The MLB Draft profile series is truckin’ along. Up next is another prep outfielder in Bubba Thompson. He’s athletic, toolsy and has a lot of upside.
6’2, 180 pounds
Position: Center field
DOB: June 9, 1998
Commitment: University of Alabama
Slot recommended bonus (No. 23): $2,702,700
Editor’s Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and video.
Thompson is one of the most athletic players — not just prep players — in the draft. Don’t believe me? Perfect Game ranked him as the best athlete available from the high school ranks. He was the quarterback at his school and led his team to one of the state championship games. But his commitment to the University of Alabama is just to play baseball, not football.
Offensively, Thompson is a little more advanced than your typical high schooler. He’s also a little older than most. He projects to have an average hit tool. With his speed, that’s plenty. He might be lacking a bit in the power department, projecting for fringe-average power. He’s not dissimilar to a guy I liked in 2014 in Derek Hill. He’s relatively quiet at the plate, with a slight bat wiggle as he’s waiting for the pitch. His base is a little wide which keeps his stride short. He does a weird toe-tap after his front foot hits the ground. I guess it’s a timing mechanism, but that might have to be jettisoned after he turns pro because it almost looks like he’s lunging toward the ball after his toe-tap. He generates average bat speed and a compact swing that’s geared for line drives. His quick hands and projectable frame means he could add some pop down the road, but he’s not going to be a 55-60 power guy in the pros.
On defense, he’s still a little raw and learning how to read the ball in center field, but he’s plenty athletic enough to stick there. If he were to move to corner, his value would take a hit. That probably won’t happen. He also has an above-average arm that adds to his valuable center field profile. On the bases, he’s a borderline plus-runner who could be a 15-25 stolen base guy in the future.
Videos courtesy of rkyosh007, The Prospect Lab and Baseball America.
If he adds some good weight and maintains his level of athleticism, he should be a first-division starter in center field who hits near the top of the order. He has Gold Glove potential in center field and plenty of speed to be a true 5-tool prospect.
There aren’t many rumors about Thompson being a tough sign. As an older high school prospect, one would think he’d be a little more inclined to sign, but he shouldn’t forego his commitment to Alabama for anything less than slot.