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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Draft Prospect Watch: Two of the Top High School Outfielders in the 2019 Draft

Every Sunday, we are going to take a look at two top draft prospects in this upcoming June amateur draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates make their first selection with the 18th overall pick. They also have the 37th overall pick. Our players featured each week will be those who are ranked on prospect lists in the general area of the 18th pick, while also showing some players who could be available when the Pirates make their second pick. The first day of the draft is June 3rd. You can check out our draft preview here.

In our first Draft Prospect Watch, we took a look at pitchers Matthew Allan and Zack Thompson. That was followed by our first two position players, infielders Brett Baty and Will Holland. Three weeks ago, we look at pitchers again, going with prep right-handed pitchers Daniel Espino and Jack Leiter. In our fourth installment, we went with two college shortstops, Will Wilson and Brandon Shewmake. Last week was two college pitchers moving up the draft charts, Alek Manoah and George Kirby.

Today we go to the prep ranks and take our first look at outfielders in the draft. We start with Corbin Carroll, a 5’11”, 160 pound, lefty hitter/thrower, who goes to school in Seattle and has a commitment to UCLA. Most rankings have Carroll rated ahead of the first pick for the Pirates. He’s even in the top ten for some people.

Carroll isn’t a five-tool outfielder. His power is improving, but is still considered below average. He also doesn’t have a great arm. The rest of the tools make up for that, including his speed, which nears a plus-plus tool. Carroll gets a 70 grade speed, which makes him a threat on the bases and helps him in center field, where he is projected to stick. His hit tool is also above average, with the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the field. Once he fills out more as he gets older, you could see some more over the fence power.

The minimum here is an above average center fielder, who will steal bases, and use his speed to turn singles into doubles and some doubles into triples. That’s a great lead-off hitter if he reaches that current ceiling. If he can add a little power without sacrificing any other tools, then you’re talking about someone who would be a steal at 18th overall this year. He might be adding that fourth tools, as seen here in this impressive at-bat. One of two homers he hit on the day (that will be a theme today).

Here are some more videos, starting with this one from last summer from Prospect Pipeline. It’s some brief fielding, followed by work in the cage.

Baseball Factory has one with extended fielding clips, as well as some hitting.

Finally, 2080 Baseball has game clips from November.

The second player is Maurice Hampton, a 6’0″, 195 pound 17-year-old from Memphis, who has a commitment to LSU. He bats and throws right-handed. Hampton is rated between the 18th and 37th picks, so unless he has a big spring, people feel he’s a reach for their first pick, but the Pirates could get a nice pickup with their second selection. The problem is that they may need to pay up to get him, but there is also huge upside here.

Hampton is a two-sport star, who is considered one of the top high school cornerbacks in the country. If he ends up at LSU, he will be playing baseball and football. As a baseball player, that speed that makes him a great cornerback, will help him in the outfield and on the bases. MLB Pipeline gives him a 65 grade for running. He’s not all speed though. He grades at least average in all five tools, including an above average arm and a chance to be an above average outfielder. The power is considered raw now, but it also has a chance to be above average in the future.

For the Pirates to select him, they’re going to need to know that he’s committed to baseball full-time and he also has to turn some of those raw tools into performance on the field. If he does that, it will likely make him an over-slot signing, but you’re talking about a potential five-tool outfielder with plus speed and the chance to hit 20+ homers. That progress scouts want to see may have started on Friday night when he hit two homers and scored all four runs in his team’s 4-3 victory. He also homered to lead-off the season and it apparently was a no doubt shot…

Here are some more videos, starting with one from last July, which has cage work and extended fielding clips, courtesy of Baseball Factory

2080 Baseball has cage work from last June

Finally, one from Baseball America showing some batting practice

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.


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