Tampa Bay Rays 2021 First Round Draft target: Jud Fabian
By Kasey Kuhrts
Rays fans will likely know this name, especially if they double as Florida Gators. Jud Fabian, the Ocala product who spent his college career at the University of Florida is our next prospect profile.
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Who is Jud Fabian?
Jud Fabian is a big-time hitter who spent his college career just a couple of hours north of Tampa at the University of Florida. Fabian has been on the radar throughout the 2021 season, and for good reason.
Fabian is a power hitter, a big-time power hitter. According to MLB.com, Fabian’s power is ranked as a 60 on a scale from 20-80, his highest-ranked skill. Fabian also has very respectable speed, ranked as a 55 out of 80. Overall, Fabian is ranked as a 50, and the 23rd best prospect in the draft.
Fabian will likely not hit for a high average, as it was not something he did very well in college. Fabian never hit over .300 for the Gators, and he hit .249 in 2021. However, when you hit 20 homers, with a .560 slugging percentage, and a .924 OPS, the average doesn’t matter as much.
Take note of who he hit this homer off of. Just the best pitcher in the 2021 draft, no big deal. It was his second homer off Leiter in three innings, very impressive. Also, I was at this game, humblebrag.
What is Jud Fabian?
Fabian is an outfielder, who played in centerfield for the Gators. Fabian was an above-average fielder, and his speed helped him make some plays others couldn’t in center.
I believe Fabian can stay in center, however other things he will move to left. He doesn’t appear to have the arm to play in right, but as long as he hits, it doesn’t matter where he plays.
Again, Fabian is a power hitter, a no doubt middle of the lineup bat. He hits from the right side, and throws from the left side. To me, this guy could be Joey Gallo, I’ll explain.
What would Jud Fabian mean to the Tampa Bay Rays?
Early in his career, Joey Gallo hit a lot of home runs, and barely over .200. Today, Gallo raised his average into the .240-.250 range, while keeping the power. This is what I believe Fabian will do.
Early on, Fabian will hit a bunch of bombs but struggle with base hits. With the right organization, Fabian can improve on his ability to hit for average, and become a potential All-Star.
The Rays only have three outfielders inside their top-30 prospects, highlighted by Josh Lowe, who is ranked as the 10th best prospect in the organization. The other two outfielders, Jhon Diaz and Nick Schnell have yet to play above A-Ball.
However, Josh Lowe is a centerfielder, who is slashing .290/.362/.518 with Durham this season. He will likely take over as the Rays everyday centerfielder before the end of 2021, so that is something to consider. However, he doesn’t have near the power of Fabian.
Fabian is likely to be around at pick number #28, and has been mocked to the Dodgers at pick #29 a bunch. However, being a local kid, and someone many Rays fans likely know, I wouldn’t be upset if the Rays went with Jud Fabian at #28.