Wes Kath Draft Profile
The 2021 Major League Baseball draft, scheduled for Sunday, July 11, has more talented high school shortstops than usual. One is the 2020-21 Gatorade Arizona Baseball Player of the Year, Wes Kath from Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale. Several Gatorade High School Players of the Year have gone on to have successful careers in the majors, such as Derek Jeter (1991-92, Michigan), Jon Lester (2001-02, Washington), David Price (2003-04, Tennessee), Clayton Kershaw (2005-06, Texas), Rick Porcello (2006-07, New Jersey), and Kris Bryant (2009-10, Nevada).
Kath, a 6’3”, 200 lb. third baseman, ranks #34 on MLB.com’s draft board. Perfect Game has him at #21 overall and #2 among third basemen. He has, according to Perfect Game, a “loose left-handed stroke with present barrel skills.” Kath also “still shows room to project more power as he continues to fill out his large, lean build with the ability to continue to impact the ball at a high rate.”
The scouting grades for Kath are 55 Hit, 45 Power, 45 Run, 60 Arm, 50 Field, and 50 Overall. MLB.com’s scouting report said, “He showed the ability to impact the baseball repeatedly at a number of events against very good competition. There have been times in the past where he’s been more of a defensive hitter, but he attacked the ball more this summer and there’s size and strength to hope for more power if he can continue to be aggressive at the plate.”
Kath destroyed Arizona high school pitching in 2021 as he led Desert Mountain — alma mater of Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly — to the Class 5A state championship. He batted .486 with 11 home runs, 29 RBI, 34 runs scored, and a greater than .620 OBP.
The only concern for Kath is that he “tends to need to set and throw to be accurate.” This is why all major projections have him moving from shortstop to third. There was a second concern — his verbal commitment to play at Arizona State — but the coach who recruited him, Tracy Smith, has been fired. Because of that, the possibility of Kath not signing with the team who drafts him has dwindled.
MLB.com’s scouting report said that some see Kath as “a slightly more athletic version of Red Sox prospect Triston Casas, perhaps with a bit less power.” At 6’3”, 200 lbs., he is of a similar height, weight, and build to Erik Gonzalez of the Pittsburgh Pirates. There are several left-handed-hitting third basemen around, also, although it’s not incredibly common. Active ones include Cavan Biggio, Rafael Devers, Brock Holt, Ryan McMahon, Mike Moustakas, and Kyle Seager; Hall of Fame legends include Wade Boggs, George Brett, and Eddie Mathews.
Embed from Getty Images
Derek Jeter, Jon Lester, David Price, Clayton Kershaw, Rick Porcello, Kris Bryant, Merrill Kelly, Triston Casas, Erik Gonzalez, Cavan Biggio, Rafael Devers, Brock Holt, Ryan McMahon, Mike Moustakas, Kyle Seager, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Eddie Mathews