2013 Draft: Hunter RenfroeBy
The 2013 amateur draft will be held from June 6-8 this year, and between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Hunter Renfroe | OF
Originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 31st round of the 2010 draft, Renfroe didn’t sign and instead followed through on his commitment to Mississippi State. He went into the weekend with a .414/.483/.828 batting line with 11 homers, 16 walks, and 19 strikeouts in 32 games after managing a .242/.318/.355 batting line during his first two years with the Bulldogs.
Renfroe, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 216 lbs., stands out immediately because of his right-handed power. He has arguably the most pop in the draft class and is capable of driving the ball out of any part of any park. His overall offensive game has taken a big step forward this spring and he’s now among the best all-around hitters in the nation, with quick hands and a plan at the plate. Renfroe was one of those “has the high-end tools but needs to learn how to use them” guys for a while, selling out for power and struggling to make contact.
Defensively, Renfroe offers a big-time arm — he ran his fastball up to 96 as a reliever last spring — and enough speed and athleticism to handle center fielder, though right field might be his best long-term position. Renfroe caught in high school and as a freshman with Mississippi State, but a move back behind the plate is unlikely. Although the defensive tools are solid, he’s clearly a bat-first prospect. There are plenty of videos on YouTube, and you can see above he’s already got the bat flip part of his game down pat.
Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Renfroe as the 32nd best prospect in the draft recently while Keith Law (subs. req’d) did not include him among his most recent top 50 draft prospect rankings. However, during his chat last week Law did say he would “be a definite first-round pick if the draft were today” because of his offensive improvement. The Yankees had special assistant Jim Hendry on hand to watch the outfielder this weekend according to Kendall Rogers, so we know Renfroe is on the team’s radar. College hitters tend to climb draft boards quickly due to strong performance more than any type of player, so the Bombers might not even get a chance to draft Renfroe with one of their three first round selections (26th, 32nd, 33rd) in a few weeks.