09 Jul

summer shopping season

In MLB’s amateur draft, which begins tonight (6 p.m., MLB Network/ESPN) and runs through Tuesday, major league clubs will find the tool shed in Mississippi is well-stocked. In its incredibly comprehensive Draft Preview issue, Baseball America IDs six Mississippi products among the prospects with top five tools in various scouting categories. Ranked first among high school players in strike zone discipline is Cooper Pratt, the Magnolia Heights Academy star pegged by BA as the No. 63 overall prospect in the draft. Pratt, a 6-foot-4 shortstop committed to Ole Miss, hit .468 this season, won a state title and was named Gatorade player of the year. Ole Miss’ Jacob Gonzalez, expected to go in the first round as the first state product off the board, is rated No. 5 among college hitters in strike zone discipline. Shortstop Gonzalez, BA’s No. 8 overall prospect, hit .327 (.435 OBP) this season and .319 (.427) for his career in Oxford. He played on the national title team in 2022 and on two Collegiate National Teams. Two of the best defensive catchers reside in the Magnolia State: Oxford High’s Campbell Smithwick, an Ole Miss commit, is pegged second among high school prospects and the Rebels’ Calvin Harris No. 4 among college players. (Harris can swing the bat a little, too; he hit four homers in a game back in May.) Southern Miss’ Tanner Hall, a first-team All-America this season, has the fourth-best changeup among college pitchers, per BA’s ratings. Hall went 12-4 with a 2.48 ERA this season, 9-3, 2.81, in 2022 and pitched in the NCAAs both years. Ole Miss’ Kemp Alderman is ranked No. 5 in power; the Ferriss Trophy winner belted 19 homers this year and hit .376. At 6 feet 3, 250 pounds, he can mash. Worth noting: Mississippi State’s Colton Ledbetter is ranked as the 46th-best overall prospect by BA, second-highest to Gonzalez among state players. He is expected to attend today’s televised ceremony for the first two rounds. … Pittsburgh has the No. 1 pick. Milwaukee has the 18th (and the 33rd), and Atlanta goes 24th.

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