The 2021 MLB Draft will begin on July 11, 2021. Let’s take a look at one of the top college bats in the University of Florida’s Jud Fabian. The right-handed-hitting outfielder from Ocala, Flordia has tools across the board and looks to go in the late first round.
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Jud Fabian, Outfielder, Florida
Weight: 180 lbs.
2019: 56 G, .232/.353/.411, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 32 R, 7 SB
2020: 17 G, .294/.407/.603, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 8 R, 2 SB
2021: 56 G, .257/.374/.584, 20 HR, 46 RBI, 51 R, 6 SB
Cape Cod League (2019-20): 54 G, .294/.293/.506, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 38 R, 9 SB
Jud Fabian would have been a top prospect in the 2019 draft out of Trinity Catholic High School, but he decided to graduate early and enrolled at the University of Florida in January 2019. While the Florida centerfielder had an up-and-down college career, he still showed the potential to be a top talent at the next level.
The potential with the bat is undoubtedly there, as he hits fastballs very well. The power will improve even more as he swings at his pitches and just “walks into one”. When he makes contact, it has the chance to go a long way and the pitcher better watch his lips. Fabian is strong in the field, as he is able to read the ball off the bat and track balls with the best of them, while also having a strong arm. He has the talent to be able to stick in center field in the pros. His plus speed also helps there and on the basepaths. Even though he won’t be seen stealing many bases, the threat is still there.
Fabian will certainly hit mistakes, but there are a lot of holes in his swing. He has a tremendous struggle adjusting to and staying back on offspeed pitches. When pitchers at the next level see that and how well he hits fastballs, he won’t get may to hit until he can adjust. His strikeout rate in the college ranks has been extremely high, at about 25 percent. As the 2021 season moved on, however, he seemed to have improved his swing-and-miss tendencies, staying less open against sliders. Fabian is one of the younger college prospects in this year’s draft – he won’t be 21 until September – so as he gets older he should get more mature and be able to lay off pitches better.
Pro Comparison: Byron Buxton
The Minnesota Twins center fielder has finally started to break out this season after the Twins drafted him second overall in the 2012 draft. He came out of Appling County High School in Baxley, Georgia, and has had a lot of swing-and-miss in his game as well. Buxton always has had five-tool potential but took a while to adjust to big-league pitching. Fabian doesn’t have the blazing speed that Buxton has, but all the other tools are pretty much at the same level. If he can improve his swing and adjust to the breaking stuff, Fabian could develop and break out quicker than Buxton.
Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 25, Oakland Athletics
The A’s would be getting extremely good value here if Fabian can improve his hitting ability. Oakland has a lot of low-floor, but high-ceiling outfielders in their system, and Fabian would be another. One of them should be bound to work out. The risk is very high, but so is the potential reward if the club believes he will tap into his hit tool to even up with the other four.