Name: Gene Cone
Born: Columbia, South Carolina
Age: 21 (9/21/94)
Height/Weight: 6'0"/175 lbs
School: University of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina)
Gene Cone was born in Columbia, South Carolina and attended Spring Valley High School. There, he was a perennial stand-out player. Despite being rated as one of the top high school players in South Carolina, and within the top 500 high school players in the nation by various baseball publications, Cone went undrafted out of high school. He went on to college, attending his local University of South Carolina. Cone had a lackluster Gamecocks debut, hitting .221/.371/.288 in his first year, but showed a bit of promise that summer when he played in the Coastal Plane League and hit .385/.468/.522 for the Florence RedWolves.
Still, when he returned to South Carolina, he once again had a disappointing season, hitting .257/.377/.322. Cone finally realized his potential in 2016, breaking out and hitting an impressive .356/.468/.489 in 52 games. He set a school record with a 31-game hitting streak, and established himself as one of the most consistent hitters in the entire SEC this season. While Cone's numbers in and of themselves are impressive, the outfielder's scouting profile is a lot less exciting due to the lack of a single stand-out tool.
The outfielder has a professional approach at the plate. He understands the psychology of baseball and is more aggressive against pitchers looking to establish their dominance and more passive against pitchers who are showing problems with their control. He rarely chases pitches out of the strike zone and is more than willing to take a walk if given the opportunity.
Cone stands compact and erect at the plate. He does not take much of a stride, instead utilizing a toe tap and lunging forward with his swing. His swing is short, and the left-hander has enough bat speed to consistently barrel the ball and put it in play. His swing is generally is level and designed to spray ground balls and line drives all across the field, but Cone has no trouble sending mistakes over the outfield fence when he runs into them.
Defensively, Cone is adequate in center field, but is unlikely to be able to play the position in the years to come. He has average speed and reads ball routes well enough, but was displaced by a teammate as the season went on, a testament to his declining defense due to fatigue as the year wore on. Over the course of a full season, Cone is better suited in left field, but should be able to make spot starts in center field for as long as he remains fast enough.