Following up the selection of Kody Hoese at 25, the Dodgers grabbed University of North Carolina first baseman/outfielder Michael Busch at No. 31. The most interesting thing about this pick is, he was announced as a second baseman, which, huh.
He was one of the more advanced college hitters available, and he isn’t being drafted for his glove. So, if Busch can handle second base, that makes his bat even more valuable.
He didn’t appear on the final version of my Big Board, so let’s talk about his bat. He has a sweet left-handed swing that produces plenty of bat speed. Here’s what the experts say about his bat:
“Busch has a smooth, balanced swing and at his best exhibits a strong control of the zone, showing enough patience to work a walk but plenty of selective aggression to pound balls he finds in his hit zone. He projects as a potential above-average hit tool with above-average playable power.”
“Busch has an excellent feel for the barrel and a strong understanding of the strike zone. He walked in 16 percent of his plate appearances as a freshman and recorded a 17 percent walk rate as a sophomore, when he hit .317/.465/.521 with 13 home runs and 55 walks, the latter of which ranked 10th in the nation. While Busch has a solid feel for the strike zone, he also has 60-grade raw power and a strong track record of hitting. He’s produced in both the ACC and with a wood bat in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .322/.450/.567 with six home runs in 27 games last summer.”
“Busch makes it look easy at the plate. He has a smooth left-handed swing with plenty of bat speed and a patient, balanced approach that allows him to hammer balls to all fields. He should hit for average and power while drawing plenty of walks, and few college players in this Draft have a higher offensive ceiling or floor.”
“With arguably the most polished hit tool in the class, Busch has been a consistent force over the last two seasons for the Tar Heels with perhaps the best plate discipline in the class as well. Busch is a high-impact offensive performer with the potential for a plus hit tool highlighted by his barrel control.”
Very high praise for the bat. Some of the reports even said he’s a plus-defender at first base and passable in left field. Perhaps the Dodgers think sending him out as a second baseman could maximize his overall value.
Here’s some video of him in action:
Videos courtesy of Perfect Game and UNC Athletics.
The slot recommended bonus amount for the 31st pick is $2,312,000. Based on these first two picks, I’m expecting the Dodgers to save enough money to land a high-upside prep player at No. 78. Spencer Jones is the big rumored name of now, but there are other players who have signability concerns that will cause them to fall down the board.
Busch’s acclimation to second base will determine how quickly he moves. Like Hoese, he could see Great Lakes based on the strength of his bat alone. We’ll see how he is defensively. But overall, these are two solid selections of advanced college bats.