For Miami Marlins shortstop Kahlil Watson, playing baseball is something the sweet-hitting, solid-fielding shortstop was born to do. The 16th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, is what baseball connoisseurs consider a five-tool prospect. One who combines that rare blend of speed, throwing, fielding, hitting for average and hitting with power.
Watson has all of that in his arsenal. He’s sort of reminiscent of his former boss and a guy who was influential in drafting Watson, Hall of Famer and New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter. If there’s one thing “DJ2” knows it’s playing shortstop and “manning the hole.” He did it at an extremely high-level for 20 years. So drafting Watson was a no-brainer, considering many believed the uber-athletic Watson would go higher.
With the 16th overall pick, the @Marlins select Wake Forest (NC) shortstop Kahlil Watson, No. 4 on the Top 250 Draft Prospects list.
— MLB Draft (@MLBDraft) July 12, 2021
Watson is the Marlins top-ranked prospect, and he’s showing why in April. At just 18-years-old, he’s doing things unimaginable for most, but expected for a player of his talent. Watson didn’t disappoint in a brief minor-league season (9 games) last summer, hitting .394 (13-33) with three doubles, two triples, five RBIs, 13 runs scored, and four stolen bases.
Watson Led NC State To CWS Semis In 2021: COVID-19 Stole Their Moment
Watson, who committed to NC State as a high school junior, led the Wolfpack to the semifinals of the College World Series in 2021, only to have to bow out after a COVID-19 outbreak ravaged the team.
Head coach Elliott Avent knew he was getting a special talent that would play in the majors. Avent didn’t know how long he’d have the talented Watson in the heart of his lineup and infield.
“We knew it would be difficult to keep him away from Major League Baseball,” Avent recalls.
When the Marlins took Watson in the 2021 draft, and showed him the money ($4.5 million), it became a reality. This was bound to happen from the moment NC State recruited Wilson from nearby Wake Forest High, also located on the outskirts of Raleigh, NC.
With the #16 pick in the draft, the Miami Marlins select high school shortstop Kahlil Watson!
He was projected in the Top 5 in each mock, making this A STEAL! The five-tool stud's fast hands lead to excellent barrel skills with power and a strong arm in the field! pic.twitter.com/jnbiuj9F7L
— Farm To Fame (@FarmToFame_) July 12, 2021
Wolfpack Coach Knew From His First Scout Of Watson
Assistant HC, Chris Hart was amazed by Watson’s skillset from the onset of scouting him. Hart likened him to former Los Angeles Dodgers, and current Texas Rangers star Corey Seagar who won the NLCS and World Series MVP in 2020. In and around the Carolinas, Seagar is considered the gold-standard of infield play. That’s high praise for the young “KW,” whom Hart believes measures up.
“He’s one of the — if not the best — hitter I’ve ever scouted in our area,” Hart insists. “Corey Seagar (a Charlotte native) jumps off the page over the last 15 years, but Kahlil is right in that range.”
It’s no doubt Watson is the “shortstop of the future” down in South Beach. He and second baseman Jazz Chisholm, who started 121 games last season while batting .250 with 18 homers and 23 stolen bases, are set to form a great infield duo for years to come.
It’s Chisholm’s spunk and flare that make him special. He and Watson look to be two picks. Jeter may have gotten correct during the Marlins rebuild, leaving the organization with young, strong cornerstone pieces — MLBbro infielders — with speed, power, charisma and supreme athleticism to build a winner around.