Draft Prospect Watch: Checking Out One of the Top College Hitters

Except for the last mock draft, which had the Pittsburgh Pirates going for a high school bat, they have been connected to a college bat over and over in mock drafts this spring. Our last Draft Prospect Watch article looked at Kevin Parada, a college catcher (that link has links to our first nine articles of this series). For this article subject, I decided to just pick the highest ranked player by MLB Pipeline who hasn’t been here before and feature him. Using that method, we landed on LSU 3B/OF/DH Jacob Berry, who they rank seventh overall. There’s a possibility he could be an option for the Pirates with the fourth overall pick, especially if they really are focusing on a college bat when the draft begins a month from now.

Berry definitely fits the bat mold. In 53 games this year, he hit .370/.464/.630, with nine doubles, 15 homers, 27 walks (11 HBP as well) and 22 strikeouts in 248 plate appearances. As a freshman last year at Arizona, he hit .352/.439/.676 with 17 homers. His carrying tool is his bat and his future position right now is undecided. With the DH now being an option in the National League, his position isn’t as big as a concern as before. Pipeline grades him as being a below average runner and fielder, with an average arm. His real value is all in the bat, which should play up wherever he is used.

Pipeline grades him as a 60 hitter, with 65 power, and he has lived up to those numbers both last year and this year in college. He is a switch-hitter, who has a strong approach from both sides of the plate. He makes plenty of hard contact from both sides, with the ability to punish both fastballs and off-speed pitches. Berry, who stands 6’0″, 212 pounds, is a draft-eligible sophomore, who turned 21 years old last month.

Baseball America rates Berry five points (1/2 grade) lower on the scouting scale in three categories, including 60 power, 45 arm and 35 fielding. However, they talk him up well by saying scouts don’t think it will take him long to work his way to the majors. Berry gets nice marks for his plate patience. The lower power grade probably comes from him not putting the ball over the fence as often from the right side, but BA is still giving him 60/60 grades for hitting/power, so that shouldn’t be a concern.

Here are some videos. This one from Prospects Worldwide has plenty of game action from this year and different angles

This video is fun if you like homers, replay of homers and catch phrases for a homer

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jtkuch

Give me Berry over any of the other college bats, since they seemingly all have defensive questions and Berry’s bat seems like the best bet. That said, still hoping for the upside of a HS player before any of them.

mpg43952

He’ll do, if we can’t get John’s cousin.

kja1970

I’d be fine with Berry

There are some similarities to Mark Teixeira who was primarily a 1B in the MLB

https://www.thebaseballcube.com/content/player/7200/

Todd

Without a defined position I think I’d pass. Drafting a DH doesn’t make sense to me. I’d rather have Lee or Johnson or even the catcher>

Colin

I’m starting to lean a little towards Johnson, though I’ll probably flip flop a hundred times till the actual draft. But I love how he unloads on the baseball. Thought I read a quote that mentioned he could be a fast riser through the minors, even though being a prep kid, because of the advanced bat

joesolo6181

Pass. With the fourth pick you must strive for a complete player, one that hits and fields his position well. they need superstar potential players, not a bat only prospect.

skliesen

They need a potential MVP/Cy Young type. That’s why I want Lesko, Jones, or Green.

roberto

Berry apparently has lots of power but is not really an outfielder. If he’s a good 3 and doesn’t demand slot, OK. The fielding concerns me.

roberto

Could be a repeat of last year’s draft.

PirateRican21

Not saying I want this guy to be our draft pick, but if they are considering Parada who is not considered to remain behind the plate, then this guy makes as much sense if they sign an under slot pick.

TNBucs

It makes sense to compare these two for their bats and pick the one our scouts like better or who will sign for less. Parada, though, does offer some hope of being a backup catcher in addition to 1B and DH, and that’s tempting after we’ve had to watch so many no-bat catchers the last few years.

PirateRican21

dont think that Prada would sign under slot, but if they both agree to a money saving signing then Prada by a mile!

RAS TN

How about NO more left-handed hitters…

ArkyWags

Yeah that’s a brilliant plan.

docdon385

The Pirates have very few left-handed hitters just a lot of guys who stand in the lefty batter’s box. Just find a guy who can actually hit regardless of side of the plate he swings from. Several the top hitters in the draft this year, including Berry, switch anyway.

agent00

sure. but berry is a switch hitter

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