Mississippi State signee Chase Vallot, the top ranked high school catcher from Lafayette, Louisiana, was drafted No. 40 overall by the Kansas City Royals Thursday night.
June 6, 2014 5:15:30 AM
STARKVILLE-- The first player drafted with ties to the Mississippi State baseball program was one of the best power hitting high school prospect.
MSU signee Chase Vallot, projected as the best high school catching prospect from Lafayette, Louisiana, was drafted No. 40 overall to the Kansas City Royals Thursday night in the 2014 MLB draft.
MSU head coach John Cohen left little doubt Vallot would be able to be signed away from his scholarship offer to MSU acknowledging that his biggest skill set is in short supply in the 2014 draft class.
"Power is his game and he has it to the point that he becomes instantly attractive to every team in this draft," Cohen said Wednesday. "When you can drive the ball out of big league ballparks with wood bats already at his age, you're going to get drafted high enough to make at the very least a difficult decision."
Vallot is the third youngest prospect in the 2014 draft class as he won't be 18 till the end of the summer but his raw power has already been on display by winning the home run derby at Perfect Game National Showcase at the Metrodome last June finishing second in the Under Armour home run derby in Wrigley Field in August.
Vallot had 62 RBIs in 36 games for his high school team with a .545 batting average. He hit 13 home runs and 15 doubles. He was named the Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year, helping the Cougars win the Class 4A state championship.
"Real big power," said Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg. "We had him here at our pre-Draft workout and he hit the furthest drive we've seen hit here in our pre-Drafts -- and we've had some big names here."
Vallot is expected to sign with the Royals for around the slot value for the pick of $1,420,800 and forego his scholarship offer to MSU.
The only possible knock on Vallot was scouts questioning his ability to remain at catcher defensively but the Royals organization wants to let him try to remain behind the plate as long as possible.
"We look at him, obviously, as catching first and we believe that's the position he's going to play. The bat was special, a unique bat. He's only 17 years old and his makeup is outstanding. It's a pretty good package," Goldberg said.
Vallot wasn't the only player with ties to a college program in Mississippi selected by the Royals. Foster Griffin, a high school left-hander from Orlando, Fla., was the 28th selection of the draft by Kansas City on Thursday night. Griffin is signed to Ole Miss and the Royals received that pick as compensation for the Braves signing free agent pitcher Ervin Santana.
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