Philadelphia Phillies fans should be excited about Keith Law of ESPN's latest mock draft for the 2017 MLB Draft.
Austin Beck is #MyGuy in the 2017 draft for the Phillies and here's what Law said about the selection:
They’re in on more players than can possibly still be there at their pick; I’ve heard Haseley, Smith, Shane Baz, Beck, Griffin Canning and even David Peterson. I do think early rumors that they were focused on high school arms were false.
Well, wasn't that enlightening?
Anyway, I've seen multiple mock drafts have Beck being there for the Phillies at No. 8, but the general consensus from everything I've read is that he is a legit top five talent in this draft. So why is he falling?
Beck tore his ACL last spring and missed the summer circuit. Scouts missed on their chance to see him hit with a wooden bat and against a higher level of competition. Because of this, Baseball America left him off of their top 100 list to begin the season and had him labeled as a fourth or fifth round pick. That has all changed now, as Beck is a pretty consensus top 10 pick. Had he raked on the Summer Circuit he would be even higher, so the Phillies may be getting a steal in Beck if he does indeed fall to them.
So, who is Austin Beck?
Well, he's a 6'1 center fielder from North Carolina that is one of the best prep bats to come out in years.
This is David Rawnsley of Perfect Game's assesment of Beck:
“. . .the most impressive thing about Beck when I saw him was his bat and offensive profile. His hitting approach is outstanding, with a balanced set up and directional stride at the plate, ideal hand position with a calm and relaxed load and as good of lower half torque and whip as this scout has seen in a long time. The raw bat speed is extreme, absolute highest level. . .Beck hits to all fields due to his balance and ability to wait on the ball and very consistently squares the ball up.”
Not that I'm a scout, but I saw the same thing on tape. I've become obsessed with finding guys that have lighting quick hands, because that generally leads to becoming a better hitter in the long run. Fast hands allow hitters to react to pitches later and make stronger contact. Guys like Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve don't have the most projectible size in the world, but they have fast hands and consistently make strong contact. In fact, my favorite comp for him is Mookie Betts given his combination of power and speed, clocked at a 4.1 down the line.
You know who else didn't play against great high school competition and dropped because of it? Mike Trout, who, probably unfairly, has been a comp for Beck. Here's how Rawnsley broke it down:
The popular comparison in the scouting community for North Carolina's fast-rising outfielder Austin Beck has been Mike Trout, which this scout has heard three different times in the last few weeks. It seemed a bit presumptuous to compare an 18-year old who has a short a resume as Beck to the game's best player, to be honest, but after seeing Beck play in person in late March this scout began to understand where those scouts were coming from.
So take that for what it's worth.
The problem with Beck at eight is that he is viewed as having a strong commitment to play at UNC, so signability could be an issue, much like it was with Jay Groome last year. There are also reports that the Braves will take him at five:
The Telegraph has learned the Atlanta Braves, who have the fifth overall pick in June’s amateur baseball draft, have serious interest in North Carolina high school outfielder Austin Beck.
Sources say Braves general manager John Coppolella and scouting director Brian Bridges have held several private workouts and discussions with Beck. They’ve also met with other high school talents including Hunter Greene, Shane Baz, Nick Pratto and Royce Lewis. But it seems Beck may be the favorite.
The 2017 MLB Draft begins on June 12.