Nick Banks is an outfielder for Texas A&M, who will be entering his Junior season this fall. He is currently seen as a 2016 first round draft prospect. Let's take a more in-depth look at him.
Banks is a 6'0", 200 pound outfielder who graduated from Tomball HS in Tomball, Texas. He went undrafted in the 2013 draft, but that was due to a combination of his college commitment and some injury issues during high school. He had quite a successful high school career, though. He was named a Perfect Game All-American and went to the playoffs all four years, including a championship run his senior season. As a senior, he hit .531 with nine home runs and only twelve strikeouts in 136 trips to the plate.
His freshman year at A&M was quite solid, with a .327/.386/.427 batting line, to go along with two home runs, seven steals, and a 17/33 BB/K ratio over 57 games and 199 at bats. That earned him a Freshman All-American nod from Baseball America. He followed that up with a stint on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, where he hit .241/.290/.333 as a member of the starting lineup. He wrapped up the summer with a ten game run in the Northwoods League, where he hit .289/.429/.500 with two home runs in 38 at bats.
Coming into his Sophomore season, Banks was ranked the 8th-best Sophomore in the nation by Baseball America, and 2nd best by Perfect Game. He would go on to hit .364/.450/.536 with eight home runs, nine stolen bases, and a 34/58 K/BB ratio. That performance skyrocketed him into top-ten status for the 2016 draft, according to Kylie McDaniel and Perfect Game. He returned to the USA National Team this summer, where he was the best hitter on the team. He's hit .386/.453/.491 for the National Team over 57 AB, with one home run and four stolen bases. Not bad for using a wood bat against tougher competition.
Banks shows a nice, compact swing from the left side. Right now, he's a line drive gap-to-gap hitter in games, but shows much more impressive raw power during batting practice. He does have some swing and miss, especially against breaking balls, but that should even out over time and with some pro coaching. He has plus speed, and is an above-average defensive center fielder. He showed off his arm against LSU earlier this season, you can watch that here.
What Banks does not have is projection. He is maxed out physically. Any improvements will be due to refining skills. So it's possible he could become an average power threat in pro ball, but it would require him being more aggressive on mistake pitches and trying to drive them to the pull side. Because of this, I don't think he's going to be a huge power guy, and will likely top out at 10-12 home runs.
His ceiling right now looks something like Lorenzo Cain with the bat, maxing out somewhere around Brett Gardner and Nick Markakis, depending on how the power and stolen base game develops. A real nice player, although I do think that if his power stagnates his junior year, he could fall to the back end of the first round, just because of how stacked the 2016 draft class looks right now.
What do you think? What is the highest you would feel comfortable drafting Nick Banks in 2016, given what you know right now? What team is the best fit for him?
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