Scouting Jays' Prospect # 50: Joey Metropoulos

Scouting Jays' Prospect # 50: Joey Metropoulos

The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Joey Metropoulos in the ninth round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft out of the University of Southern California. Metropoulos is a young first baseman that has the potential to flourish into a legitimate power corner infielder in the major leagues. Despite playing just half a season in professional baseball, Metropoulos has earned his way into our Top 50 list, and stands as ITD's 50th best prospect in the system.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Joey Metropoulos
Position: Outfield
DOB: October 7, 1983
Height: 6'1
Weight: 230
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Joey Metropoulos is no stranger to success as he has been in the spotlight his entire career. Joey was first drafted out of Monte Vista High School, located in Spring Valley, by the Detroit Tigers in the 16th Round of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft. During his time at Monte Vista, Joey earned second-team All-American honors in 2001, and earned All-Grossmont League South honors for three consecutive seasons. He was also All-CIF first team for two years, and was a member of the championship team in the 2000 Connie Mack World Series, the Encinitas Reds.

It was during his freshman season at USC when Metropoulos emerged as a legitimate power threat, as he hit thirteen home runs while batting .352 (68-193) and driving in 65 runs. His season was solid enough to place him on Baseball America's Freshman All-American First Team, and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American honorable mention honors. Among his other accolades were, All-Pac-10 and All-West Region second team honors. The right-hander proved he can perform in the clutch as well, as he went 6-for-13 (.462) with three doubles, and two RBI in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament as he earned NCAA First-Round Regional All-Tournament team honors. Whether it was getting a hit in eight straight games, driving in seven RBI in one game, or hitting an estimated home run of 500 feet, Metropoulos was doing it all at the plate, and was grooming himself for a successful future.

His sophomore season was the first season in which Metropoulos would play full-time on the field, as he was the club's starting first baseman and finished the season with a .321 average to go along with his 11 home runs and 41 RBI, and once again earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors.

Metropoulos continued to display power during his junior season, despite having career low numbers in home runs (9), runs batted in (32), and batting average (.286). Despite his "struggles", Metropoulos still found a way to maintain his solid on-base-percentage as he was hit by a pitch twenty times, and finished his USC career in second place in the USC record books as he was hit 38 times by a pitch during his three year career.

Metropoulos was selected in the ninth round of the 2004 Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and was sent to play in the NY-Penn League with the Auburn Doubledays after he signed his first professional contract on June 16, 2004. The first baseman had a decent season for Auburn as he batted .257 with six home runs and thirty RBI. Metropoulos showed his has future power potential as he hit six home runs in 152 at bats, in a pitcher friendly league, however, had 56% of his hits for extra bases.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

H

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2004

Auburn

.257

152

39

6

30

28

0

18

48

.362

.480



Batting and Power Description: If you look at Metropoulos, you will immediately get intimidated and realize he is a power threat, standing at 6'1 and at 230 pounds, he has a large body with broad shoulders. He has an aggressive approach at the plate and will not take many pitches, as he is a pure fastball hitter with a quick bat through the zone. Metropoulos has the potential to hit twenty home runs in the major leagues, however, he must show more discipline in the minor leagues and not strike out as often as he did during his 2004 season.

Base Running and Speed Description: Pitchers should not be overly concerned when Metropoulos is on the base paths, and he is not a likely candidate to take off and run. However, if pitchers forget he is there, he will surprise you and steal a base. Metropoulos has above-average speed for his size, and considering his power potential, as long as he does not take the team out of innings, there is nothing to worry about with his speed.

Defense Description: Metropoulos' major weak spot is his defense, as he does not have a position right now. He played both corner infield position as USC, however, he will not be a major league third baseman down the road, and although he appeared at the hot corner with Auburn, he should not get too comfortable there. Metropoulos projects to be a major league first baseman or a left fielder, as he has an average arm, good speed, and his throws from left-field are on the line. Despite his big frame, Metropoulos is no slouch on the field, and will surprise you as he gets more repetitions.

2005 Outlook: Metropoulos will likely begin the 2005 season at Single-A with the Lansing Lugnuts, and will need to battle to prove he deserves playing time and an everyday job. There is too much power to ignore Metropoulos and he must be given the opportunity to play on an every day basis.

ETA: Although it is too early to tell, ITD best projection of Metropoulos reaching the major leagues will be 2007-2008. Metropoulos will likely spend all of the 2005 season at low-A and see time in Dunedin in 2006, at which point he could begin the process of jumping levels after just half a season of play.

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