5 candidates for the Texas Rangers’ first round selection in 2022
#4: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison University (VA)
James Madison has never produced a true first-round draft selection, and Chase DeLauter is about to put that statistic in the rear-view mirror. He is one of the best players to ever emerge from the program, excelling at getting on base and putting a loud bang into his swings.
PROS: Plate discipline, size
DeLauter only just turned 20 in October of 2021, and he is listed at 6’4″ and 250 lbs on Baseball Reference’s page for him. Guys with that build, at that age, with his level of production…. they don’t exactly grow on trees. Although his resume is a little brief for some people’s taste, DeLauter has made the most of his time at James Madison, slashing .386/.508/.723 during his sophomore season there in 2021, and .298/.397/.589 in the ’21 summer Cape Cod League season.
Between two seasons at James Madison in the Colonial League and one in the CCBL, DeLauter has accumulated 184 total bases through 293 at-bats. He tied for the lead in home runs on his CCBL team and was well clear of first place in total bases, and he has 55 walks to 42 strikeouts in his short semi-pro career. DeLauter has serviceable wheels, especially considering his size frame, and can fire around 90 mph on his throws. I would not be surprised at all if this guy goes first overall in the draft – I hope he does not, or this whole article is kind of moot – and he definitely has the potential to be a powerful threat from the outfield in the Majors very quickly. And boy, could the Texas Rangers use outfield help.
CONS: Position shifting
Because of his frame, DeLauter has a good bit of versatility in terms of where he’ll end up fielding. His arm is solid, he has reliable fundamentals, he’s even adequately speedy for his size, but some scouts forsee him eventually moving to corner infield at some point. You don’t really see 250 lb. center fielders in baseball, and although a lot of his weight is pure power and strength, his arm is good enough to play pretty much anywhere; so, it’s not really a drawback (or con) to his profile as much as it is an unknown. Which could be a good thing!