Top 100 Prospects for the 2012 Draft
Here is my current take on the Top 100 Prospects for the 2012 draft. These reflect my personal opinions; this is not a mock draft or a prediction. Your mileage may vary, especially in the lower slots of the list. I am constantly tinkering but at some point I need to hit the "publish" button.
This draft isn't as good as 2011 certainly, but it isn't as bad as some people say. Strengths include high school position players with upside, and a whole bushel of guys who project as impressive relief arms. College hitting is the biggest weakness.
1) Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico HS: Excellent hitter, yet chronologically young for his class. Even if he moves to third base, he's elite. Stellar makeup. University of Miami commitment.
2) Kyle Zimmer, RHP, University of San Francisco: Very athletic, throws hard, throws strikes, good secondary pitches, good delivery. What's not to like?
3) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Louisiana State University: Opinions about his breaking ball vary, but fastball/changeup combo impresses me and I think his breaking ball will come around.
4) Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford University: Appel is pitching closer to expectations now and the stuff has always been there. The three college pitchers should really be seen as 2A, 2B, and 2C. They are extremely close.
5) Byron Buxton, OF, Georgia HS: Blazing fast, cannon arm, grade A tools but I have enough questions about his bat to put him behind Correa. University of Georgia commitment.
6) Albert Almora, OF, Florida HS: Tools aren't quite as good as Buxton's, but a much more polished and instinctive player. University of Miami commitment.
7) Mike Zunino, C, University of Florida: Stock has dropped a bit but still a Top 10 guy as a strong defender with impressive power, great makeup.
8) Max Fried, LHP, California HS: Ultrasmooth lefty with great makeup, three strong pitches. UCLA commitment.
9) Lucas Giolito, RHP, California HS: Difficult to rank given the uncertainty regarding his health, would have ranked #2 behind Correa for me without the elbow injury. UCLA commitment.
10) Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke: His height is not an issue for me.
11) Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M: I think Stroman has better stuff but there's nothing wrong with Wacha, who could move very quickly into a major league rotation.
12) Lance McCullers, RHP, Florida HS: Electric arm and I buy into the notion he can start, or deserves a good chance to do so anyway. University of Florida commitment.
13) David Dahl, OF, Alabama HS: Main issue here is power development but otherwise a good balance of tools and skills. Auburn commitment.
14) Corey Seager, 3B, North Carolina HS: Stock is moving up, bat and glove both solid, main issue is signability away from South Carolina.
15) Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State: Throws hard, throws strikes, diverse arsenal, and you can make a case to rank him above Wacha and maybe even Stroman.
16) Gavin Cecchini, SS, Louisiana HS: I buy into the notion he can stick at shortstop. Mississippi commitment.
17) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State: One of the safest picks in the draft due to his command.
18) Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson: Power and patience, only questions about his glove preclude higher rank.
19) Courtney Hawkins, OF, Texas HS: Love the power potential, fear reports of raw hitting approach. University of Texas commitment.
20) Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State: Glove will get him to the majors, but will he hit enough?
21) D.J. Davis, OF, Mississippi HS: Blazing fast and has shown an improved bat this spring. New draft rules could move him higher than expected. Meridian CC commitment.
22) Stryker Trahan, C-OF, Louisiana HS: Even if he can't catch, he has enough bat to be a regular outfielder. Wins the cool name sweepstakes. University of Mississippi commitment.
23) Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford: Position is a question but has one of the better bats available.
24) Ty Hensley, RHP, Oklahoma HS: Big horse with plus stuff. University of Mississippi comment.
25) Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern: Would rank at least 10 slots higher without injury uncertainty.
26) Addison Russell, SS, Florida HS: Stock up from pre-season thanks to weight loss, better chance to stick at short. Auburn commitment.
27) Joey Gallo, 3B-1B, Nevada HS: Love the power, but defense and strikeouts cause worry. LSU commitment.
28) Matt Smoral, LHP, Ohio HS: Power lefty missed spring with foot injury, signability doubtful away from North Carolina.
29) Tyler Naquin, OF, Texas A&M: Pure hitter with great arm, lacks power to rank higher.
30) Mitch Brown, RHP, Minnesota HS: Throws hard, throws strikes, diverse arsenal, great makeup, stock rising. I like him better than many of the warmer-weather HS arms with more press. University of San Diego commitment.
31) Shane Watson, RHP, California HS: Impressive stuff and size, working on command. Southern Cal commitment.
32) Lucas Sims, RHP, Georgia HS: Another impressive package of size, stuff, and athleticism. Clemson commitment.
33) Nick Travieso, RHP, Florida HS: Great fastball/slider combo, command improving. University of Miami commitment.
34) Walker Weickel, RHP, Florida HS: Stock slipped a bit due to velocity loss and overexposure among scouts looking for shiny new toys. University of Miami commitment.
35) Zach Eflin, RHP, Florida HS: Difficult to rank due to unclear health status, would be in 20-25 range otherwise, maybe higher. Central Florida commitment.
36) Pierce Johnson, RHP, Missouri State University: Great results this year despite minor arm problems, stuff and command could make him mid-rotation guy.
37). J.O. Berrios, RHP, Puerto Rico HS: Velocity bumped up this spring, good curveball as well. Miami Dade JC commitment.
38) Barrett Barnes, OF, Texas Tech: Can be inconsistent, but runs great, has power, will take a walk.
39) , 3B, California HS: Could go surprisingly high, maybe in the later half of the first round depending on signability factors. Solid hitter with some power, third base tools, advanced hitting approach. UCLA commitment.
40) Carson Kelly, 3B, Oregon HS: Similar to Robertson, third base tools with a solid bat, also one of the youngest players in the class. University of Oregon commitment.
41) Wyatt Mathisen, C, Texas HS: Somewhat raw, but has offensive and defensive tools to be an above-average player on both sides of the ball. University of Texas commitment.
42) Clint Coulter, C, Washington HS: Needs more defensive experience, but above-average power stands out. Arizona State commitment.
43) Tanner Rahier, SS, California HS: Makeup/baseball rat type, good hitter, probably doesn't stick at shortstop. University of San Diego commitment.
44) Hunter Virant, LHP, California HS: Athletic, projectable, will cost $$$ and may not sign if he falls past supplemental. UCLA commitment.
45) Alec Rash, RHP, Iowa HS: Athletic, good delivery, plus stuff, but inexperienced and cold-weather background keep him from first-round consideration on boards. Could be a huge bargain if signable away from University of Missouri.
46) Kevin Plawicki, C, Purdue: Best athlete among group of college catchers in this range, good defender, solid bat with excellent plate discipline.
47) Tom Murphy, C, University of Buffalo: Another solid defender, good power but bat not as refined as Plawicki's.
48) Dane Phillips, C, Oklahoma City University: Best bat of the group, but future defense is questionable.
49) Ty Buttrey, RHP, North Carolina HS: Big horse with erratic velocity, good breaking ball, already 19 years old. University of Arkansas commitment.
50) Brian Johnson, LHP, University of Florida: Classic college-trained finesse pitcher who should move fast, also a solid hitter.
51) Nolan Fontana, SS, University of Florida: Excellent glove, gets on base, some question if he'll hit enough at higher levels to be a regular, but a sure bet to reach the majors at least as a bench guy.
52) Mitch Haniger, OF, Cal Poly: Solid tools across the board, one of the best college bats available in a weak year.
53) Anthony Alford, OF, Mississippi HS: Very fast, has power potential, difficult signability risk due to college football commitment at Southern Mississippi.
54) James Ramsey, OF, Florida State University: Another sound college bat with left-side power, also signable as a senior. Could go much higher than pure talent warrants.
55) Tyler Gonzales, RHP, Texas HS: Impressive fastball/slider combination, smallish frame and need for better changeup may make him a reliever in long run. University of Texas commitment.
56) Mitch Nay, 3B, Arizona HS: Stock rising quickly due to plus power and offensive potential, decent chance to stick at third base. Arizona State commitment.
57) Walker Buehler, RHP, Kentucky HS: Could be tough to sign with Vanderbilt commitment. Slight frame but throws strikes, good fastball/curve/changeup combination.
58) Travis Jankowski, OF, Stony Brook: Very fast, good glove, lacks power but could go higher than anticipated due to signability and new bonus rules.
59) Lewis Brinson, OF, Florida HS: Excellent athlete, glove is way ahead of the bat at this point, risky player but high upside. University of Florida commitment.
60) Alex Wood, LHP, University of Georgia: Funky delivery, but throws hard and could reach a major league bullpen quickly.
61) Paul Blackburn, RHP, California HS: Seems to get overlooked when the prep pitching class is discussed, but good delivery, solid stuff, and three pitch mix. Arizona State commitment.
62) Kyle Twomey, LHP, California HS: Projectable, needs to refine secondary pitches, but one of the best lefties available this year in a thin spring for southpaw demographic. Southern Cal commitment.
63) Jesmuel Valentin, 2B, Puerto Rico HS: Son of major leaguer Jose Valentin. Versatile defender with gap pop, good instincts. LSU commitment.
64) Nolan Sanburn, RHP, University of Arkansas: Upper-90s fastball, breaking ball is promising, needs to sharpen command. One of several intriguing college relievers.
65) Steve Bean, C, Texas HS: Has received less attention than some of the other prep backstops, but solid defense and a left-side bat will help him go early. University of Texas commitment.
66) Adam Brett Walker, 1B-OF, Jacksonville University: Terrific power, but contact is an issue. Will have more value if scouts think he can handle corner outfield slot.
67) Pete O'Brien, C, University of Miami: Tough to rank due to wrist injury. Power and arm stand out, but opinions differ on if he can catch at higher levels.
68) Freddy Avis, RHP, California HS: Live arm, but command problems and firm Stanford commitment dampen interest.
69) Edwin Diaz, RHP, Puerto Rico HS: Very thin but hits 97 MPH at times and has promising breaking ball. Command shaky. Should be signable away from Miami Dade CC.
70) Jake Barrett, RHP, Arizona State: Power stuff, should get to majors quickly in relief, main issue is rumor of health problems although he's never missed significant time.
71) Austin Maddox, RHP, University of Florida: Another relief arm that dominates and can move quickly.
72) Chris Beck, RHP, Georgia Southern: Stock dipped with his stuff, but still throws strikes and could be a bargain for someone.
73) Avery Romero, 3B-C, Florida HS: Good prospect because of his bat, stock moving up due to possible move to catcher. University of Florida commitment.
74) Kolby Copeland, OF, Louisiana HS: Very good tools, above-average hitting potential, signable away from Baton Rouge CC.
75) Jeff Gelalich, OF, UCLA: Features across-the-board skills, with speed and some power potential.
76) Jameis Winston, Alabama HS: One of the best athletes in the draft, but very raw, and Florida State football commitment hangs over his draft position.
77) Dan Langfield, RHP, University of Memphis: Racks up Ks with fastball/curve/slider combo, needs to sharpen command.
78) James Kaprielian, RHP, California HS: Athletic, decent heater, terrific curve, significant signability issue with UCLA commitment.
79) Mitchell Gueller, RHP, Washington HS: Athletic, live arm, stock moving up quickly, Washington State commitment should be signable if drafted early enough.
80) Trey Williams, 3B, California HS: Enormous power potential but didn't live up to (inflated) expectations this spring. On the other hand, his glove was better than expected. Pepperdine commitment.
81) Nick Williams, OF, Texas HS: Like Trey Williams, Nick was expected to be a first-rounder and has strong tools, but didn't hit as well as expected this spring. Could have draftitis, AKA Johnny Damon Syndrome. University of Texas commitment. If he goes to college, could be an early first round pick in 2015.
82) Brandon Thomas, OF, Georgia Tech: Switch-hitter with athleticism, speed, and power potential. Candidate to go earlier than expected with the new draft rules.
83) Preston Beck, OF, University of Texas-Arlington: Not as toolsy as Thomas, but loads of power and could also go earlier than anticipated for the same reasons.
84) Tony Renda, 2B, University of California: Undersized but scrappy, has some pop, draws inevitable Dustin Pedroia comparisons.
85) Pat Light, RHP, Monmouth: Cold-weather college pitcher with impressive 90+ fastball, excellent control, good delivery. Secondary pitches in progress.
86) Dylan Baker, RHP, Western Nevada JC: Was moving into first round range until some command wobbles, still a premium talent with excellent arm, unusual Alaska background.
87) Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Stanford: Very inconsistent, but overpowering at his best, and paucity of high-ceiling lefties will make him attractive to many teams.
88) J.T. Chargois, RHP, Rice: Successful college closer with blistering fastball, should reach majors quickly.
89) Alex Bregman, INF, New Mexico HS: Scout favorite due to advanced hitting skills and versatility, but injury-plagued spring and firm LSU commitment make him a big signability risk.
90) Mason Melotakis, LHP, Northwestern State University: Southpaw with mid-90s heat and reasonable command expected to slot into a major league pen.
91) Martin Agosta, RHP, St. Mary's: Solid low-90s fastball, made big strides with secondary stuff this spring and can remain a starter.
92) Brady Rodgers, RHP, Arizona State: Extremely advanced instincts makes him attractive despite mediocre velocity.
93) Buck Farmer, RHP, Georgia Tech: Another advanced college starter with impressive command of solid stuff. Mechanics aren't perfect but has stayed healthy thus far.
94) , 3B, Central Arizona JC: Just 18 years old, skipped senior year of high school and is hitting well in a wooden bat JC league, also has glove for third. Sleeper.
95) Kieran Lovegrove, RHP, California HS: Erratic velocity, but is projectable, athletic, and has outstanding makeup. Arizona State commitment.
96) R.J. Alvarez, RHP, Florida Atlantic: Converted to relief after starting in '10 and '11, can hit mid-90s and shows solid slider and splitter/changeup. Could return to starting.
97) Mitchell Traver, RHP, Texas HS: Stock down due to inconsistent spring, but he's big (6-7, 240), still hits the low-90s, and could still go early enough to skip Texas Christian commitment.
98) Stephen Johnson, RHP, St. Edward's: Dominating closer with upper-90s fastball (hitting 100-101 at times), but command issues and high school elbow injury hurt his stock a bit.
99) Logan Vick, OF, Baylor: Solid tools including very good speed, strong throwing arm, power potential, and patience at the plate.
100) Onelkis Garcia, LHP: Cuban lefty is draft eligible, but difficult to rank. Throws hard, good curveball, but 23 years old and is floating huge bonus demands.
Video comment from David Rawnsley of Perfect Game regarding Carlos Correa's fielding: