So far, Washington Nationals prospect Max Schrock has stood out in the South Atlantic League through his first 17 games.
When you look at the Washington Nationals’ top 30 prospects (according to MLB Pipeline), there are five middle infielders inside the top 30, which include Wilmer Difo, Chris Bostick, and Osvaldo Abreu. But one name that isn’t on that list that is making a good impression in his first year of full season play is Max Schrock.
Schrock was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 15th round of the 2015 MLB Draft from the University of South Carolina. In his final year with the Gamecocks, he hit .328 with six home runs, 34 RBI’s, and an on-base percentage of .419.
In 46 games last season with the short-season Auburn Doubledays in the New-York Penn League, the now 21-year-old had a slash line of .308/.355/.448 with two home runs and 14 RBI’s. His .308 batting average with the Doubledays last season was third on the team behind outfielder Victor Robles and first baseman Diomedes Eusebio (minimum 30 games).
In our Auburn Doubledays season review last year, I spoke with David Lauterbach, who was the play-by-play broadcaster for the team, about some of their prospects. Here’s what he had to say about Schrock:
"“Max Schrock hit very well in college, but I was a little surprised to see how consistent he hit overall. I think he has a great shot at making it to the big leagues. He has a great approach and is very versatile in the field (30 games at 2B, 1 at 3B, and 10 at SS) even though he only played second in college.”"
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So far, in South Atlantic League play, Schrock is off to a good start with the Hagerstown Suns (Washington Nationals’ low-A Affiliate). In 17 games, he has a slash line of .338/.403/.426 with ten RBI’s, nine stolen bases, and 23 hits. He has the best average and hits of any player on the Suns roster.
Last Tuesday night, against the Lakewood Blue Claws (Philadelphia Phillies), Schrock went 5-for-5 with two doubles, three runs, and five RBI’s in a 12-6 win. In the Suns lineup, Schrock is usually hitting second behind Robles, who is hitting .333 with a .461 on-base percentage, has 12 RBI’s, and nine stolen bases in his first 17 games.
Then, yesterday, Schrock stole three bases against the Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) in a 9-3 win for the Suns. To get more insight on how Schrock is doing at Hagerstown, I asked Zach Spedden, who is the editor of the Hagerstown Suns Fan Club and who covers the Nats’ farm system at The Nats Blog for his early impressions on the second baseman:
"“His bat is pretty advanced for Low-Al so he should fare well against his competition. Another potential advantage for Schrock is that Hagerstown’s ballpark is built for left-handed power hitters. He’s done a very good job of driving the ball to this point, so I wouldn’t be shocked if his home run total starts to rise, especially as the weather warms up.”"
So far this season, the Suns are 13-5 under manager Patrick Anderson and just won three of four games against Hickory, including two walk-off hits from Matthew Page. Hagerstown is second in the South Atlantic League in average (.272) and runs scored (97), and they lead the league in stolen bases (36).