MLB Draft 2021 Player Profile: High School Shortstop Kahlil Watson
|Photo Credit: Perfect Game|
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be the first team on the clock when the 2021 MLB Draft begins, so they have the entire field of players to choose from. Who might they pick? We may not know for sure, but we will go through some of the options they have to pick from. After starting with Henry Davis, next up is Kahlil Watson.
While there is no clear cut number one option for the upcoming draft, there is one thing for sure - this year's draft class may end up being defined by the high school shortstops.
There has been at least four prep shortstops that has mentioned as potential top-five picks for the upcoming MLB Draft, and while Kahlil Watson was a little late in getting into the game - there is no doubting he is a special player that is very deserving of being selected high.
He doesn't have the build that the other shortstops have, but all the tools are there for Watson to be an impact player at whatever position he plays.
Read any scouting report on the North Carolina State recruit and the first thing they are going to talk about is his elite bat speed. While he doesn't have the stature the other prep shortstops have in this class, he makes up for it with his bat speed that creates enough torque to allow him to have plus raw power that should eventual play in games.
Another common theme when talking about Watson is that his athleticism and bat could profile well at multiple positions. And if he doesn't stick at shortstop, it won't be for a lack of ability to play the position, it will be because whoever takes him wants to take advantage of his skillset elsewhere.
An elite fastball hitter thanks to his bat speed, Watson can struggle against plus-breaking ball types of pitches - not uncommon though for a prep hitter. At the high school level, he probably doesn't see too many elite style breaking stuff so with repetition that should easily be fixed. He has the plate awareness to do so.
While possessing a quick first step in any direction, and a plus arm, Watson can struggle with some double play throws due to a dip in his arm slot when releasing the ball.
Again, with the proper training, something that seems like can be fixed.
The late raise up the rankings, to the point where his name has been tossed out as an option first overall, has been aided by his season starting later and an added attention being spent on him.
According to the last update from MaxPreps, Watson had a batting line of .513/.655/1.179, with six home runs, 14 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. He has also only struck out one time compared to 18 bases on balls.
While it seems like the Pirates have narrowed in on other players, Watson's name has been thrown out there as a possibility. Especially this year when there is no clear cut selection, Watson's upside and projection could be ideal if he's willing to sign on the cheap to open up more bonus money for the rest of the draft.
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