This draft does feature some intriguing prep talent. At the top is Hunter Greene, followed by Royce Lewis and Mackenzie Gore. All those guys are likely taken within the top 5 and should one of them slip to the 6th pick, I think Oakland pounces on who’s left. So realistically speaking, the best prep talent that’s likely to be available is Austin Beck, who I have as a 50-50 coin flip to make it to 7. Beck is another late-riser mostly because he missed a lot of showcase games due to a torn ACL last year. Since it takes about 2 years to be 100% back from that injury, he should start taking off a bit next year in terms of speed and power.
Hit: Beck’s load has a little bit of a hitch in his load, but gets himself into a very good hitting position as the ball is being pitched. One potential issue that could be corrected is hand placement. When Beck is in his load position, the hands are head high instead of shoulder high like you see with a lot of major league hitters like Paul Goldschmidt. That’s a very easily correctable issue when he hits pro ball. The bat speed is excellent and does a good job of clearing out his hips on his swing. Low pitches are going to give him trouble due to the bad hand placement when he strides into the pitch. Fix that and he should take off. Hit: 50/60
Power: Beck has a lot of bat speed and that translates into extra base hits. He has solid raw power for an outfielder as well. At the MLB level could be a 20+ home run threat and hit 60+ XBH, especially in Chase Field, which is the perfect ballpark for his offensive profile. His bat profiles more for the middle of the order although 2nd in the order could also work. Grade: 55/65
Speed: Perfect Game has Beck listed with a 6.64 40-yard dash. I clocked him from home to first of 4.15-4.2, which is excellent from the right side of the plate. He has enough speed to handle CF and could develop into a 20 HR, 20 SB threat in the future if he can provide enough OBP ability. Grade: 60/60
Defense: Beck has enough ability to stick to CF. In the minors he should be able to get more comfortable with the position and get better reads in order to run the ball. The arm profiles as a plus for even RF, so even if he doesn’t stick in CF there are options on the diamond to use him at. I think he’ll end up sticking in CF. Grade: 50/60
Beck is very interesting, but also very raw. While not as raw as Diamondbacks 2014 Competitive Balance Lottery Pick Marcus Wilson, I see similarities. Beck is able to tap into his raw power more and was more polished as a hitter going into the draft. Beck will take 3-4 years at the minimum to reach the majors, but the upside is worth the wait. He needs to fix the one flaw in his swing that makes him susceptible to low pitches. Overall, he just needs time to hone his skills and develop the bat. His upside is a perennial All-Star in CF.