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NAME: Drew Gilbert
SCHOOL: University of Tennessee
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-9/185 pounds
PREVIOUSLY DRAFTED: 2019-35th round (Minnesota Twins)
Drew Gilbert has been the best hitter on the best team in college baseball this year. The outfielder was a two-way standout for Stillwater High School in Minnesota where he was named as the #1 player in the state by Prep Baseball Report in 2019. He turned down the Minnesota Twins’ offer in the 35th round and attended the University of Tennessee instead. Gilbert had as good of stuff as any prep lefty in the midwest back then but he’ll get paid for his exploits at the dish ultimately.
The 5-9, 185-pounder plays with a grinder disposition and he’s a fiery competitor who plays with a ton of emotion. The 21-year-old displays an aggressive approach but he possesses the eye-hand coordination to barrel baseballs with regularity. He’s been at his best when employing a simple approach that produces quality contact. The former Minnesota prep should have enough strength and raw pop in his bat to project for 15-20 homers annually in the big leagues.
Gilbert controls the strike zone and rarely chases pitches out of the zone. As a twitchy athlete with bat speed, he has lots of fans in scouting departments across the industry. He hit four homers in seven postseason games last June and he’s looking to improve on that performance this time around. In 56 games for the Volunteers this year, the outfielder has hit .373/.466/.694 while clubbing 11 homers and driving in 70 runs. He’s also scored 60 runs and struck out just 32 times compared to 33 walks. Gilbert’s 72 hits were mostly of the loud variety as he’s posted some of the best exit velocity data in the sport.
Gilbert possesses the quickness and instincts to stay in center field but his plus arm would play in an outfield corner as well. He displays plus run times and shows a propensity to steal bags and take extra bases when necessary. He currently ranks as the #21 overall player in the draft class according to Baseball America and #28 overall by MLB Pipeline. Gilbert played well with Team USA last summer and he was named as a member of the 2022 ALL SEC First Team and the All SEC Defensive Team too. D1Baseball.com named him as a midseason All American as well.
Gilbert is a pretty safe bet to vault through the minor leagues upon being drafted and he’s a likely big leaguer; earning some comparisons to Kole Calhoun and Adam Eaton. Some scouts have questioned if his power will be maintained however and while he posts elite exit velocity numbers there are others who are skeptical of this profile due to an already maxed out frame with little physical projection remaining.
Prospects Live conversation with Drew Gilbert
Why would the White Sox Draft Drew Gilbert?
The White Sox would draft Drew Gilbert due to his pedigree and the ability to add a safe, up the middle college player who they believe has upside remaining with the 26th pick in the draft. The infusion of left-handed bats into the White Sox’s system must continue and adding versatile players should be a priority as well. Gilbert is a “no doubt” center fielder but he’d be fine in a corner if the team that ultimately selects him has a regular in center field.
The White Sox typically enjoy fiery, energetic competitors who play with the edge that Gilbert does on a regular basis. The club has also really utilized the data on the college side and his is stellar. In last year’s draft, the organization selected prep bats with their first two picks and they could do so again. They would likely have a tough time passing on one of the best players in college baseball if he happened to be available for them though.
Mike Shirley is from Indiana and the White Sox really put a heavy focus on scouting in the midwest. They’re very familiar with Gilbert from his time as an amateur in Minnesota and he played on the White Sox’s Area Code Team back in 2018. Drew’s father played soccer at Bethel University and his mother was a gymnast at Ball State.
Walk off Grand Slam in 2021 NCAA Tournament
Mock Draft Rankings
Kiley McDaniel has done a solid job of correctly predicting White Sox’s draft selections in the past and he even nailed the first two rounds back in 2020 with the projection of Garrett Crochet and Jared Kelley to the Pale Hose. In his first mock draft for ESPN this year, McDaniel projected Drew Gilbert to the White Sox with the 26th selection and noted that he could be the first non-reliever from this class to matriculate to the majors.
Keith Law of The Athletic published his first mock draft as well back in May and he slotted Gilbert to the San Francisco Giants at #30 overall. The prospect pair at MLB Pipeline have released weekly mock drafts throughout this process and in their most recent iteration, Jim Callis projected Gilbert to the Boston Red Sox with the 24th pick in the first round. In the previous attempt, Jonathan Mayo projected the Volunteer to the Tampa Rays at #29. In the latest at Baseball America, friend of the podcast Carlos Collazo sent Gilbert to the Toronto Blue Jays at #23 while Joe Doyle and the team at Prospects Live projected the center fielder to go 17th overall to the Philadelphia Phillies.
2022 SEC (junior season):
57 G, 195 AB, .369/.463/.687 1.150 OPS, .318 ISO, .386 BABIP, 60 R, 72 H, 21 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 70 RBI, 4 SB, 33 BB, 32 K, 6 HBP.
2021 SEC (sophomore season):
67 G, 270 AB, .274/.341/.437 .778 OPS, .163 ISO, .287 BABIP, 41 R, 74 H, 12 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 62 RBI, 10 SB, 15 BB, 40 K, 14 HBP.
2021 Team USA:
11 G, 34 AB, .294/.314/.382 .697 OPS, .088 ISO, .370 BABIP, 4 R, 10 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 0 BB, 7 K.