Player: Daniel Palka
Drafted by: Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 88 overall)
DOB: 10/28/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”/225 lbs.
School: Georgia Tech
Previously Drafted: 2010: Philadelphia Phillies (19th round)
Palka was drafted by the Phillies in the 19th round of the 2010 draft but chose not to sign and ultimately honored his commitment to Georgia Tech. He made an immediate impact as a freshman by batting .297/.375/.556 with 18 doubles and 12 home runs, but he also struck out 71 times in 265 plate appearances (26.8 percent).
The left-handed hitter posted nearly identical numbers the following year, as he batted .303/.380/.550 with 19 doubles and 12 home runs and cut down his strikeout rate to 50 in 274 plate appearances (18.2 percent). However, Palka’s propensity to swing and miss resurfaced during the summer in the Cape Cod League, as he posted a .272 batting average with 11 home runs but fanned 46 times.
That being said, Palka has been a completely different hitter this season. The adjustments he’s made at the plate have resulted in a more consistent and selective approach, and he’s managed to eliminate the problematic strikeouts without sacrificing his power. As of May 28, he was batting .332/.430/.637 with 13 doubles, 17 home runs and an impressive 58/10 K/BB in 59 games.
Palka’s lack of a true position will keep him out of the Day 1 discussion, but his potential to hit for both average and power—especially in a weak draft class—should warrant a look in either the second or third round.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Vastly improved plate discipline and approach this season; left-handed hitter has eliminated some of the swing-and-miss from his game; hit tool projection has improved as a result; still employs highly aggressive approach; can get pull happy; too many components to swing; ability to maintain a consistent approach at the next level will be imperative to overall development; will be challenged with quality offerings low and away.
Strong hands and wrists; above-average bat speed; has always shown plus raw power; improved power frequency while trimming strikeout rate; still has all-or-nothing approach; open stance and low load give his swing some length; ball really jumps off his bat; generates backspin carry; widening his stance could lead to more opposite-field power.
Below-average runner but not a base clogger; limited defensive profile; moves decently once he hits full stride.
Has primarily played first base during last two seasons; fringy projection as a corner outfielder; likely limited to left field; lacks speed and quickness.
Above-average arm strength; has logged 15 innings on the mound over last two seasons; left-handed can bump 90 mph; suitable for left field if team chooses to develop him there.
MLB Player Comparison: Ike Davis
Projection: Ceiling of a solid-average corner outfielder.
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 75%