The 2021 MLB Draft will begin on July 11. Today, we will look at Harry Ford, a top-ranked catcher from Kennesaw, Georgia who will most likely hear his name called in the first round of the draft.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Draft Profiles.
Harry Ford, Catcher, North Cobb High School
Weight: 200 lbs.
The No. 13 ranked prospect according to MLB.com will look to be the fifth first-round catcher from the state of Georgia in the past eight years. While he is committed to Georgia Tech, a first-round selection will likely change that very fast. His impressive athletic and instinctive abilities are what have scouts willing to take a high school catcher in the first round, which is always a massive gamble. Let’s take a deeper look into the young catching prospect.
Ford’s best ability at the plate is his fast hands that makes him a threat to hit any pitch to any part of the field. His bat speed is among the most impressive in the draft and that is big praise for someone who just turned 18 years old a few months ago. Not only is he a threat to put the ball anywhere on the field, his smooth, and natural swing creates a significant power threat. While he needs some fine-tuning to become a good power hitter, his well-timed leg kick and natural eye have him a step ahead of most people his age.
Behind the plate, Ford has a very strong sense of the game. His natural athletism and arm strength make him a promising catching prospect. At the Perfect Game All-American Classic, his home-to-second throws clocked in at 85mph, which is very impressive for someone his age. Accuracy on those throws needs some work but whatever system he gets drafted into will clean that up.
One thing that is unique about Ford is his speed for a catcher. Not too many catchers have that plus speed tool. With a 60-yard dash time of 6.42 seconds, Ford’s run ability is comparable to that of J.T. Realmuto. Not many teams can rely on their catcher to score from first on a gapper, or even leg out many doubles. That is an ability that any team would love for their catcher to have.
Whenever you select a high school prospect you understand that it is a long-term project. It might even be more of a project if that high schooler is a catcher. For the most part, Ford has major league bat skills. All he needs is some tuneup in his mechanics. Defensively is where we need to have a conversation. Whoever takes Ford will try and get the most out of him behind the plate that they can. At the end of the day, his player profile is not suited for this position. He translates to more of an outfield spot. This is where his biggest “weakness” comes into play, where should he play? Should he go the Bryce Harper route and just switch to the outfield? Or does he try to break the traditional catcher mold and become a unicorn at that position?
For now, we will focus on his skills as a catcher. Right now, he is an average catcher defensively. He has a great arm and his athletism allows him to easily slide out and block balls in the dirt. However, he relies on that athletism a little too much. Catching is more about the mechanics, not the athletism. The same can be said about his abilities with the bat. He needs more coaching on the little things. The good news is, Ford is not the only young catcher that will need some seasoning in the minors. He will get better, there is no doubt about that. But for now, he lacks polish at the position.
Pro Comparison: Craig Biggio
It is unfair to compare an 18-year-old to a Hall of Famer. It is also hard to try and compare a teenager to any player. However, both were athletic, undersized, and have a great feel at the plate. Biggio’s talents pushed him to second base, which could very well be the case for Ford if he wants to see the majors sooner rather than later. Putting this amount of expectations on the kid is wrong, but the similarities are very noticeable.
Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 23, Cleveland Indians
With some time in college, there is no doubt that Ford can become a potential top-five pick. However, his talent alone will force a team to select him in the first round. The Indians almost never draft for need. They are a team that really appreciates depth over anything. Just look at some of the recent trades they have made. They love to develop their own talent and they are not afraid to flip their top prospects. If Ford falls to this spot, Cleveland is definitely a candidate to select him.
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