Next up in the MLB Draft Profile series is a speedy center fielder who can hit a bit in Tennessee’s Drew Gilbert.
5’9, 185 pounds
Position: Center field
DOB: Sept. 27, 2000
The Athletic: 22
Baseball America: 21
CBS Sports: NR
MLB Pipeline: 28
Prospects Live: 27
Slot recommended bonus (No. 29): $1,950,900
Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and videos.
The Dodgers have not been shy about taking college bats early in the draft (Jeren Kendall, Kody Hoese, Michael Busch) in the Billy Gasparino era, and Gilbert would check a lot of boxes. However, if the rankings are any indication, the might not be available for LA at No. 40.
He was drafted by the Twins in the 35th round of the 2019 draft, but opted to go back to college, and that appears to have paid off. The smallish center fielder doesn’t fit the traditional profile of what the Dodgers look for in a bat, but he does nothing but produce. Despite the smaller stature, he has a chance to hit for average power thanks to a quick bat and good plate discipline. His quiet approach and small stride helps him stay balanced. He doesn’t strike out a lot and he’s able to consistently put the barrel on the ball. However, he goes home run hunting at times and can see his swing get long and less efficient. That’s something he’ll have to work on in the pros, but there’s a legitimate top-of-the-order bat in him in any era.
Gilbert is a true center fielder with above-average speed and a plus-arm and defense. He gets good reads and jumps on balls hit his way and has a strong arm, especially in center. He has a chance to be a 20-stolen base guy and should be an asset on the base paths.
There are some concerns about Gilbert’s overall ceiling, as he’s probably physically maxed out. But his floor is as high as any college hitter projected to go in the Top 40 He’s gritty, high-energy, fiery — you know, all those descriptors that aren’t based in race at all. And for no reason, let’s throw a Adam Eaton/Jacoby Ellsbury/Brett Gardner comp on him. If he’s there for the Dodgers at 40, he’d be a fine pick — perhaps even a steal — at that point. He should be plenty signable if he is.