CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Outfielder MacKenzie Wainright is considered by some to be the top high school baseball prospect in the state of Ohio. Armed with a scholarship to Ohio State, and with the likelihood of being drafted, a player is his position is usually sitting in a great spot right now. Usually. Nothing about these times though is the usual. “I wouldn’t say it’s stressful, but it is hard on me,” said the senior from St. Edward high school in Lakewood, whose draft status has now been thrown into turmoil.
Because COVID-19 has shut down high school and NCAA baseball the top prospects are not playing, so Major League teams cannot be scouting. That means they will barely be drafting. The draft, usually set for 40 rounds, is expected to be reduced to five. With the players not playing teams have significantly less information to base their draft decisions on.
Clubs feel they can use older scouting data to make enough evaluations to get through five rounds, after that things get more murky for the clubs. That means players like Wainright, who normally could count on being drafted, now aren’t so sure. “There is nothing set in stone right now,” he said. “Teams are still deciding who they want, we cannot assume what will happen.”
Wainright feels he could still be drafted in those five rounds, but he would have loved to have had a senior season at St. Edward to boost his profile. “I felt like if I had played this high school season, given the fact that I was hurt last season, I could have played myself into a higher round.”
If he gets drafted, he still might go to Ohio State. Per baseball’s rules, he would need to stay there three years. That decision, whether to turn down the professional contract to play collegiately, which some players do so they can come back three years later and drafted even higher, earning more money when they sign, is already a difficult one. The uncertainty of this year’s draft makes that even more challenging. The topic has definitely been a talker around the dinner table at his house. “We’ve thought about it a lot as a family. We know what we’d like to do in certain situations."
The draft will be held on June 10th.