A high school first baseman from Huntington Beach, California, Nick Pratto has been on the scouting radar for years, thanks to his performances in venues like the 2011 Little League World Series and dominance on the showcase and spring high school circuits. He projected as a first round pick when draft season began, and he’s maintained his stock. Let’s take a look as we continue with our series of 2017 MLB Draft profiles.
Pratto is a left-handed hitter and thrower, listed at 6-1, 195, born October 6th, 1998. Although successful as both a pitcher and hitter at the amateur level, scouts prefer his bat for professional baseball. On the mound he projects as a lefty with an 88-90 MPH fastball, while as a hitter he projects as a potential All-Star first baseman. The latter are harder to find than the former.
Pratto is committed to the University of Southern California for baseball but is considered signable for first-round money.
Drawing praise for his pure hitting ability, Pratto combines above-average bat speed, consistent hitting mechanics, and an exceptional feel for the strike zone, showing the ability to handle both fastballs and breaking balls. He may be the best pure hitter in the prep ranks, and he has enough strength to hit for substantial power as he matures.
Like most first basemen Pratto isn’t a particularly fast runner, but he’s a good overall athlete with soft hands, a strong arm, impressive field awareness, and plenty of polish at first base. He’ll be an above-average defender, even excellent with more experience. His makeup is considered strong and he’s performed well on the larger amateur stages.
It’s not so much a weakness as a question: how much home run power will he develop? Power optimists see him developing along Joey Votto lines, while pessimists fear an erratic Eric Hosmer-ish fate or perhaps a Yonder Alonso (the 2012-2016 version) outcome.
Everyone expects him to get on base while hitting for average and showing a strong glove but whether that will make him a solid regular or an All-Star will depend on the power.
Consensus on draft rankings places Pratto somewhere in the teens and he’s expected to go around there on draft day, though someone looking to cut a deal might pick him in the top 10. High school first basemen are not an historically strong demographic, but scouts have such a long track record with Pratto that he may feel safer than other choices.
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