Draft | Top Prospects | 5/5/2011

50 in 50: Mikie Mahtook

Allan Simpson        
Photo: LSU
Mikie Mahtook
OF / Louisiana State

Bats-Throws:                            R-R
Height/Weight:                         6-1/195
Hometown:                               Lafayette, La.
Previously Drafted:                   Marlins ’08 (39)
Birthdate:                                 Nov. 30, 1989

SCOUTING REPORT: Of all the elite position prospects in this year’s draft, Mahtook is one of the few whose offensive production has not been adversely impacted by the introduction of stricter bat standards at the college level. He leads a disappointing 29-17 Louisiana State team (7-14 in Southeastern Conference play) by a wide margin in every meaningful offensive category. Through 46 games, Mahtook was hitting .361-12-44 with a .697 slugging average and 25 stolen bases. Those numbers are in contrast to the line he posted in 61 games as a sophomore at LSU, when he hit .335-14-50 with a .623 slugging average and 22 stolen bases. Mahtook’s improvement speaks volumes to both his superior athleticism and ongoing evolution as one of the top all-around offensive players in this year’s draft. When Mahtook entered LSU three years ago, his reputation was mostly that of a highly-regarded quarterback prospect. He had participated in the combine workout at the prestigious Army All-American Football Game after the 2007 high school season, and his late father Mike and uncle Robbie had once played football for the Tigers. Mahtook, however, had missed most of the last two football seasons in high school with a broken leg and broken arm, and was determined to play baseball only when he committed to attend LSU. Mahtook’s raw athleticism was readily evident at the time as he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds for football recruiters, which is equivalent to top-of the scale speed on the baseball field. He also had above-average arm strength and raw power potential. But as tools-oriented as Mahtook was from the start of his college career, his pure baseball skills at the time lagged significantly behind other prospects. In particular, his approach at the plate was at an elementary stage of development. He had a stiff, inconsistent swing path and a dead-pull approach to hitting. But he has made huge strides at the plate in three seasons at LSU, notably in his ability to make adjustments to wood, and now ranks as one of the most-accomplished hitters in the 2011 draft class. Mahtook has excellent bat speed and has developed a tight radius to his swing that enables him to hit with power to all fields. His overall approach to hitting has also shown vast improvement. In contrast to an undesirable 14:41 walk-to-strikeout mark for the Tigers as a freshman, that ratio was 34:29 in early May, and he led his team in walks. With his general maturity as a hitter, Mahtook has become one of the elite five-tool athletes in this draft. He can cover center field from gap to gap with his superior speed, and his natural arm strength has enabled him to switch seamlessly from center to right field throughout his career at LSU and in summer ball. Not only is he now an accomplished base stealer, but he can go from first to third as efficiently as anyone. His combination of athleticism, tools, instincts and approach makes him a solid bet to go somewhere in the middle of the first round.

Projected Draft Position: Mid first round.


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