Montgomery, Alabama —— Entering play on Tuesday night, Tampa Bay Rays outfield prospect Cade Gotta is slashing .286/.347/.409/.756 in 88 games split between the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and the Triple-A Durham Bulls, with 18 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 31 walks and 29 stolen bases over 318 at-bats. I observed the San Diego Christian product in July 19 and July 20 games at home against Pensacola; below is Baseball Census‘ full Cade Gotta scouting report, including video. In addition to this scouting report, we also just published a feature interview with Cade Gotta; please click here to read that interview about his unconventional swing.
Cade Gotta Scouting Report — Video
Our video of Tampa Bay Rays outfield prospect Cade Gotta shows him batting against the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos over the course of two games for Montgomery late last week:
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Cade Gotta Scouting Report — Notes
Cade Gotta is about the most non-traditional hitter I think I’ve ever seen play professaional baseball, and it’d be right to compare him—on several different levels—to the ever-quirky Hunter Pence. Gotta’s swing mechanics are a jumble of movements you wouldn’t typically associate with a ‘good’ swing, and yet he gets his bat into the hitting position and uses his above-average contact skills to find the barrel more often than not. That alone should help his unconventional mechanics at Triple-A and even higher, because when it comes down to it he gets the bat on the ball, covers the plate very well, and looks to do damage with gap-to-gap line drives. No matter how goofy the swing may look, and how off-balance he may be at times, it just gets the job done—with above-average bat speed.
It’s gotten him this far in his pro career, and as we’ve learned in our recently published interview with the Tampa Bay Rays outfielder, he’s unlikely to change what’s been working. That means the big leg kick, early hand movement, wide stride, near lunge to the ball—all that stuff are going to stay in his swing, as it helps him create leverage to hit the ball very hard, and sometimes very far.
A corner outfielder right now in Montgomery, Cade Gotta figures to be playing the corners should he reach the big leagues, too. His speed his above-average in the outfield, and he could likely cover center field in short spurts if need be, but his best defensive tool is above-average arm strength and he’d be an ideal fit for right field if he can hit well enough to land a role there. It’s his bat that will forever be the question for the Tampa Bay Rays prospect, especially considering his unique, unconventional approach. Can he and the organization continue to find a balance between training to a conventional swing to face better pitching, and keeping Gotta’s identity and quirky habits in place since they’ve clearly worked to get him here already?
Cade Gotta Scouting Report — Projection
Ultimately, Cade Gotta will likely have to overcome skepticism about his approach at the plate, especially in regards to whether it can really hit big league pitching, before he’s to be taken seriously as a fringe prospect by the greater public. That’s a shame, because he plays the game incredibly hard and squeezes every single ounce of potential and production out of his small-college roots. He’s a max effort kind of player—goes 100% every single day—and those kind of guys will sneak up on you through sheer relentlessness. Add to the fact that below the surface, he has a great bat plane and can hit the ball in the air with authority, and you have a guy who should find himself with some kind of eventual big league role.
The Tampa Bay Rays outfielder’s best fit should likely come as a fourth outfielder who can play the corners and match up against left-handed pitching as needed. He probably won’t ever hit for enough over-the-fence power to warrant an everyday corner outfield role (especially in right field), but he has that spark plug mentality that’s ideal for coming off the bench late in games or bringing up the energy in the lineup on a day game coming off a night game the previous evening. That’s not a glamorous role, and it takes a special, driven person to do that. Forever the underdog with small college roots and the desire to prove his unique hitting approach can work in The Show, Cade Gotta may just be that person for the Tampa Bay Rays. Expect a shot at the big leagues by the end of next summer.