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The Bard's Take: Potential #1 Pick, Brendan Rodgers

With the MLB draft now only eight days away, we come to the player who has, for the most part, been the consensus best player in the draft since the calendar turned over to 2015, high school short stop Brendan Rodgers.

Brendan Rodgers

DOB: 9 August 1996 (18)
6' 0" 195 lbs
Lake Mary H.S
Commitment: Florida State

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60

Profile: Brendan Rodgers has been a consensus best overall player in the draft for so long now, that there is very little left to be said about him that has not already been said a dozen times over. Often compared to Carlos Correa and sometimes to Addison Russell, Rodgers represents a prep prospect with the tools to be a great talent at a skill position. Like his college counterpart, Dansby Swanson, Russell's calling card is his bat. Unlike Swanson though, Rodgers projects as a middle of the lineup bat, as he is possessed with a smooth, compact, and very quick stroke which generates 60 grade power. He has a great arm that plays anywhere, and has above average defensive instincts to go along with soft hands that have improved during the last year.

Pros: There is very little not to like about Rodgers. Hitting for average? Check. Hitting for power? Check. Can play a premium defensive position with at least average if not above average ability? Check. Speed? Check. What may be Rodgers' biggest asset going into this draft is the fact that he has managed to remain healthy and to perform at least up to the expectations heaped upon him.

Cons: Let's get something out of the way right up front. While Rodgers has been regularly compared to Carlos Correa, this has far more to do with Correa being the last prep short stop to have been selected 1-1 (2012). While Rodgers also has a similar distribution of talent scores in terms of strengths and "weaknesses". That's where the comparisons stop though. Carlos Correa went 1-1 in a draft that also featured Byron Buxton, Kevin Gausman, Mark Appel, Mike Zunino, Kyle Zimmer, Max Fried, Andrew Heany, Michael Wacha, and Addison Russell. The vast majority of the top-10 talents taken in the 2012 draft would all slate in as strong 1-1 candidates in this draft, and Correa stood as one of three talents considered to be head-and-shoulders above that class of players. Correa's pre-draft scouting grades were as follows:

Hit: 60 | Power: 65 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 70

Brendan Rodgers is not the second coming of Carlos Correa. In fact, he is much closer to Addison Russell, who went 11th overall in that very same draft. Russell has been a fine prospect, and is now starting to make a name for himself as the Chicago Cubs' starting second baseman.

That same shift could be in the cards for Rodgers. There is little doubt Rodgers possesses the ability to stick at short stop. There are, however; a number of scouts who feel  that as he continues to fill out, he will be better-served moving to either second base, or possibly even third, given his powerful throwing arm. While this is not a knock on Rodgers' overall talent and ability, it does highlight one of the major differences between Rodgers and those he has been compared to, and is competing with for the 1-1 selection in this draft.

Rodgers is also old for a high school prep star, as he will be 19 this august. That shows in his more mature physical composition. Once again, this is not a knock on Rodgers talent, but it does mean he has played at something of an advantage of late. In his defense though, he has absolutely creamed the competition at every showcase he has attended, so there is that.

These are all pretty much nitpick cons at this point though.

The Take:
One thing to pay close attention to, is the projected ceiling for Rodgers. It is actually the same overall grade as that of Swanson. What is different is the way in which Rodgers gets there. Power/middle of the order bats are always going to be favoured over contact bats that lead-off. All things being equal, Rodgers' profile is the most preferable one in the draft. Not everything is equal though. Rodgers is 2-3 years further removed from making it to the big leagues than Dansby Swanson is. This is because Dansby Swanson has become a more finished product during his time at Vanderbilt. Swanson is already much closer to his ceiling, which is also much easier to predict than Rodgers is to his. Picking Rodgers does present the possibility for more upside, but not a significant amount, while at the same time, it also produces a much larger window for things to go wrong. With both Swanson and Rodgers being of relatively equal promise, selecting the college player and getting him to through the system quickly, rather than waiting on four to five years of prep development is, for me, the smart move.