Baseball Prospect Journal

Alerick Soularie thankful for time at Tennessee

Alerick Soularie UT Athletics

Alerick Soularie was one of the University of Tennessee’s best hitters over the last two years.

He doesn’t have one eye-popping tool but instead is a well-round player. His intangibles and success at Tennessee could lead to him being selected in June’s MLB draft. Professional scouts project Soularie as someone who will likely be picked in the final three rounds of the five-round draft.

This is the second time Soularie has gone through the draft process, as the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the 29th round of the 2018 draft. Soularie believes he’s much more prepared for the draft and pro ranks this time around compared to his first time going through the process.

“It gives me more confidence with the success I’ve had the last couple of years,” Soularie said. “I am looking forward to the draft this year. Knowing that it’s five rounds, I’m kind of worried about it. But at the same time, I’m not because I put up really good numbers.”

Soularie started his collegiate career at San Jacinto College in Texas. He was a junior college All-American after hitting .402 with 17 doubles, eight triples, 10 home runs and 47 RBIs as a freshman in 2018.

After declining a chance at starting a pro career, Soularie enrolled at Tennessee where he developed in all facets of the game over the last two years. He posted impressive numbers in his first year at Tennessee last season, batting .357 with 13 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs and 46 RBIs in 60 games.

He was off to a slow start this year, recording a .267 batting average with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 16 games, before the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancelation of the season.

“I started the season not where I wanted to,” Soularie said. “I was trying too much going into the season. I had a lot of preseason accolades and was expected to do a lot. I went into the season trying to do too much. The last eight-game stretch, I felt a lot more comfortable.”

Soularie is a 6-foot, 175-pound right-handed hitter who possesses solid ability at the plate. He controls the strike zone well, consistently barrels up pitches and drives the ball to all parts of the field.

“I would say my hitting is my biggest strength because I can hit for contact, power and average,” Soularie said. “Then I can use all parts of the field. I just have to keep my same approach. I would say that’s my biggest strength.”

Defensively, Soularie profiles as a left fielder in pro ball due to his arm strength and speed.

He has average speed but hopes to improve that trait so he can make a bigger impact on the base pads and defensively in the future, he said.

“I want to work on my speed,” Soularie said. “Going through junior college to the SEC, I ended up gaining about 20 pounds in muscle, so I got slower. I just want to get faster and gain more speed.”

Although Soularie’s time with the Volunteers could be over, he is appreciative of the two years he spent in Knoxville, Tennessee. He believes he’s grown as a baseball player due to the effort the Volunteers’ coaching staff  put in to help prepare him for the pro ranks.

“I don’t think if I ever went anywhere else in the SEC that I would have got the improvement that I had at Tennessee,” Soularie said. “They just understood me as a player and what I could do and what I needed to improve. They just built everything around the type of player you are.”

Read more stories on top 2020 MLB draft prospects here.

Video of Alerick Soularie

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today 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.

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