Now that the college baseball season has ended, all eyes turn to the MLB Draft. MLB is unique in that both high schoolers and certain college players are eligible, so the draft impacts both recruiting and roster construction. College players who have completed three seasons of college ball OR are 21 on draft day are eligible and have until 5 PM EST on August 1st to reach agreements with their drafting teams or return to college for their senior seasons. Moreso than the other major sports, money is the ultimate deciding factor in the MLB Draft. Top 100 talents out of high school may fall too late rounds or go undrafted entirely based on expected bonus demands, and draft-eligible college seniors frequently receive smaller signing bonuses due to the lack of negotiating leverage they possess once exhausting their college eligibility.
A fitting place to start these scouting reports on the Auburn baseball standouts is with Auburn first baseman Sonny DiChiara.
When he transferred from Samford to Auburn for his senior year of baseball, DiChiara was fulfilling a lifelong dream of playing in the SEC. Son of a Diamond Doll, the “Thicc King” dreamed of late-night SEC Tournament games in Hoover and playing in Plainsman Park as a child, but even his dreams couldn’t have been as great as his 2022 season was for the Tigers. DiChiara led the nation in on-base percentage (.549) and walks per game (1.11), tied for first in walks (68, in 61 games), and led the SEC in batting average (.383), on-base (.549), and slugging (.777) with a top four finish in home runs (22). Becoming a fan favorite, his walk-up music of “Che La Luna” became the soundtrack of the season, not only being heard for every one of his at-bats, but played in opposing stadiums and even as the Auburn team celebrated the Regional clinching victory against UCLA with a lap around the stadium. With a Super-Senior year available should he choose to take it, it is widely believed he will forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the MLB Draft.
.383/.549/.777, w/ 79 hits in 206 at-bats. 59 RBIs (1st on team), 22 HRs (1st), 59 runs scored (1st). 55 strikeouts to 68 walks.
MLB Scouting Report
“Dangerous power to all fields. Many of his HRs come off of fastballs left over plate on hitter’s counts. Will battle the entire at-bat, but smart pitch mix and good location can give you a chance to get him out. Velocity away and up or off the plate can work. Would rather walk him than give him a chance to beat you”
MLB Draft Preview
Largest delta in his projections of any draft-eligible on the roster. Have seen as high as 49, as low as >250.
- The Athletic: #49
- Baseball America: #192
- Prospects Live: #219
- MLB.com: Unranked
Pros: Plus-plus raw power, track record of SEC production, demolishes left-handed pitching
Cons: Will turn 23 in August, struggles against well-located righty breaking pitches, big body (6’1, 263) and lack of speed point towards DH in waiting. Defense at 1B is fringe at best.
Day two signing (rounds 3-5) as a money-saving college player.
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