With the 60th overall pick of the 2022 MLB Draft, the Blue Jays selected shortstop Josh Kasevich from the University of Oregon in the second round. At Oregon he hit .303/.374/.424 against some of the top college competition in the PAC-12.
Kasevich’s calling card is his bat-to-ball contact ability, as he struck out only 40 times in 529 plate appearances the last two years, a parsimonious 8% that was trimmed down even further to 6% this year with just 16 strikeouts. A flat, compact swing enables him to be on-time in squaring balls up for quality contact.
That propensity for low contact doesn’t allow for much power as he doesn’t elevate the ball much, and while some think he might grow/fill out into a little more, it would probably take a more fundamental swing change. In addition to the collegiate record, last summer in the wood bat Northwoods League, he hit an impressive .374/.403/.450 while striking out just 7 times in 186 PA (4%). The Jays have been known to draft NWL performers in recent years, so Kasevich fits their mould.
Prior to assuming the post of scouting director in Toronto, Shane Farrell scouted the west coast for the Cubs and during his tenure they selected Nico Hoerner (24th overall, 2018) and Chase Stumpf (2nd round, 2019) early, both hit first PAC-12 middle infielders. Kasevich broadly fits in that profile/demographic mould.
Defensively, Keith Law calls Kasevich a “true shortstop” despite being a fringy runner, whereas Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs opines that “he doesn’t really have the range to play [SS] at the big league level” despite making slick plays and projects more at third base. Interestingly, despite this dichotomy, Fangraphs is far more bullish ranking him 36th overall, compared to 67th for Law (and Pipeline as well).
While the pure tools may be a little short for the position, reports on Kasevich universally praise his instincts which allow them to play up. Law notes some parallels in the profile to David Fletcher, though that would on the extreme right tail of possible outcomes. A more reasonable base case would be a solid utility middle infielder.