The Cleveland Guardians have selected outfielder Chase DeLauter out of James Madison. With an impact bat that performed both in college and the Cape Cod League, he is one of the best college hitters of the 2022 draft.
Here’s what MLB Pipeline had to say about him:
The best player by far to come out of James Madison University has been Billy Sample, a tenth-round pick back in 1976. After hitting extremely well in abbreviated seasons in 2020 and 2021, then tying for the Cape Cod League lead in home runs last summer, DeLauter has the chance to become the first true first-rounder in the history of the school and surpass Sample’s big league production. He was well on his way to cementing that position with a .437/.576/.828 line in 24 games when he broke his foot in April sliding into second base.
DeLauter could be a middle-of-the-order type of hitter. He’s put up gaudy numbers at JMU, beating up the pitching in the mid-major Colonial Athletic Conference. He has at least plus raw power and even though there’s a little drift to his lower half that causes him to be more of a front-foot hitter at times, he’s so big and strong he can still out-leverage pitching. Some might question the length in his swing path and some scouts point to being overmatched against Florida State to start the season as proof that it won’t work against better pitching, but he had no problem getting to his power with wood on the Cape, and the fact he has more walks than strikeouts in his career points to a solid approach.
DeLauter runs well, especially for his size, which helps him now in center field, though most see a move to a corner in the future. He’s shown a strong arm that has fired 90-92 mph fastballs as a pitcher in college, but has played more as average in the outfield, with a power profile that would fit well in right field.