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Thought Experiment: Young High School Outfielder

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We talked a bit about high school pitchers last week, under what conditions they should sign for pro ball and what conditions they should go to college.

Turning that around a bit, let's talk about high school hitters. Here is a theroetical high school hitter to consider; I will do more of these if you like the feature.

Joe Shlabotnik is a young high school outfielder from Des Moines, Iowa. He is 6-0, 185 pounds, a left-handed hitter and thrower. His athleticism, arm strength and running speed are all average, and scouts don't expect that he will improve those; he is maxed out physically. Despite his cold-weather background and the fact that Iowa doesn't have high school spring baseball, he has done enough in summer ball and showcase games to excite scouts. He has an incredibly quick bat, excellent plate discipline, and despite his size projects to hit with at least average power in the pros. Some scouts think he could hit .300 in the majors if he develops properly, but not everyone agrees. Defensively he will fit best in left field. He is a good-but-not-excellent student, unsure of what he wants to major in, and has college baseball offers from Nebraska, Wichita State, Kansas, and Missouri State. KU and Missouri State both say they will give him a real chance to play regularly as a freshman, but Nebraska and WSU don't make that guarantee. Despite his tool limitations and relative lack of experience, scouts tell you that he should be drafted somewhere in the third round due to his terrific hitting.

If you were Joe's parents, would you advise him to turn pro, or go to college, and if he goes to college what school would you recommend, keeping in mind both opportunity/playing time, academics, and quality of competition?