I mixed things up for this week’s mock draft preview, deciding to skip Kiley McDaniel’s mock draft 2.0 at ESPN and instead check out Eric Logenhagen’s first mock of the year at FanGraphs. We’ve already looked at two pitchers thus far, and honestly, I’m ready to look at some potential bats. We’ll circle back and detail McDaniel’s pick (Duke right-hander Bryce Javier) in our next installment. But first… Logenhagen’s pick for the Braves at no. 25:
Dillon Dingler, C
- Ohio State
Yep… another college catcher. Why not? Although before your eyes gloss over, give this kid a chance, as he could potentially be an exciting choice for the Braves. Drafts are very rarely about need, but more about selecting the best player available.
First of all, it’s already quite apparent that Dingler’s collegiate career hasn’t been as successful as the Braves’ top pick last year — catcher Shea Langeliers. But that’s also not a very fair comparison, given the former Baylor star was a top-10 talent (hence the Braves nabbing him ninth overall). If you’re having trouble with this pick because of Langeliers… then you’re going about this all wrong. However, like Langeliers in 2019, many in the industry believe Dingler to be the second-best catcher in the 2020 class (granted, both McDaniel and Logenhagen have him third-best).
But like I said… this isn’t about Dingler being better than Langeliers. It’s about choosing the best player available at no. 25 in the first round. So let’s look at the kid, shall we?
Right off the bat, unlike McDaniel’s mock drafts, Logenhagen doesn’t always digress about his selections. He sort of picks and chooses who he wants to write excerpts about… and Dingler wasn’t one of them, so I have no professional mock-draft commentary to provide regarding the Braves choice. But don’t worry, I did my homework.
On THE BOARD at FanGraphs, Dingler comes in as the 29th-ranked overall prospect and the third-ranked catcher in this year’s class — right in line with a late-first round selection. And at 6-foot-3, 210-pounds, he’s also right around that perfect build for a catcher.
But my big takeaway on Dingler is his drastic improvement on offense this season, which was unfortunately cut short because of… well you know.
In Dingler’s first two seasons combined at Ohio State, he slugged just seven home runs (four in 2018 and three in 2019) and posted a .267 AVG in 102 total games. However, in 2020, the 21-year-old already had five homers in just 13 games, while running a .340 AVG. Granted, that middle year — his sophomore season — Dingler did break the hamate bone in his hand, impacting his performance at the plate, but I’d like to think there’s more to it than an injury that caused him to go from an average college hitter to an above-average one. It could’ve just been a hot streak, or the fact that the Buckeyes’ 2020 schedule — before it was suspended — consisted of teams like Lipscomb, Indiana State and Harvard (though the former won two out of three against Ohio State), but it’s hard to tell without seeing more.
Although there’s something else about Dingler that’s worth discussing: his athleticism and ability to play multiple positions, which is not usually common for guys that play catcher.
In summer ball last year — playing for the Cape Cod League’s Brewster Whitecaps — Dingler manned the outfield, plus he was tasked with covering the grass on a few occasions during his career at Ohio State. I mean, speed isn’t a key attraction when it comes to catching , but Dingler’s wheels are legit (he ran a sub-6.6-second 60-yard dash during the Buckeyes’ scout day).
MLB Pipeline likes Dingler’s athleticism, comparing his mobility and arm strength to one of the major’s current top catching prospects, the Athletics’ Sean Murphy (drafted third-round in 2016):
“He doesn’t quite have Murphy’s plus-plus cannon but he does possess well above-average arm strength and his accuracy continues to get better as he gains experience. His receiving also continues to improve and he shows more athleticism and mobility than most backstops.”
So overall, this may not be the best non-pitcher pick for the Braves, but hey, this is just the first one so far (there’s still one I’ve yet to write on from Prospects Live’s first mock). Either way, it’s nice to see a potential position-player that the Braves could pursue… even if the organization seems rather well-stocked with catchers.
I’ll conclude with this thorough breakdown of Dingler by Prospects Live…
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