MLB Draft begins Thursday, expect to hear Bynum’s name

June 4, 2014

scooter_bynum_baseballThere doesn’t seem to be much doubt Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks will get his name called in the Major League Baseball Draft.

The only question is which round.

Anchorage’s Tony Wylie of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau expects the 6-foot-1, left-handed hitting centerfielder will get drafted based on the 15 or so teams that have contacted him about Bynum, the most promising hitter to come out of Alaska in 20 years.

“His athleticism is obviously a factor,” Wylie told me. “Because he is so raw due to a lack of playing time from living in Alaska, teams may shy away and wait until the later rounds or take a chance and draft him higher.”

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic fame, hit .632 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in eight games during the high school season.

But that almost doesn’t count. What matters is how well the 18-year-old did during two separate visits to Arizona, first hitting .444 at the Fall Classic in October and then hitting .583 during an exhibition showcase series facing professional pitchers in March.

“More than one MLB scout told me he was the most athletic player they had seen in last year’s Arizona Fall Classic tournament,” Wylie said. “That’s quite a statement because there were over 1,200 players from some of the best teams in the nation.”

Bynum, 18, graduated from Monroe Catholic with honors and has already signed to play baseball this fall at Arizona Western College.

“I’ve already decided to go to college and I want to go to college this year,” Bynum told me.

At the same time, though, the draft could present him with a life-changing opportunity. If drafted in the right situation, he would consider turning pro.

“It depends on what the situation is, what the offer is, what team, all that good stuff,” Bynum said. “To even be considered a draft prospect is cool. My mom and I are really excited. We’re hoping to get a call.”

There is a lot to like with Bynum, a potential five-tool player with above average hitting, running and fielding skills.

“I believe Scooter is the best pure athlete I have seen come out of Alaska in my 16 years with the Scouting Bureau,” Wylie said.

Bynum was a three-sport star in high school and was named 2014 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year in both baseball and basketball.

Wylie compared him to Anchorage’s Trajan Langdon, who was drafted in the sixth round in 1994 by the San Diego Padres. Langdon, out of East High, played three seasons of pro ball in the minors, but is better known as a NCAA All-American basketball player at Duke University who went on to play in the NBA and Euroleague.

“Trajan was always a basketball playing baseball during baseball season and that’s what Scooter told me he was when he first joined the Alaska Baseball Academy,” Wylie said. “Now he tells me he’s a baseball player playing basketball in the offseason.”