3rd Round, 103th Overall: Michael O’Neill, OF, Michigan, Pick Value: $500,900, BA Pre-Draft Ranking: 80
MLB.com’s report: Back in 2010, Ryan LaMarre had scouts checking out the University of Michigan outfield regularly, eventually going in the second round. Now it’s O’Neill’s turn. Paul O’Neill’s nephew really knows how to hit, making consistent hard contact and spraying line drives to all fields. He has mostly doubles power, with some room to add strength, and average speed, though he’s smart on the basepaths. He should be a solid average defender. It’s not clear where O’Neill profiles, with not quite enough speed for center and not enough power for a corner, but his ability to hit at the college level will certainly help him on Draft day.
BACKGROUND: O’Neill was drafted by the Yankees in the 42nd round of the 2010 draft. He didn’t sign because he said he wasn’t physically ready for a full professional season and, more importantly, he needed labrum surgery. He hit .356/.396/.498 in 56 games this year.
QUOTE: “People still try to make the comparison, but I always say it’s like comparing an apple to an orange,” O’Neill said of a comparison to his uncle Paul O’Neill. “He batted and threw left-handed. I’m right-handed for both. He’s 6-5. I’m 6-1. I’m probably faster than he is. He hit for more power. There’s no comparison for the two of us except for the fact that we’re both very competitive.”
MY TAKE: It’s certainly not a bad pick considering where he was ranked before the draft, but I can’t help but feel like he wouldn’t have been picked here if it weren’t for his uncle. It’s just that there aren’t a lot of light hitting corner outfielders out there. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fine pick though. The hit tool, which he certainly has, is possibly the most important one. Maybe another kid they can get to sign for below slot?
Photo by: Patrick Barron/Michigan Daily.