School: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Class: Junior
Position: C; B/T: L/R
Height: 5-10; Weight: 200
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: Fun Fact Part I: Daulton’s dad, Gary Varsho, was a fifth round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates all the way back in 1982. Fun Fact Part II: The elder Varsho’s best big league showing came in 1991 when he batted .273/.344/.417 in part-time action for the Pirates, a club that won 98 games that season. Fun Fact Part III: Gary made slightly less than $1.5 million over his eight-year career, a number that his son will surpass with his first professional contract.
The younger Varsho, who received little attention from top college programs coming out of Marshfield High School three years ago, has – quietly – been one of the most productive Division I bats over the past two seasons. After showing flashes of promise during his freshman season – he batted .238/.315/.433 for Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers – Varsho’s numbers exploded during his sophomore campaign.
In 57 games for Head Coach Scott Doffek, the lefty-swinging backstop battered and bruised the opposition to the tune of .381/.447/.610 with 17 doubles, six triples, and eight homeruns. Oh, and just for good measure, he went a perfect 16-for-16 in the stolen base department as well.
This season, the stocky backstop turned in another fine campaign: in 54 games, he slugged .362/.490/.643 with 11 doubles, six triples, and a career best 11 homeruns. And, of course, he once again remained perfect on the base paths – he swiped 10 bags in as many tries.
For his career, Varsho the Younger is sporting a .335/.428/.572 tripe-slash line with 37 doubles, 16 triples, and 24 homeruns all the while stealing 32 bags in 32 attempts.
Projection: The collegiate catching position in this year’s draft class remains precariously thin. TCU’s Evan Skoug looked to be the frontrunner entering the season, but his strikeout rate spiked to nearly 30%, which will likely cause several teams to pause. So it’s Varsho who could hear his name called first at the position in the draft.
Now with that being said, it’s important to recognize that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee isn’t exactly a top-notch baseball program and the Horizon League doesn’t exactly offer the best level of Division I competition either. Meaning: Varsho’s explosive offensive production needs to be put into a little bit of context.
Consider the following:
- Between 2011 and 2016, just four players in the Horizon League have batted .350/.440/.600 (minimum 200 PA): Jeff Boehm, Jake Hibberd, Sam Koenig, and, of course, Daulton Varsho (who accomplished the feat in 2016 and 2017).
So, even compared to his peers, Varsho stands out – easily.
He has double-digit power, an average eye at the plate, and strong contact skills – all wrapped up at a premium position.
Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player
Floor: 1.0-win player
Risk: Moderate to High
Grade: First/Second Round