The Oakland A’s selected Henry Bolte in the 2nd round of the 2022 MLB Draft on Sunday, with the No. 56 overall pick. The 18-year-old is a right-handed hitting outfielder from Palo Alto High School in California.
MLB Pipeline had Bolte ranked 40th on their pre-draft board, with the following scouting report:
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 65 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Some intriguing outfielders have been drafted out of Palo Alto High School in northern California over the years, with one — Joc Pederson — making it to the big leagues. Bolte has the raw tools to be the next and showed off both his skills and the need for a lot of refinement over the course of the summer.
In a class deep in high school outfielders like top-of-the-Draft considerations Druw Jones and Elijah Green, Bolte belongs in the conversation in terms of raw tools; they just don’t always show up in games. When he does make contact, there’s serious juice in his bat to all fields. He’s capable of making a ballpark look small with his easily plus raw power and the basepaths look short with his close to elite-level speed. His hit tool is the biggest question mark, as there’s been some swing-and-miss in the zone and a tendency to chase offspeed stuff out of it.
Bolte’s speed is an asset in the outfield as well and his average arm should play at the next level. He has a higher ceiling than just about anyone in his area and compares favorably upside-wise with other high schoolers in the class. Whether a team thinks his swing issues can be addressed will be a big determination in trying to sign him away from his commitment to the University of Texas.
Bolte is a risk/reward high school pick, with explosive tools and a lofty ceiling but work to do in the pros to develop his game. MLB Network analyst Jonathan Mayo summed it up like this:
“He’s got some things to iron out with his swing, but in terms of raw power and pure speed, this is one of the more dynamic high school prospects in baseball.”
FanGraphs added this note:
“He broke a dormitory window with a home run ball at the Area Code Games, one of the most impressive homers ever at the event.”
Baseball America ranked him 42nd on their board, with the following report:
Tools: Hit: 40. Power: 60. Run: 60. Field: 60. Arm: 60.
Bolte emerged from relative obscurity to become the breakout star of the Area Code Games last summer and continued to impress as one of the top pure athletes at the Future Stars Series at Citi Field in the fall. He continued his rise with a strong showing this spring for Palo Alto (Calif.) High, including a dominant performance at the Boras Classic.
Bolte is an exceptional athlete with an appealing 6-foot-3, 198-pound frame and some of the best tools in the draft class. He is a plus runner and plus defender in center field, has plus arm strength and has plus raw power that could become plus-plus as he gets stronger with age and maturity.
Bolte’s hitting ability is a major question, however. He has plenty of bat speed, but his swing gets long and he frequently swings and misses in the strike zone. He has improved his pitch recognition and strike-zone discipline to fix his previous issues chasing breaking balls, but his setup, timing and swing plane all need to be reworked for him to be even a below-average hitter.
Bolte’s prodigious tools, athleticism and performance have a select few teams interested high in the draft despite questions about his bat. If he can make enough contact, he has the potential to be a 20-homer, 20-stolen base threat. He is committed to Texas.
Both of Oakland’s top picks are local Northern California products. In the 1st round they chose Daniel Susac, a college catcher who went to high school in Carmichael before heading to college at the University of Arizona.
Interestingly, the A's got more polish in Round 1 and the upside in Round 2 today— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) July 18, 2022
Of course, with any high schooler drafted this early in the proceedings, there will always be questions attached about whether they will sign in the pros or choose to go to college instead. Bolte has a commitment to University of Texas, but Mayo downplayed any concern about signability.
Assuming he signs, Bolte appears to bring a lot of talent to the organization. Welcome to the A’s!