Harrison Bader, Outfield
This is the first draft class without a player to reach the Majors. It is also a draft class filled with potential. There are five top-30 prospects from this draft class: Harrison Bader, Nick Plummer, Jake Woodford, Paul DeJong, and Bryce Denton. All of these players were taken in the top four rounds, but the third-round pick Bader takes the crown.
The main reason for this selection is the fact that Bader is the top hitting prospect in the organization, and the number eighty-two prospect in baseball. He also is the first full-time college-level hitter taken with a top three pick since Piscotty in 2012. Bader was taken after having a great career in left field at the University of Florida, though he projects as a center fielder in the pros.
In his first year as a professional hitter, Bader hit .311 with eleven home runs and seventeen stolen bases in single-A ball. During the 2016 season, he made it to triple-A, where he played forty-eight games. This resulted in a batting average of .231, and an on-base percentage of just .298. This slowed down the fast track to ‘The Show’ that many predicted for him.
It is important to remember that Bader is only 22. There is plenty of time for him to reach his potential and improve on his triple-A debut. If the 2017 season is kind to him, then he could become the fourth outfielder at some point this season. Between Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and Dexter Fowler, it looks as if Bader will spend time learning before becoming a full-time starter.
Bader looks to have a huge upside to this point in his young career. That is what sets him apart from the other players in his draft class. The next highest prospect after Bader is Nick Plummer at twelve. That shows how much the third-round pick has set himself apart since being drafted in 2015.