We are just a week away from the 2018 MLB draft and there are tons of intriguing prospects from all over the nation that will hear their names called on draft day.
In this edition, we examine prep school shortstop Xavier Edwards from Wellington, Florida. Edwards was a participant in the 2017 Perfect Game All-American game in San Diego last summer, a game that showcases the best high school talent throughout the US. The 18-year old is currently ranked 29th overall in MLB.com’s latest draft rankings.
Edwards has a relatively small frame as just 5’10” and 155 pounds, but he is one of the most elite athletes in this entire draft class. Speed is Edwards best tool. He is extremely quick in all aspects of the game and can get down the line in a hurry. The switch-hitting infielder isn’t any type of power threat at the plate, but rather a contact-type hitter. He uses all fields well and shows a very good feel for hitting. He’s got quick hands and a nice short, compact stroke with minimal movement in his swing.
Edwards is hitting .367 through 31 games this spring with two homers. He has shown impressive patience at the plate this year, drawing 24 walks. Edwards is the type of player that puts immense pressure on opposing teams when he’s at the plate or on base. Even just putting a ball in play gives him the chance to get on base because he can beat out routine ground balls. Speed never slumps, and Edwards relies on his best asset game in and game out.
Defensively, Edwards has great instincts at shortstop. He has enough arm to stick at SS but could be moved over second base at the next level since he’s only 5’10”. He has smooth, fluid hands and seldom makes errors. Edwards also has great footwork when approaching ground balls, and uses his lower half well to throw balls across the diamond.
Edwards is committed to Vanderbilt, a hotbed for draft talent. He is a great student, and both his parents are educators. It would take a healthy amount of money for Edwards to forego college and begin his professional career. He is projected to go in the first couple rounds, but smaller players aren’t always a hot commodity amongst pro scouts. Given his outstanding athleticism though, Edwards should be off the boards fairly quickly.
Edwards is a very similar player to San Francisco Giants outfielder Denard Span. He emulates Span’s swing almost perfectly and has a similar game to the big league outfielder. He relies on putting the ball in play and letting his speed come to life, just like Span. Edwards will pack on some weight as he matures which will help him swing the bat with more power. He’ll never be a serious long ball guy but he could definitely grow into 15-20 homers a year at the big league level.
Edwards is ready for the professional level. If he doesn’t sign and goes to Vanderbilt instead, he could be even more polished when he enters the draft in his junior year. Speedy infielders are always a prized possession to any organization though, so if Edwards does get selected within the first couple rounds, it would be a good decision to sign because he could rise to the big leagues within a few years.
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