The MLB draft is a time for celebration. Promising players of all shapes and sizes hear their names called and realize the dream. Some players enter full of helium and coming off incredible performances, while others enter having struggled and been picked apart. Then there are those rare, consistent few like Baylor third baseman Davis Wendzel.
Davis Wendzel 2019 MLB Draft Profile
Much like Khris Davis is the king of the .247 batting average, Davis Wendzel is the king of eight home run seasons, hitting exactly eight in all three years of his collegiate career. That is consistency. He also maintained at least a .300/.400/.500 slash line every year.
Wendzel had his most compelling season yet as a junior, slashing a robust .373/.486/.615 in 44 games. While he could not establish a new career high in home runs, he did manage to equal his previous mark in 14 fewer games. He also added 17 doubles to total 25 extra-base hits in only 169 at-bats.
Fangraphs and MLB.com disagree a bit on the actual value of Wendzel’s tools. Fangraphs does not give him a single 55-grade tool, while MLB gives him credit for three. In many ways that is splitting hairs, as the difference between a 50-grade tool and a 55-grade tool can be relatively small. However, the difference between three such tools and none drastically effects how each site perceives his future.
That said, there is some consensus. Both agree that Wendzel is a solid player coming off his best season yet. Wendzel seems to have improved his hit tool every season. He also demonstrates decent reflexes and reactions at the hot corner along with an arm that grades out above average.
Curiously, despite low scouting grades as a runner, Wendzel stole 11 bases in 14 attempts this year, nearly tripling his previous career total of four. He clearly has worked to improve his reads and instincts in order to offset his lack of footspeed.
Unlike many other players in this class, for Davis Wendzel “weaknesses” is a relative term. He has no glaring Achilles heel, just tools that do not stand out or that may never be better than average.
As mentioned earlier, he never achieved double-digit home runs in a college season, and scouts give him only average or fringe-average grades for raw power. Despite that, he managed to increase his slugging percentage every collegiate season.
Wendzel also grades as average to below-average as a runner but has worked to improve there, stealing 11 bases as a junior. He may never be a stolen base threat as a pro, but he should be able to maintain enough improvements to keep from clogging the bases.
If there is a major worry with Wendzel, it is that his plate discipline has deteriorated slightly year over year. After more walks than strikeouts as a freshman, he struck out more than he walked as a junior. If he can stop that trend, he should be fine, but it is especially important for him given his lack of standout tools.
Wendzel seems like a good candidate to fill a David Bote or Johan Camargo role. He is probably good enough to play an everyday role, and he probably will at times. However, he also has good enough defensive instincts to be capable of tremendous versatility. While his power may never be a large part of his game, he should be able to hit 15+ home runs annually. On the whole, Davis Wendzel profiles as a decent bat and a versatile defender at the next level.
Embed from Getty Images