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MLB Draft 2014: Most Intriguing Potential 1st-Round Hitters

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MLB Draft 2014: Most Intriguing Potential 1st-Round Hitters
Mark Ylen/Associated Press

While the 2014 MLB draft is filled with talented pitchers, there are also a few positional players that already look like major league hitters.

From hitters with great plate discipline to prospects with plenty of raw power, there are a few potential first-round players that have promising traits when going to bat. There's a good chance that the top three picks will be pitchers, but there are a few names currently in the discussion in the top 10.

With the draft set to begin Thursday, let's take a look at a few hitters that stand out from the rest of the draft class.

 

Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (California)

While still a young prospect, Alex Jackson already looks like a future power hitter at the next level. At 6'2'' and 215 pounds, Jackson is already big, but it looks like he still has room to add muscle and grow into his frame.

Jackson is arguably the most promising prospect in terms of raw power. As a senior, he hit .400 with 11 home runs, finishing his high school career with 47, according to MaxPreps. His high school coach Sammy Blalock has been very impressed with what he's seen during his time with Jackson.

"He's got unbelievable power for a kid his age," Blalock told AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. "He's a big hitter, and average-wise, too, he's always been up there. He runs really well, and he can throw the ball 90 mph. That's the full package of tools."

The biggest question for Jackson heading into the draft is where he will play in the majors. He's currently a catcher, but teams might want to move him to the outfield. However, as long as he continues to show off his power, teams won't really mind where he plays.

 

Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State

If teams are looking for a player that's already spent a few years in college developing as a hitter, Oregon State junior Michael Conforto will be a very appealing option.

Conforto finished this season with the Beavers with seven home runs and 55 RBI while hitting .351, but what's been most impressive for the junior has been the fact that he's struck out less and walked more each year. The 21-year-old already has impressive plate discipline, which complements his power well.

During his time at Oregon State, Conforto gained a reputation as a dangerous hitter, and according to MLB.com's Phil Rogers, UC Irvine used a four-outfielder shift against him on Monday.

While he's projected to play in left field, Conforto may struggle at the position due to a lack of arm strength and speed. That could change with time in the minors, but it'll be his bat that carries him through the farm system.

 

Kyle Schwarber, 1B/C, Indiana

While whoever drafts Kyle Schwarber may not know what they'll be getting defensively, they'll know for sure what their getting at the plate, and that's a ton of power.

Over the past two seasons with the Indiana Hoosiers, Schwarber put up an impressive 32 home runs with 102 RBI. For a player with as much power as Schwarber has, he was surprisingly patient at the plate, drawing 44 walks while striking out just 30 times in 59 games this year.

What makes Schwarber so dangerous at the plate is his short but powerful 6'0'', 240-pound frame along with his terrific bat speed. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports via David Woods from The Indianapolis Star, Schwarber's power is helping him move into the top half of the first round.

At just 6'0'', Schwarber will probably be limited to either catcher or first base at the next level, but it'll take time before he's a solid player at either position. On the other hand, his bat looks ready to go, and that should have teams excited.

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