It’s MLB Draft week, so many prognosticators and amateur talent experts are getting their final predictions in. Eric Longenhagen not only has a mock draft up today at FanGraphs, but has another one planned for Wednesday morning, the day of the first round.
In today’s projections, Longenhagen has the Dodgers taking Tanner Witt, a right-handed pitcher out of Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas (just outside of Houston), with the 29th pick in the first round.
“This draft environment is made for LA, which has had no issues taking players who haven’t pitched in over a year due to surgery, or who have short track records of performance because they transferred,” Longenhagen wrote. “Witt has premium raw materials to work with (frame, athleticism, breaking ball) and the Dodgers have arguably the best player dev group in baseball.”
In Witt’s case, he was a two-way player in high school, playing shortstop in addition to pitching. Baseball America noted, “Witt has legitimate pro potential as both a hitter and a pitcher,” though nearly every other draft prospect ranking lists Witt only as a pitcher.
MLB.com ranks Witt the 53rd-best prospect in the draft, noting his pitch mix:
At 6-foot-6 and 198 pounds, Witt has plenty of room to add strength and velocity, and he excited scouts by sitting at 92-93 mph and touching 95 in the final start of his truncated senior season. He usually works at 88-92 mph with his fastball, which features solid spin rates and some riding action. He also gets good spin rates on a mid-70s downer curveball that could become a plus offering once he adds more power, and he shows the aptitude to manipulate it into a harder, tighter slider.
BA rates Witt’s curveball as an already above-average pitch with a spin rate of 2,600-2,900 rpm. Kiley McDaniel at ESPN described the pitch as plus-plus with 3,000 rpm.
The Dodgers have been linked to one other high school pitcher in previous mock drafts, with The Athletic in late May projecting another Texas right-hander, Justin Lange, to the Dodgers.
Witt is the son of Kevin Witt, a corner man who played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Blue Jays, Padres, Tigers, and Rays, and is a current minor league hitting coach for the Marlins. Witt was drafted 28th overall by Toronto in 1994.