Scouting Trail: Breaking Down Premier College ProspectsProspects
ATHENS, Ga.— After my first taste of SEC baseball this spring on my trip to Fayetteville last weekend for the SEC opening series between Arkansas and Missouri, I thirsted for more power arms and top round bats. LSU at Georgia looked liked a prime opportunity with ten of our top 2019 prospects and seven of our top 2020 prospects scheduled to take the field. As a bonus, my travels to Athens took me directly through Nashville where I could catch a Thursday SEC battle between Vanderbilt and Florida which featured a dozen more of the top prospects eligible for the 2019 and 2020 drafts. As for tools and talent, here’s what I saw…
This week’s Scouting Trail showcases prospects from Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia, LSU, Arizona State, FIU, West Virginia and Marshall.
No. 11 JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt– Impressive one game look at one of the top college bats in the country. Bleday takes his barrel to ball with good bat speed and strength. He is long through the zone and the ball jumps off his bat. Makes very loud contact. Slows the game down in the box. Recognizes pitches and hits them where pitched. Saw the ball really well against right-hander Tommy Mace who is a likely a 1st round pick in 2020 and Jordan Butler, a lower slot lefty reliever for the Gators. Bleday is also an average runner underway who cuts the bases well. Defensively, he is sure-handed and tracked the ball well. Showed an above average arm after catching a fly ball deep in right field and throwing on a line with a long hop to 3B. Projects as a future average to better defender with average range. Coming into this spring, Bleday ranked eighth overall in our Hitter Analytics, but the scouting industry wanted to see the 6-foot-3, 205 pound Bleday hit with more power to boost his draft value. He’s done just that with seven home runs already this season. As a result, Bleday has now positioned himself as a top half of the first round pick this June.
What the analytics say Hitting (based on final 2018 spring statistics)
Plate Discipline: 87.7 Hit Ability: 94.3 Game Power: 81.7 Overall: 88.7 (B+)
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