Name: Anthony Churlin
Height/Weight: 6’1’’, 190
How Acquired: Selected in the 16th round of the 2016 MLB draft.
After opening some eyes during the 2016 fall Instructional League camp, Anthony Churlin put together a solid 2017 campaign with short-season Vermont and continued that progress this fall during Instructs. Can the powerfully built right-hander leverage his raw power into a job in the big leagues?
Coming to the A’s out of Island Coast High School in Florida, Churlin wasn’t a high-profile draft pick in 2016. By the end of his first professional season, however, Churlin had landed on the prospect radar, impressing the A’s player development staff with his physicality and his power potential.
In 2017, Churlin began the year in Extended Spring Training and broke camp with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters at the start of the New York-Penn League season in June. Playing sporadically at the start of the season, Churlin got off to a slow start, collecting two hits over his first 20 at-bats.
As July progressed, Churlin got more regular playing time and he responded with a big month. He hit .319/.351/.552 in July. Churlin followed that with a .286/.351/.443 mark in August. For the season, he hit .265/.320/.422 – well above the New York-Penn League average line of .240/.316/.340.
Churlin finished the year at the A’s Instructs camp and, for a second straight season, impressed the A’s coaching staff with the progress he made during the camp.
“He was working on better pitch selection and trying to keep the ball more on the line. He did a good job for me,” A’s minor league hitting coordinator Jim Eppard said of Churlin’s time at Instructs. “Last year, he was more on the pull-side and he’s now willing to take away the outside part of the plate more and take what the pitchers are giving him. I think that was what was key for him in Vermont in terms of why he hit as well as he did. He was in the heart of that order for many games over the course of the summer. That isn’t something that I necessarily saw coming, but it was great to see and he did a great job. He’s continued that here.”
A’s Triple-A hitting coach Eric Martins worked with Churlin during Instructs, as well. He believes Churlin has a chance to turn into a middle-of-the-order threat in the upper-levels.
“He’s got a great body and he is starting to put together an idea of how to be a hitter instead of just swinging,” Martins said. “He’ll run into a few balls. There’s some power there. There’s aptitude there. There’s bat speed there.”
Martins said that Churlin is still working to find a consistent set-up at the plate.
“He’s just trying to find himself right now. There is some tinkering that goes on. One at-bat, he’ll have one stance. In another at-bat, he’ll have another stance. It’s one of those things where, as a young hitter, he’s trying to find himself and find what works,” Martins said. “We’ve gave him some tips and things that we wanted him to work on and whatever he decides to do, he’s got to work within the confines of everything that he has been working on. We kind of let him be as far as the stances and finding what felt comfortable for him, as long as he was working on things that we wanted him to work on.”
Churlin has the profile of a prototypical corner outfielder. Power is his calling card and he showed some pop to all fields during his stint with Vermont. He has quick wrists and he generates significant bat speed through the hitting zone.
Churlin is still working on his approach at the plate. His K% rose slightly in 2017 and while his BB% dipped slightly. If he can tighten up his pitch selection, Churlin has the tools to hit for average, as well as power. He has average running speed. Churlin is limited defensively to the corners, but he has some arm strength and the athleticism to cover a good amount of ground in left and right.
Although Churlin was a high school draft pick, he was already 19 when he turned pro. He will turn 21 next May, but he should be in Low-A at that point, putting him right on track, from an age-to-level perspective.
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