Bubba Chandler :RHP/SS North Oconee (GA) – #22 on MLB Pipeline
Bubba Chandler may be the most intriguing prospect in this year’s draft class with the potential he’s shown on the mound and at the plate, with the potential to mold into a two-way player.
On the bump, Chandler fastball sits in the mid 90’s, touching 97mph regularly. His best secondary pitch is his curveball which he added velocity to this past offseason and now sits in the upper 70’s with good downward action.
Chandler does struggle with his command from time to time and will have to develop a third pitch if he wants to be a starter when he turns pro, as he has a changeup and a slider that have shown flashes of being good out pitches, but he lacks feel and consistency in both of them.
Though he’s seen as more of a polished pitcher at the moment, some scouts think that Chandler has more upside at shortstop and see him residing there for his professional career. Chandler has the tools to be a big-league shortstop as he’s a plus athlete with great instinct, receiving a 55 field grade on MLB Pipeline, and possesses a cannon of an arm.
The two-way star also swings from both sides of the plate, adding another level of versatility to his game. Chandler is still raw with the bat, as he struggles to make consistent contact and can get long in his swing, causing him to roll over from time to time which leaves him defenseless against quality breaking balls.
Chandler has plus power with plenty of upside, so if he can refine his swing and make more consistent contact, he has a chance to grow into a great offensive player and a legit two-way shortstop who can get it done with both the glove and bat, providing great upside as a starting pitcher as well.
Being a two-way player shows how great of an athlete Chandler is, but he’s also a 4-star quarterback according to 247Sports and is committed to playing football at Clemson University next fall. Anyone who follows college football knows that Clemson is a powerhouse program that pumps out NFL talent. Naturally, it’s going to be difficult for MLB teams to draw Chandler away from college football, which could make him a difficult sign.
Chandler is reportedly on the fence about whether he wants to go to college or turn pro. Because of this, he’ll almost certainly command an over-slot signing bonus from any team that selects him.
If the Jays fall in love with Chandler’s two-way upside and are willing to overpay to get him, then the Georgia native could be a really fun pick. If they make this selection, the Jays better be confident that Chandler is going to want to turn pro, or they could have a Kyler Murray scenario on their hands.