#4) OF Jawuan Harris, Rutgers
In one of their first reports before the start of the college baseball season, Baseball America ranked Harris as the top MLB draft prospect in the Big Ten Conference. A two-sport star at Rutgers, Harris struggled in his junior season, however, his athletic ability commanded the attention of a number of teams heading into the selection process.
The 201st overall pick of the Padres (seventh round), Harris slashed .265/.373/.418 with a .791 OPS in his career at Rutgers. He finished with 42 extra-base hits and 82 stolen bases.
When describing Harris, one scout said he has “lots of speed, great range in the outfield, good arm, and has a lot of bat speed.” Harris played on the Scarlett Knights’ football team (lead the team in interceptions last season) so tours on the summer circuit weren’t an option.
The key to Harris will be to see how his bat develops. Instantly, Buddy Reed comes to mind when talking about Harris. After a few disappointing seasons, Reed appears to have figured out his swing, don’t be surprised if Harris follows the same path.
The 5’10” right-handed hitter is the highest draft pick out of Rutgers since Patrick Kivlehan in 2012, according to their team’s website.
#3) 2B Luke Becker, Kentucky
When the Padres used their 9th round pick on Becker, the broadcast suggested that he was the “best pure hitter” in the Kentucky lineup this season. He is a four-year senior who has also been described as a “scrappy hitter.”
Becker began his collegiate career at North Iowa Community College, where he helped lead his team to a national championship before transferring to Kentucky.
With the Wildcats, Becker hit .273 and reached base in 39% of his plate appearances. He drew 95 walks over the course of his career while striking out only 120 times.
Becker had two successful seasons in the wooden bat Northwoods League, hitting .282 with seven home runs over the last two years. Last summer, he drew 49 walks in 45 games while striking out just 25 times.
An older, more advanced bat like Becker will rise through the farm system fairly quickly. He is the perfect player to have in an organization in case the injury bug begins to feast.