Featured image of Trent Caraway by Rich Biesterfeld

Every year of the draft offers an opportunity to identify certain players that you just believe in. Regardless of outside rankings, I choose a handful of players that I believe will be excellent major leaguers. In 2021 I latched on to James Triantos, Josh Hartle, and Thatcher Hurd. Last season it was Zach Neto, Drew Gilbert, and Cam Collier. What will be in store for these players? We’ll have to see.

Colin Houck, SS, Parkview (HS), GA

I believe in Colin Houck and I don’t care who knows it. Offensively, Houck shines with the ability to battle against tough competition. He generates power but also shows above-average hit. He currently drives the ball gap to gap, but projects for future above-average hit and power. That power currently is to his pull side, but Houck also shows an impressive ability to adjust swing planes for success. My concerns lie in his plate discipline as Houck expands the zone more often than ideal. The worry also is that he may outgrow shortstop, but I’d rather take a chance on a player who has all the athletic traits for the position and worry about him growing later.

Colt Emerson, SS, Glenn (HS), OH

Emerson entered the season as a top ten overall prospect in my draft ranking and he’s made that ranking hold up. Emerson possesses one of the best hit tools in the high school class, which is a critical component into how evaluate hitters, especially prep players. I have been impressed with Emerson’s actions at shortstop and believe he has a chance to play the position at the next level. The real question from some is how much power does Emerson get to in the pros. But I don’t buy into that concern as he has shown he can get to power and he doesn’t turn 18 until after the MLB Draft. To me, Colt Emerson gives me Jake Cronenworth vibes. I’m very in on him.

Trent Caraway, 3B, JSerra Catholic (HS), CA

Caraway keeps impressing me the more I watch him and I can’t shake it. He’s a definite gut-feel player in this class. Caraway had an incredible career with JSerra that culminated in his Gatorade Player of the Year award for the state. Beyond the awards, Caraway just hits. He has an impressive approach at the plate and will drive the ball to all fields. It’s a compact, balanced swing. I don’t know where Caraway ultimately will be drafted, but I’d take him in the first round, no questions asked.

Brock Vradenburg, Michigan State 1B

“BV” is a huge, imposing player, standing 6’7”, but plays under control and is an agile runner for his size. The classic, hulking first baseman profile gives off the impression he would strikeout, but Vradenburg controls the zone and doesn’t swing and miss. Vradenburg is the ultimate throwback. He’ll launch to his pull side and shoot the ball the other way down the line. This. This is the profile of a player that succeeds. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him in a few seasons knocking on the door to the big leagues led by a patient approach, good contact, and developing power.

Garrett Forrester, 1B, Oregon State

I had the privilege of watching Forrester during his time at Oregon State. His nickname is GForce, which, frankly is incredible. This is a first base only profile, but he’s a rock solid draft prospect. Forrester does everything you want from a college hitter. He makes excellent swing-decisions, being more than willing to just take a walk rather than expand the zone. He hits the ball hard often. And he makes contact at an above-average clip. Forrester would often get pitched around and there was a sense of certainty when he came up in key moments. I have the feeling that wherever on Day 2 that a team drafts Forrester, it’ll feel low in hindsight.

Who are your Gut-feel guys?

The best part of the draft is making your call on who you believe in and watching it all happen down the line. So who are your players?