Top performing Position players from the 2012 Draft

Mike Zunino - Christian Petersen

A look at the top performances of position players from the 2012 draft and how high they've been promoted. Includes a table and infographic of last year's draft class.

This year's Rule 4 draft is a mere days away, so I've compiled and filtered the players from last year's draft to see which hitters are performing the best a year later. This is the second in a series on players from the 2012 draft, the first focused on the best pitchers this year. All stats are through Tuesday.

"Those are the kinds of numbers you get in a video game when you're playing at too low a level." - Keaton County's radio announcer Keaton Gilogly on Albert Almora's hot start.

Triple-A Hitter(s)

Catcher Mike Zunino was the Mariners third overall pick in last year's draft and has been the front-runner when it comes to position player closest to the majors this season. Debuting in Triple-A Tacoma this year, Zunino carries a slugging heavy line of .231/.299/.517 through 38 games. Slated as a power hitter with good plate awareness, Zunino cruised through the Northwest and Southern leagues last year before finishing with a stint in the Arizona Fall League.

The Mariners have a catching vacancy now that Jesus Montero has been optioned to to the minors where he has been sharing catching duties with Zunino, but Seattle is most likely waiting for Zunino to show some consistency making contact before issuing a call up to the big leagues.

Double-A Hitter(s)

The Cardinals have shown an aggressive promotion system from last year's draft, already advancing No. 19 pick Michael Wacha to pitch in Triple-A and then moving their other first round pick James Ramsey to Double-A Springfield, Ramsey has scorched the Florida State League with a 1.038 OPS this year, but has just a pair of home runs. He's showing good patience and nose for the gap, which provides a slash line of .295/.436/.426 between High-A and Double-A this season.

A-Level Hitters

Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is having a strong Low-A debut, stealing 23 bags and showing power with seven home runs. He was recently moved up on Keith Law's prospect list from 22 to No. 2 overall.

80-grade speed on the 20-80 scouting scale, a very quick bat, a plus arm, the potential for plus-plus defense in center -- is accompanied by more present baseball skill than I realized last spring. He's already 19, so a late-season promotion to high-A wouldn't be too aggressive if he continues to rake."

- Said Keith Law on Byron Buxton's impressive season.

The second player picked in last year's draft, Buxton has the skills to be a superstar, but many experts expressed concern over his hit tools. So far Buxton has answered those questions hitting for power and average while keeping his strikeouts to a reasonable level. Look for the Twins to show patience with Buxton and allow his tools to develop more fully before promoting him.

Cubs teenager Albert Almora is putting up quite the hot streak in his return from a hamate injury this spring. The outfielder was signed with the sixth overall pick by the Cubs at well over slot value of $3.9 million to keep him from attending the University of Miami. He's hitting well above .500 at the moment with some gap hits scattered in.

"Those are the kinds of numbers you get in a video game when you're playing at too low a level."

- Keaton County's radio announcer Keaton Gilogly on Albert Almora's hot start.

Almora has shown incredible range in centerfield, which was on display last Saturday when he made a sliding catch and then gunned down the runner at home plate.

In a few days the 2012 draft class will no longer be the new guys in the organization. Soon players that were playing against High School and College level talent will be looking to these guys as veterans. For now we can see how far they've progressed in the last year and wonder at the future.

Table

Name

Age

Lg

G

PA

HR

K%

SB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS ▴

AAA

Mike Zunino

22.3

PCL

38

167

9

28.1%

0

0.231

0.299

0.517

0.816

AA

James Ramsey

23.5

TEX

20

88

1

23.9%

4

0.235

0.395

0.309

0.704

A+

James Ramsey

23.5

FSL

18

77

1

15.6%

1

0.361

0.481

0.557

1.038

Cameron Perkins

22.8

FSL

48

204

3

11.8%

3

0.351

0.391

0.537

0.928

Jake Lamb

22.7

CAL

33

141

5

27%

0

0.289

0.418

0.509

0.927

Nolan Fontana

22.0

CAL

37

178

3

18%

7

0.317

0.452

0.475

0.927

Tyler Heineman

22.0

CAL

33

134

2

9%

1

0.333

0.436

0.486

0.922

Joe Sclafani

23.2

CAL

17

82

1

12.2%

6

0.348

0.463

0.455

0.918

Stephen Bruno

22.6

FSL

19

78

0

20.5%

2

0.362

0.436

0.478

0.914

A

Albert Almora

19.2

MID

7

30

0

6.7%

0

0.519

0.567

0.704

1.271

Tom Murphy

22.2

SAL

34

149

9

26.8%

2

0.311

0.408

0.639

1.047

Jabari Henry

22.6

MID

28

115

4

10.4%

4

0.348

0.461

0.576

1.037

Rudy Flores

22.5

MID

11

42

3

33.3%

0

0.282

0.333

0.692

1.025

Kevin Plawecki

22.3

SAL

48

209

6

10%

0

0.346

0.426

0.575

1.001

Peter O'Brien

22.9

SAL

39

171

6

24.6%

0

0.326

0.404

0.590

0.994

Byron Buxton

19.5

MID

49

228

7

17.1%

23

0.332

0.436

0.556

0.992

This table represents only a few select hitters from the 2012 draft with an OPS above .699 and at least 30 plate appearances, For a more complete list of hitters click this

LINK

Infographic

2012hitters_zps0c130842_medium

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