-baggers in 124 career NCAA games and tossed in ten home runs as well. The raw power is a bit better than the stats advertise, so it’s possible the Orioles can unlock some more in his game.
Despite being an above-average runner currently, Jordan didn’t steal a ton of bases at the college level. He wasn’t caught in 9 attempts in the NCAA though, so it’s possible it was a team strategy rather than something he’s not good at. With his current quickness and athletic ability, I’d project him to be able to steal double-digit bags or more if given the green light.
It wouldn’t be a miracle for Jordan to stay at shortstop, but even Mike Elias, Orioles GM, suggested Westburg could look at other defensive homes during his post-draft interview. He has the arm to stay at third base, and the range and movements to go to second base or even outfield. Even if his future defensive home is unclear, it’s nice to know this part of his game won’t keep him out of the lineup.
Without a true plus tool, and without a clear defensive home, it’s entirely possible Westburg ends up a super-utility player. Someone who can fill several defensive positions, hit with some regularity, and provide occasional power used to be a fantasy prospect you’d steer clear of. In today’s game, Major League managers love these types of guys and many teams will find nearly a starter’s worth of plate appearances every year. That, combined with projecting to call Camden Yards home, and likely not need as much development time as some, make Westburg an interesting mid-round prospect in dynasty supplemental drafts.