Wes Kath was a relatively small radar sight in the head of professional scouts who came in last summer.
But the prep infielder from Desert Mountain (Ariz.) High School showed remarkable ability and consistency offensively on this summer’s showcase circuit.
His success in the Area Code Games and the World Wood Bat Association World Championship gave him confidence. It also led to his emerging as the best high school position player in Arizona.
Scouts project Kath as a potential early choice in the MLB draft in July after his show. This spring season will be crucial for Kath as he tries to strengthen his draft status and prove to scouts that his summer success was not a fluke.
“It has been very exciting,” Kath said in the draft attention. “This is all new information for my family and me. It’s pretty cool to learn about the process and go through it. ”
Kath is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound left-handed striker infielder whose best move is his skills on the record.
Sometimes he struggled to beat premium pitching early last summer. He started the summer with a broad attitude at the plate, but shortened it as the summer went on. The change made him stand more upright, which improved timing and made it easier to read the spin on baseball, Kath said. It also made it possible for him to experience better results.
Kath is currently more of a contact over power hitters who have fast hands and some natural loft in the turn. He has the size and basics to develop more power on the disc as he matures.
“I think my biggest strength is probably my bat,” Kath said. “My development has been a culmination of a couple of things. I think it has mainly been an approximation thing with just refining my approach. Only the hard work and talent I have helped me too. ”
The biggest question mark scouts have about Kath is his future defensive position. He plays shortstop for high school teams, but projects better at third base in pro ball. He has good hands, arm strength and throwing accuracy to play third base.
Kath already has athletics, but hopes to show improved speed through the senior season this spring.
“I’m just excited to see how my speed continues to improve and see how it translates to the field,” said Kath. “During the season, I work with speed work twice a week right now with my coach. I’ve seen big jumps. It has gone pretty well. ”
Kath hopes he can be on the shortstop in the future after working on his defensive skills, especially his mobility, this offseason.
“I think I can defend myself with the best of them,” Kath said. “Just playing shortstop or third base, I do not have a preference. I think I can play both equally well, and I like to play both as well. I think with the way my speed goes, and only my athletics, I think I can handle shortstop on the next level. “
In addition to being a top prospect for the 2021 draft, Kath is also a Arizona State commitment. Kath grew up near the ASU campus and enjoyed the idea of attending a quality university with a highly regarded baseball program near home.
Whatever Kath’s future holds, he’s eager for the next step in his career.
“I always wanted to be close to home,” Kath said. “ASU is about a 20-, 25-minute drive for me. It was pretty ideal in that way. I also talked to the University of Arizona. I just clicked with the coaching staff at ASU quite early and I love the facilities. Their field is very nice, and I like the business school too. ”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s been interviewed 253 of the best potential drafts during that period, including three No. 1 picks. Several publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have cited his work while appearing on radio stations as an “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @ DanZielinski3.