Braden Shewmake stands in at 6’4″ 190 pounds, hits left-handed, but throws right-handed. Even as a college junior, he is well versed in the nuances of the game, not just because he was raised by Shane Shewmake, the coach at Texas-Dallas, but because he is majoring in Sports Management at Texas A&M. Braden is one of many shortstops in the 2019 MLB Draft looking to break the first round.
Braden Shewmake 2019 Draft Profile
This year is a deep prospect pool for shortstops overall, not just in the first round. While Shewmake’s floor is considered higher than many other shortstops, his ceiling is considered lower than many of his counterparts. This could cause him to fall on draft day, perhaps even out of the first round. MLB.com currently has him ranked as the 32nd-best prospect. All around, his basic statistics look pretty solid, and his best tool is his hitting. He is a high-contact hitter.
MLB.com Scouting Grades:
Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Braden Shewmake Texas A&M Stats
Statistics Courtesy of The Baseball Cube
As mentioned above, Braden Shewmake is a great contact hitter. He constantly hits line drives and gets on base. He doesn’t strike out a ton. During his collegiate career, he walked 55 times compared to 77 strikeouts. His average and on-base percentage were lower this year than in prior years. However, that can be attributed to a three-week slump at the start the season. He rebounded nicely and came through in SEC tournament play.
Hits Quality Pitching
The knock on another draft prospect, OF Kameron Misner [Draft Profile] of Missouri, is his poor stats against SEC pitching. It raises questions that he might not hit well for average at the professional level. Shewmake is the opposite. He proves it with his career success in the SEC tournament, which is comprised of the SEC’s best 12 of 14 teams. Throughout his career, he hit 11 for 29 in the SEC tournament with 4 doubles and 5 walks. That is good for a .379 average and a .471 OBP.
If looking for further evidence of Shewmake’s ability to hit high-quality pitching, check out his career stats against last year’s number one overall draft pick, Casey Mize of the Detroit Tigers. He went 0 for 3 against Mize his freshman year, which is understandable for a freshman. However, he followed it up in 2018 by going 2 for 6 with a double, which includes a 1 for 3 outing against Mize in the SEC tournament. Here is what Vincent Cervino at Perfect Game writes about Shewmake facing Mize:
“He stands out for the polish and approach at the plate [handling] upper-velocity stuff with ease as Shewmake was one of the few batters who looked comfortable against Mize.”
There is more to like about Shewmake than his hit tool. Like most young players his size, he has the potential for more power as he fills out his 6’4” frame. His frame is somewhat spindly currently and will benefit from adding more muscle. Shewmake can hit the ball to the opposite field, which is a good quality in a lefty as the prevalence of shifts increase in baseball. He is no slouch on the basepaths either. Out of 37 stolen base attempts, he succeeded on 30 of them.
Shewmake might not be able to stay every day at shortstop due to arm strength issues and lesser range, but he also has the ability to play second. In fact, Shewmake might provide the most value to his team as a frequent utility player due to the increasing demands for versatility in MLB ballplayers.
Since his freshman season, his power numbers have mostly trended down. In 2017, he hit 11 home runs with a .529 slugging percentage and .201 ISO. 2018 saw a large dip to five home runs with a .450 slugging percentage and .125 ISO. This year he rebounded somewhat, hitting six home runs with a .480 slugging percentage and .171 ISO.
If pro coaches change his swing in order to generate more power, will he continue to hit for average, or will he face struggles similar to Kansas City outfielder Brett Phillips after his plate approach was changed? This question, concerns about his ability to stay at shortstop — and a deep SS pool — have him as a back end first, supplemental first, or possibly even second rounder instead of towards the first round.
Shewmake is a junior, which means he can return to college. While it is not likely he returns to school, the possibility of him returning may lower his draft position. There is a lot of depth at shortstop in this draft class. This is not a weakness of Shewmake’s, but it may contribute to him falling farther in the draft while a few other bonafide shortstops with higher ceilings get selected ahead of him. At the same time, if Shewmake returns to school, there is no guarantee that he will be drafted higher. Also, he will be a senior, meaning he will have no leverage for next year’s draft.
There may be a silver lining here. If Shewmake and a team agree in principle to a below-slot deal, some team might draft him higher than he would otherwise go. He still gets a great first round deal and is able to start his career right away; the team gets more money to use in their draft allotment for signing another pick. It could be a win-win for both parties.
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