With the 2013 regular season now behind us, it’s time to shift our attention to 2014 and beyond. One of the more exciting places to look, as well as a favorite of mine, is the amateur draft which is held every June. The Mets landed the 10th overall pick in the upcoming draft, which figures to be deeper and more talent-laden than 2013’s class. In this article and those to follow, we’ll profile players who may be available for the Mets when their turn comes to select a player next summer. I’ve chosen to start with a player who is a personal favorite of mine.
Jacob Gatewood, Clovis H.S (CA)
Gatewood, who is a well known name among scouting circles, burst onto the scene for most fans by putting on an impressive display at the Junior Home Run Derby at Citi Field during the 2013 MLB All-Star break. He’s an outstanding talent who draws Troy Tulowitzki comps and could catapult himself into the top 5 with a great senior season. He is currently committed to USC but it’s expected he’ll never reach campus.
Lets take a closer look at this potential star.
Jacob’s hit tool may currently be his weakest, which says a lot about him because with a few adjustments he could be a solid contact hitter. He’s got a compact swing with electric bat speed that should make his development easier. Right now he struggles to recognize and make solid contact with off speed stuff. Scouts worry his size could impede his ability to hit for high averages, but if he can learn to stay back on the ball and trust that bat speed it could make all the difference.
Where Gatewood really shines is in the power department. He exhibits immense raw power generated by strong wrists and previously mentioned plus bat speed. Scouts think he’ll eventually add even more power as he fills out his 6’4 frame. A scary thought considering he’ll be just 18 and the power already scales out at plus. One problem scouts have noticed is that Gatewood tends to be power-happy, sometimes sacrificing his swing mechanics in an effort to hit the ball out of the ballpark. As always, Gatewood will have to become a good enough hitter to allow the power to carry from batting practice to the game.
As previously mentioned, Gatewood currently plays shortstop– and there’s some question as to whether or not he can stay there. Most of that concern stems from his size, as he may outgrow the position. He currently fields his position using good footwork and soft hands, which make him more than capable to stick at short. However he doesn’t figure to be more than just an average shortstop at best, overlooking the chance of him getting bigger. Chances are he ends up at third and at worst he’s a good rightfielder.
Current: 40 at SS
Future: 50 at SS, 55 at 3B
Scouts have clocked Jacob at as high as 92 mph off the mound as a pitcher. Needless to say he’s got plenty of arm for whatever position he plays.
Gatewood will never be confused for a burner, but for someone his size he’s certainly not slow. When he’s finished growing he’ll grade out at about average both on the basepaths and in the field.
When reading this it’s hard to imagine why this kid isn’t a surefire top five pick– and he still may be. Most of the rankings I’ve seen have him in the 7-10 range, with some more optimistic rankings placing him amongst the top three. His upcoming senior season will ultimately decide his fate. Right now he’s a talent to dream on, but not without his flaws. Many scouts who saw him in the Area Code Games this summer and other showcase events we’re less than blown away. However it could be a product of a long season, resulting in fatigue, or possibly it speaks to the depth of talent in this years class. Time will tell, but I’ll be keeping an eye on this kid.
Hat tip to Scout.com for some great info on Gatewood.