Though it may not match 2013's epic prep catching class that saw Reese McGuire and Nick Ciuffo both go in the first round with the now-embattled Jon Denney going early on day 2, 2014 is rife with talented young backstops in its own right. One such player is Libertyville High's Evan Skoug, who is a Texas Christian commit. A mountain behind the plate at 5'11", 200 lbs., Skoug has big time potential in his bat and could make a push for an early-round selection.
It can be difficult for prospects from states like Illinois, Skoug's homeland, to put themselves on the national map, but, following in the footsteps of past Illinois prospects, such as Minooka product and top Astros prospect Mike Foltynewicz, Skoug has earned a scholarship from a top program and heavy MLB interest on the back of his power bat.
Skoug's lefty swing generates monster pop with textbook extension and burst from his lower half. His frame is maxed out wonderfully and his ability to drive the ball will be questioned by few. He barrels the ball with consistency and his bat speed compensates for his swing's long path. A left handed bat with power is a valuable thing, and when it is in the hands of a catcher, all the better. Skoug's pop is his mealticket, and he likely has future 20-30 home run power if he develops his contact hitting as scouts hope.
Behind the dish, Skoug has more to work on. His broad build is ideal for a backstop, and he shows solid athleticism getting out of his crouch. However, he wastes some motion in his pop and his arm strength is a bit-below average. This is surprising given his muscular upper half, and some mechanical tweaks could help him uncork some harder throws. Though he's a bit raw as a catcher, he has the defensive tools to handle the load as a starter down the road and shows some impressive natural talent as a receiver.
Skoug will be a player that teams need to be patient on if he signs out of high school, but his potential is sure to intrigue teams. His ability to hit for contact and handle the defensive duties involved in being a starting catcher will need significant polish, but the ceiling could justify a high selection.
If he hits his ceiling, Skoug can be an every day catcher who can hit 20+ home runs annually. If his development plateaus, he could develop into a Tyler Flowers-esque backup behind the dish with some pop off the bench.
Projected Draft Round
Depending on how the league gauges his signability, Skoug could go in the second to third round range or slide past round 10.
Will He Sign?
As a high schooler not projected to go in round 1 with a commitment to a top program, Skoug could command some money, but he should go high enough to get a solid offer.