2018 MLB Draft to the Show: Then & Now Ryan Jeffers

David Seifert
Director of College Scouting

Five weeks into the 2020 MLB Season and we’ve already seen 13 debuts by 2018 MLB Draft selections, plus another prospect who went undrafted, but was signed as a free agent after the draft. In total, there have been 176 MLB debuts this summer. Today, we take a look at the amateur report of one of those drafted who has made it to The Show:

Now catching, Ryan Jeffers

To check out our Then & Now series from this past spring featuring 2020 draft prospects, please see Draft HQ/Then & Now.

Ryan Jeffers, C, Minnesota Twins
While Joey Bart (August 25 Then & Now) may have been the highest selected college catcher in the 2018 draft (No. 2 overall), Jeffers was the first to reach the Big Leagues. Signed by Twins area scout Matt Williams, Jeffers made his August 20 debut just a couple minutes earlier than Bart as Jeffers played a home game in Minneapolis and Bart made his Giants' debut in San Francisco.

Drafted in the 2nd round (No. 59 overall) Jeffers signed for a below slot bonus of $800,000, then immediately began to rake in the minor leagues, batting .344 with a .502 SLG% during his 2018 short-season. He continued to square up the baseball during his MLB debut with a 2-for-3 night at the plate. Both hits were singles. The first jumped off the bat with an exit velocity of 105.6 mph, the other, blistered at 104.7. For more on his debut night- Debut Video & Boxscore

THEN 2018 as a College Junior: “Physical, durable build. Right handed hitter can create fear with a physical presence and a swing geared to create loft. Above average bat speed and strength led to 10 home runs in 2017 and 11 already in 2018. Impressive feel for the strike zone, showing good pitch recognition, Jeffers has struck out in 13% of his 2018 plate appearances, while walking in 19%. Balanced, athletic, and working from a tall base on the right side. The hands work near his back ear, with loose waggle in the bat head. Loads with a simple ‘C’ action in the hands, creating lag in the bat head. Short stride, works for extension. Average barrel awareness, but the impact is dangerous when on the barrel. Average base runner, with a feel for angles and situation. Not a clogger, but does not create any threat when on. Behind the plate, good bend through the hips allowing him to be an easy target to throw through. Slides side to side in his setup with ease. Hands work with strength and ease, receiving and presenting the ball well. Too many boxed and tipped balls for a guy that has a chance to receive at a high level in the first two games against Towson. Below average blocker, rarely settling the ball around his frame, late to get to his body in position. Tends to want to block with one side of his body, one knee to the ground. Several two strike pitches that bounced away (none for strikeouts), where he worked from a one-knee, or even two-knees, down on the ground initial receiving position. The arm lacks carry, but shows some feel for accuracy, throwing out 6 of 25 base stealers in 2018 and 11 of 45 in 2017 (36% over the two years). Pop times peaked at 2.00 in infield/outfield, ranged 1.97 – 2.32 between innings, and 2.08 – 2.10 in game. Both in-game opportunities came on fastballs belt high or above. Transfers slightly below the chest, working with a short arm action and slight elbow lead out of the glove. Some fade to throws, working into the baseline. Feet work with a direct path and there is extension through throws. Moved to left field in a blowout during game two. Below average range, but worked under control and first step got him on-line with his route. The bat has to play to continue to move up and it may. The bat is the ticket and it may provide opportunity for a number of roles on a roster. Potential to be a backup catcher with enough athleticism to get a chance to expand his role to a corner outfielder / first baseman, utility type player, with a big presence in a lineup.”


FULL DRAFT REPORT from April 27, 2018

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