San Bernardino, California —— At the top of this post, watch our scouting video of Los Angeles Angels shortstop prospect Connor Justus, taken from an April 2017 series at home with the Inland Empire 66ers against the visiting Lake Elsinore Storm. To read our feature interview with the Los Angeles Angels’ Connor Justus that was also published today, please click here. To visit Connor Justus’ player page, please click here. And please subscribe to the Baseball Census YouTube channel here for hundreds more videos like this one.
Connor Justus scouting report notes
A defensive whiz at Georgia Tech who caught fire with the bat at the right time during his junior year, Connor Justus was the Los Angeles Angels‘ fifth round selection last summer, and he’s already up in High-A Inland Empire this year, an aggressive move that’s one of many the Angels are making throughout their system right now. Justus’ calling card is and forever will be his glove; he’s a plus-plus defensive shortstop with exceptional arm strength, very good range, and very soft hands, and he has the leadership and intangible skills to play the position and embrace its responsibilities with ease. It’s not a stretch to say he’s the best infield defender I’ve witnessed within the Angels’ system—which is saying something, considering I watched David Fletcher play at Inland Empire for much of last year. Justus is good enough to stick at shortstop for his entire career, and could bring significant value as a glove-first middle infield leader on a club that’ll need to find offensive firepower elsewhere.
And there, we come to Justus’ biggest question mark: the bat. All he needs to do is swing enough to survive, but even that will be something of a challenge for him professionally with almost no power to speak of, and average bat-to-ball skills and pitch recognition. The better he hits the more he’ll be equipped for an everyday shortstop role, but even already in 2017, prolonged stretches with little to show at the plate should be a concern for this major college product. I think his floor is still fairly high; even if he’s always a no-hit glove-first infielder, he can carve out a very nice, long career as a utility man doing that, but he—and the Los Angeles Angels—would certainly love to see some room for error there with an improved bat and a higher ceiling.
Regardless, it’s no secret the Angels’ farm system is barren right now, and Justus remains one of the few bright spots. Coincidentally, Justus and I spoke about that a couple weeks ago for a bigger piece I’m working on that’ll be out soon. About the Los Angeles Angels’ weak farm system reputation of late, Connor Justus said in part:
“You try not to look at it too much. We know coming into spring training where we stand in that aspect, and obviously you just want to get better every year. We do take it personally a little bit, like, why are we there? Why are we thirtieth out of thirty? Why can’t we be striving to get better every day? I think we really make it about our attitude to get better every single day. And then moving up the rankings, maybe that’s a by product. So, yeah, we use it a little bit.”
Connor Justus’ team-first attitude and natural on-field leadership should help him very much across his career. While his bat is limited right now, his glove is good enough to play in the high minors already, and the projection there—plus his intensity, maturity, and leadership intangibles—will serve him very well in the coming years. Expect him to impact the big leagues by 2019 as a utility infielder who’s got the chops to take on an everyday shortstop role if the offense can come around.
For our feature interview with Los Angeles Angels shortstop Connor Justus, please click here.
To visit Connor Justus’ player page, please click here.
Connor Justus scouting report: 140 characters or less
A light-hit defensive whiz, Connor Justus’ utility infield floor is in sight. Any improvement with the bat will push him to an everyday job.
Connor Justus scouting report video
Here’s a look at our most recent Connor Justus baseball video, taken from a couple different angles during a late April series against the Lake Elsinore Storm:
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Connor Justus scouting report GIFs
In addition to our video clips, we broke out some Connor Justus baseball GIFs for a deeper look at his swing mechanics:
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