Four Intriguing Outfield Prospects for the 2012 Draft
Here are four intriguing outfield prospects for the 2012 draft. I'm not looking at guys who presently project as certain first round picks, but under the right circumstances these guys could go in the supplemental round or the bottom half of the first round, given the relative lack of talent depth this year, especially in college.
Skye Bolt, OF, Atlanta, Georgia, HS: The Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt was an air-launched ballistic missile developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was rendered obsolete by the Minuteman and Polaris missiles and never entered service, although the cancellation of the program did cause a political crisis between the United States and United Kingdom. Skye Bolt is a 6-3, 175 pound switch-hitter from high school in Atlanta, born January 15, 1994. Tall and thin, he has room to fill out his body but already has some pop in his bat. His glove is well-regarded and he has the range and arm strength to stay in center field. It may take first-round slot money to get him away from a scholarship at North Carolina. Click here for video of Skye Bolt the player.
Barrett Barnes, OF, Texas Tech: Barnes is a 6-1, 210 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born July 29, 1991. He is the nephew of former major league pitcher Anthony Young, so he's got professional bloodlines. Baseball America had a nice piece about him yesterday, and he's off to a good start this year, hitting .362/.457/.638 in his first 16 games for Texas Tech, with 10 walks and 10 strikeouts in 58 at-bats. He's also stolen 11 bases in 11 attempts. Barnes has an intriguing power/speed combination, and if he continues to control the strike zone well, his tools could push him into late first-round consideration. His only below-average tool is his throwing arm. VIDEO.
Adam Brett Walker, OF-1B, Jacksonville University: Adam Brett Walker is a 6-5, 225 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born October 18th, 1991. His father was a running back for the Minnesota Vikings, and Walker has inherited dad's athleticism. He has some of the best pure power in the draft class, and he runs very well, too. Normally this would make him a first-round pick, but Walker struggled in the Cape Cod League last summer and has issues with breaking pitches. His performance thus far in 2012: .268/.408/.464 in the early going for Jacksonville, with 14 walks and 15 strikeouts in 56 at-bats. The other issue is defense. I think he runs well enough to play a corner spot, but he's played first base the last year and many scouts think that's his pro position. This also has an impact on his draft stock, but it is the bat that will get him drafted high, or not. The walks are nice to see, but so far he hasn't really answered the questions raised by his Cape performance. If he gets hot he still has a shot at the first round. VIDEO.
Jesse Winker, OF, Orlando, Florida, HS: Winker is a 6-3, 200 pound left-handed hitter and thrower, born August 17, 1993. He has one of the best bats in the high school draft class, featuring above-average power, reasonable polish for a high school hitter, and strong makeup reports. He has a very good arm, good enough that he's had success as a pitcher, but questions about his lack of speed and overall athleticism kept him out of pure first-round consideration until just recently. His skill as a hitter continues to grow, and he's made strong improvements with his defense, showing more athleticism than previously anticipated. He looks like a fine bet for the supplemental round and could fit in the bottom half of the first round with a good spring. He is committed to the University of Florida. VIDEO.