Drafted 38th overall by the Reds in 2017 from Wake Forest, Fairchild boasts five average-or-better tools, grading out to a big league regular in centerfield if he sticks up the middle. After seeing him in Spring Training and a full series in May at Class A Dayton of the Midwest League, I am bullish on him reaching that ceiling.
Although he is on the thinner side, Fairchild generates above-average raw power via a smooth line drive swing with natural loft, allowing him to feature HR pop on pitches up in the zone. Fairchild’s combination of bat-speed, loose hands, and ability to keep the bat head in the zone bode well for his ability to get to 50-grade game power. The swing is well-timed, getting his leg-raise back down early enough to catch up to good fastballs while showing he can stay back on spin. He expanded some when he was down in the count, but overall the approach is solid. Fairchild consistently works late into counts, able to draw walks but also causing some strikeouts as well–tendencies that have showed up in the statline in 2018.
I saw him play mostly left field, and if that is his ultimate defensive home, the value clearly takes a hit. He’s an above-average corner defender, and I saw enough range and speed for a playable center, where a 50-grade arm plays just fine. No one tool is dominant–that’s why his best bet to be a regular comes with him providing up-the-middle defense–but the sum of the parts equals a FV 50 everyday centerfielder. If he falls short of that, Fairchild has a high floor as a player with lots of the skills teams seek in outfielders off the bench.