Darryl Knight, the Mets’ selection in the fourteenth round, is a college catcher who projects to provide some offense but may have limited defensive potential.
Prior to joining Embry-Riddle for the 2014 season, Knight had been a standout at Seminole State, one of the better junior college programs around. Knight went undrafted despite being a catcher who can hit, and transferred to Embry Riddle, where he kept hitting, batting an impressive .338/.431/.638 while crushing a school-record 15 homers. The bat definitely profiles best, as Knight displays above average pop, but there are significant questions about his contact ability. I haven’t seen his swing, but I’ve heard that Knight employs a deep hand load, greatly lengthening his swing, and has some suspect pitch recognition skills to boot, leading to a lot of strikeouts. He struck out 44 times this past season after leading Seminole State in strikeouts the year before. He’ll draw his share of walks, but I am quite worried that contact issues will bury him offensively.
Defensively, Knight has the raw skills to succeed behind the plate, but he may have a long journey before he’s ready. He’s got above average arm strength back there and some agility, but his receiving skills, blocking, and actions are pretty unrefined. He’s going to need some coaching. Seminole State even used him principally as a designated hitter in 2013.
I have no idea if he intends to return to Embry-Riddle--Knight is the sort of player who might do better as a senior sign if he shows some defensive improvement--but after being draft-eligible for the four-straight years, Knight might be ready to jump ship for the pros. If he does, his career could take a number of turns, with the most likely being organizational depth. The power gives him a chance at a big league career.