With the No. 107 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Seattle Mariners have drafted Ole Miss third baseman Tyler Keenan and got themselves a big-time bat.
Over the course of three seasons in Oxford, Keenan made the start at third base in all but 14 games. He burst onto the scene hitting .301 with a .520 slugging percentage and nine home runs as a freshman, and earned Freshman All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game.
His average dropped off slightly as a sophomore, but he still hit .285 with seven doubles, two triples and team-high 15 home runs, accounting for a team-high 66 RBI. He was named finalist for C Spire Ferriss Trophy, given to the best player in Mississippi.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound slugger picked up right where he left off in 2020 and crushed a casual seven bombs in 17 games. He was on-pace for an Ole Miss single-season record 28 home runs.
Keenan led the SEC with a .791 slugging percentage and 33 RBIs, and scored 18 runs of his own. Ole Miss dropped 161 runs in 17 games, which means he single-handedly accounted for a third of the (many many) Rebels who crossed the plate in 2020.
All he does is hit.
What he does well:
When the Clayton, N.C. native hits the sweet spot, the ball is gone. Over the course of his two-and-some-change years at Ole Miss, he averaged a dinger in every 15.9 at-bats.
Keenan gets his weight behind the ball, brings the bat to contact and swings through with his hips. Has it been said that the guy can hit?
In the field, Keenan is a comfortable defender and has above-average accuracy. He is big for his position, so he may not move as quickly as some of his counterparts, but he does a good job of getting his weight balanced, setting his feet and putting a throw on the money.
More than likely, he will transition to first base at some point in his professional career, which better suits his frame. Hell, just put him 1-9 in the lineup.
Keenan is a value-pick. Whether he translates to the next level at third base, first base or in the designated hitter spot, it won’t matter. The hefty masher saw the ball on the highest level in the NCAA like a beach ball and could be compared to a player like Mark Teixeira. He’s a well-liked locker room guy and plays better in the field and on the bases than one might expect.
If he can keep up the prowess on the plate, continue to improve his fielding and refine his cut in the MLB, he could carve out a career with a slow-burn rise through the minors.