With the draft just a few hours away, I wanted to get in one last FTCN in order to take a look at the best college shortstop prospect in this draft: North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth. Warmoth, who landed on the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list, would immediately take over as the best middle infield prospect in the Mariners organization.
At A Glance
Warmoth was a top prospect coming out of Lake Brantley High School (home of Nick Franklin and Rickie Weeks!) and immediately hopped into the starting lineup when he arrived in Chapel Hill, starting 58 games his freshman season. While the glove talent has always been evident, Warmoth managed to make big steps forward with the bat every single year at North Carolina:
First, the average made a big leap from his freshman to sophomore year. The power immediately followed, as he posted a career-high .554 slugging percentage and .218 ISO his junior year.
The most intriguing part of Warmoth’s game is the general lack of existing weaknesses. While he doesn’t possess any obvious plus tools, he’s average or better in every facet of the game, and is considered to be one of the safer bets to reach the big leagues in this draft. The ceiling isn’t too high, but there’s plenty to love here with Warmoth.
He’s polished at the plate, bringing with him impressive bat speed, a quiet swing, and an ability to handle most pitches and locations. His upper half during his swing is entirely silent, and the only thing that really sticks out anywhere is the leg kick. The mechanics aren’t flawless, but he won’t need any major adjustments moving forward, which is a plus.
Warmoth has already added a ton of strength at North Carolina and it seems likely he adds more in the future. That being said, I think the absolute most you can hope for out of Warmoth is a 10-15 home run-type, barring a drastic physique overhaul. He should hit for plenty of average and maintain a high OBP as a pro, however.
On defense, Warmoth’s future is a bit cloudy. He’s athletic and fluid in his movements over at shortstop, but MLB.com isn’t sold on his ability to stick at the position:
His instincts and quick hands help him make plays at shortstop, and he'll get the chance to play there as a pro. With average range and arm strength, he's probably better suited for second base.
There’s no reason for that switch to happen anytime soon, and I imagine if the Mariners were to grab Warmoth here, he’d stick at shortstop all the way up through the system.
Warmoth has above-average speed and uses it well on the bases, stealing 37 bases over his college career.
How likely is he to be available when the Mariners pick?
Very likely. Most mock drafts pin Warmoth somewhere in that twentieth to twenty-fifth pick range, so be prepared for some to refer to it as a ‘reach’ if the Mariners grab Warmoth at seventeen. This by no means would be a sexy pick, but the Mariners would find themselves a solid all-around player who projects to be an everyday middle infielder in the future. Whether the ‘everyday’ is spent at second or shortstop is yet to be decided, but there is plenty of time to sort it all out.