Malakhi Knight is a multi-sport star at Marysville-Getchell High School in Washington.
Besides being one of the top prep baseball players in the country, Knight also is a talented basketball player. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior averaged 26.1 points on 55% shooting, 9.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 3.3 steals per game as a junior in 2019-20.
Knight believes the skills he’s learned in baseball and basketball have assisted his development into an elite athlete.
“In basketball, you can have a killer mentality and be aggressive,” Knight said. “I think that helps me a lot in baseball in center field. You can be aggressive and go get the ball.”
His athleticism that is consistently on display on the hardwood has translated to the baseball diamond. Professional scouts received a close look at Knight’s loud tools last summer when the prep outfielder played on the showcase circuit and with the highly-regarded Canes National travel team.
Knight is the top position player in the Northwest in the 2021 prep class. His intriguing toolset has caused scouts to evaluate him as a potential first- or second-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
“It has been crazy,” said Knight on the draft attention. “At first, it was overwhelming, but I think I have gotten used to it and started to enjoy it.”
Knight is a right-handed hitter has an upright stance and uses a quick and compact swing to drive the ball with authority. His path bat slightly resembles Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun.
His athleticism and speed are his top traits, as he recorded a 6.64-second 60-yard dash last summer. That speed allows him to make an impact on the base pads and defensively in center field. He has the speed and arm strength to stick at the position in the future.
“I think my defense is my biggest skill,” Knight said. “Just being able to run down fly balls in the outfield is just my biggest strength.”
This offseason, Knight is focusing on his offensive tools. He displayed some swing and miss in his game last summer and hopes to show better plate discipline throughout his senior season.
“I am working on my hitting right now,” Knight said. “I am working on my load and staying more balanced, so that’s a big thing that will help me with my timing.”
This spring, Knight aspires to have a larger leadership role on his high school team while building off the success he experienced on the showcase circuit last summer.
If Knight performs up to expectations, he will have a difficult decision to make between starting a pro career or honoring his UCLA commitment.
Knight initially committed to Oregon State in the summer leading up to his sophomore year in 2018. But after the departure of Oregon State head coach Pat Casey in 2018 and assistant coach Pat Bailey in 2020, Knight sought a fresh opportunity where he felt a strong connection with the coaches.
On Dec. 1, Knight committed to UCLA due to the program’s national relevance and its track record of developing talent for pro ball.
“I went down to UCLA and saw one of their practices and the campus,” Knight said. “I really like everything that is going on down there. That’s just where I thought I should be.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.