After a strong junior season, Georgia Tech infielder Wade Bailey has a tough decision to make regarding this year’s MLB Draft.
Entering this season, Georgia Tech infielder Wade Bailey was not on many MLB teams radar for this year’s upcoming draft. After a strong junior season, however, Bailey’s draft stock has skyrocketed. Leaving the Villa Rica native a tough decision regarding his future.
This past season, Bailey was arguably Georgia Tech’s best hitter. The 5-foot-9, 182-pound second baseman started in 55 games for the Yellow Jackets. In those 55 games, Bailey hit at a .347/.538/.420 slash with six home runs and 38 RBI, both career highs. He also had a career high in doubles (21) and triples (3).
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Bailey’s best quality and probably his most desirable quality to MLB teams is his walk to strikeout ratio. Bailey’s ratio of 1.11 strikeout to every walk has been consistent throughout his career and shows an understanding of the strike zone and patient approach at the plate. While professional pitching is a whole different animal, approaches to a plate is usually a skillset that translates to the higher levels which is good news for Bailey.
Now, Bailey is not going to be a high draft choice if he comes out this year. If he chooses to stay another season, there will be a good amount that Bailey has to work on to become a higher draft pick.
Needs for Improvement:
The first major part of his game that he must work on is his fielding. Bailey this past season committed eight errors, an improvement on his ten from his last season but still not desirable. With a position like second base, Major League teams aren’t going to be totallly turned off by his .962 fielding percentage, being able to cut down on his errors would always be a benefit.
The second part of his game that teams would like to see improvement in is his power. Don’t get this wrong, Bailey for his size has shown some quality power. While he’s not a hitter who’s going to hit 20 home runs, he is a hitter who could develop into a 10-12 home run type of guy. He has already shown decent power to the gaps, being able to gather an isolated power rating of .191. Isolated power is a stastic that is commonly used in baseball to figure out a players liklihood of getting an extra base hit. You can read more about Isolated Power on Fangraphs. That being said, power usually is usually diminished in the transition to professional baseball due to wooden bats.
Bailey’s final area that he could use improvement in is his base running and in particular base stealing. Since he’s not going to much of a power hitter, base running and more stolen bases could boost his draft stock. Bailey has pretty solid speed overall, not deadly, but enough to swipe 10-15 bags. If Bailey could get about 10-12 stolen bases next season, Bailey could see a huge boost in his draft stock.
Overall, if Bailey chose to leave after this season he’s most likely looking at being a draft pick in the middle rounds. He most likely doesn’t have the resume yet to be a top five round draft pick posistion but after that he could be a quality draft pick. That being said, being a quality middle infielder could een allow Bailey’s draft stock to rise even more as middle infielders are highly desired by Major League teams.
Either way, it will be a tough decision for Bailey. If Bailey stays and gets injured next season or has a poor season, his draft stock may never be higher than it is after this season. If he leaves, he could potentially be passing up a tremendous senior season which moves his draft stock up to even more.