IF Throw: 98 MPH (via Perfect Game)
College commitment: LSU
The first prep prospect I’ve profiled thus far this offseason, Hinds’ natural ability is immediately evident. The young slugger is highly athletic for his size and has strength beyond his years, zipping balls across the diamond at a mid-90s clip and showing present home run power. Like most athletic prep infield prospects, Hinds is a shortstop, but due to his frame, it is probably more likely than not that he will move to the hot corner at the pro level. His power is a calling card, grading an easy plus.
In the field, Hinds is impressive. Were it not for his large frame, he could likely handle shortstop well given his combination of smooth actions and soft hands. He has a quick transfer and looks comfortable throwing from a variety of bases. Though he may not be as mobile as he continues to fill out, he currently covers a good deal of range on the dirt despite not being a great straight-line runner. Given Hinds’ ability with the leather, I don’t think it’s a total impossibility that he plays shortstop for some time in pro ball. While he is likely to outgrow the position, he handles it well at present. His arm strength is also a major asset, giving him a second easy plus tool.
As a hitter, Hinds is easy to get excited about. Even with some projection left in his 6’4” frame, Hinds has already made waves with his prodigious pop in showcase events as a junior, in which he played up with the senior class. He has a longer, power oriented swing path, but very quiet hands and bat speed that seems to come out of nowhere. He is presently mostly a pull hitter, and can be inconsistent in making hard contact. I like his setup at the dish, though, and his bat speed should allow him to punish even premium velocity. With some added polish, I think Hinds has the potential to develop an average hit tool, which will be more than enough for his power to play.
Though he likely won’t stay up the middle, Hinds has more than enough raw ability to become a first-division regular at a corner. Should his hitting skills continue to improve, Hinds projects as a heart of the order bat who holds down his position defensively. I think his swing and approach need less work than the average power-first prep prospect, and he holds one of the higher ceilings in the prep class on the offensive side.
Projected Draft Round
Hinds projects to go somewhere in the first round, with most ranking him towards the back.
Does he fit the Astros?
The Luhnow front office hasn’t shied from prep hitters in the first round, having selected Carlos Correa first overall and Kyle Tucker fifth, and we have seen them target power early as well. He’s not among the first names I’d suggest as way-too-early projections, but he’s somewhere on the list.