clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2016 MLB Draft: Jake Fraley, OF, Louisiana State University

New, 1 comment
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

As one of college baseball's most storied programs, Louisiana State University is almost always well-represented in the MLB draft. Their top prospect for the 2016 class is outfielder Jake Fraley.

Fraley was born in Maryland and raised in Delaware. He was a known presence on the showcase circuit but his commitment to LSU kept him from being drafted when he graduated high school in 2013. He made a lot of noise in a part-time role as a freshman in 2014, hitting .372/.419/.521 in 121 at-bats. His playing time kicked up a notch as a sophomore in 2015, resulting in 225 at-bats over 58 games for a .307/.372/.427 slash line. He followed that with a .302/.389/.349 line in 63 at-bats in the Cape Cod League.

With the draft and graduations tearing holes in the LSU lineup entering 2016, the Tigers needed to count on Fraley as a full-time regular and he didn't disappoint, hitting .321/.405/.436 over 60 games and 243 at-bats so far, with 26 steals in 34 attempts, with 34 walks against 31 strikeouts. He also played well defensively in center field.

Fraley is a left-handed hitter and thrower, born May 22, 1995. Listed at 6-0, 190, he's a bit younger than the typical junior, having played most of the spring at age 20. His best tool is running speed, 60-grade in physical terms but with instincts and aggression that play it up, especially as a baserunner. His arm is mediocre but is good enough for center field given his ability to run balls down.

Questions for Fraley revolve around hitting. He makes ready contact and shows a good feel for the strike zone, profiling him well as a leadoff type when combined with his speed. However, although there's some wiry strength in his athletic body, his swing doesn't produce much over-the-fence power and may never do so. This makes it imperative for him to bring his on-base skills forward at the pro level.

If Fraley hits enough, he runs and fields sufficiently well to be a regular center fielder for some clubs. If the bat remains problematic he would be more of a fourth or fifth outfielder, relying on his speed, glove, and on-base ability for employment.  His name could be called anywhere between the compensation round and the third round.

Video from Jheremy Brown