The Diamondbacks started off draft day by taking Virginia 1B Pavin Smith. The next guy they took was University of Louisville’s Drew Ellis. The Diamondbacks definitely got a good look at him when they heavily scouted the ACC tournament with Smith and Adam Haseley there as well. Ellis didn’t start seeing an everyday role until his red-shirt sophomore season, where he hit .367/.457/.729 with 20 homers, 61 RBI, and 38 walks vs. 38 strikeouts batting behind Brendan McKay, who went 40 picks ahead of him.
Hit: Ellis’ swing doesn’t have a lot of moving parts and a very quiet set up. It’s quick, compact and generally gets the bat on the ball. He doesn’t sell out for power because he knows he just has to barrel up the ball and it will leave the yard. There is still a lot of swing and miss to his game due to having fringe-average bat speed. He has solid plate discipline overall, although he’s going to have to improve against breaking balls at the pro level. Grade: 50/60
Power: Ellis has plenty of raw power to spare, almost at the same level as Paul Goldschmidt in the 2009 draft. His short and compact stroke at the plate is easily able to tap into the one plus tool he has, hitting 18 doubles and 20 homers in about the equivalent of a third of a MLB season. He has 30 home run, 30 doubles power at the major league level assuming he doesn’t develop a bad strikeout habit in the minors. Grade: 65
Speed: Ellis is a below average runner, but can steal a few bases. In his red-shirt sophomore season, he stole 6 bases in 6 tries, so he’s a willing baserunner. Defensively, the lack of foot speed and agility has him limited to 3B or 1B, most likely the latter. Grade: 40
Defense: This is the biggest question mark for Ellis. The Dbacks are hoping he can stick to 3B in order to maximize his value. I’m skeptical he will be able to stick there due to a lack of range. His bat will get him more than enough opportunities to prove he can play the hot corner. If he ends up getting stuck at 1B, there’s a problem if there is no DH or Smith can’t handle LF. Grade: 40/50 3B, 40/50 1B
ETA: July 2020
With Ellis, the offensive profiles screams clean-up hitter. His offensive upside is just a tick below Goldschmidt’s as a draft prospect unless Ellis can learn to steal bases like Goldy does. 30 home run power with solid plate discipline is not easily to find and develop, which is why the Diamondbacks opted to take Ellis with the 44th pick. Ellis should only take 3 years to develop at worst, mostly because he didn’t play regularly until 2017.