Eric Bitonti is one of the most intriguing players in the 2023 prep baseball class. The Aquinas (Calif.) High School shortstop has the attributes scouts seek when scouting high-end prep players.
Bitonti has notable raw tools, size and huge potential. Scouts rave about Bitonti and believe he will likely hear his name called in the early rounds of July’s MLB draft. Besides his well-rounded skill set, Bitonti won’t turn 18 years old until December, enhancing his draft value for most teams.
“It’s something I have worked towards since I started playing baseball,” said Bitonti on the draft attention. “It is cool, but at the same time, I try to keep it to a limit and block it out. At the end of the day, it will take care of itself. The big thing is to have fun.”
Bitonti is a 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-handed hitting shortstop known for his offensive toolset. He uses a slightly opened stance with a quick swing to consistently square up the baseball against premium velocity.
Bitonti hits for average and above-average raw power. He uses all parts of the field and profiles as an impact bat in pro ball.
“A lot of people say I’m a power-over-hit guy, which I don’t really agree with that,” Bitonti said. “I think I’m a power and hit guy. I feel like I can hit for power, but I can always take my base hits on pitchers’ pitches.”
Defensively, Bitonti is a high school shortstop. He is a quality athlete with strong instincts and body control at shortstop. He also shows above-average arm strength, as he occasionally pitches for his high school team and touches 94 mph with his fastball.
Bitonti hopes to remain at shortstop in the future. Some scouts believe due to his size, he profiles better at third base, where they project him as an above-average defender.
“I’m going to work on my speed and agility,” Bitonti said. “I just want to make sure I stay mobile and athletic enough to stick at shortstop for as long as I can.”
Bitonti is an intriguing prep star who will attend the University of Oregon or bypass college for the professional ranks. He committed to Oregon in September 2021 after verbally committing to Arizona about a year prior.
Jay Johnson was originally the head coach at Arizona but accepted the same position at LSU in 2021. After the coaching change, Bitonti reopened the recruiting process. Oregon was the first program to reach out to Bitonti. He also considered LSU during the process. But Oregon’s coaching staff and player-development philosophy stood out to him.
“I went on some visits and talked to a bunch of schools, but I just loved everything about Oregon,” Bitonti said. “I really liked the coaching staff, what they are about, and what they are doing to the program. Once I got up there, I knew it was the right place for me. I just wanted a place where I knew I was going to get better, and I knew Oregon was the place.”
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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.