Here is my March Edition of the 2012 MLB draft top prospect list. As June 4th gets closer, players are starting to distinguish themselves from the pack.
Overall, the 2012 MLB draft class is heavy on high school pitchers and power bats. The growth of those two areas will dictate the depth the draft can provide and there are plenty of at-bats and innings for these kids to improve.
You can take a look back at the Early 2012 MLB draft list, from October 2011.
Lucas Giolito- RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS Studio City, CA
Workhorse frame that has added significant weight, fastball will touch 98-100 mph and sit 95-96 mph. His sinker shows nice late movement and sits 92-94 mph, making it a very promising pitch. Quality change up with late fade action and curve with serious “now“ depth and action. Good chance of three plus or plus-plus pitches, maybe reach 4 pitch at that grade in his arsenal. Attacks hitters on the inside with nasty demeanor on any pitch, any count.
Slight UCL strain that should leave him on the shelf until the middle of May. This is something I do not see as a mechanical trait and just something related to youth and growth balancing act. It remains to been seen if he will make a attempt to throw a bullpen or side session before the draft in front of select teams. He could decide just to honor his commitment and re-enter the 2015 draft out of UCLA as a junior.
Ranking: Given a clean bill of health, he is the top high school pitching prospect and easily ranks in the top 3 on almost every team
Victor Roache- OF, Georgia Southern
Teams salivate when seeing right handed power and he is clearly the best power bat from the college ranks. There were concerns that his contact and pitch recognition where going to limit the power production potential and he profiled more as a LF. These concerns had him being pushed down and maybe out of the first round. A few week he fractured his wrist and frayed a few ligaments that will hurt his ability to iron out the wrinkles scouts have on his game at the moment. He is still raw power and you cannot find this too often at any stage from the right handed side. I cannot see him slipping far, but at this stage it is not fair to plug him in a slot until things shake out.
Ranking: Questions about contact were still lingering in the early season and was sliding outside the top 30, but power from the right side is rear. In a weak market, he is still a highly sought after prospect.
1. Mark Appel- RHP, Stanford University
Added an attitude this spring and making strong case for top player. He added 15 pounds over the winter that should help sustain power late into an outing, already keeping pace well past the7th inning. Change up is his bread and butter, fastball’s that sits 94-95 mph and reach back for 97-98 mph. His slider has gotten tighter and harder with good two plane, even lateral drop at times. He should sit with four quality pitches at the professional level. Encouraging seeing him attack hitters in the early spring.
2. Byron Buxton- OF, Appling County HS Baxley, GA
Five tool center field player that shows plus to plus-plus contact, power, speed, arm and defense that is just scratching the surface of his ability on the diamond. Solid, compact swing with quick hands that can cover the entire plate, shows power to all fields. Steadily enhanced baseball skills every time you see him. True top of the order dual bat potential that is tough for anybody to pass up at any stage.
3. Mike Zunino- C, University of Florida
Bat has show signs of the spring 2011 form,, with a cleaner approach and less pressing. He has pole to pole power potential. His defensive footwork, adjustments, and pop in the ~1.85 range have improved to show that he may be more than just a power bat behind the plate.
4. Max Fried- LHP, Harvard Westlake HS Studio City, CA
Projectable left hander that pounds the strike zone with three plus pitch potential; fastball has been up to 95 mph, sitting 90-93 mph for the most part, curve has some bite on it without the consistent command. The change up has nice hand side movement and gaining feel, a lot of movement in arsenal with arm slot.
5. Kevin Gausman– RHP, Louisiana State University
Radar gun popping pitcher that sits 93-95 mph and will touch 98 mph late. He shows the stamina to maintain this well past the third turn through the order. He is showing consistency with his secondary offerings (Curve, Slider, circle change up) and his command has ironed out with sporadic lapses. Draft eligible sophomore does show some projection on thin long frame.
6. Walker Weickel- RHP, Olympia HS Orlando, FL
Deceptive, projectable power right hander with three solid offerings, fastball sits 92-94 mph but has touched 95 mph, sweeping hammer with depth that flashes plus at times, change up has seen some improvements and consistency. Solid command and constant downhill action on his pitches.
7. Deven Marrero- SS, Arizona State University
A true plus-plus defender with great glove, range, and arm to stick as a major league shortstop. He can get aggressive at times, but shows plate awareness and good contact ability without an outside chance of average power. Profiles more as a number two hitter.
8. Kyle Zimmer- RHP, University of San Francisco
Solid fastball in the 95-96 mph range with life up to 98 mph, slider has been added as a true off-speed weapon, change up has really gained consistency and should put the starter/reliever debate to rest. Limited innings make the arm younger than a 3 year college player and may give some room for growth as a pitcher, professionally.
9. Carlos Correa- SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Smooth defensive shortstop with the arm and glove. Bat speed and traits to hit for contact and power down the road. Age greatly impacts and could be a top three pick in summer with a dual threat bat and the ability to play a premium position. Always is a clutch hitter in crucial spots.
10. David Dahl- OF, Oak Mountain HS Birmingham, AL
Arm, range, and speed easily project him to stay in centerfield. Speed and instincts play well both offensively and defensively. Compact line drive swing with impressive bat speed that should project well for a nice blend of contact and power.
11. Gavin Cecchini- SS, Barbe HS Lake Charles, LA
Answered questions to stay at SS with plus arm and smooth footwork around the bag. I feel his range is more than enough to stay at SS. Hit tool and plate coverage is impressive. He should be more contact driven with the line drive swing; it does have a bit of loft to maybe see good power down the road.
12. Michael Wacha- RHP, Texas A&M University
Nice fastball that will sit 93-95 and touch 97 mph well within the outing. His change up movement and fade is 65/70 grade quality. The curveball is working better in the spring to give him a needed consistent third pitch, but that and command needs to improve to really move into the top 5 discussion.
13. Stryker Trahan- C, Acadiana HS Lafayette, LA
Good strong build, surprising athleticism, running in the 6.5 to 6.6 range. Solid defensively with improving footwork and arm to match, registered pop within 1.81 to 1.83 and can clean up. Lofted swing with little wasted motion shows plus power potential. Good plate coverage could suggest that he could hit for contact.
14. Matt Smoral- LHP, Solon HS Solon, OH
Left hander with his size, ability to show sink in arsenal and hitting 91-93 mph, touching 94 at times, do not grow on trees. The slider could be a true out pitch and the angle, slot may pose difficulties on left handed hitting. Good plane, even with ¾ delivery, out of his 6’8”.
15. Stephen Piscotty- 3B, Stanford University
Proved ability to hit wooden bat in the cape league over the summer. Gap power is turning into power to all fields along with high contact ability. He is underrated athletically and should be able to handle third base.
16. Hunter Virant- LHP, Camarillo HS, Camarillo, CA
Projectable left hander that has a lot of room for growth. Fastball with good movement in the 91-93 mph offering. Throws a slider that tends to have a “slurve” type feel. Change up with tailing sink to the hand side, consider it a future plus offering.
17. Albert Almora- OF, Meter Academy Hialeah Gardens, FL
A game that is built around contact and defense. He has the range and glove to stay in centerfield. Good bat speed that has high contact potential, improving approach to show speed and bat to hit at the top of the order. Power shows well in batting practice with better lower half transfer. Once in game, it could turn into at least average down the road. Cousin of Manny Machado.
18. Joey Gallo- 1B/3B, Bishop Gorman HS Las Vegas, NV
Fastest bat in draft and plus-plus power potential. His bat wrap is just to the point the wants to kill every ball he hits and the elongation leaves contact in question. His pitch recognition was a concern during the summer, but it was more tied to pressing for scouts. I feel he is more fluid than some want to give credit and the arm can allow him to stick at 3B, but it depends how much he grows.
19. Courtney Hawkins- OF, Carroll HS Corpus Christi, TX
During the summer it was a raw toolsy player with speed, power. The bat has shown some improvements and in game adjustments over the fall showcases showing dual threat bat with some power potential down the line. A solid spring could vault him into the top speed/power combo player on some team boards.
20. Lance McCullers Jr.- RHP, Jesuit HS Tampa, FL
In one inning showcases, he has triple digit ability with the fastball and sits routinely in the 95-96 mph range late into an outing. His curveball flashes plus-plus ability, and change up is not that far behind., overall a very impressive arsenal. His mechanics and effort to the plate strongly suggest limiting his pitch count and relief would be a more suitable role. As far as the ability to spin it, there are not many better than him.
21. Rio Ruiz- 3B, Bishop Amat HS La Puente, CA
Athletic third base who shows plus arm strength and the fast twitch to profile at 3B. Some could feel that he may stick at SS and vault even higher on the board. His bat speed and plate coverage grade out at least above average contact ability with plus power potential down the road.
22. Nolan Fontana- SS, University of Florida
Top flight defensive SS with the range, glove, and arm to stick at SS, easily play 2B. Good patient eye and approach to show very high contact with improving gap power potential in the bat. A guy that does all the little things and clubhouse leader type player.
23. Jesse Winker- OF, Olympia HS Orlando, FL
Patient approach at the plate with quick, quiet hands. The bat speed and swing suggest that with maturation he could show both contact and power down the line. He gets good extension at the plate, but ironing out a few wrinkles should give him dual threat with good plate coverage. Defense is better than most suggest, but it is not going to be a strong point in his game.
24. Tyler Naquin- OF, Texas A&M University
He shows the speed and range to stay in centerfield to go along with plus arm strength. Excellent bunter. A patient approach with a solid path and extension showing signs of above average contact. Gap power driven, but think there may be more sneaky power down the road with the slight uplifting swing.
25. Trey Williams- 3B, Valencia HS Santa Clarita, CA
Solid glove and reaction to transition to the corner as range is fringy at SS. While not the strongest arm to stand out in a crowd, it is enough to make all of the plays. His standout attribute is blazing bat speed and swing path that should produce a plus power potential down the road.
26. Kyle Hansen- RHP, St. John’s University
Legit 6’7” frame, but rather smooth in his approach to the plate. All of the pitches come from a lower ¾ slot and the plane is not as great as it could be from the angle. Fastball sits 94-95 mph, change up and curveball with more side spin from the slot project a solid three pitch mix. As with all large pitchers, command and control can be a concern.
27. Josh Elander- C, Texas Christian University
The POP and pure athletic ability behind the plate should make ever team at least give him the opportunity to stay at catcher with refinements this aspect can improve. He has a good chance of being a dual threat bat that leans more towards power potential. He moves very well for his size and this can allow him to be very versatile in the field, if catching did not pan out.
28. Marcus Stroman- RHP, Duke University
Converting to start this season has seen his 92-93 mph, touching 95-96 mph in relief role, offering with good movement and two plane tight slider (84-85 mph) really be a one-two punch that has gone deep into outings. The slider has maintained a plus grade, even flashing plus-plus to rate with the best you can see. There is nothing really to project down the road, other than an increase in repertoire. Clean arm action, shaky lower half landing, some max effort, but results leave question of SP/RP role in the future.
29. Addison Russell- 3B, Pace HS FL
Solid approach with a true line drive swing. The bat speed and power in the wrists gives him a good deal of pop and could show above average to plus potential down the road. Rather compact player with squat build and good athleticism, but the range is more suite somewhere off SS.
30. Lucas Sims- RHP, Brookwood HS Snellville, GA
Fastball has topped 97 mph and sits 93-94 mph, size and frame that you look for out of a typical power right handed pitcher. Really good arm speed. A sharp biting curve that projects as plus down the line. Slider and change up show some life and any improve with either pitch could jump him up a notch or two.
31. Travis Jankowski- OF, Stony Brook University
High contact hitter with above average speed who is selective and shows a good eye for the strike zone. He can get caught being a slap hitter and starting to ride with the pitch. This is a good thing when you get caught on off-speed, but it will be something he must adjust at the professional level and square up with the hips. Real sound defensively that shows the range and glove to stay in centerfield,. True leadoff ability with speed on the bases.
32. Adam Walker- 1B, Jacksonville University
Patient approach at the plate with plus pole to pole power potential. His wrap leaves him a bit long through the zone and leaves his contact ability in question, but the power and ability to walk make up for it. Good footwork around the bag at first. Tireless worker and a tough it out attitude could really out project his contact concerns with instruction.
33. Tanner Rahier- SS/3B, Palm Desert HS Indian Wells, CA
Good frame and solid build; He shows a controlled approach at the plate with a slight uplift, more line drive swing, that generates a good deal of torque allowing him to drive the ball with power to all fields. Good arm and glove project him more to third base as he matures, but not out of the question that his early career could start at SS. Speed is not elite, but it could play a small facet for his offensive game.
34. Chris Beck- RHP, Georgia Southern
From the eyeball test it is the frame and size you look for in a starting pitcher a blend of size, but more compact with less moving parts. His fastball is sitting 92-94 mph and will touch 96 mph. He has not shown the consistent curve and change up progression that was anticipated and questions about ability to miss bats has risen. Plenty of games left to rebound because it is tough to teach raw ability that he possesses.
35. Kenny Diekroger- SS, Stanford University
His raw ability is not matched by many in this draft. He has quick hands and nice path, but rarely ever shows a balanced approach at the plate and slightly out of sync. Really good athlete with a lot of potential for both contact and power down the road. Shows the range and arm that I do not think he will be moved off in the future at SS.
36. Brian Johnson- LHP, University of Florida
A toss up between hitter or pitcher that with total focus should end up on the mound. Sits with his fastball mostly 90-91 mph with some sinking run action, but has been iffy command of the pitch in the early part of the season. Change up has made some strides with nice late hand side fade that he can command on both sides of the plate. Slider is his out pitch of choice and flashes potential.
37. CJ Hinojosa- SS, Klein Collins HS, TX
He shows a good batting eye, quick wrists, and bat speed that is contact driven hitter with above average power coming down the road. Shows excellent plate coverage and can spray the ball Good enough footwork and plus arm strength will allow him to start his career at SS, but growth might impact a move to another infield position. Seeing him around second and footwork on turn, he could be a solid 2B.
38. Lewis Brinson- OF, Coral Spring HS Coral Spring, FL
A true five tool potential player that shows good raw power that should turn into borderline plus power down the road, shows clear gap power at this stage and uses his speed in games. Quick hands and good bat speed should allow him a good chance to develop above average contact as well. Speed and range to stay in centerfield and speed to wreck havoc on the paths as well.
39. Cory Seager- 3B, Northwest Cabarrus HS Concord, NC
Solid dual threat bat with an effortless approach at the plate with quiet bat head, quick hands and great bat speed. More contact driven than power driven at the moment, but could easily show above average power with maturation and strength. Quick reactions, fluid footwork and strong arm should allow him to stay at 3B as a professional. Profiles as better prospect than his brother Kyle Seager, who is good in his own right.
40. Ty Hensley- RHP, Santa Fe HS Edmond, OK
Power pitching frame with good deception and downhill drive. 92-94 mph fastball with command to both sides of the plate. Power curve with bite, but lacks consistent shape and command. The change up flashes potential to give him a potential three pitch arsenal. Shows “big man” mechanics sometimes that hold his control back, but minor tweaks iron out with maturation and experience.
41. Nolan Sanburn- RHP, University of Arkansas
In short stints he works 95-96 mph with the ability to work both sides of the plate. Nice 11/7 curveball with spin and depth that could make it an effect pitch off the fastball. Closer bulldog mentality, along with a bit of effort in delivery and ineffective third pitch at the next level pushes him more to a relief role as a professional.
42. Nick Williams- OF, Galveston Ball HS Galveston, TX
On athletic ability alone, he stands out in the crowd. Tremendous bat speed with a short, compact swing. A game that will be built out a great deal with raw power, he shows that foundation to hit for contact as well. He has to iron out his approach to the plate, but he has traits you cannot teach players. Based on talent alone, he should be in the top half of round 1, but it remains to be seen if he can iron out his approach to the game this spring.
43. Zach Eflin- RHP, Hagerty HS, FL
A slender guy that can pack on a good amount of muscle and strength in the lower half. He is really starting to trend upward this season and regularly sitting 90-91 and touching 93 deep into outings. His two seam, change up, and slider need a bit of work, but there is progress every outing this spring.
44. Austin Maddox- RHP/3B, University of Florida
Highly athletic position player and pitcher in college. Sits 94-96 mph, solid action on the two seam in the 91-92 mph range. Slider is tight with good spin that could be a out pitch. Stuff lasts multiple innings and could profile as mid-rotation starter.
45. Duane Underwood- RHP, Pope HS, GA
Plus fastball that runs 93-96 mph and touches 98 mph movement, but takes a bit of effort to make it fly out of the hand. The curve shows flashes of plus potential with good shape, but will have to improve the consistency down the road. He shows the demeanor and effort that profile better out of the bullpen, but the strength and stamina will tempt teams to push him into a starter role.
46. Branden Kline– RHP, University of Virginia
Size, frame, and action that should see him in a starter role with mixed results at the moment. Still a two pitch guy with a 92-93 mph fastball that can reach back to 95 mph, feel that with some additional size that could reach 97 seeing his mechanics are clean to handle it. Curve ball has a great deal of bite and shows consistently above average.
47. Andrew Heaney- LHP, Oklahoma State University
Slender with little muscular development overall, Fastball has a good deal of life and heavy on the sink action two seam sitting 89-91 mph, four seam 91-93 mph. Flashes a curve, decent shape at times that blends 1/7 and sometime 2/8. Change that flashes hand side fade action. Really high pitchability at this stage with good command and constantly mixing his selection. He must work all areas of the plate as he tends to fall in love on the hand side.
48. Mitch Nay- OF, Hamilton HS, AZ
Outside of Gallo, he is the other big plus-plus power potential from the prep class. A bit raw when I saw him over the summer and any improvements during the spring on approach could easily vault him into the first round. Decent glove and arm, but strictly a corner outfielder with a chance to stick in RF.
49. Nathan Kirby- LHP, James River HS Midlothian, Va.
Projectable lefty that shows late life on the fastball that sits 89-91 mph and touches 92 at times. Good command for a collapsing delivery and three quarter release. Curve has some bite and produces some spin when on top of his game. Flashes a two plane slider and fading change up, but both need some consistency. His slot allow for good movement of arsenal, could rise higher with solid spring.
50. Stephen Johnson- RHP, St. Edward’s College (TX)
Switch to the closer role has seen his power game take off in one inning work sitting 96 mph and touching 98-99 mph and a true high slotted hammer with shape/depth to make it a serious out pitch. He is the type that could sneak into the first round for quicker moving power relief closer type.
Additional Names to Track:
Taylor Cherry- RHP, Butler HS Vandalia, OH
Carson Kelly- 3B, Westview HS Portland, OR
Rhett Wiseman- OF, BBN HS MA
Richie Shaffer- 1B, Clemson University
James Ramsey- OF, Florida State
Mitchell Traver- RHP, Houston Christian HS, TX
Steven Perez- SS, University of Miami
Anthony Alford- OF, Petal HS Petal, MS
Jameis Winston- OF, Hueytown HS AL
Cody Poteet- RHP, Christian HS Bonita, CA
J.T. Chargois- RHP, Rice University
Alex Bregman- 2B/SS, Albuquerque Academy Albuquerque, NM
Jake Barrett- RHP, Arizona State University
David Thompson- OF, Westminster Christian HS FL
Alex Wood- LHP, University of Georgia
Ryan McNeil- RHP, Nipomo HS Nipomo CA
Patrick Wisdom- 3B, St. Mary’s College
Kieran Lovegrove- RHP, Mission Viejo HS CA
Jesmuel Valentin- SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Clint Coulter- C/1B, Union HS WA
Carson Fulmer- RHP, All Saints Academy Lakeland, FL
Keon Barnum- 1B, King HS FL
Christian Walker– 1B, University of South Carolina
Nick Travieso- RHP, Archbishop McCarthy HS
Eddie Butler- RHP, Radford University
Justin Garza- RHP, Bonita HS CA
Matt Reynolds- 3B, University of Arkansas
Clate Schmidt- RHP, Allatoona HS GA
Freddy Avis- RHP, Menlo School CA
Kayden Porter- RHP, Spanish Fork HS UT
CJ Hinojosa- SS, Klein Collins HS TX
Tony Renda- 2B, University of California
Brett Mooneyham- LHP, Stanford University
D.J. Baxendale- RHP, University of Arkansas
Kevin Brady- RHP, Clemson University