This is the first in (hopefully) 10 MLB Draft profiles on prospects in the 2019 Draft. But before we get to the profile, here’s a very brief primer on the draft. A more detailed version will be posted closer to the draft (which is June 3).
The Dodgers have two first-round draft picks this year after failing to sign JT Ginn, their first-rounder in 2018. Overall, they have a bonus pool for $8,069,100. They can go up to 5 percent (less $1) over to avoid any severe penalties. Odds are, they’ll do that, just as they have in the last handful of years.
The pool is a little less than it could be because the Dodgers forfeited the No. 64 pick when they signed A.J. Pollock over the winter — a value of $1,050,300.
First up in profile series is the super athletic Maurice Hampton, a prep outfielder from Tennessee.
6’0, 195 pounds
Position: Center field
DOB: Aug. 1, 2001 (Yep, we’re old)
Slot recommended bonus (No. 25): $2,740,300
Slot recommended bonus (No. 31): $2,312,000
Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and video.
The first thing that jumps out about Hampton when watching video is his pure athleticism. Not only is a bonafide center field prospect, he’s also a cornerback prospect on the gridiron.
Hampton uses his athleticism to track down balls in the outfield with ease. His routes and recognition need work, but that’s to be expected with a guy who spends half his time on the football field. And with nearly a double-plus future rating on his run tool, he could be a factor on the base paths. He has a similar profile to that of Dodgers’ prospect Jeren Kendall, minus the need for a complete swing overhaul.
At the plate, Hampton shows some wiry strength and a lightning quick bat. His stance begins a little off-balance, with more weight on his front foot than his back, but he’s able to load and incorporate a leg kick quickly enough that it isn’t a problem. He’s far from a polished hitter, though. He doesn’t incorporate his lower-half as much as he’ll need to in the pros. That’s something a player developmental staff should be able to fix. If Hampton learns that aspect of hitting, his ceiling would be that much higher.
Videos courtesy of Perfect Game and Baseball Factory.
Because of his football commitment to LSU, Hampton isn’t a lock to sign. Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs’ put it at 85 percent likely that Hampton would sign for a value around what the Dodgers have available at No. 25. Since No. 31 is an unprotected pick, I’m not sure the Dodgers fuss around with any signability question marks with that pick.
Hampton’s ceiling is that of a top-of-the-order center fielder with pop. The easy comp would probably be Byron Buxton or Victor Robles. I’m not sure Hampton is that good a prospect, but he’s a quality one. Maybe Pollock might be a more realistic comp in terms of potential.