In 2017, Huntington Beach High School in Southern California saw Nick Pratto get drafted in the first round. In 2020, they have another potential high draft pick. Jake Vogel, a right-handed hitting outfielder, will not go in the first round. However, as the 82nd-best prospect, according to MLB.com, he has a legitimate shot at being a third-round pick.
Huntington Beach High School is an established baseball powerhouse. That reputation helped Vogel gain exposure in 2020 after missing the showcase circuit in 2019. Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut the season down, Vogel, a UCLA commit, was catching the eyes of scouts and moving up draft boards.
He is undersized. He only stands five-feet, eleven-inches tall, while weighing 165 pounds. Despite his size, he brings a set of tools to the table more unique than most prospects.
Jake Vogel can fly and there is no denying that. His speed is given a 70/80 grade, and he occasionally runs fast enough times that warrant an 80. Scouts feel he is one of the fastest players in this draft. He runs a 6.15 60-yard dash, and he has recorded home-to-first times of 4.1.
He has great potential defensively. His speed and athleticism give him great range in centerfield, and he should stick at the position professionally. Arm strength, graded 60/80, is a plus in his game, and his range, foot work, and arm make him one of the best defenders in the draft.
Vogel is a decent hitter, as well. His hit tool grades as an above-average 50/80, and many scouts feel he will hit at the next level. His swing is simple. It is short and compact, and he displays good control of the barrel as he brings it through the zone. His lower half helps him generate good bat speed.
This helps him make a lot of contact. Once he connects, the ball comes off the barrel well, and he drives it to the gaps. Scouts see a plethora of triples in his future.
Although Vogel can put the bat on the ball and drive it to the gaps, by no means is he a power hitter. Scouts give his power a below-average grade at 40/80. As of right now, he moreso fits the description of a scrappy leadoff hitter than a threat in the middle of the order.
Despite the high praise about his speed and defense, the ceiling is not high on Vogel. His overall grade from scouts is 45/80. He has the tools to be a contributor professionally, but he does not come with the upside that other top prospects possess.
His commitment to UCLA is worth considering for teams. Remember, Vogel missed the 2019 summer showcase circuit, but still impressed enough in an abbreviated season to be a probable third-round pick. Therefore, there is a real possibility that he makes it to UCLA campus in the fall in order to continue developing his draft stock.
Baseball fans have seen a speedy, undersized outfielder like Jake Vogel before. Currently with the San Francisco Giants organization, Billy Hamilton shares a lot of the same tools as Vogel. Both men have similar builds and can run. Hamilton was a 80/80-graded runner when he was prospect, so Vogel is a tick behind him in the speed category.
What hurt Hamilton once he reached MLB was his inability to get on base. Vogel should be a better hitter than Hamilton as his hit tool is already more developed than Hamilton’s was as a prospect. Also, neither player is considered a power threat.
If Vogel’s hitting ability translates the way that scouts think it can, he can wreak havoc on the base paths in MLB for years to come and play a solid defensive centerfield.
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