The assigned value for the No. 11 pick in the 2020 MLB draft was $4.3 million — a sum that could prove difficult for most to turn down. But House contends the most important factor for him isn’t the money but remaining at the shortstop position. From a scouting standpoint, there doesn’t seem to be anything about his performance that’s leading some to project him at a different position, other than a baseball standard that says he’s too big to be a shortstop.
“I think it’s really important to prove myself at shortstop,” House said. “I know I’m bigger than normal, so if I can keep proving myself there, that’s great for me.”
From an offensive standpoint, House scores very high on the standard 20-80 grading scale used by scouts.
“It’s not very often you see someone playing a premium position with offensive tools as loud as his,” said Carlos Collazo, national writer for Baseball America. “He’s a plus-hitter, who could possibly develop into a 60-grade, which is one of the best grades for a high schooler in any draft class. And he has a lot of raw power and range, possibly a 70 — Giancarlo Stanton would be an 80 — so you potentially have someone capable of hitting for average and power who plays a premium position, and that’s an exciting package for pro teams.”
Even if he were to struggle at the plate or in the field at the next level, he still has his arm to fall back on. As a closer for Winder-Barrow, House’s fastball has hit the upper-90s on the radar gun.
“You could argue his best tool is his arm,” Collazo said.
If House decides to play for Tennessee, he already has discussed being a two-way player with the Volunteers coaching staff.
“Right now, the plan is to be a pitcher and hitter, so I’m working on both,” House said.
House is trying to get the Bulldoggs, ranked No. 3 in 6A, at least as far as 2019, when they reached the quarterfinals, and possibly further — the program has two state titles (1960, 1979). He’s batting .642 with seven home runs and 39 runs scored, all of which are team-highs. He also has 13 stolen bases. He has four saves in 6-2/3 scoreless innings pitched, allowing one hit while striking out 15.
Bulldoggs coach Brian Smith said whatever pressures House is dealing with — whether it’s being named a top national prospect, trying to win a state championship or deciding his path once his prep career ends — he’ll be able to deal with it.
“The biggest thing about him is that he’s a very composed, classy kid,” Smith said. “That’s what I’m most proud of and that’s what’s going to take him far, along with his physical abilities.”
The draft is loaded at House’s position. It’s possible five shortstops will be selected in the first round, something that hasn’t happened since before the turn of the century. If House slides from where he’s projected, the Braves could take him at No. 24.
“I grew up watching the Braves all the time because they were the local team,” House said. “Playing for any MLB team, including the Braves, would just be amazing.”