After selecting Kentucky left hander Zack Thompson 19th overall, the Cardinals have dipped into the high school ranks with their second selection. Trejyn (Tre) Fletcher is the man of the hour, a prep outfielder hailing from Deering HS in Portland, Maine. Fletcher was a member of the 2020 Draft class before reclassifying in mid-March.
A Vanderbilt commit, Fletcher possesses first-day tools but is considered a tough sign. In many ways, he is the archetypal athletic prep centerfielder. He boasts plus speed, raw power, and arm strength, as well as a 6’2, 190lb frame that should add strength without sacrificing the ability to play up the middle defensively. Like most in this demographic, however, his tools are well ahead of his skills. He’s raw at the plate, and scouts have concerns over how his hit tool will play after only being exposed to the high school pitching in Maine. It’s a high upside gamble at #58, with signability concerns to boot.
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Much like the first round, I’m lukewarm on this pick. Maybe the better phrase is cautiously optimistic. There’s a 20-20 centerfielder waiting to be unearthed in Fletcher’s toolset, but developmentally he’s a long, long way off on both sides of the ball. If we’ve learned anything from four years of Randy Flores drafts, it’s that he isn’t afraid to shy away from upside players at the top of the draft. The obvious examples are the sliders, Delvin Perez and Nolan Gorman, who were generally thought of as top-10 talents before falling for their own respective reasons. Then there’s the college arms - Dakota Hudson, Griffin Roberts, Steven Gingery - who basically rode one plus-plus or two plus pitches up draft boards. Tonights pick Zack Thompson falls a bit into that bucket as well, albeit not because of a lopsided repertoire but because of injury concerns ala Gingery. You can even consider Scott Hurst as part of the group, seeing as he was a surprisingly tooled college outfielder with significant injury history that represented good value in the Correa-hobbled 2017 Draft. Remember this too - the last time Flores popped a prep outfielder on Day One, it was a somewhat unknown baseball rat from Elk Grove, California who is now tearing up Double-A at 20 years old. That’s not to say that Dylan Carlson is a comparison for Fletcher at all, as Carlson was a skills over tools guy whose athleticism has taken a step forward in pro ball. In fact, they’re kind of polar opposites. All I’m saying is this - the last time Flores showed confidence in nabbing a prep outfielder this high, it worked out mighty well.