Next up in the MLB Draft profile series is the first bat I’ve profiled. The college hitting crop is a bit weak this year, but Jud Fabian has a chance to be the best of the lot.
6’1, 180 pounds
DOB: Sept. 27, 2000
*Not updated since Jan. 5
Slot recommended bonus (No. 29): $2,424,600
Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and videos.
Initially seen as a surefire Top 10 selection, Fabian has slipped a bit due to a slow start to his season. He’s turning it on of late and might not make it to No. 29, but if he does, the Dodgers might not find a player with higher upside who could be available at the spot. The track record of University of Florida players in the majors isn’t especially great — Al Rosen, David Eckstein, old friend Mark Ellis, and, more recently, Mike Zunino and Pete Alonso — but Fabian could be better than all of them. However, he has some work to do to get on Alonso’s level.
Fabian is a super athletic center fielder with lots of power. He has 20 home runs — a Top 10 mark in NCAA — thanks to some incredibly quick hands. He generates above-average bat speed and a a lot of plate coverage, which translates to plus-power potential. Despite that, he does have some significant swing-and-miss in his hitting profile. He’s running an almost 30% strikeout rate in the SEC — worse than Jeren Kendall‘s 25 K% in his final season at Vanderbilt in 2017. And Kendall is a solid comp when it comes to the overall profile. He hasn’t worked out for the Dodgers yet, but Fabian has shown a better offensive profile than his SEC brethren. He has also shown the willingness and ability to change his approach a bit when getting into an unfavorable hitting count, which is something not a lot of hitters do these days. The tools are there for him to be a strong offensive center fielder, but he’s going to need a little work.
Defensively, Fabian looks like a lock to stick in center field. He’s a premium athlete, which we know the Dodgers covet in their draft prospects. He has above-average speed and great instincts in center. He gets good reads and has a quick first step that helps him cover a lot of ground out there. The above-average speed hasn’t translated into big stolen base numbers in college, but he should be an asset on the base paths in the way guys like Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor are.
Fabian is looking to join the greats who hit right-handed and throw left-handed: Rickey Henderson, Madison Bumgarner … Cody Ross. Yeah, it’s not an impressive list outside Rickey. However, he’s oozing with potential and upside. He’s also on the young side for a college guy, as he graduated high school early to get a start on his NCAA career. He won’t turn 21 until September.
If Fabian there at No. 29, it’ll probably take all of the Dodgers’ slot-recommended amount (and maybe more) to keep the sophomore from returning to Florida. He’d be worth the investment.