MLB Draft Countdown: #35, Austin Wells, Arizona, C/1B

Player: Austin Wells Draft Day Age: 20
School: Arizona Position(s): C/1B
Height: 6’2” Weight: 220 lbs. Bats: Left Throws: Right
Hit: Elite. He can hit for average, he can hit for power, he can flat out hit. The bat gets to the ball quickly and without wasted movement. This is his carrying tool and it will offset the concerns regarding his position.
Field: Here is the question, where will he play? He has good hands and feet behind the dish, but the arm is not accurate or strong enough to ever be even average, which could prove to be an issue. Some feel he can move out to left, but the lack of speed leaves plenty of concern regarding his range. That leaves him at first, where his bat can play.
Summary: No question he can hit, and there are some who truly feel he will stick behind the plate, which would make him an incredibly valuable. I think the catcher is the most valuable defensive position on the diamond, so I am not sold he sticks there, therefore I am lower on him than some. Also, a bat as advances as Wells’ will be able to move through a system quickly, not allowing him the time to develop defensively. This all points to him being a first baseman long term, and that just hurts his overall value, although the pure bat tools are among the best in the class.

MLB Draft Countdown: #36, Tanner Burns, Auburn, RHP

Player: Tanner Burns Draft Day Age: 21
School: Auburn Position(s): RHP
Height: 6’ Weight: 210 lbs. Bats: Right Throws: Right
Fastball: 92-97 but sits 92-94. Runs arm side. Mild downhill plane. Cross body action keeps ball hidden and allows pitch to get on hitters quick playing near plus despite being slightly above average in terms of raw stuff.
Change: 82-83. Some dip and run. Used sparingly and needs work to become consistent. Flashes average and a nice third offering.
Curve: 78-81, can be slurvy. Best at lower velo. Even when into the 80s it has plenty of depth and curveball break. May be pitch with highest upside.
Delivery/Mechanics: Cross body action with 3/4 arm slot and falls to 1B side. Plenty of strain through the shoulder and proven to be the case with shoulder concerns sophomore year and regularly wears down as season goes on.
Summary: A lot of good pieces, no special pieces, Burns gets as much out of his stuff as anyone in the draft class. He has above average command of his pitches despite some concern in the delivery, allowing all of his pitches to play up. He has been a workhorse for Auburn, but there is some concern about his ability to stick as a starter long term. If he does, the change really needs to gain consistency and he needs to prove he can handle the workload. If he moves to the pen, his breaking ball alone will make him a quality big league reliever.

MLB Draft Countdown: #37, Jordan Walker, Decatur HS (GA), 3B

Player: Jordan Walker Draft Day Age: 18
School: Decatur HS (GA) Position(s): 3B
Height: 6’5” Weight: 220 lbs. Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hit: Weight drifts out front at times. When staying centered, the hips fire creating real power. Plus power potential with a shot to reach average contact. The weight shift and inconsistent leg kick leave concern the contact rate will be an issue moving forward, but the pop more than makes up for it.
Field: Limited speed/range makes a transition to the outfield unlikely, so the glove needs to improve to stick at third. Some are confident he stays there, others not so much, I remain undecided and want to see how he handles the hot corner in pro ball. The arm is more than enough to stay there and would be wasted some if he is limited to 1B only.
Summary: The body is a front office dream, as he is long and sturdy but plenty of room to fill out without losing much in terms of athleticism. That said, he is limited athletically already, so there are some concerns about whether he sticks at third, which could prevent him from being a day one selection. The carrying tool is the power that can be a true plus tool and makeup for the other shortcomings in his game. Overall, a team that is sold on him as a third baseman long term could pull the trigger on him in round one, but if he gets to round two he will be a steal for a team.

MLB Draft Countdown: #38, Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina

Player: Aaron Sabato Draft Day Age: 21
School: North Carolina Position(s): 1B
Height: 6’2” Weight: 230 lbs. Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hit: This is where Sabato will make his presence known. There isn’t much wasted movement in the swing, allowing him to have a higher contact grade than most power hitters these days. The power will be the carrying tool, as he projects as a guy who can hit 30 long balls at the highest level.
Field: Limited to first. There was a time he was given some consideration to trying other spots around the diamond, but a shoulder surgery limits his already below-average arm strength. He is slow footed, meaning he does not have the range to play outfield, but the hands are good enough to be a quality first baseman.
Summary: The sample size for Sabato is quite limited as he struggled to open his freshman campaign before going on an absolute tear and setting the freshman record in home runs for a member of the North Carolina baseball team. He had surgery over the summer preventing him from showcasing his skills in the premier summer leagues so there are no real reports on him carrying a wood bat. He picked up where he left off a season ago, hitting seven home runs in the 19 games before the season was cancelled. Given he is a first base only prospect, the bat has to carry him, and he has more than enough to do just that.