Name: Cornelius Randolph
Height/Weight: 6’1’’, 190
One of the hottest prep names this May has been Cornelius Randolph from Griffin High School in Georgia. He has been slowly rising all season. If you look at my first mock draft, he was not listed at all, although a lot has changed since then. The season had barely started at that point. He was a last second cut from mock draft number two. Then he finally debuted in mock draft number three at pick 35 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. I heard almost immediately I had him too low. When mock draft number four comes out next week, Randolph will be in the top 20 picks.
Randolph is a 6’1” shortstop who most project out to third base in the pros, although some think he could play second, which would make hit bat even more valuable. His bat is what is driving him up the draft boards.
This season he had a slash line of .568/.643/.924 which were the numbers I was able to find from the start of May. He has dominated the high school ranks and most of the industry would project him out with 55 grade power and hit tools from the left side. His eye is another asset and is one of the better ones in the prep class, right up there with Nick Plummer. When you see prep players who already have an advanced eye for the strike-zone, it tends to give me more confidence in their future success. It’s one of my biggest indicators in terms of future success versus the chance they will bust.
The negatives on Randolph are that he is a bit of a tweener. He looks likely to get bigger and grow out of shortstop but he isn’t a big kid who projects for plus power. Randolph isn’t a strong runner and that is the other reason most project him out to third base long term. His defense is not particularly strong either and more than likely the best outcome is a future average defender at third. There have been some issues with his arm so he might have to end up in the outfield, which would limit him to leftfield.
The upside is the bat should profile well anywhere. As I mentioned before, he has 55 future power and hit tools. I think I would even push it and say 60/55 with 55 grade eye. He will be drafted basically based entirely on his offensive potential.
I think the comparison that makes the most sense would be with Seattle Mariners’ third baseman Kyle Seager without the defense. Randolph is a little bigger but both are left-handed bats that started out at shortstop and then moved to the hot corner. Seagar has shown excellent power and his might grade higher than a 55 grade over the last three seasons. He has been an above-average bat with 20 homerun power with a strong walk rate. Seager is a much stronger defender than I would ever project Randolph to be, but the offensive profile is similar. If Randolph could have a career wRC+ of 114 like Seagar that would project him as a top-10 bat at his position, and more than likely make him one of the best players in this draft.
Randolph is arguably the hottest name right now in the draft. His offensive profile has everyone overlooking his short comings defensively. I like Randolph but think he is becoming a little overrated. There are a few bats I like as much, if not better, from the prep ranks. I understand he presents more positional value than the outfielders in this draft but his defense is not going to be a plus or even above-average asset. Still I am still a bigger fan of Trenton Clark and Nick Plummer, and both players might be selected after him in this draft. Don’t get me wrong, Randolph is a very nice prospect and a guy who is certainly a first rounder. I just think I am a bit lower on him than most in the industry, because as much as I like him, I don’t see how he can end up in my top-20 players.