Local Prep Prospect Cole Young: “Some Adam Frazier in this profile”

MLB Draft 2022

The Pirates will pick fourth in this summer’s amateur draft, courtesy of their 61-101 record. Pittsburgh fans may already know some of the headline prospects, such as Druw Jones, Termarr Johnson and Elijah Green, but one of their own, local high school shortstop Cole Young, may hear his name called in the mid-to-late first round on July 11. 

Young, 18, has starred at North Allegheny High School in the Wexford suburb of Pittsburgh, leading the Tigers to a WPIAL title and the PIAA state final last spring, as a junior. In 73 at bats, the left-handed swinging Young hit .437/.594/.859, with 6 home runs, 25 walks and only 5 strikeouts, while playing strong defense at short. He collected the 2021 Class 6A Player of the Year award from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and played in the High School All-American game at Coors Field during MLB’s All-Star Weekend.

A Duke commit, Young stands at 6-feet tall and 180 lbs., and has earned some Adam Frazier comps, with a bit more pop and a higher likelihood of staying at shortstop. 

MLB Pipeline lists Young as the #15 overall prospect in the upcoming draft. FanGraphs has him at #17, and Prospects Live has him at #43. Baseball America ranks Young as the 11th best high school prospect. Perfect Game gives him a player rating of 10, which is reserved for a “potential very high draft pick and/or elite level college prospect.”

Here’s a look at Young’s individual tools, with 20-80 scouting scale grades from MLB Pipeline:

Hit: 60

  • MLB Pipeline: “He does have impressive bat-to-ball skills from the left side of the plate. He doesn’t swing and miss much, doesn’t look overmatched against velocity and shows the ability to use the whole field.”
  • Baseball America: “Young is one of the better pure hitters in the prep class and brings a smooth, left-handed swing to the table.”
  • Prospects Live: “Tends to pepper balls into gaps both pull-side and opposite field, but Young has a well-leveraged body with strong exit velos. He can ambush fastballs and lift when he wants.”
  • FanGraphs: “He also has terrific bat control and hand-eye coordination.”
  • Perfect Game: “Left-handed hitter, begins with a slightly open stance and a high hand set at the plate. Sound approach in the box, gets the barrel through the zone, tight turn in swing, gets the barrel through and flashes lift out front, able to work to all fields, line drive contact off of the barrel.”

Power: 40

  • MLB Pipeline: “While he’s not a huge power guy, there is some impact here, with gap power.”
  • Prospects Live: “He’ll likely never be more than a below average power hitter, checking in with double digit homers now and again during his pro career.”

Run: 55

  • MLB Pipeline: “An above-average runner who is capable of taking the extra base.”
  • Perfect Game: “Quick-twitch, posted a 6.49 60-yard dash.”

Arm: 55

  • MLB Pipeline: “An above-average arm.”
  • Prospects Live: “An accurate arm.”
  • Perfect Game: “Can throw accurately from multiple slots with arm strength and accuracy.”

Field: 50

  • MLB Pipeline: “Young has enough range and savvy … to stay at shortstop long-term.”
  • Baseball America: “Providing steady defense up the middle.”
  • Prospects Live: “Strong defensively up the middle with good footwork and … the innate feel for tempo and timing.”
  • FanGraphs: “A no-doubt shortstop with plus hands and actions.”
  • Perfect Game: “Primary shortstop, fields it out front, soft hands and play extremely well at the ball, advanced defensive actions and very clean overall, shows first step quickness and lateral twitch.”

Overall: 55

  • MLB Pipeline: “The Pittsburgh area might not seem like a high school baseball hotbed, but it has produced some solid Draft talent, from 2020 first-round pick Austin Hendrick back to 2004 first-rounder Neil Walker. Young, who attends North Allegheny High School in the suburbs north of the city, was a mainstay and steady performer on the summer showcase circuit, and he has the chance to join them in the opening round. Young is the kind of player who needs to be seen more than once to be truly appreciated, as his feel for the game is greater than any jump off the page tools. … The Duke recruit has received comps to left-handed hitting infielders like Adam Frazier, with more extra-base impact and a better chance to stick at short, and former first-rounder Stephen Drew.”
  • Prospects Live: “One of the top middle infielders in the 2022 class. Pretty complete profile. … Young checks a lot of boxes scouts want to see. A low chase rate, a low whiff rate, and tempered swinging strike rate. It’s a very polished profile that projects to stick at shortstop and hit for average and defend well. Some Adam Frazier in this profile.”
  • FanGraphs: “Overall grade: 45. … Young is the most polished infield defender of the high school group. … While gifted in relevant ways, Young has middling physical projection, and will be 19 on draft day. He’s a high-probability big leaguer whose feel for contact will need to carry him to an everyday role since he’s unlikely to ever have impact power. If he falls short of that, he’ll still be a valuable utility man.”
  • Perfect Game: “Medium, athletic frame with square shoulders and present physical strength proportioned throughout. … Can really hit for both average and power, career .420-9-85 numbers in 107 PG tournament games, 6.49 runner, defense stands out in the middle infield, advanced footwork with fluid actions.”

Young would become the tenth North Allegheny alumnus to be selected in the MLB draft. The program is considered one of the Pennsylvania’s elite, with state titles in 2016 and 2020, and 8 WPIAL crowns in the last 31 years. Here are Young’s North Allegheny predecessors, three of whom were drafted out of both high school and college:

Tom Carroll North Allegheny HS 1970 6 Cincinnati Reds
Todd Davidson North Allegheny HS 1979 17 New York Mets
North Allegheny HS 1981 2*  Pittsburgh Pirates
Paul Failla North Allegheny HS 1991 7 Kansas City Royals
University of Notre Dame 1994 3 California Angels
Scott Schroeffel North Allegheny HS 1992 33 Baltimore Orioles
University of Tennessee 1996 15 Colorado Rockies
Kevin McCarthy North Allegheny HS 1994 4 New York Mets
Cory Sullivan Wake Forest University 2001 7 Colorado Rockies
Andrew Dobies University of Virginia 2004 3 Boston Red Sox
Mike Butia James Madison University 2004 5 Cleveland Indians
Eric Dorsch Kent State University 2013 21 Cincinnati Reds
Kent State University 2014 15 Pittsburgh Pirates

* Secondary Phase

Here are some additional clips of Young:

Here is a Prospects Live interview of Young in September: 

If you want to see Young play live, North Allegheny’s varsity baseball schedule kicks off in late March.