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 Soxcould 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).
University of Florida
Baseball America 59
McConnell was quite the disappointment in his freshman season for the Gators last year. To be fair, he really wasn’t given much of a chance to work through his issues, an opportunity he probably would’ve had on nearly every other collegiate program; however, the Gators were busy contending for a national title and couldn’t be patient enough to tolerate a freshman’s struggles.
However, McConnell has bounced back in a big way this year. Here are his college results through May 29:
2018 9 G, 22 AB, .136/.136/.273, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 9 K, 1-for-3 SB
2019 55 G, 212 AB, .344/.397/.604, 10 2B, 0 3B, 15 HR, 45 RBI, 16 BB, 53 K, 5-for-7 SB
McConnell was one of the highest-ranking prep prospects in 2017 who opted to play collegiately, as PerfectGame ranked him 29th among all eligible prep prospects for the draft that year. According to PerfectGame, McConnell is a five-tool player with a huge ceiling: “He runs the 60-yard-dash in 6.42 seconds, has quick actions at shortstop with big range, plus raw arm strength, accuracy can improve but gets big carry from the hole, graceful actions on the move. Right handed hitter, has explosive hand speed to contact, ball jumps hard with power and leverage, big stride into contact will create occasional timing issues but has high-end offensive potential.”
MLB Pipeline grades McConnell’s tools as follows: 60 Run, 55 Arm, 50 Hit and Power, 45 Field. While his performance this year has significantly improved his draft stock, there is still a huge variance as to where he’ll be selected in this year’s draft; it appears that McConnell could be selected anywhere between the late first round and third round.
Certainly the power-speed combination is intriguing, but McConnell’s relatively low defensive grade and lack of plate discipline provide legitimate concern for scouts. Many scouts believe McConnell would be a better fit defensively at center field or second base, with perhaps center being the better option due to his strong arm.
Below is a video of McConnell performing last November against the USA Baseball 18U squad, courtesy of 2080 Baseball: