KoK Prospect #10: David Lough

David Lough checks in at #10 on the 2010 Kings of Kauffman prospect list.

Who: David Lough
DOB: 1/20/1986  Erie, Pennsylvania
Position: OF
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Acquired: 2007 Draft (11th round)

Rankings:
~ Baseball America #10
~ Diamond Futures #11
~ Royals Review #9
~ The Royal Tower #10
~ John Sickels B-
~ Baseball Prospectus #11

Stats:

PA 2B HR SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
2007 Burlington (Rk) 92 6 2 6 4 13 0.337 0.380 0.477
2008 Burlington (A) 543 21 16 12 35 70 0.268 0.329 0.455
2009 Wilmington (A+) 250 15 5 6 12 34 0.320 0.370 0.473
NW Arkansas (AA) 253 13 9 13 12 30 0.331 0.371 0.517

David Lough may not have the upside or potential of several of the players ranked behind him on the Kings of Kauffman prospect rankings, but his ranking here and on any other list is completely justified.  In terms of tools, he has above average speed while the rest of the package projects to be major league average across the board.  Outside of a low walk rate, Lough doesn’t display a significant weakness in any part of his game.  In recent seasons he has displayed improvement in his fielding, baserunning, and his swing, all of which serve as proof that he is receptive to instruction and dedicated to getting the most out of his ability.  He does struggle against LH pitching, but that can be said about the vast majority of left-handed hitters, including those who have reached the majors.  With only two full seasons of minor league experience and his aforementioned ability to improve the other phases of his game, I have little doubt that he will learn to hit LH pitching with more experience.

It is common knowledge that Wilmington’s Daniel S. Frawley Stadium is among the toughest places to hit in all of the minor leagues.  When a prospect struggles with the Blue Rocks they tend to get a little bit of a pass because of the environment.  Here are David Lough’s 2009 splits while in high-A last season:

Home:  0.310/.346/.410
Away:  0.333/.396/.533

Lough clearly wasn’t immune to the effects of Frawley Stadium considering he mashed on the road, but his performance at home was still noteworthy.  It was even more impressive given the fact it followed up his 2008 in Burlington which saw him hit 0.268/.329/.455.  Those numbers would have looked worse were it not for hitting 0.306/.358/.577 in August.

We know that Lough can hit and if Wilmington couldn’t hold him down, I don’t anticipate any environment or level short of the majors achieving that either.  Any prospect who can hit 0.320/.370/.473 in the first Carolina League action of his career can lead my castle onslaught any time!  After his promotion to NW Arkansas in early July, Lough kept up his breakout season and hit better than 0.317 all three months while in Double-A.  As was the case at the end of his 2008 campaign in Burlington, David caught fire in September for the Naturals in 2009 and hit a blistering 0.411/.468/.589 with 6 BB and 7 SO in 56 AB.  The only setback to his development last season occured when he was unable to compete in the Arizona Fall League as planned due to a back injury.

Defensively he has shown himself to be an average to slightly above average outfielder at all three spots.  This is reflected in the stats where his Total Zone (TZ) has never dipped below -1 and has peaked as high as 6 when he was playing LF for Burlington in 2008.  Last season after moving up to AA, he had a -1 TZ in CF, 1 TZ in LF, and 2 TZ in RF.  Lough has played the corners becuase he has been played alongside other CF prospects in the system such as Derrick Robinson.  Nevertheless David is a very capable CF and has a very real shot at being the starting CF for the Royals when opening day 2011 rolls around.

Before we get to 2011, we have to focus on 2010.  Along those lines, Omaha figures to be Lough’s destination to start this season, but his major league debut should be soon.  With David, it’s not a matter of if but rather when and my guess is that his debut will come before rosters expand at the end of the season.  What remains to be seen is whether he can hold down an OF spot as an everyday player or whether he is destined to become the latest in a string of serviceable 4th outfielders* that are never given a chance to truly prove themselves one way or another.

*Mitch Maier and Shane Costa are just two examples.

Lough has more talent than that group and should wind up as a solid major league regular when all is said and done.  If he tears up Omaha this season like he did Wilmington and NW Arkansas last season, his performance could very well facilitate Dayton Moore pulling the trigger on a David DeJesus trade this summer.

(Wally Fish is the lead blogger for Kings of Kauffman and FanSided’s MLB Director.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

Topics: AL Central, Baseball, David Lough, Kansas City Royals, KC, MLB, Royals

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