The MLB Draft process is always a bit of a crapshoot for major league teams. Even first rounders are hardly guaranteed to reach the major leagues, let alone contribute in a significant way. The risk intensifies when it comes to high school players. For a high schooler to warrant first round attention, he has to possess special, undeniable talent. For a team to gamble so much, the player must be of the can’t-miss variety.
Will Banfield 2018 MLB Draft Profile
Will Banfield is one of those players, particularly because of his position. Plus defensive and offensive potential are rare in catchers, a position that value glove work more than anything. Banfield has both, which is why he’s being projected to come off the board in the latter half of the first round. At 6’1” and 208 pounds, he already has a catcher’s frame. He has room to grow a bit, and should add muscle in a prfessional strength program.
Banfield is a product of Brookwood High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He’s a tough competitor and a good student. He’s a Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-American, and has verbally committed to the baseball powerhouse of Vanderbilt. If he goes early enough in the draft, signing him shouldn’t be an issue.
Banfield’s calling card is his defense, and he may posses the top glove at his position in this draft. He’s a strong blocker with advanced pitch-framing skills, and has top-end pop speed. In his junior varsity season, tracked by MaxPreps, Banfield notched 184 put-outs and 15 assists in 200 total chances. He committed just a single error. His abilities behind the plate are already pro-ready, which will make him hard to pass up in round one.
The righty also possesses encouraging offensive traits. In that same season tracked by MaxPreps, Banfield hit a stellar .409, with nine doubles and seven home runs. He hits for strong contact and has mature plate discipline. In the 2016-17 season, he walked 22 times while taking just 12 strikeouts. As high school catchers go, he’s as sure as can be.
Most of his power manifests just as potential right now, and his swing speed isn’t anything special. A higher level of coaching could bring out the best of both attributes. Banfield’s commitment to Vanderbilt could also give teams pause. Vandy is a pro baseball factory, and a few years there could turn Banfield into a top-15 draft pick.
His frame is reminiscent of J.T. Realmuto, and his skills complete the picture. Both Have decent power, but are better at hitting for average. Both are also tough competitors and strong defenders. If Banfield can put together a career like Realmuto’s any team would be lucky to have him.