Teams constantly try to develop up-the-middle players. That means center fielders, catchers and, of course, middle infielders.Legitimate impact talent at shortstop and second base isn't always so easy to find, though there are 22 middle infielders on MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 200. While 17 of those 22 are shortstops, the
Teams constantly try to develop up-the-middle players. That means center fielders, catchers and, of course, middle infielders.
Legitimate impact talent at shortstop and second base isn't always so easy to find, though there are 22 middle infielders on MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 200. While 17 of those 22 are shortstops, the top name on the list is actually a second baseman -- Nick Madrigal. The Oregon State star seems likely to be a top-five pick, despite missing a considerable amount of time with a broken wrist.
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The first shortstop on the list comes in at No. 26, with high schooler Brice Turang. He was once thought to be a top-of-the-Draft talent, but he hasn't performed quite as hoped this spring. The top 10, listed below, has nine shortstops after Madrigal, and it is split down the middle in terms of high schoolers vs. college players.
3. Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
- Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (Calif.)
- Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward Prep (Fla.)
- Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State
- Nico Hoerner, SS, Stanford
- Matt McLain, SS, Beckman HS (Calif.)
- Nander De Sedas, SS, Montverde HS (Fla.)
- Jeremiah Jackson, SS, St. Luke's Episcopal HS (Ala.)
- Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon State
- Tyler Frank, SS, Florida Atlantic
Top tools (Grade on 20-to-80 scouting scale in parentheses)
Hit: Madrigal (65)
There's little question Madrigal has the best pure bat in the class, with his uncanny ability to make contact. He's struck out just 35 times in 551 career at-bats at Oregon State, and despite missing a bunch of this season with a broken wrist, he returned and started raking immediately, with a .395/.459/.563 line in 29 games.
Power: Eierman (55)
As a sophomore, Eierman hit 23 homers and slugged .675. That power hasn't shown up this year, as he's changed his setup and approach as a junior. But he still has more bat speed and strength than any other middle infielder, so there's confidence he can rediscover his power at the next level.
Run: Edwards (70)
On the summer showcase circuit, Edwards routinely recorded among the best times in the 60-yard dash. That speed translates to the field well, as he gets down the line well, is a legitimate basestealing threat, and uses his quickness to cover a lot of ground at shortstop.
Arm: Blaze Alexander (70)
Alexander has been clocked in the upper-90s in throws from shortstop to first at showcase events. He's also 93-95 mph from the mound, though he has the tools to stay at shortstop over the long term. He's had some issues with accuracy, but nothing scouts are concerned about for the future.
Defense: Grenier (60)
So often, college shortstops need to move off the position. Grenier certainly isn't one of those, as he has plus defensive skills across the board. He's the reason Madrigal plays second base at Oregon State. How much Grenier's bat develops will determine his ultimate role, but his glove is more than good enough to get him to the big leagues.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.