Part of a series of scouting reports on intriguing players in the 2022 MLB Draft. To read all the reports (including reports from past years), click here.
Chase DeLauter, OF
|College||James Madison University (RS SO. 2022)|
|Bio||L/L 6-5, 235 lbs.|
|Date of Birth||10/08/2001|
Draft Expectation: 1st Round
Written by Brandon Tew
DeLauter burst onto the scene after a dominant Cape Cod League performance in the summer of 2021. He produced one of the best stat lines on the Cape when he hit .298/.397/.589 with 9 home runs, and 21 walks to 18 strikeouts with Orleans. The big left-handed hitter mashed the baseball with big exit velocities, with the wooden bat rocketing him up draft boards before this spring.
After two very good college seasons with James Madison and his breakout performance on the Cape, DeLauter was putting together the best stretch of his career. In 2022, he hit .437/.576/.828 in 24 games before breaking his foot, while sliding into second base for a double, ending his Dukes career.
DeLauter committed to James Madison as a pitcher before a growth spurt in his junior year of high school pushed him to 6-foot-5. The lefty would end up trying his hand as a two-way player but excelled as a hitter who has all the physical tools and potential.
DeLauter has a unique batting stance and finish to his swing, but his setup is smooth and balanced. Starting shoulder width apart, he gets great separation from his hands that don’t trigger until his right heel touches down. His head drops slightly during extension but he’s quiet throughout his swing.
He’s able to be creative with his barrel and swing path at times, even when fooled by pitches. The manipulation of his hands and backside help him stay on pitches longer.
On the pitch below he gets a 3-2 changeup and is able to stay back and rope the pitch for a single.
DeLauter has had his struggle with high fastballs at times. Early in 2022, especially in the first series of the year against FSU, he was beaten by high velocity by both of Florida State’s left-handed starters.
He did not look as comfortable timing-wise, but on the Cape when his timing was brilliant he showed no issues. The consistency in plate performance against high velocities will be key for him.
His scissor kick finish and all the movement at the end of his swing means Delauter’s timing needs to be synced up with his top and bottom half. When he does this he can hit the ball hard from foul pole to foul pole.
There’s a lot of movement, but he optimizes the power he can inflict on the baseball by having his entire body moving forward up the box with momentum. He uses the entirety of the batter’s box to attack the baseball and hit hard line drives.
DeLauter has described his approach as trying to hit the ball to center for a home run every single swing. The thought process of producing damage on every swing is there, and whenever he gets into a hitter’s count, he’s trying to hit the ball as hard as he can.
His power is noticeable with a big physical frame, and he is a presence in the batter’s box with the ability to hit for average and hit the ball hard as well. DeLauter’s ceiling as a pro will ultimately be determined by his returns as a hitter.
With more walks than strikeouts (62 to 45) during his 66-game college career DeLauter has the plate discipline to work himself into hitter’s counts. While Delauter is susceptible to the breaking ball away due to his swing path, he’s still able to lay off pitches away from him forcing the pitcher over the plate.
DeLauter played an average-to-abov-average center field at JMU and as a bigger CF was able to cover the ground needed with long strides. He projects more as a corner outfielder in pro ball and has an accurate and strong enough arm to play right field.
He gets decent jumps on balls going back towards the wall but, like most, is more comfortable coming in than going back, which should help him if he moves to a corner. With his high athleticism, he runs well and a team might let him play CF as long as he can before making the transition.
A big strong left-handed power hitter with plus power as a tall physical outfielder. Has the ability to hit for average while producing a lot of damage in the middle of an MLB lineup.
Ceiling: Christian Yelich
Floor: Gregory Polanco