George Wolkow isn’t afraid of competition and challenging himself against the best players. It’s why the Illinois prep baseball star reclassified in March 2022 from the 2024 class to this year’s class.
Wolkow, an outfielder, was one of the top players in the 2024 class and stood out from his peers. He consulted the University of South Carolina coaching staff, advisors, scouts and area coaches regarding the idea before he reclassified.
Wolkow is one of the most intriguing players in July’s MLB draft class. He has massive potential and doesn’t turn 18 years old until January.
“I was ready for the challenge and jumping to the next step, whether that’s pro ball or college,” Wolkow said. “After looking through the process, there were a lot more pros than cons. Starting my career a year earlier and developing at the next level a year earlier (was valuable). The only thing I am missing out on is a true senior year of high school.”
Scouts have flocked to watch Wolkow play his final year at Downers Grove (Ill.) High School this spring. Wolkow boasts a well-rounded toolset with notable athleticism for his size, impressive raw power potential and quality defensive skills.
Due to his skill set and potential, scouts consider Wolkow a potential early-round pick in July’s draft. The outside attention and expectations motivate Wolkow to continue enhancing his skills.
“Having that status has always been a target on my back, whether it’s walking the halls, playing sports or just going out to get groceries,” Wolkow said. “Being a person someone might know comes with some sacrifices and discipline. I love when another team is jawing at me or the opposing pitcher is trying to strike me out with their best pitch. I feed off of that and feel like it’s those moments I succeed the most.”
Wolkow is a 6-foot-7, 240-pound outfielder with notable offensive and defensive tools. The left-handed hitter is short to the baseball and consistently finds the barrel. He displays above-average raw power potential and uses all parts of the field. His approach has also improved as he has gained more experience against premium pitchers.
Besides his skill set at the plate, Wolkow is athletic and a quality runner. He also has quality makeup and high baseball IQ.
“The biggest strength in my game is my athleticism, especially for my size,” Wolkow said. “That is something I take pride in is being a complete player. I don’t want to be a guy selling out for power or just known as a power bat. I feel like I have more than that in my game.
“That is probably why I don’t like playing first base too much. I feel like I can run than a lot of guys who are smaller than me. I feel like even with my athleticism, center field is somewhere I can play down the road.”
Defensively, Wolkow has experience playing first base, third base and all three outfield positions. Wolkow primarily plays right field for his high school team but has started “a couple of games in center field,” he said. He started playing center field last year and has enhanced his skill set at that position.
Wolkow believes he can play center field long term. He has above-average arm strength and can cover a lot of ground in the outfield due to his athleticism and stride length.
“It’s a position I love,” Wolkow said. “I think it’s one of the most competitive positions on the field. You get a lot of balls hit to you, and you kind of control the outfield. I like being a leader, as well as challenging myself. I feel it’s a position I can play, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Besides his status as a top draft prospect, Wolkow is a South Carolina commit. He started receiving attention from college coaches as a seventh grader and carefully examined his college options, he said.
Wolkow verbally committed to South Carolina right after his eighth-grade year in June 2020. His relationship with South Carolina’s coaching staff and the university’s academics factored into his decision.
“My family and I took our time with it and evaluated our options,” Wolkow said. “I never had like a dream school I wanted to go to. I just knew I wanted to play baseball somewhere it was warm. The SEC is the best place to do so in college. They were one of the first schools to reach out to me. Built a great relationship with the coaching staff and realized there was nowhere better for what I needed.”
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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.