If the last name is the first thing you recognize from this post, the answer is yes. Duke outfielder Griffin Conine, the son of former major leaguer and former Royal Jeff Conine, is one of the better college hitters available for picking tonight. Months ago you would have been ecstatic thinking you could possibly get him with pick 40, but with other players performing and a strikeout surge for his junior season, it is very possible.
Our Drake Downing wrote about Conine before his draft stock slip back in January.
Conine, son of former Major Leaguer Jeff, projects as a solid corner outfielder at the professional level. Previously drafted in the 31st round by the Marlins, Griffin chose to attend Duke. Last season Conine slashed an impressive .298/.425/.546 for the Blue Devils. He follwed that up with a oustanding summer in the Cape, going .329/.406/.537. Conine isn’t a speedster but he’s a solid athlete with the arm that will play in right field.
Some worry about his strike out rate but he’s also proven to be a solid on-base guy, drawing plenty of walks. If he carries his trend upward at the current rate, Conine could easily play himself into the top half of the first round.
There are legitimate concerns with Conine’s bat, mostly tying to the strikeouts (25.5% K% in college is very concerning), but he has managed to at least flash elite power numbers this season, with 29 of his 54 hits going for extra-bases. There are clear on-base abilites here also.
The swing-and-miss will definitely be a concern as he progresses through the minor league ladder, but there is still enough bat speed for a potential .270+ hitters with very strong power numbers.
if you’re looking for Conine at his best, look back to his last Cape Cod League tour, when he slashed .329/.406/.537 with nine home runs in 42 games.
The swing-and-miss is continued, because watching his swing, it looks beautiful. A smooth, quick uppercut from the left-handed side. There’s almost no noise going on in the lower-half, as he uses his quick hips and upper-body strength to generate all his pop.
Here’s a 452 blast by him to right field.
The bat must stay above-average, or Conine’s status as a prospect with crash. He possesses below-average speed that will for sure keep him in the corner outfield positions. The arm will definitely play in right field though.
This would be a great high-upside pick for the Royals at 40. If everything works out for Conine, he’ll turn out to be one of the better hitters in this draft.
Photo Credits: Duke Athletics