UPDATED 2013 MLB Draft Profile: Cord Sandberg, OF, Manatee HS (FL.)

Cord Sandberg is a toolsy outfield prospect, but a scholarship to play quarterback in the SEC creates a lot of uncertainty with the future of his baseball carrer.

Summary

Cord Sandberg is one of this classes' best overall athletes, and he possesses major upside across the board, but is also committed to play quarterback at Mississippi State.

The lefty has the potential to be a five-tool centerfielder someday, but he's extremely raw, and his commitments are still relatively unknown. He also has a rep of being a hard worker (the "I'm in the best shape of my life" of the draft process), and his father made a brief appearance in the Red Sox system.

If he commits to baseball -- whether it be college, or the draft -- his speed, arm strength and athleticism should all translate fairly easily, but there's obvious questions about his bat and defense (from a pure skills standpoint). He's said to have a quick swing and "plus power potential".

UPDATE (5/30): Five-tool centerfielder may be a little rich, now that I look back at that assessment. He's a good athlete, but he doesn't have blazing speed or a cannon arm. I really like his swing, but he's so raw that it's difficult to project him as an above-average hitter in the future. If all goes according to plan, he'll play good defense in one of the corner OF spots, with good power and a handful of steals.

Major League Ceiling

Above Average Regular

UPDATE (5/30): I think Hunter Pence is a nice comparison for Sandberg's ceiling. He'll never hit close to .300, but flirt with 20-25 home runs every year, play solid defense and be a threat to steal 15-20 bases. His actions so much smoother than Pence's, but whose isn't?

Major League Floor

Fourth Outfielder

UPDATE (5/30): Fourth outfielder is still the correct assessment. Keep in mind, this is "Major League Floor", assuming he makes the Majors.

Projected Draft Round

Keith Law (UR), Baseball America (43), MLB.com (UR), Minor League Ball (UR). Based on talent alone, Sandberg is probably a first-round prospect. But because he's still somewhat iffy on sport/college commitment, and raw, in terms of pure baseball skills, I could see him sliding anywhere from rounds 2-5. If the Astros follow a similar strategy in 2013 that they did in 2012, maybe they could throw a bunch of money Sandberg's way, in the later rounds, stealing him away from football.

UPDATE 5/30: He'll probably go in the first or second round. He won't make it to round 4, despite my previous assessment.

College Commitment: Mississippi State, Will He Sign?

Playing quarterback in the SEC is more desirable than getting paid peanuts in the minor leagues, so we'll see. Some people think he'll sign if he's drafted early enough.

Bibliography

Link to original article.

MLB.com

A two-sport star from the Florida high school ranks, Sandberg has the chance to quarterback at Mississippi State should he choose to go that route. He also has the chance to be a very good, toolsy outfielder at the professional level.

A line-drive gap hitter now, Sandberg projects to have above-average power from the left side of the plate in the future. He runs well and should be a good defensive outfielder. With a big, athletic frame, he reminds some of Josh Hamilton in terms of his body type.

Sandberg will get the chance to show how close he can get to being a similar player if he chooses the diamond over the gridiron.

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