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MLB Draft 2021: OF Jud Fabian, potential Dodgers pick at No. 29

First round of the draft is Sunday night.

Florida v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Dodgers have the final pick in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft, which starts on Sunday night (4 p.m. PT; ESPN, MLB Network). In the latest iteration of Baseball America’s mock draft, Carlos Collazo projects the Dodgers to take Jud Fabian, an outfielder from the University of Florida.

“It’s hard to find an org who has developed hitters better than the Dodgers, so this would be a fantastic pairing of talent with an org who has a track record of making the most of it,” Collazo wrote.

Fabian, a draft-eligible sophomore from Ocala, Florida, hit .249/.364/.560 with 20 home runs and 10 doubles in 59 games in 2021, making All-SEC first team as well as the All-SEC defensive team for his work in center field.

Here’s video of Fabian, from Keanan Lamb of Baseball Prospectus:

The 6’2 Fabian, who bats right-handed and throws left-handed, also walked 40 times and struck out 79 times, meaning he had the three true outcomes in 51.7 percent of his plate appearances.

The high strikeout rate caught the eye of MLB Pipeline, who ranked Fabian as the 23rd-best prospect in the draft:

There’s been some swing-and-miss in his game in the past, but he started having better at-bats more consistently last year and over the summer with bat speed that reminded some of Mookie Betts, his strikeout rate spiked early in 2021. The power was still showing up, but he struggled with adjusting to breaking stuff.

Fabian did improve in contact as the season progressed. After 45 strikeouts in his first 25 games in 2021, he struck out 34 times in his last 34 games.

The outfielder told Alexis Brudnicki at Baseball America that he improved his two-strike approach with the help of his dad:

“My dad and I had a bunch of phone calls and it was just talking with each other about my swing, because that’s what we’ve done my whole life, seeing what feels best for me and what looks best to him,” Fabian said. “We had a bunch of talks this year and it was a tremendous help. He was the biggest help for me this year in changing my approach … and he’s definitely a big part of why I am the player I am today.”

In the 56 years of the MLB Draft, the Dodgers have picked and signed five players from the University of Florida, including catcher David Ross in the seventh round in 1998, left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez in the second round in 2012, and infielder Deacon Liput in the 10th round in 2018 (one year after picking him in the 29th round in 2017, but not signing him), the latter currently playing second and third base for High-A Great Lakes.