<img alt="Good kind of dirtbag: Will Holland isn’t afraid to get dirty, as he aims for a first round selection in this year’s MLB draft.” src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/QpyBUvWmCKSe1beQ0N9ejPNP6Fg=/0x6:1200×806/1310×873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/63690269/Will_Holland.0.jpg” />
The heart of the Auburn Tigers is one of the most toolsy collegiate shortstops in this year’s MLB draft
When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.
Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).
Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).
Baseball America 65
Will Holland’s stats won’t blow too many people away, but he has enough tools to be a likely first round selection in this year’s MLB draft. A native of Lawrenceville, Ga., Holland committed to Auburn as a relatively unheralded recruit and his star has been on the rise since. After undergoing some struggles in his freshman campaign, he really stepped up as a sophomore in 2018. Unfortunately, his junior season is far closer to his freshman year than his sophomore one. Here are his collegiate stats through April 27, 2019:
2017 45 G, 134 AB, .209/.299/.343, 7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBIs, 4-of-4 SB, 15 BB, 31 K
2018 66 G, 249 AB, .313/.406/.530, 18 2B, 0 3B, 12 HR, 52 RBIs, 9-of-11 SB, 28 BB, 49 K
2019 40 G, 145 AB, .207/.358/.324, 5 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 16 RBIs, 13-of-16 SB, 24 BB, 41 K
Holland did enjoy an excellent summer in the wooden-bat Cape Cod League last year: 13 G, 44 AB, .341/.431/.432, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBIs, 4-of-4 SB, 4 BB, 14 K.
Holland is (gasp) a toolsy player, and has yet to figure things out in 2019. On the plus side this year, he is taking more walks, but that’s at the expense of more strikeouts. Holland is an aggressive hitter and has an unconventional swing, but he can put a charge into the ball. He has more power than his 5´11´´, 185-pound frame suggests, and he’s beginning to learn how to use his wheels on the basepaths. Holland’s tools should play at shortstop, provided he can smooth out some of his rough edges.
MLB grades Holland as 60 run, 55 arm and field, 50 power, and 45 hit. It also believes he can be a 20-20 shortstop with above-average defensive skills, provided he continues to refine his game. Baseball America stated that Holland “can make highlight reel plays at shortstop and has both the range and arm strength for the position.” Those grades seem fair (although his hit tool may drop to 40 after this season), as he is not quite as advanced offensively as he is defensively.
The closest White Sox comp for Holland may be Laz Rivera, although Holland may have Rivera slightly beat in all tools except hitting. As noted by MLB Pipeline’s rankings which haven’t adjusted since preseason, Holland was considered a first-round talent to begin the year. Some team is going to take a chance on the shortstop — perhaps in the fifth round or beyond — with the hopes that their coaching staff can reconstruct his swing and help him utilize his immense talent. With the team’s lack of success in fixing players with significant hitting flaws, I wouldn’t count on that team to be the White Sox.
Here’s a video of Holland taking some swings for the USA Collegiate National Baseball Team last June, courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know
Hunter Bishop, Arizona State University OF
Cameron Cannon, University of Arizona 2B/3B
Matt Cronin, University of Arkansas LHRP
Tyler Dyson, University of Florida RHSP
Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy RHSP
Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian (Ala.) H.S. C
Rece Hinds, IMG Baseball Academy (Fla.) 3B
Jason Hodges, Marist (Ill.) H.S. OF-1B
Jack Leiter, Delbarton (N.J.) H.S. RHSP
Chris Newell, Malvern (Pa.) Prep H.S. OF
Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove (Ill.) H.S. RHSP
Adley Rutschman, Oregon State University C
Landon Sims, South Forsyth (Ga.) H.S., RHSP
Andrew Vaughn, University of California, 1B
Matt Wallner, Southern Miss University OF