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2017 MLB Draft Profile: Gavin Sheets, 1B, Wake Forest University

Power-mashing Wake Forest first baseman Gavin Sheets slugs his way into the early rounds of the 2017 MLB Draft

Full speed ahead with our player profiles for the 2017 MLB Draft, this time switching back to the college hitting ranks with a look at Wake Forest first baseman Gavin Sheets.

THE BASICS

Gavin is the son of former major league outfielder Larry Sheets. Growing up in Baltimore, Gavin was on the scouting radar for his power and bloodlines but slipped to the 37th round of the 2014 draft (selected by the Atlanta Braves) due to his commitment to Wake Forest.

His freshman year for the Demon Deacons was mediocre (.259/.319/.336) but he improved considerably as a sophomore in 2016 (.326/.395/.496), held his own in the ‘16 Cape Cod League (.283/.315/.368), then exploded with an outstanding 2017 campaign (.322/.429/.634, 20 homers, 44 walks, 33 strikeouts in 227 at-bats).

Sheets is a left-handed hitter and thrower, listed at 6-5, 235, born April 23rd, 1996.

STRENGTHS

Enormously strong, Sheets has legitimate 60-grade raw power and has learned to tap it over the last two years after not doing so as a freshman. Wake Forest plays in a pro-hitting environment but scouts are certain that Sheet’s power is legitimate, particularly since his dad was a big power hitter, too.

Sheets has improved his strike zone judgment and pitch recognition since his freshman year, while also shortening up his swing. He won’t steal bases but has developed into a solid defensive first baseman.

WEAKNESSES

Scouts were concerned about Sheets’ ability to tap his strength earlier in his career. There are fewer doubts now and he should perform well in A-ball but it remains to be seen how he’ll adapt to pitching at the highest levels. He is limited defensively to first base; all of his value is tied into the bat.

OVERALL PROJECTION

Sheets came into the spring as a third or fourth round candidate but his power outburst and improved approach have boosted his stock. He looks like a second-rounder now but rumors indicate he could go sooner than that given the shortage of reliable college hitting in the draft this year.