May 31, 2012
Top 30 Draft Prospects: Part Two
This is part two of Kevin Goldstein's 2012 Draft Rankings. Part One ran earlier in the week. This isn't a mock draft, but more of a general ranking of talent.
16. Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS (FL)
Who he is: Russell helped his stock considerably this spring by showing up with a much thinner physique, with one scout saying, “he looks like a shortstop now.” He's athletic with smooth actions and a plus arm, and he has the size and swing for at least average power potential and maybe a bit more, although it will likely come with a good share of strikeouts.
Draft skinny: Russell has been creeping up boards, and while he's drawn some interest from teams in the 10-15 range, 16-20 is a more realistic expectation.
17. Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe HS (LA)
Who he is: The younger brother of Red Sox third baseman Garin, but a very different player. Gavin is smaller and more athletic, and a plus defensive shortstop who should stay at the position all the way up the ladder. He's a plus runner as well, and has outstanding baseball instincts. While Garin is arguably the best pure hitter in the Red Sox system, Gavin comes with questions about his bat. He has a smooth line drive stroke but little projection for power, so he'll have to develop a good approach to find his secondary skills.
Draft skinny: Pure shortstops in the draft are always a much-desired commodity, and Cecchini's name is in play for nearly every pick in the teens.
18. Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
Who he is: Wacha certainly passes the eye-test as a six-foot-six righty with long levers. His stuff is solid, with a plus fastball that sits in the low 90s and touches 95 and a true plus changeup, but his slurvy breaking ball needs considerable refinement. His delivery is easy and he throws a ton of strikes, which should help him speed through the minor leagues.
Draft skinny: Wacha's upside is as a No. 3 starter—more likely a No. 4—but his status as one of the safer picks will likely have him picked higher than this ranking.
19. Ty Hensley, RHP, Santa Fe HS (OK)
Who he is: Oklahoma has become a hotbed for high school power arms, and Hensley is this year's version. His six-foot-five power build has drawn comparisons to a young Mark Appel, and his low-to-mid 90s fastball and power curve are both plus offerings. He's still more of a thrower than a pitcher; he needs to throw more strikes and find a changeup.
Draft skinny: Hensley's size, arm strength and athleticism should make him a sure fire first-round pick, and he's a candidate to go anywhere from 15-25.
20. Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State
Who he is: A polished pitcher with a three-pitch mix, with his low 90s fastball, slider and changeup all earning average-to-plus grades and playing up due to his ability to locate. He's seen as an is-what-he-is type without much projection, and at nearly 22 years old, his age is an issue.
Draft skinny: Stratton is a safe pick who could go higher than this ranking to a college-focused team, likely not outside the 15-20 range.
21. Matt Smoral, LHP, Solon HS (OH)
Who he is: One of the toughest players in the draft to evaluate, as he had foot surgery that has kept him off the field for the majority of the spring. Still, scouts see plenty to like in a six-foot-seven, highly projectable southpaw who already has plus velocity and a good slider.
Draft skinny: Teams are comfortable with Smoral's injury as it's not arm related, and his upside could see him placing highly in a draft with few high ceilings.
22. Stephen Piscotty, OF, Stanford
Who he is: A very good college hitter, but not a great one. Piscotty has size and athleticism; while he's a plus hitter, he's a corner outfielder with a plus arm but merely average power potential. He played some third base in college, and teams that believe in him there are higher on him.
Draft skinny: Piscotty's value is buoyed in a draft with few college bats, which should move him into the end of the first round.
23. Corey Seager, SS, Northwest Cabarrus HS (NC)
Who he is: A bigger and more powerful version of his brother Kyle, who's an infielder with the Mariners. Corey projects as a third baseman as a pro, but has good athleticism for his size to go with soft hands and a good arm. Like Kyle, he's a plus hitter with a knack for contact, but his size gives him considerably more power potential.
Draft skinny: Seager should find a home somewhere in the 20s.
24. Tanner Rahier, SS, Palm Desert HS (CA)
Who he is: This year's late riser. He wouldn't have made this list a month ago, and this might already be too low. He's been impressive in private workouts, showing excellent hitting mechanics with the potential for average-to-plus power. He's either a third baseman or offense-oriented second baseman as a pro, as he's not this classic quick-twitch athlete one looks for at shortstop.
Draft skinny: Rahier was a supplemental first-round pick at best four weeks ago, but he's almost a lock to go in the first round, and could even sneak into the teens.
25. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State
Who he is: The best college left-hander in the draft, but based more on polish than stuff. He's found plenty of statistical success in college, but that's come from plus-plus command and control of an average-velocity fastball that he can reach back to get 93 mph from, as well as a solid-average or better slider and changeup. There's not much projection in him, but he's plenty good now.
Draft skinny: College left-handers with pitchability always do well in the draft, and Heaney could be gone before the 20s if the board falls right for him.
26. Zach Eflin, Hagery HS (FL)
Who he is: Some see Eflin as one of the best high school righties in the draft, and others are concerned about arm problems that plagued him this spring. When healthy, he's a skinny six-foot-five righty who fires a low-to-mid-90s fastball, and he has some feel for both a breaking ball and a changeup.
Draft skinny: A healthy Eflin could go in the teens, and it's unlikely he'll last long into the supplemental round if he falls out of the first.
27. Joey Gallo, 3B, Bishop Gorman HS (NV)
Who he is: Some scouts believe that Gallo has more raw strength in his swing than any player in the draft, but they also wonder if he'll be able to tap into it as a pro. He's a six-foot-five beast who takes a massive cut, and it's going to lead to plenty of swing-and-miss to go with the light tower power. He's a decent athlete for his size and has a fantastic arm, but his defense is rough, and for many, he profiles as a first baseman who will have to mash.
Draft skinny: Gallo's power alone should slide him into the first round, and there is some thought among teams that the tool could become a premium on Monday.
28. Lucas Sims, RHP, Brockwood HS (GA)
Who he is: While he's six-foot-two and not especially projectable, Sims offers plenty of right now stuff. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches, and he tends to throw strikes, but there are questions about how much better he can get from here.
Draft skinny: Sims is one of many tier two high school arms with a chance to slide in at the end of the first round.
29. Clint Coulter, C, Union HS (WA)
Who he is: Coulter has clear first-round tools. He's an impressive physical specimen with above-average power and arm strength, but he comes with big questions about his pure baseball ability, as his defense behind the plate needs considerable work, and some scouts don't like his swing. He's the rare tools bet at catcher.
Draft skinny: While he's a risky proposition, Coutler's high-ceiling at a premium position could make for an attractive combination to a team with multiple picks.
30. D.J. Davis, OF, Stone HS (MS)
Who he is: The fastest player in the draft, but that's not the only skill he brings to the table, as he's a good defensive center fielder with some hitting skill and enough strength to project for gap power. He hasn't had much exposure to top-flight competition, and his rawness is an understandable concern.
Draft skinny: Davis is one of the few pure 80 runners in this draft, and teams that believe he can hit enough to profile as a future leadoff man will be willing to pay seven figures to find out.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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