Shane Costa was in The K Zone in 2003, while playing for the Cal-State Fullerton Titans. I saw Costa play at the Metrodome in Minnesota in a three-game series against the University of Minnesota in March that year, then had the opportunity to see him play again for Fullerton during the team’s run to the semifinals of the College World Series in Omaha. In Omaha, I did not file another report, since by that time he had already been drafted, so most of what you will read below is from the appearances in March in Minneapolis.
Costa was drafted by the Kansas City Royals near the completion of his junior campaign for the Titans in 2003. The Royals’ second-round pick that year, Costa was coming off a year in which he was the Big West Conference Player of the Year.
Costa made his professional debut for the Royals in the summer of 2003, hitting .386 in 23 games for KC’s rookie-league club in Arizona. He followed up his first pro year by hitting .308 at Class A Carolina in 2004, finishing third in the league in average and hits and being named to the league’s postseason All-Star team.
Costa began the year playing for Double-A Wichita, and was batting .275 before getting called up to the big leagues in June. His big league debut came on June 2 against the Yankees as he earned his first Major League hit and RBI in the Royals’ 5-2 win.
Over 24 games before the All-Star break, Costa hit .264 with a pair of homers and a seven RBIs, showing good plate discipline and contact ability, with five walks and seven strikeouts in 72 ABs.
Below is the scouting report I filed on Costa when I saw him play in college in 2003. As a reminder, a detailed look at what you’ll be reading below can be found here. One other note: the last four categories are simply given one number, in the present at the time I saw the player.
OF Shane Costa
School: Cal-State Fullerton
Muscular. … Strong. … Stiff. … Top-heavy. … Rigid movements. … Athletic legs. … Nothing fluid. … Mature build.
Excellent bat speed and centers ball on the barrel of the bat on the middle-in pitch. … Quiet hands. .. Gets good jumps and takes good routes to the ball in outfield. … Ball explodes off barrel. … Good baserunner.
Bulk makes him stiff with a below-average arm in the outfield. … Cannot handle pitches on the outer half of plate. … Runs straight up and down. … Frustrated easily. … On his own agenda. … Looks like a poor teammate.
Imposing presence with the ability to really drive balls to center field and right field. … Below-average right fielder. … Professional pitchers will expose his lack of ability to handle and adjust to anything on the outer half of the plate. … Makeup is suspect after seeing him basically avoid and be avoided all weekend.
I gave Costa an OFP of 50, meaning that I thought he would be an average big leaguer with solid everyday value in a big league lineup, according to the OFP definitions. Costa was definitely my most perplexing prospect in terms of what you saw in his skills and what he made you feel about him personally. He clearly had the body and enough of the tools to make it easy to see him as a big leaguer, but it was the way he carried himself and the way his attitude came across to a third-party observer that made him difficult to like more than I did.
Clearly, he has the ability and I’ve read that certain Royals personnel like his makeup and believe he is a "tough kid." Perhaps I was reading him wrong at the time, but until I see him again, my impression remains.