MLB teams are no strangers to selecting high school players in the first round of the draft, but a number of college stars also deserve strong consideration. One such star is Missouri State shortstop Jeremy Eierman. He is widely regarded as one of the top college bats in this year’s draft and could see his name called in the first round of the upcoming MLB Draft.
Jeremy Eierman 2018 MLB Draft Profile
Eierman is a junior shortstop for the Bears who has shown solid power since he arrived as a freshman. He hit nine home runs his first year on campus and improved that total to 23 as a sophomore. While he did begin his junior year in a slump, Eierman has since recovered over the latter part of this season. His draft stock is relatively set at this point, and he should be one of the first college hitters taken.
The biggest draw for Eierman is his impressive power as a shortstop. He owns a career .580 slugging percentage and has 41 career home runs. Along with the home runs, he has added 44 doubles, eight triples, 160 RBI, and 156 runs scored. While his OBP did take a step back this season (from .431 as a sophomore to .385 as a junior), it is hard to find a hitter the kind of power and presence that Eierman provides.
Eierman will likely never be in danger of competing for a stolen base title in MLB, but he does possess above average instincts. He has 20 steals as a junior and has only been caught three times. In his whole career, Eierman has only been caught stealing five times while recording 43 steals.
Eierman’s power at Missouri State is evident, but he has struggled against better pitching. As Joseph Werner at Prospect Digest points out, Eierman posted poor numbers across a summer in the Cape Cod League. What must be said here is that the CCL is a wooden bat league, and that raises questions about how Eierman’s power will translate to the next level. It is certainly true he may just need more time to adjust to stiffer competition, his splits between college and against other competition will be scrutinized heavily ahead of the draft.
The other cause for concern is the step back Eierman has taken from his sophomore to junior season. His home run total is down (from 23 to nine) while his OBP and slugging have also come back down to earth. While Eierman’s strikeout-to-walk ratio in college is not abysmal (173-to-76), it is also not the kind of number that will make up for decreased power numbers moving forward.
A good comparison here is long-time shortstop J.J. Hardy. Hardy had five seasons with 20+ home runs over his career despite having just one season with an OBP above .330. It is possible to stick around in MLB without a high OBP, but it should be noted there were other factors in Hardy’s favor. He won three Gold Gloves and was a consistently strong defender throughout his career, something that feels like a long shot for Eierman’s defensive profile.
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