When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.
Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).
Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).
Baseball America 130
Packard, after a terrific season last year, struggled out of the gate in 2019 for East Carolina. As a result, Baseball America has dropped him from his pre-season ranking of 59th. However, all is not lost for Packard. He’s broken out of his slump in a big way and is now posting solid numbers for his American Athletic Conference squad. Unfortunately for Packard, some damage to his draft stock may already have been done. After all, Here are his collegiate stats for the Pirates through May 16:
2017 43 G, 123 AB, .276/.328/.407, 9 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 12 RBIs, 0-of-0 SB, 9 BB, 36 Ks
2018 55 G, 219 AB, .406/.462/671, 16 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 50 RBIs, 6-of-8 SB, 20 BB, 46 Ks
2019 45 G, 160 AB, .363/.446/.579, 17 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 33 RBIs, 5-of-7 SB, 22 BB, 31 Ks
Let’s first look at the positives. Packard’s walk rate has hiked from 8.0% to 10.6%, while his strikeout rate has noticeably improved from 18.5% to 14.3% from the year before. Also, he did quite well last year in the wooden bat Cape Cod League, where he slashed .305/.421/.576 with four homers in 59 at-bats; he did similarly well in an albeit smaller sample size for USA Baseball’s National Collegiate Team.
However, when it comes to the draft, it’s often “What have you done for me lately?” Now, don’t get me wrong. His 2019 stats aren’t that bad. In fact, they’re quite good. However, because the power numbers have fallen considerably, his draft stock has dropped accordingly. After all, hitting and power are supposed to be his card-carrying tools.
Baseball America stated that Packard is a patient hitter with a good feel for the barrel. Because of his lack of game-changing speed, he’s actually better suited for a corner outfield role. Packard possesses a slightly above-average arm and average fielding skills, so he’s not a defensive liability. At 6´3´´ and 210 pounds, the lefty hitter certainly has projectable strength which he really hasn’t consistently tapped into yet.
Based on Baseball America and FanGraphs projections, Packard may be selected before the White Sox brass make their fifth round choice. Could the White Sox choose him in the fourth round? Perhaps, but a lot may depend upon who they’ve actually picked up at that point. For example, if the team has chosen no more than one pitcher at that point, they may select a pitcher to fill a need, as the system’s depth has taken a severe beating due to ineffectiveness and injuries. As the Sox have the 140th overall pick in the fifth round, they may hope that Packard will fall to the team at that spot instead.
Here’s a video of Packard playing against Wichita State University on March 30, 2018, courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know
C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity (Ga.) H.S. SS
Hunter Bishop, Arizona State OF
Cameron Cannon, Arizona 2B/3B
Matt Canterino, Rice RHSP
Matt Cronin, Arkansas LHRP
Emmanuel Dean, Servite (Calif.) H.S. OF
Tyler Dyson, Florida RHSP
Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy RHSP
Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas OF
Jonathan French, Parkview (Ga.) H.S. C
Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian (Ala.) H.S. C
Zack Hess, Louisiana State RHSP
Rece Hinds, IMG Baseball Academy (Fla.) 3B
Jason Hodges, Marist (Ill.) H.S. OF-1B
Will Holland, Auburn SS
Seth Johnson, Oregon RHSP
Jack Leiter, Delbarton (N.J.) H.S. RHSP
Nick Lodolo, TCU, LHSP
Matthew Lugo, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (P.R.) SS/2B
Alek Manoah, West Virginia RHSP
Erik Miller, Stanford LHSP
Chris Newell, Malvern (Pa.) Prep H.S. OF
Kyren Paris, Freedom (Calif.) H.S. SS
Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove (Ill.) H.S. RHSP
Will Rigney, Midway (Texas) H.S. RHSP
Adley Rutschman, Oregon State C
Sammy Siani, Penn Charter (Pa.) H.S. OF
Landon Sims, South Forsyth (Ga.) H.S., RHSP
Josh Smith, Louisiana State SS
Andrew Vaughn, California, 1B
Matt Wallner, Southern Miss OF
Kenyon Yovan, Oregon RHSP
Ryan Zeferjahn, Kansas RHSP