Now Chase Vallot has options.
St. Thomas More’s star catcher, who has signed with Mississippi State, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals with the 40th selection of the Major League Baseball draft Thursday night.
Vallot was the second high school catcher selected, behind only the Marlins’ choice of West Lauderdale (Florida) High’s Blake Anderson at No. 36. The Royals’ selection was part of the competitive balance round sandwiched between the first and second rounds.
Scouts consider Vallot a refined hitter whose defense and receiving need polishing to compete on the professional level.
Vallot, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, hit .545 with 13 home runs, 62 RBIs and 45 runs this spring while leading STM to the Class 4A state title.
He was an Under Armour All-American and participated last June in the Perfect Game national showcase, an all-star event where he won the home run derby.
“He’s shown at the showcases that he can compete,” said Jim Callis, MLB.com’s draft expert and formerly the executive editor at Baseball America.
ESPN’s Keith Law had Vallot ranked as his 33rd-best prospect. During MLB Network’s broadcast, Vallot was compared to Red Sox slugger Mike Napoli.
“The power jumps out,” Callis said. “He’s a strong kid. I think he’s got a better chance to catch.”
Added former Cleveland Indians General Manager John Hart: “I think you give him every chance to (remain as a catcher). I like the arm strength. The body is perfect there for a receiver. And that bat plays. You just don’t find that kind of bat-power combination. If he can catch, they’ve got themselves a star.”