If Michael Katz, the Mets' ninth-round pick (No. 265 overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, indeed goes pro, he might be in for a potentially more permanent change.
Katz patrolled left field for the College of William & Mary this spring after playing first base almost exclusively his entire life, and on Friday evening, the Mets announced him as an outfielder. This, after Baseball America named him a Midseason All-American as a designated hitter.
"I went in trying to make the routine plays, just trying to make the plays you're supposed to make," Katz, who was at Citi Field on Monday for a pre-Draft workout, said of the positional switch. "I definitely have room for improvement throwing-wise ... but that will come with reps."
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.
No matter Katz's defensive destination, the most attractive aspect of his game is his offensive prowess. As a junior this spring, he hit .363 -- second on the team, trailing only Nick Thompson, who went to the Cardinals 10 picks before Katz.
William & Mary coach Brian Murphy said Katz did "almost everything" at the plate for the Tribe thanks to his significant power to all fields.
Katz managed a .445 on-base percentage and .646 slugging mark, aided in large part by his plentiful extra-base hits -- 14 homers, 24 doubles and one triple. He crossed the plate 64 times and drove in 75 runs in 56 games.
"From Game 1 to Game 56, he was pretty locked in," Murphy said. "His bat is his ticket."
Over the course of his three years at William & Mary, the 21-year-old has also proven durable. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Katz started 166 games -- 55 each of his first two seasons, then 56 this spring.
A vast majority of those, of course, came in the outfield -- a part of the diamond where Murphy thinks Katz could have a future.
"He gets pigeonholed a little bit because he's a bigger kid," Murphy said. "People think he's just a hitter, but he moves around pretty good."
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less