The Diamondbacks scouting department, which in the offseason overhaul of management was left mostly intact, prefers college players over high school players. In the situation where none of the teams picking ahead of the Diamondbacks go under slot and take the best player available, which could down to a choice between North Davidson High School’s Austin Beck or the University of Virginia’s Adam Haseley. With two years of drafts to look back upon, my guess is the Diamondbacks will go with Haseley over Beck, even though the Snake Pit voted overwhelmingly for Beck 61% to 22%.
Haseley is a 2-way player in college, although he will be playing the outfield when he goes pro. He’s played in big games, including helping the University of Virginia win a National Championship as a freshman. Each year, he got better at the plate, with plate discipline and power increasing. Now he projects to put up a high OBP with 30 doubles, 7-10 triples, and 10-15 homers and steal 20 bases as a top of the order hitter with enough defense to stick in center field. For the Diamondbacks, that’s certainly enticing to pick even over a player with better physical tools in Austin Beck.
Hit: Haseley has a very strong approach to the plate that has him use the entire field. While early in his college career he was more of a slap hitter, he’s been hitting the ball with authority to all fields. His last two seasons he has drawn more walks than he has struck out. Given that the jump in power did not negatively affect his strikeout and walk rates, I think these improvements have lasting power. Grade: 55/60
Power: The last tool in question for Haseley coming into his junior season was power. Haseley started out as a slap hitter with decent pull power, but has since filled out to 195 and has hit the ball to the opposite field with authority. His junior year he has hit 15 doubles and 14 homers, boosting his ISO from .198 as a sophomore to .269 as a junior. At the same time, his strikeout rate has decreased and his walk rate has increased relative to last year. Grade: 50/55
Speed: Haseley isn’t a burner on the field, but he makes best use of his speed on the bases and on the field. His home to first time is about 4.1-4.2 with a 6.55 60-yard dash, so he has above average speed on the field as well. Haseley has kept his speed while adding about 15 pounds in college and projects to be a top of the order hitter who can bring a large impact on the bases. Has 20+ steal potential at the MLB level. Grade: 55/55
Defense: Haseley is an experienced defender in CF, playing 3 years for Virginia. Haseley doesn’t have elite speed, but he takes good routes in the outfield. There’s enough range and arm for Haseley to stick in CF, where his value would be the highest. I do think once he devotes all his time to being an outfielder after getting drafted that his defense will improve with more reps. Grade: 50/60
Risk: Haseley doesn’t come with a lot of risks in this draft class, which is why I think the Diamondbacks will take him if he’s on the board at 7 and the top talents are off the board. Haseley has tools that current grade 50 or better and none of which project worse than 55 in the future. The questions about extra base hit power have been answered his junior year. The only significant risk for Haseley is if he has enough glove for CF, but he certainly projects to be a quality defender at all 3 outfield spots. His size and tools remind me of an outfielder the Diamondbacks took 8 years ago in the first round in AJ Pollock, except left-handed. Haseley is close to a sure thing in the draft to be an average starter in CF, even if he doesn’t have the upside to be a perennial All-Star.