While having the No. 1 overall pick in last June’s MLB draft was certainly better for the Tigers organization, we here at Bless You Boys are currently enjoying the added chaos that comes with picking a few spots lower. In particular, mock drafts are much more unpredictable than before, making for more interesting discussion as the draft draws closer.
In their latest mock, the experts at Baseball America project that the Tigers will select UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott, a junior that is quickly shooting up draft boards this spring. Through 23 games, Stott is batting an absurd .349/.513/.663 with five home runs and more walks (27) than strikeouts (18).
Stott’s ascent has materialized in multiple pre-draft rankings. Baseball America moved him up to sixth on their board this week, 21 spots higher than their previous update. He is fifth overall on FanGraphs’ rankings, and the No. 12 prospect in his draft class at MLB Pipeline.
Listed at 6’3 and 195 pounds, Stott is fairly big for a shortstop, but there are not many questions about his ability to stick there at the next level. He is an above-average runner who has the range to play there, and an above-average arm that has been clocked as high as 97 miles per hour.
Offensively, Stott appears to be tapping into more of his above-average raw power this season. This was the biggest knock on him heading into this year — his swing was previously described as “slap-heavy” — but those concerns are fading. The added power will serve him well, as Stott already has an excellent approach at the plate; FanGraphs thinks he could have a plus hit tool when all is said and done.
The intangibles are there for Stott too. He has a good track record in wooden bat leagues, including the Cape Cod League last summer, and coaches have raved about his makeup and work ethic. He also shows a good feel for the game, with instincts that help his tools play up on the diamond.
While draft pick projections are all over the map right now, the consensus seems to be that the Tigers (and others around them) will be taking a bat this spring. The top 11 picks on Baseball America’s mock are all position players, and the first pitcher on their top 300 prospects list doesn’t appear until No. 10. MLB Pipeline’s list is also hitter-heavy, with righthander Carter Stewart the only pitcher in the top eight.