Sam Schneider | June 10th, 2020
Tonight, Zac Veen expects to have his name called early as arguably the most promising high school prospect in the 2020 MLB draft. Although he has announced a commitment to attend the University of Florida, everyone expects he will be taken in the draft’s top 10 which means the Gators will never see him on their field. Instead, Veen will be launched directly into the world of professional baseball.
Veen has always been proactive. As an underclassman, he began training with the high school team and as an upperclassman he trained with pros, absorbing as much knowledge as possible both in terms of his on-field play and eventually how to add weight and muscle to a frame that is a general manager’s dream.
There are a lot of potential landing spots for the high school star, but I’ll hit the vitals of his game first.
Make sure you check out all our other MLB pre-draft evaluations right here.
Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (FL)
High School Stats: 178 PA, .283/.393/.862, 4HR, 37RBI, 26SB
The 18-year old Veen is a star in the making, thanks to his work ethic. He swings to contact, and in the pros, he stands to hit for average and the potential to develop more power is there thanks to his build and a keen eye at the plate. Veen’s floor is extremely high for a young man that just graduated from high school and consequently, so is his ceiling.
His stance at the plate is legs wide and deceptively passive, with the bat held far back over his shoulder. That said, the kinetic energy is there as he has a bit of a waggle with the lumber and he gets his swing around at a surprising pace for a talent that is so young. Not only that, he has already mastered the step into the swing in a day and age where most young hitters take an enormous one. Instead, Veen has a nice lift on his front leg without being over-the-top and sacrificing bat speed.
As mentioned before, Veen hits for contact with a great eye for the strike zone. He seems to have an idea of how to aim his hits as well, often placing them in no man’s land between outfielders (including over their heads). The patience at the plate is not often seen from a high schooler, as he is content to wait for his pitch. That’s not generally a teachable trait; MLB teams should be drooling over a prospect that already has that sort of discipline in the batter’s box, and they are.
Veen has already played first base before moving to center field. At the next level, his range may limit him and demand a move to one of the corner outfield spots but his baseball acumen leads me to believe there will be no issue with that sort of transition. In fact, he could prove even more valuable for his ability to learn new positions.
I hate to keep hammering the 18-year old narrative here, but I’m going to. For a prospect of this age, his tools are well above the pace of others in the same class. Veen is ahead of plenty of college players as well. However, as was mentioned before, he may need to change positions at the next level, but it certainly does not mean that he will be unable to fill in the center field job when necessary. At the professional level, coaches may try to bring his bat a little closer to the plate pre-pitch. The biggest knock is that his speed is not exactly off the charts, but when the baseball is in the stands and the player is rounding the bases, speed is of little consequence.
This is almost too easy. Obviously, Veen has a long road to travel before making it to the majors but his 6’4 frame and slightly low weight recalls a certain right fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers who also bats left and throws right. At a nearly identical height and weight, Christian Yelich defied questions about his slight frame and is one of the best players in baseball. I expect Veen to try to pack on a few more pounds in the coming years. His eye at the plate, power, and leg kick immediately reminded me of the 2018 National League MVP.
Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 4: Kansas City Royals
The Royals have a fair number of outfielders in their system, but given the current state of a complete rebuild, taking a young player to develop is of little concern. What will be interesting here is if the Baltimore Orioles decide to go in a different direction at number two. If the Orioles take Asa Lacy, I don’t think it is out of the question that the Miami Marlins consider taking the home-state prospect.
Questions and comments?
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