Player: Jon Denney
Drafted by: Boston Red Sox (No. 81 overall)
DOB: 9/28/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6'2"/205 lbs
School: Yukon (Okla.) HS
College Commitment: Arkansas
A rare high school catcher who can defend and hit, Jon Denney shined last year during the summer showcase circuit. He was showing plus arm strength and well above-average power during games, causing his stock to soar.
Things have fallen apart a little bit for Denney this spring. His defense behind the plate isn't as sharp as it appeared last year. He has been inconsistent receiving and blocking balls, but the arm strength is still a plus. As long as teams believe they can work with him to remain behind the plate, he could turn into a bargain in this draft with his ability to hit and catch.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average, with the current score first and projected score second.
Uses very short, quick stroke to the ball; good bat path and control allows him to make solid contact; relaxed movement in the box could help his bat play well right away in professional baseball.
Already boasts solid-average power in games; short swing allows him to get around on velocity; drives the ball with authority; still learning to hit the ball to opposite field; slight uppercut at the end of bat path elevates ball, leading to over-the-fence pop already; plus power potential, with 20-25 home runs at peak.
Plate Discipline: 45/55
Recognition of pitches is adequate, at best, right now; experience against better quality stuff will lead to improved discipline and help turn him into above-average/plus hitter; can get caught out front on off-speed pitches, but has strong presence in the box and continues to improve as a hitter.
Well below-average runner; unless he changes position, speed will likely evaporate quicker than most high school players; better runner than the average catcher, though never going to steal bases or go more than station to station.
Not the most agile defender behind the plate but has shown glances of being adequate with the glove; receiving skills are below-average; needs to work on moving around behind the plate to block balls in the dirt; throwing arm is best tool, though accuracy needs to improve.
Plus arm strength; accuracy is solid, though needs more consistency as he moves into pro ball; footwork is decent with quick release and average pop times; arm would play at third base or right field if he has to move off catcher.
MLB Player Comparison: Carlos Santana
Projection: Plus all-around catcher on first-division team. 20-25 HR potential with .260-.270 averages. Occasional All-Star.
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 60%
Before the high school season started, I would have thought that the chances of Denney signing were incredibly high because he had a chance to be taken in the top half of the first round.
Now, while he is still a very good talent, Denney's stock did drop as the draft process moved along, costing him a little money along the way. It would still be a surprise to see him not sign, but a commitment to Arkansas that would give him a chance to play for one of the top programs in the country and re-enter the draft in three years, being able to refine his skills behind the plate, could be an appealing option.