Pittsburgh Pirates: Five College Outfield Prospects to Watch

Mississippi State OF Colton Ledbetter (10) takes a swing during the Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
Mississippi State OF Colton Ledbetter (10) takes a swing during the Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State / Hannah Mattix/Clarion Ledger / USA TODAY
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Colton Ledbetter

Colton Ledbetter is ranked as a top 50 draft prospect by most sources. Ledbetter lit up pitchers while at Samford, which is in the Southern Conference, walking more often than striking out and hitting for a lot of power. Ledbetter decided to take his talents to Mississippi State. Facing SEC pitching would be the test for Ledbetter, which he's passed with flying colors.

Ledbetter has hit .320/.452/.574 with a dozen dingers. The move to a more competitive conference hasn't affected Ledbetter's ability to draw walks and avoid strikeouts. After walking at a healthy 12.1% rate last season, he now has a walk rate clocking in at 19%. His strikeout rate has gone up a tad from 11.2% to 14.5%, however, that's still a strong number, and walking more than striking out is always good in any context.

Ledbetter is highly praised for his swing decisions. According to Baseball America, he has a chase rate of just 16% as well as an 84% contact rate. Ledbetter didn't have as good of exit velocity numbers after making the move to the SEC and has used his pull side to hit most of his home runs for Mississippi State.

Ledbetter may stay in center field long term. He's gotten good reviews for his athleticism and has displayed solid run times. He's not a super-fast runner, but he has good instincts on the base paths and knows when he can steal a base. He went 17-for-18 this year in stolen base attempts. The only real knock on Ledbetter is that his arm is on the fringy side, so he may also move to left field.

Ledbetter is projected to go in the early-to-middle second round. A well-rounded player, Ledbetter has a strong hit tool, average to above-average power, and decent defensive prowess. He'd definitely be on my radar in the second round, where the Pirates have the 42nd pick.