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Draft  | Story  | 12/21/2023

MLB Draft: Positional Recap & Preview

Tyler Kotila      Isaiah Burrows      Tyler Henninger     
Positional Recap & Preview: Catchers

As we get into the winter, our PG Draft team will break down each position, going through some of the players who have been first off the board at each position, when they were taken, etc. We’re going to dive into the last few seasons, see where these positions tend to be taken, and follow that up with a look at the 2024 class and some players from this draft class who could be first off the board at their respective positions. 

For this, we looked back at the 2021-2023 MLB Draft Classes to see when each player was taken, trying to look at their respective skill sets and dive into the minds of a big-league front office. We started with catchers, taking a look at who some of the premier backstops have been on draft day at both the prep and college level. This week, we’re going through the premier corner infielders.

The draft team will break down who these prospects were when they were taken and what made them such unique prospects at the time. We’ll also offer some picks for who might be first off the board in 2024.

2021 Draft History: Corner Infielders

Prep: James Triantos, James Madison HS (VA), 56th pick (2nd rd.)

Triantos made the jump into the 2021 draft class and gained some serious interest leading up to his 2nd round selection. Showing two-way ability as a prep, the bat is what really drew scout’s interest. Quality bat speed was shown with feel for the barrel. Triantos showed the potential to become an above-average hitter with some sneaky power if the approach continued to develop. Defensively, the actions were not going to play at shortstop as a pro. A strong arm that stood out on the mound showed the ability to play from the left side and gave some hope Triantos could find a home at third long term. The profile has obvious risks at draft time, but the upside is starting to show, as Triantos was recently named the Arizona Fall League Offensive Player of the Year. -TH

College: Kyle Manzardo, Washington State, 63rd pick (2nd rd.) 

Mazardo immediately jumped into a starting role as a freshman for Washington State and never looked back. The left-handed hitting slugger posted strong numbers all three seasons in college. An advanced bat really stood out during the 2021 season. Manzardo showcased a potential above-average hit tool with plenty of thump behind it. A mature approach showed the ability to work counts and draw walks often, giving yet another element to the profile. The ability to consistently find the barrel and drive balls with authority to all fields drew plenty of interest despite limited defensive upside at first base.  -TH

2022 Draft History: Corner Infielder

Prep: Xavier Isaac, 29th Overall, Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays took the first prep corner infielder in the 2022 MLB Draft, a class headlined by Jackson Holliday and Druw Jones as the first two picks off the board. However, the first corner infielder to be selected was Xavier Isaac. He was considered a first baseman/outfielder as a prospect but has stayed true to the first baseman role within the Rays' organization. Isaac was committed to the University of Florida as a prep player but instead turned pro after being selected by the Rays at the end of the first round. He was a left-handed bat with a ton of juice. He was physical in the batters' box and was able to lift the ball often. The North Carolina native had the strength to impact well with the barrel. He has since jumped into the Rays organization, where he's spent most of his time between Single-A and High-A. He brings that physical left-handed stick to the lineup still, being able to do damage in the air when he's on the barrel. He patrols first base in the minors and projects to stick there long term as things stand. - Tyler Kotila

College: Jacob Berry, 6th Overall, Miami Marlins

On the collegiate side of things, the Miami Marlins were the first team to grab a corner infielder. In the 2022 MLB Draft, Jacob Berry was selected as the sixth overall pick out of LSU’s program. Berry was a highly touted switch-hitting third baseman for the Tigers down in Baton Rouge. He swings it from both sides well, with a physical 6-foot, 212-pound frame, and he has continued to show off that strength as he’s gotten into pro ball. In his collegiate days, Berry’s knock on the profile was the defense and athleticism, but he’s been able to lock down a third base role in his time with the Marlins organization, also playing some first base. The true corner infielder should be able to keep advancing through the organization as a corner infielder, letting the bat carry the weight of his profile. The hit-tool was absurd at the college level, and he’s continuing to make improvements as he develops and works through the minors. Berry was one of the premier talents in his draft class, and it’s easy to see why the Marlins jumped on the corner infielder with the sixth-overall pick. - TK

2023 Draft History: Corner Infielders

College: Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest

Wilken absolutely mashed his final season at Wake Forest, en route to being selected No. 18 overall by the Milwaukee Brewers. In a pretty special group of college bats last year, Wilken was arguably the top corner infield prospect with how much impact he brought to the plate with 31 homers on the year. The athlete he is with 70-grade power prowess was rare and he showed it. He has a plus arm at third and some of the easiest juice you could find in the class. -IB

Prep: Aidan Miller, 3B, JW Mitchell HS (FL)

Miller established himself as one of the best prep hit tools in the entire class coming into 2023, and if it weren’t for injury this spring, Miller’s name could of been called even earlier. That said, being the No. 27 overall pick doesn’t hurt and he’s already shown flashes of his offensive capabilities in pro ball. Miller was one of the most gifted athletes with a long track record on the PG circuit. He has real hit/power upside with plus bat speed and late lift in the finish. He stuck at short mostly in the prep ranks but is a well enough athlete with a plus arm and potential plus defense for third. He has all the makings of a middle-of-the-order impact bat. -IB

Looking ahead to 2024 MLB Draft:

Prep: PJ Morlando, Summerville HS (SC)

Morlando ranks amongst the top prep players in the class and could be one of the first prep bats off the board next summer. While he has been put out in the outfield, he likely fits at first base long term. No matter the defensive position, the bat is what carries the profile. Morlando possesses advanced bat to ball skills to go along with plus power power. He consistently barrels balls from the left side of the plate and has potential middle of the order ability. Whenever a prep player is likely stuck at a corner spot long term, they better mash. Morlando can do just that and more.  -TH

Prep: Andre Modugno, 3B, IMG Academy (FL), Duke commit

Looking at the 2024 draft class, there are a lot of college bats at the top, but one of the prep players who could end up making a move up the draft boards this spring is Andre Modugno. The New Jersey native will play his spring ball at IMG Academy down in Florida. He’s committed to Duke but has a chance to be a premier pick in this year’s draft. He’s a corner infielder who can also play outfield. He has a real chance to stick at third base at the next level, with a massive 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame, immense strength, and a real physical presence overall. He’s arguably one of the stronger prep players, and that strength is evident all over the field. He has a cannon for an arm, up to 97 mph on the mound, 97 mph across the diamond, and 100 mph from the outfield. Modugno also hits balls hard, torching them when he’s on the barrel. His best exit velocity in a PG event where we recorded exit velocities was 106 mph. Despite the massive 6-foot-5 frame, he runs a 6.44 60-yard dash as well. There’s a ton to dream on here with the tools Modugno already has in the batters’ box. The combination of strength and athleticism is dangerous, and some of the results he produces at the dish are real fun. He’s often barreling balls up and showing off the juice with budding power that projects to keep improving. The Duke commit uses the whole field and is someone who could move up the draft board and be the first prep corner infielder to come off the board. - TK

Prep: Aiden Harris, 3B, Pro Development Group (VA)

Harris has the gaudiest power and exit velocities to match in the prep class, it’s easy plus power and has 70-grade raw power potential as the hit tool refines. It was on display at National with plenty of eyes in attendance. The physical tools pop, as he’s all of 6-foot-4, 220 pounds with top-of-the-class power. He’s an average fielder with just enough arm strength from a shorter slot at third. He’s young for the class and the upside and the bat jumped off the page at points in ‘23. -IB

College: Charlie Condon, Georgia

Condon is a draft eligible sophomore who jumped onto the scene last year with a massive freshman campaign, where he broke the SEC freshman homerun record with 25 and posted an .800 slugging percentage. A 6-foot-6 frame possesses plenty of strength with room to add even more. Condon utilizes a simple swing from the right side that shows advanced bat speed and easy power. The slugger can punish mistakes and will hit balls out to all parts of the field. With another strong campaign, Condon could very well become a solidified Top-10 pick next summer.  -TH

College: Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest

It only takes a quick glance at our PG Draft Board to see which Corner Infielder we have at the top of the list. Wake Forest’s Nick Kurtz could easily be the first corner infielder off the board, and he might just be the first name off the board. Kurtz has a massive 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame with tools that stand out all over. He’s a plus-defender at first base with a sure glove and athletic movements working around the bag. Listed 1B/OF, Kurtz can handle first base, being able to pick it well. Kurtz also swings it really well. It’s a healthy blend of hit & power tools that can be 70-grade in both categories at its best. He’s got a real fluid stroke that produces loud contact to all parts of the field. He can lift it, handling high-level pitching well and being able to get the job done however he needs to. After a huge season for the Demon Deacons in 2023, another big season could cement his role at the top of the draft board. Regardless, he’s likely to be one of the first names called in next summer’s draft. Heading into the spring, he’ll be looking to back up his 2023 performance and continue showing off the tools before draft day. -TK

College: Cameron Smith, 3B, Florida State

Smith has been touted for his offensive prowess dating to his prep days, and it showed in huge bunches as a freshman last year. The draft-eligible sophomore is a physical well-defined 6-foot-3, 220-pound athlete who can make a long term fit at third. His bat is the calling card with separation out front. It’s plus power that plays to all fields and improved bat-to-ball skills. His physical tools has all the makings of an early round selection come July. -IB