By Todd Johnson
Last week, MLB held a showcase for prep players. Recent profile Nick Allen did very well, but the star of the showcase was Nick Pratto. Yes, that Nick Pratto who had the winning hit in the 2011 LLWS. Yes, that Nick Pratto who is a lifelong teammate of Hagen Danner. Pratto displayed burgeoning power to all fields combined with a smooth compact swing.
The Cubs have not drafted a first baseman since Jacob Rodgers back in 2012. They prefer to move catchers, outfielders, and other infielders over to first base to get more at-bats.
All that could change this year if the Cubs select Nick Pratto.
This Week’s Profile
1B/P – Huntington Beach H.S.
6’2” and 195 pounds
Committed to USC
Developing Power to all fields
Areas of Concern:
Where to play him – Pitcher or 1B?
A two-way player, Pratto’s bat and his projectable frame have him learning towards hitting. Take a look at both videos. One is of him hitting. His short, compact swing is a thing of beauty. I can see why he can go to all fields as he is able to wait on a ball. I watched about five videos on him hitting and everyone was the same except this one, which has him fielding, an underrated part of his game.
He is not a slouch as a pitcher, either. He has more work to do to improve as a pitcher than he does as a hitter.
What Others Say
MLB Pipeline said:
There might be a slight lean in the scouting industry toward Pratto as a hitter. He has an advanced approach at the plate and never looks overmatched, with a smooth, easy swing from the left side and power to all fields. He has excellent footwork around first and could be a plus defender there. He’s no slouch on the mound, with three average or better pitches in his fastball that touches 92 mph, an excellent changeup and a solid curveball. He goes right after hitters and throws a lot of quality strikes. There’s projection to his stuff on the mound should he focus solely on that.
In addition to his multiple talents, Pratto gets very high marks for his makeup and competitiveness, intangibles that could help teams decide to try and sign him away from Southern Cal.
One thing Jason McLeod looks for is USA Baseball experience. Pratto played both 1B and P for last summer’s team. Here is how his coach described Pratto’s efforts on the mound after striking out 8 Australians in 2015.
“He pitched to contact, pounded the zone and filled it up. We played well defensively but when we made errors he immediately came back and pounded the zone. He didn’t let them get back in it.”
There is no doubt Pratto is a rising option for this summer. Like Danner, I don’t think you have to choose what position you place him. I think you would just let him play.