Picked in the first round of last year's draft, shortstop Jake Hager did not hesitate to start his professional baseball career. The 19-year-old quickly joined Rookie League ball, finishing his short season with a .269 average and 17 RBIs through 193 at-bats.
Hager's a pretty good all-around hitter with a great plate approach and some pop in his bat from a smooth line-drive swing.
Baserunning-wise, Hager is a decent runner with average to above-average speed. He hasn't shown much intelligence on the basepaths yet, but he'll likely become a better baserunner with experience.
Hager is a solid overall defender at short, and probably has the tools to stick to the position in the future. He has a strong arm and good reactions, which is why a future at third base is also a possibility at the moment.
His range is a bit below average, which is one reason why he could have better futures at second or third.
If one thing has been established during Hager's brief time in the minors, it's that he is a true hard worker. Hager puts in 110 percent into every game and practice and always plays with hustle.
His outstanding worth ethic makes him a great fit in the Rays organization and gives him a pretty good shot at a shortstop future. I believe Hager has what it takes to take up the challenge of playing shortstop at the big-league level, but he'll still be a talented player at second or third.