Alex Mooney was a highly-ranked recruit from Orchard St. Mary’s High School in Michigan when he joined the Duke baseball program in 2021. The shortstop prospect honored his commitment to Duke over early-round MLB draft interest.
Duke’s strong academics and Mooney’s desire to experience college factored into his decision to decline the professional interest. The decision has worked out well for Mooney. On the baseball diamond, he has displayed his intriguing potential and made strides in his development.
This season, Mooney enters his sophomore season as a must-watch prospect. He has made slight tweaks to his swing and hopes to show improvement with his in-game power this season. His evolution offensively will impact how high he goes in July’s draft. Scouts project Mooney, a draft-eligible sophomore, as a potential first- or second-round pick.
“Knowing what it is like and going through it again, there is a lot less pressure and nerves,” Mooney said. “I have to go out there and play my game. Whatever happens, will happen. That is something I learned coming out of high school that will help me this year.”
Mooney is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-handed hitting shortstop with a well-balanced toolset. Offensively, he uses a loose and easy swing to drive the ball into the gaps. He is more of a gap-to-gap hitter but has shown solid power potential throughout his career.
Defensively, Mooney has solid athleticism, smooth fielding actions, and a strong arm that will allow him to stick at shortstop long-term.
“The biggest strength of my game is the mental aspect of it,” Mooney said. “I have really good instincts and pick up on a lot of little things that not a lot of guys do. That’s an advantage over some guys.
“Really, the biggest part of it is knowing how to struggle. Baseball is a game of failure. Learning to deal with failure was something I didn’t have to do a whole lot. Got to college and got humbled a little bit. That has helped me.”
Mooney struggled to start the season last year. The highly-ranked high school recruit said he started his freshman campaign by “trying to do too much” before settling in and gaining confidence at the plate. He hit .292 with 10 doubles, three home runs and 30 RBIs in 245 plate appearances.
This season, Mooney hopes to show more in-game power. He has modified his swing, which he believes will allow him to hit for more power this season.
“I know I have it in me,” Mooney said. “It’s just a matter of getting my swing where I want it to in the sense of hitting more balls in the air and back-spinning balls than I have in the past. I have done a good job of it in the fall, winter break, and preseason. It is a stride I’m looking to make for the spring, and I’m excited to see how it looks.”
Mooney, who his teammates selected as a team captain, is Duke’s top player this season. He hopes to take a step forward in his development while helping Duke return to the NCAA Tournament after the team fell short last season.
Last year, Duke posted a 22-32 record, snapping a streak of three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. It marked the Blue Devils’ longest tournament streak in program history.
“A lot of it is culture,” Mooney said. “We have a great locker room this year. A lot of new faces too. It’s going to play to our advantage. We have this young, new culture with a lot of energy, will to win and competitiveness. That is really going to help us on the field.”
Want to learn more about Alex Mooney? Read out draft profiles on Mooney from 2021.
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.