Chris Newell, OF
Malvern Prep (you all should know where that is)
Newell is almost certainly going to honor his Virginia commitment, especially if he drops to the third or fourth round. He’s a local kid, so I’m writing him up a bit as he may be an overslot possibility in late rounds too. Newell is a potential 5 tool player. A few of the tools are certain: He’s an above average runner capable of playing Center (that might change as he matures, but for now...), he has an above average to plus arm and above average power with plenty of loft in his swing. He’s currently 187 lbs, with a frame that should be able to carry 20 more pounds of muscle, so it’s possible he could settle in with plus power. He’s got a few things against him that are causing him to drop though. First is he’s just getting over Tommy John Surgery, so his arm isn’t quite where it was as a Junior. Second, scouts aren’t sure about his hit tool and this is kind of a 2-part issue. He performed great in the Perfect Game summer showcase he appeared at, but other than that most of the looks have been against subpar opposition. The hit tool might be fringe average, but there also might be something there that Virginia may polish into a first rounder in a few years. Video from Baseball Factory.
Nick Kahle, C
University of Washington
Kahle is a short, stocky catcher straight from central casting. He’s a pretty disciplined hitter, with one of the highest walk totals in Division I. He’s also a very good contact hitter, but not much in the way of power. He may be a shorter, squattier Knapp, as his arm is pretty fringy and he’s not a great blocker. He is pretty well regarded for working well with the UW pitchers. He might be more of a 4th-6th round target because of the questions though and fairly limited ceiling. The Phillies used to reliably select a catcher almost every year in the top 5 rounds, but they’ve been so good on the IFA market that I’m not sure they have a ton of playing opportunity for a college catcher, still they haven’t drafted a catcher in the top 5 rounds since Knapp and the only one even drafted in the top 10 rounds since then is Henri Lartigue, so maybe they might look for a potential future backup or successor to JTR. Video from Prospects Live.
Carter Bins, C
I’m really leaning into my draft a catcher theory, despite them veering from that tendency. This one is a bit of a bonus though, as this is also a catcher they drafted previously (round 35 in 2016). Unlike Kahle, Bins is an almost all glove prospect. You could make an argument for him as the best defensive catcher outside of the 2 first rounders in this draft. He has a plus arm and is a very good blocker, he doesn’t call games, but is regarded as having a very high baseball IQ. He carries a fairly high K rate (~20%) for a guy with a career ISO around .170. There’s little doubt that if you draft Bins, it’s for the glove and you hope he can hit competently enough for a backup role with average power. Also, for a guy who should be able to track the ball quite well, he sure gets hit a lot (25 HBP). Okay, this is my favorite draft video this year. From the local CBS station.