When it comes to the MLB draft, many fans don’t realize that for some teams, selecting a player is the culmination of several years of patiently watching a player develop, and cultivating a relationship with that player, and hoping he’ll still be on the board when their turn to select comes.
The Blue Jays were thrilled to land North Carolina SS Logan Warmoth with their first of two first-round picks (22nd overall) in last June’s First Year Player Draft. Scouting Director Steve Sanders said after the draft:
He’s a player we’ve scouted for a long time….he wasn’t a propsect out of High School, but he steadily improved at North Carolina, and that really showed this year. He’s very steady and a well-rounded player, with a chance to stay at SS and hit for power. His make up is off the charts, and he has the intangibles to be a top of the lineup hitter.
Prior to his final college season, Warmoth was considered a lock to go in the top two or three rounds of the draft. With his customary work ethic, his development took another huge leap forward, and by June he was considered the top SS prospect in the draft. Sent to Vancouver after the customary brief stint in the GCL, Warmoth was ranked the Northwest League’s 6th prospect by Baseball America.
I had a chance to watch Warmoth a number of times this summer, both online and in person at Vancouver’s venerable Nat Bailey Stadium, and even though he was in short season ball, Warmoth looks like a future Major Leaguer. At the plate, he has what scouts call, “a feel for the barrel.” And over the course of the games I saw him play, he did indeed square up a number of pitches, rarely having a bad At Bat. In the field, Warmoth displayed good range, footwork, hands, and a strong arm, which scouts have rated as his best tool. He lacks that explosive first reaction to the ball that separates pros from the amateurs, and there’s no doubt that the High Performance staff are working with him this off season to develop a quicker first step.
If you watch a small sample size of Warmoth, you may not come away impressed; he does not have one whelming tool. Over the course of several games, however, you will see him do something special with the bat or glove, or on the basepaths.
Warmoth was called pull-happy prior to the draft, and with his bat speed and ability to recognize pitches, he does get out in front, but the Blue Jays worked with him this summer to use the whole field more, and it showed:
There are some who suggest that Warmoth may not stick at SS, and that he profiles better as a top third of the order offensive 2nd Baseman. He has an ahtletic frame, and there is still some room for him to fill out. The comp that has been made most often is to Orioles’ SS JJ Hardy, and that’s a reasonable one. While there still is room for development (for someone with good strike zone management, Warmoth did not draw a lot of walks – 4% – at Vancouver this year), he profiles as a steady 2nd Division player. Warmoth is a good defender, runner, and has a smooth, line-drive swing. He should skip Lansing next year and being 2018 in Dunedin.