Baseball – 2022 MLB Draft Profile: Chris Sparber, Louisburg College (Red Bank Catholic)
Shore Conference 2022 MLB Draft Hopeful Profile
Chris Sparber, Louisberg College (N.C.)
High School (Graduation Year): Red Bank Catholic (2020 – Season Canceled due to COVID)
College Plans: Virginia Tech
2022 Stats: .433/.512/.851, 15 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 45 R, 57 RBI, 9 SB
HS Junior-Year Stats: .282/.424/.359, 4 2B, 1 3B, 15 R, 17 RBI, 5 SB
High School Resume
Sparber showed a lot of promise during his sophomore season at Red Bank Catholic, when he took over the starting catcher job midseason and hit .348 while slugging three home runs. His junior year was more of a struggle, as he hit under .300 and did not go deep. Sparber seemed poised for a big senior year after putting in a lot of offseason work in the cage, but never got the change to show it due to the cancelation of the 2020 season.
After High School
Sparber was able to latch on at Louisburg College in North Carolina and finally got to put all that hard work in the cage to good use. The RBC grad just finished his second monster season at the junior college, slashing .429/.516/.843 with 26 home runs and 104 RBI in 266 plate appearances over the past two seasons. On top of the dominant production, Sparber walked more than he struck out and improved his defense behind the plate between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Why Teams Like Him
Sparber showed he can indeed hit over his two Juco seasons and while he has also shown enough behind the plate to give him a chance back there as a pro, the big hitting performance will also give him a chance to play elsewhere on the diamond without putting him at a disadvantage. He hits the ball hard and in the air, which is what teams are looking for out of hitters at the big-league level. If he can indeed hold his own behind the plate, any team that takes a shot on him could have a nice prospect on their hands.
Why Teams Might Hesitate
While the numbers were robust, they did come at the Juco level, so they should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s not to say they should be ignored: more and more, junior college is producing significant Division I contributors who go on to become significant contributors within Major League organizations. There is just a filtration process that scouting departments have to go through and Sparber is now going through it.
The good news for the former Casey is Virginia Tech is sold on him. Sparber is set to join the Hokies this fall and will have a great shot to start at catcher for a team that won the regular-season conference title and reached the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament in 2022. That will be the likely route for Sparber, but if a Major League club is as convinced of his ability anywhere near the level that Virginia Tech is, he will have to listen to their pitch.
Other 2022 MLB Draft Hopefuls from the Shore