Chase DeLauter was not highly recruited out of High School and ultimately made his way to James Madison University in Virginia. He was originally viewed as a two-way player, but his bat has since surpassed his pitching skills. Somewhat of an underdog story, DeLauter looks to hear his name called in the first round this year. Let’s see what the big left-handed slugger brings to the diamond.
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Chase DeLauter, Outfield, James Madison
Weight: 235 lbs.
College Stats 2020-2022: 66 G, .402/.520/.715, 15 HR, 24 SB, 71 R, 70 RBI
Cape Cod Stats 2021: 34 G, .298/.397/.589, 9 HR, 5 SB, 27 R, 21 RBI
DeLauter had his 2020 season cut short by COVID and his 2022 season ended prematurely by a broken ankle. Despite all of that, the JMU centerfielder showed off the all-around skills that have him in the first-round conversation. However, even though he put up gaudy numbers with the Dukes, some scouts believe DeLauter simply feasted on lesser competition. That is until he dominated on the Cape with the wood bat.
DeLauter is a well-built left-handed hitter with plenty of natural power. He has good bat-to-ball skills and can drive the ball wherever it is pitched with excellent plate coverage. What makes him an especially dangerous hitter is his plate discipline. Over his 100 games between college and the Cape, DeLauter walked 83 times to just 63 strikeouts. He is selective and waits for a pitch he can crush.
DeLauter runs well for his size and can stay in centerfield at least early in his career. His long strides allow him to cover plenty of ground, and he has an above-average arm that routinely sat in the low-90s off the mound. That arm will play in right field if he has to move there, and his bat will play anywhere.
The big question surrounding DeLauter’s profile is if he can hit upper-level pitching. He pummeled the mid-major pitching in the Colonial Athletic Conference, and although he played well on the Cape, it is still a small sample size. There is no doubt about the power. It is DeLauter’s unorthodox swing that has some scouts wondering if he can handle tough breaking stuff and high velocity pitching. His is a front-foot hitter and can let his swing path get a little bit long and loopy.
Pro Comparison: Cody Bellinger
Their size and swings are similar although DeLauter has a bit more weight on him. Although Bellinger has struggled mightily the past couple of years, he had excellent power and very good plate discipline when he broke into the majors. DeLauter could make a similar impact if he continues to develop as a hitter. Aside from the bat, he already has as much skill on the diamond as the Dodgers former MVP.
Draft Prediction: Seattle Mariners, Round 1, Pick 21
The Mariners have a solid up-and-coming staff of pitchers already and this year’s crop is deeper than people think. With Seattle not picking again until number 58, they will go with the best college bat left on the board here. The Mariners have struggled to find consistency from their outfielders aside from Julio Rodriguez. Kyle Lewis is often injured and Jarred Kelenic hasn’t been able to hit major league pitching. Even Jesse Winker came over and has struggled with the bat, and he will be a free agent after 2023. DeLauter would fit in perfectly in the Pacific Northwest.
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