With the 64th overall pick (second round) in the Major League Baseball Draft, the Baltimore Orioles have selected Vanderbilt third baseman and Bethany, Conn. native Jason Esposito.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Esposito was a seventh-round pick by the Kansas City Royals as a senior at Amity (Conn.) High School in 2008. He was also named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year as well as the Most Valuable Player by the Hartford Courant, New Haven Register and Connecticut Post.
He currently leads the Commodores in batting average (.362) and runs batted in (55), while posting a .429 on base percentage and .560 slugging percentage.
Esposito's latest scouting report on ESPN.com reads as follows:
Esposito looked like a first-rounder coming into the year, but under the microscope this spring he showed enough flaws to fall out of that range, perhaps as far as the second or third rounds.
He's a good athlete with some raw power but a slider-speed bat that has been exposed this year against better-quality pitching. Esposito's swing and setup have changed over the last few years; he had a soft front side as a freshman that he cleaned up, but now has a high leg kick that interferes with his timing to go along with the bat speed question. He's a very good defensive third baseman with quick reactions and an above-average arm.
If you think he'll hit despite the slow-ish bat, he's a first-rounder with some star potential, but that's a major issue to overcome and the risk has dropped his stock accordingly.
Meanwhile, MLB.com has the following to say about Esposito:
Playing at a big college program like Vanderbilt in a very competitive conference like the SEC means a player will get seen often, and Esposito has certainly been scouted thoroughly.
The infielder can square up some balls but hasn't always hit consistently. His swing is a little choppy at times, but there's still enough power potential for people to remain interested. While he's played shortstop at Vandy, most feel he will have to move to third base as a pro. He's gotten a bit thicker in his lower half and has stiffened a bit, impacting his range, his speed -- which grades out as a tick below average -- and perhaps his performance at the plate.
He's got a plus arm and could be a very solid third baseman, especially for a team that thinks his power will play at the next level, though being advised by Scott Boras could temper some teams' excitement.