Top 10 College Outfielders In 2018 Draft
Throughout the season, Baseball America will present position rankings of the best college players in the draft class. Here we focus on the outfielders, which is one of the strengths of the class.
1. Travis Swaggerty, South Alabama: Swaggerty’s mix of hitting ability, athleticism and speed make him one of the top college hitters in the class. Of the top tier of college outfielders, he also has the best chance to stay in center field in pro ball.
2. Griffin Conine, Duke: The son of former big leaguer Jeff Conine, Griffin is coming off a breakout summer in the Cape Cod League. The lefthanded hitter has impressive raw power and a solid approach at the plate.
3. Tristan Pompey, Kentucky: Pompey earned All-America honors last season after an impressive sophomore year. He is a switch-hitter like big brother Dalton, a Blue Jays center fielder, but he is bigger and projects to provide more offensive impact.
4. Greyson Jenista, Wichita State: Jenista was named MVP of the Cape Cod League showing off an intriguing combination of power and speed. He’s playing center field, but the jury is still out on his ability to stay there. His bat figures to profile even if he moves to a corner.
5. Steele Walker, Oklahoma: Walker’s feel for hitting and track record make him one of the top outfielders in the country. Some see him as a bit of a tweener—not enough speed for center field, not enough power for a corner.
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6. Jake McCarthy, Virginia: One of the fastest players in the draft class, McCarthy profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter. His older brother Joe plays in the Rays organization.
7. Zach Watson, Louisiana State: Watson made a splash last year as a freshman, stepping right into the lineup and helping LSU to a runner-up finish in the College World Series. His combination of power and speed makes him an exciting draft-eligible sophomore.
8. Trevor Larnach, Oregon State: Larnach has long possessed plus raw power, but he didn’t tap into it much during his first two years of college. He’s getting to it now, and he started the season with three home runs in three home games—matching his career total.
9. Carlos Cortes, South Carolina: Cortes earns praise for his power and feel for hitting and is capable of being a sparkplug in the lineup. He offers a tough profile because he doesn’t run well enough to play center and would be one of the smaller corner outfielders in the big leagues.
10. Tanner Dodson, California: Dodson is a gifted two-way player who garners a lot of interest as a righthanded pitcher. But he can also stand out as an outfielder and won the Cape Cod League batting title last summer.