Miles Head: Oakland-bound Prospect

With the trade of Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to Boston in exchange for Josh Reddick and a pair of minor leaguers, one of the questions A’s fans are asking is, “Who is Miles Head?” The short answer is that Head is a mid-level prospect who would have been ranked in the 15-20 range among Red Sox farmhands by most publications in the coming days. A more detailed description will tell you that…

…Miles Head can hit a baseball. The 20-year-old first baseman proved that last summer, bashing his way to one of the best seasons of anyone in the Red Sox system. Splitting the year between low-A Greenville and high-A Salem, he emerged as a legitimate prospect by hitting .299/.372/.515, with 37 doubles and 22 home runs.

Most people didn’t realize he was that good. The native of Brooks, Georgia had been drafted in 2009, in the 26th round, and prior to last year he was just another fresh-faced kid trying to figure out professional pitching. His 2010 season in short-season Lowell yielded just a .240 average and only one home run. Apparently, he was only getting his feet wet.

According to Ben Crockett, Boston’s director of player development, the breakthrough was less of a surprise than it was a matter of maturation.

“Miles is a lot like Brandon Jacobs,” said Crockett, comparing Head to one of the most-highly-regarded players in the Red Sox system. “They followed a very similar path from 2010 to 2011. He was kind of a raw high-school hitter who took the steps forward last year that were envisioned when he was drafted, much like Jacobs. He’s physically not going to be in the mold of your traditional body that scouts love — he’s not going to win any beauty contests — but the guy can hit. He can get the barrel to the baseball.”

Listed at 6-foot, 215 lbs., Head is a shorter and stockier version of Kevin Millar, profiling as an average-at-best defender with a dangerous bat. Opinions on his glove work are mixed, with some scouts saying he has a chance to become an adequate first baseman, while others feel he lacks the agility and will be limited to the DH position.

According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, that makes Head a challenging player to project.

“His year was so good,” said Callis. “I do think he can hit, but he’s limited to playing first base and you just don’t see that many 5-foot-10, 5-foor-11 first basemen in the big leagues. You look at tools, and you look at performance, and he’s a really tough profile because of that. He’s going to have to hit, but like I said, he can hit.”

Therein lays the challenge: Is Head’s bat good enough to carry him all the way to the big leagues? Based on what he showed last season, you might not want to bet against it. Miles Head can hit a baseball, and after today’s deal he will be doing so in the Oakland organization.

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David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from February 2006-March 2011 and is a regular contributor to several publications. His first book, Interviews from Red Sox Nation, was published by Maple Street Press in 2006. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA

10 Responses to “Miles Head: Oakland-bound Prospect”

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  1. Paul says:

    If I recall correctly, Head was drafted at 3B and not moved to 1B until last year. So the struggles with the bat could have been connected to being tried at a spot where he was not going to succeed. Also, he was an overslot signing in the draft, not for huge money, but he was not some obscure 26th rounder. I believe he was the player of the year in Georgia his senior year in HS.

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  2. Paul says:

    By the way, the incomparable FG contributor Mike Newman wrote him up at Scouting the Sally this year.

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  3. Mario Mendoza says:

    Oh Billy Beane, will you ever have enough of these?

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  4. Todd says:

    It’s a bit misleading to list Head’s draft position without referencing his signing bonus ($335,000), which is a much better indicator of his perceived value at the time of the draft.

    I don’t really like this trade for the A’s. Head’s profile means he needs to develop into a plus offensive player at the first base position, no easy feat. I do like Alcantara’s command, and he’s obviously projectible, but he’s several years away and carries the risk inherent in that profile.

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  5. Jim in NC says:

    Kevin Millar? Kevin Youkilis! “I’ve seen Youkilis in the shower, and I wouldn’t call him the Greek god of anything.” —Red Sox manager Terry Francona

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  6. Adam G says:

    Not that it means anything, but Prince Fielder is 5’11”. Billy Butler is listed at 6’1″. I won’t go any further than that, bot you don’t HAVE to be 6’4″ to be a successful hitter/1st baseman/DH in the MLB.

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  7. Qksilver says:

    Rumored that A’s intend to move him back to 3B. If he’s playable there could increase the value a bit.

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  8. George says:

    I watched this kid play against modest nuts’ a man among boys ‘ can’t wIt for him to reach oakland

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