Five draft 'matchups' to watch
February, 27, 2014
By Christopher Crawford | ESPN.com
USA Today Sports, Getty ImagesAlex Jackson and Jacob Gatewood are vying to be the first prep player off the board in June.
Competition is a natural part of the MLB draft; dozens of talented players are competing for a chance to fulfill their dream of being drafted by a major league team and have the opportunity to play professional baseball.
What ends up happening is that certain prospects will get paired with others for a variety of reasons -- ability, geography, position, age -- and you end with "competitions" among prospects in the eyes of scouts, who are tying to decide which of the two they prefer. A great example of this was last year, when Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier were constantly compared to each other because they were elite high school outfielders from neighboring Georgia towns.
With that in mind, here's a look at five matchups to follow that will help shape the draft come June.
Jacob Gatewood vs. Alex Jackson
Competing for:Top prep position player
This isn't really a fair comparison, as they play different positions and their skill sets are noticeably different, but Jackson, a catcher from San Diego's Rancho Bernardo High School, and Gatewood, a shortstop from Clovis (Calif.) HS, will be compared to each other all year as arguably the two best offensive players in California, and maybe the entire country.
"You can't help but compare the two," an NL area scout said. "You saw them both in the same summer events and they were always the two that drew the most attention.