In the 34th round of the 2014 MLB Draft, the Tampa Bay Rays selected Chris Knott, a senior outfielder from East Stroudsburg University. Knott is interesting, as he has performed well in college, but he still has quite a bit of room for improvement in his game.
Statistically speaking, Knott has torn up the competition at Division II East Stroudsburg. In his senior season this year, he put up a .399/.484/.667 line while posting a solid K-BB ratio of 22-21. He also showed ability on the basepaths, stealing 14 bases, and would post a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and 4 assists from the outfield. For his performances, he would win an ABCA Atlantic Region Gold Glove Award and be a finalist for the Division II player of the year award. So far in his career, Knott has done a bit of everything by hitting well, providing value on the bases, and playing great defense. Of those three, the bat is going to be his biggest challenge as a pro.
Despite the outstanding numbers at the plate, Knott doesn’t have a particularly great swing. His front side flies open well too early, and his lower half is not used to its full potential. However, he has still posted great numbers, and that is why the Rays are intrigued by Knott. He has significant room for improvement in his swing, yet he has still performed in college. The Rays likely think that if they can fix Knott’s mechanical issues, he is going to be an even better player than the one who dominated DII competition this year. The fact that he has a good plate approach will serve him well as he transitions into becoming a pro. At 22-years old in July, he doesn’t have much time to make the adjustments if he wants to avoid getting lost in the fold.
Chris Knott is an interesting player all the way in the 34th round, and the Tampa Bay Rays hope he can make the quick adjustments necessary to see success as a pro.