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Cape Cod: Coming off a spring season in which he batted .325/.423/.576 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs, a season slowed only by an injury that cost him 19 games early in the season, Culpepper was one of the breakout stars of the summer with the way he performed both with the Collegiate National Team and with Harwich on the Cape. In the club’s 10-game schedule, he led the CNT in batting at .471 and tied for the team lead in home runs with three. With Harwich, he batted .270 in 17 games and 63 at-bats, showing good plate discipline along the way with eight walks and 10 strikeouts. Culpepper’s standout tool is his arm, which grades out as a 70 or perhaps even a 75 on the scouting scale. That serves him well at the hot corner, but on the Cape, he played quite a bit of shortstop and showed the mobility to handle himself well there, which should be taken as good news for a Kansas State program looking to replace longtime shortstop Nick Goodwin. One point of emphasis for Culpepper this summer was a quicker release on his throws to first base so that he isn’t relying quite so much on raw arm strength. Offensively, he shows an above-average hit tool and above-average in-game power, but plus bat speed and plus raw power suggest there’s more in-game power to come as he continues to develop. Currently, he looks to drive the ball into the opposite-field gap for doubles and typically finds his home run power on his pull side.
USA CNT: The K-State product improved his draft stock as much as anyone during the trials and 10-game summer season for the CNT, and he ended the summer leading the club in batting with a .471 average. For Culpepper, it all starts with his plus bat speed and high level defense as the hot corner. He has a near 70-grade arm with range in all directions and an especially advanced backhand. He is playing shortstop this summer with Harwich in the Cape Cod League, and while he has the athleticism and defensive skill to handle that position in college, he likely projects better at the hot corner at the next level. He’s also a potential fit at second base, with some around the CNT coming away very impressed with the way he turned double plays at second base in a limited look at him there. He worked this summer on a quicker release from third base to allow his plus arm to play up even more and to better prepare him to have to be quicker to first base in pro baseball. He shows an above-average hit tool and above-average in-game power, and his plus raw power suggests that there is more impact in the tank if he continues to develop. He excels at driving the ball to the opposite-field gap for doubles power and taking it up top to his pull side. Coming into the trials Culpepper was thought of as an early Day Two talent, but leaving Cary he certainly played his way into Day One, and possibly into the top 30 overall picks.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound switch hitting middle infielder has a wiry, long frame and can swing it from both sides of the dish. Advanced defensive movements and some electric bat speed, stronger from the right side. Feel for the barrel and stays in the zone. Soft quick hands and can play all three infield positions.
5-10, 150-pound middle infielder w/ special defensive actions, bat speed. Short, lean, athletic frame w/ likely growth spurt coming. Offensively, learning to switch hit, but only saw from his natural right side on this day. Hits from a slightly open, slightly crouched stance w/ back shoulder hand location. Slight shift of weight, stride to slightly open and proper load. Short to the ball w/ more power than frame suggests. Drove a triple to right center field in game. Barrel stays in zone long time w/ barrel feel. Advanced hitter for his age. Defensively, spent time at both middle infield positions, showing advanced actions w/ soft, quick hands. Arm strength was not tested. Makes difficult plays look easy. Elite 2021 MIF prospect.
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