Cape League Surge Made Mariners Believers In Zach DeLoach's Bat
A year ago, it would have been hard to believe Zach DeLoach would be selected in the 2020 draft.
But after struggling in his first two years at Texas A&M, the junior outfielder exploded onto the scene during the Cape Cod League last summer and carried over his performance to a shortened spring campaign, resulting in his selection as a second-round pick by the Mariners Thursday night.
“Zach DeLoach was an exciting pick for us, we felt he was one of the best hitters coming into this draft after a stellar Cape Cod season,” Mariners scouting director Scott Hunter said during a call with media members Thursday night.
At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and batting from the left side, DeLoach doesn’t have any plus tools, but has a solid all-around skillset. He has good plate discipline (73 walks, 65 strikeouts in 136 collegiate games), but tends to dive in aggressively on pitches. He had shown fringe-to-average power his first two collegiate seasons, but the returns from last summer and this spring suggest he might have grown into more juice.
DeLoach hit .264/.355/.374 as a freshman with just two home runs in 62 games, but as a sophomore his slash line dipped to .200/.318/.294 with three home runs.
It all started to click for DeLoach last summer while playing for Falmouth on the Cape. He made a swing change, began to put up better numbers, hitting .353/.428/.541 with five home runs and 23 RBI in 37 games, and Hunter noticed.
“That’s when he started making a swing adjustment and it really carried over into this year where you see his numbers jump and the power numbers really went up.”
As Hunter noted, DeLoach rode his progress over the summer into the spring and put up the best numbers of his collegiate career. He hit a career-high six home runs in just 18 games, while posting a .421/.547/.789 slash line and showing the power, control and plate discipline that the Mariners value in their hitters.
Although the Mariners drafted DeLoach as a center fielder, he fits better in a corner due to his being just a solid runner with a solid-average arm and possessing raw route-running skills.
Right now, Hunter isn’t concerned about DeLoach’s position on the diamond. He’s just happy to have him on board and believes the outfielder’s best days are ahead of him.
—The Mariners followed their selection of DeLoach by taking McLennan (Texas) JC righthander Connor Phillips in the competitive balance round B, Oklahoma State second baseman Kaden Polcovich in the third round, Mississippi third baseman Tyler Keenan in the fourth round and Cal Poly righthander Taylor Dollard in the fifth round.