The Colorado Rockies have one of the best left-side infields in baseball but more depth has been the focus in recent drafts. Aaron Schunk is one of the system’s few prospects with a real shot at being a future everyday third baseman. He has several tools that give him potential at the hot corner.
Aaron Schunk Prospect Report
Two-way College Production
Schunk is a solidly-built 6’2″, 205-pound third baseman originally from Atlanta, Georgia. The right-handed hitter played as both a hitter and relief pitcher in three years with the Georgia Bulldogs. He was excellent as a junior with a .339/.373/.600 slash line with 15 home runs at the plate and a 2.49 ERA with 18 strikeouts to just seven walks in 21 2/3 innings on the mound. He also participated in the 2018 Cape Cod League where he hit .287/.338/.336. The lack of power against top competition was concerning but the junior year made up for it. Colorado chose Schunk in the second round of the 2019 Draft.
Minor League Debut
Schunk has only one professional season in Colorado’s system. He played for the Boise Hawks in the Short Season-A Northwest League in 2019. There he hit a respectable .306/.370/.503 with six home runs in 192 plate appearances. He collected 53 hits. Of those 53 hits, 20 were for extra bases, including 12 doubles, two triples, and six home runs. That display of power is a great turnaround after the worrisome lack of power with a wooden bat in the Cape Cod League.
He struck out 25 times compared to 14 walks. His walk rate of 7.3 percent was lower than the league average, but his 13 percent strikeout rate was better by roughly ten points. Schunk was slightly older than the average age for the Northwest League but his debut season still showed progress. The most important thing is that he didn’t regress against professionals compared to college competition.
What Makes Schunk a Top Prospect
Schunk is a very all-around decent player. He has shown great plate discipline throughout his career and that gives him a great starting point as he progresses further up the minor league ladder. More power would be good but there is plenty of time for that to develop. He also has the range and arm to stick at third. Nolan Arenado is entrenched there for years but Schunk looks like a quality backup or replacement in a few seasons if something changes. The Rockies have several corner infield prospects but Schunk has the most talent to play third base.
What to Expect from Schunk in 2020
A probable lack of a 2020 minor league season hurts Schunk’s development. He likely would have moved up to Class-A Asheville in the Carolina League. However, the pandemic has forced major adjustments to the minor league environment. With that in mind, he will still play in some fashion provided minor leaguers who aren’t part of an extended MLB roster can play extended spring training. Teams will certainly try to get something in place for prospects this year. It’s the only way the players can get instruction and development during a time of major uncertainty.
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