2012 MLB Draft: Joey Gallo, Richie Shaffer among top power hitters
The 2012 MLB amateur draft will be held on June 4-6. With most of the college and high school regular seasons over, and most players getting ready to participate in workouts for teams, let’s take a look at the ten best players at each skill set. First, we will focus on the power hitters. Here are the top-10 power hitting prospects in the draft.
1. Joey Gallo, 3B, Bishop Gorman HS (NV)
Over his last 24 games, Gallo is hitting .581 (44-for-77) with an incredible 19 home runs and 59 RBI including a four-home run game on April 18 against Clark HS. Overall, The 6’-5”, 220-pound left-hander is hitting .514 with 21 home runs, 80 RBI and a ridiculous 1.811 over 37 games for powerhouse Bishop Gorman. There may be stronger guys on this list, but none have the ability to put the ball over the fence quite like Gallo can. For his career, he has hit .468 with 66 home runs, 248 RBI and a 1.618 OPS over 154 games. A lock for the first round and could go in the first 15 picks.
2. Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson
Shaffer brings a big bat with him to the plate, but he also is extremely patient and shows the ability to be a high-average hitter at the next level with his ability to drive the ball to all fields. He is hitting .344 through 56 games with 18 doubles, 10 home runs, 45 RBI and a 1.060 OPS. His 51 walks ranks him among the leaders in the nation, as well. He is also an outstanding first baseman who has made the transition over to third this year and could play either position at the next level. Has put himself in first round talks with his play this season.
3. Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern
Roache missed all but six games this season due to a broken wrist. The injury isn’t something that should concern potential suitors, however, and he is hoping to swing a bat before the draft. The 6’-1”, 235-pound right-hander hit 31 home runs last season, tops in college. He has extremely quick wrists and is able to drive the ball out to all fields. He hit .316 with six home runs and 28 RBI over 42 games at the Cape Cod League in 2011, leading the league with a 1.004 OPS and was named the top pro prospect in the league. He should hear his name called in the first round.
4. Mike Zunino, C, Florida
Of Zunino’s 67 hits on the season, 39 have gone for extra bases. Through 55 games, the 6’-3”, 225-pound right-hander is hitting .324 with 24 doubles, 15 home runs, 51 RBI and a 1.043 OPS. He was named the SEC Player of the Year last season after hitting .371 with 19 home runs and 67 RBI. He has tremendous pull power and one of the quickest bats around. He has three multi-home run games this season. Aside from his power, he is also one of the best defensive catchers in the draft and should be a top-five pick in the draft.
5. Adam Brett-Walker, 1B/OF, Jacksonville
Walker is a big man who gets the most out of his swings. At 6’-5”, 235-pounds, the right-hander has a long swing that leads to a lot of strikeouts, but he has also been improving his approach at the plate as evidenced by his .426 OBP this season. He hit .409 with 13 home runs and 73 RBI over 61 games as a sophomore last season and is hitting .343 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs, 42 RBI and a 1.007 OPS through 56 games this year. With his size, swing, approach at the plate and easy power, he reminds me of Ryan Howard. Should be among the top-50 picks in the draft.
6. Peter O’Brien, C, Miami (FL)
Light-tower power. At 6’-5” and 225 pounds, that term best describes the kind of power O’Brien generates from his bat. He suffered a hairline fracture on his wrist when he got hit by a pitch on April 15 but is ready to resume action as of May 20. Through his 36 games on the season, he is hitting .354 with 11 doubles, 10 home runs, 38 RBI and a 1.142 OPS. He also shows a great approach at the plate as he has drawn 23 walks to just 21 strikeouts.
7. Corey Seager, SS, Cabarrus HS (NC)
Seager has been soaring up draft boards this season, and some have him going in the top 20. At 6’-4” and 190 pounds, the left-hander has impressed scouts this season with his ability to drive the ball out to left and center field. He hit .517 with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 28 RBI in just 68 at-bats as a junior last season. His brother, Kyle Seager, is one of the best rookies in baseball this season for the Seattle Mariners. Corey already has more power than him, and could end up the better of the two.
8. Preston Tucker, OF, Florida
Tucker, a 6’-1”, 220-pound left-hander, has been mashing the ball since his freshman season when he hit .364 with 15 home runs and 85 RBI over 57 games. This year, he is hitting .321 with 15 doubles, 14 home runs, 43 RBI and a 1.006 OPS through 56 games. Like his teammate Zunino, he has tremendous pull power, except his is from the left side, something many teams will covet come draft day. He has a very good approach at the plate, drawing 28 walks to just 26 strikeouts, allowing him to wait for the right pitch to drive out of the park. He will end his career as one of the Gators most productive hitters ever as he has hit .330 with 68 doubles, 55 home runs and 251 RBI through 248 games. Projected as a second-round pick, but could slip into the later half of the supplemental.
9. Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS (GA)
Buxton is a guy you are going to see appear on several of these lists as he is arguably the top player in the draft and is a true five-tool player. His power may be the least refined area of his game right now, but he still has enough of it to merit his spot on this list. Through 33 games this season, he is hitting .533 with 17 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 28 RBI and 35 stolen bases. He has some of the quickest wrists in the draft and that allows for some incredible bat speed. At 6’-2” and 190 pounds, the right-hander hits the gaps with ease, and as he matures, should develop plus power. As of now, the power is all about potential with Buxton, but that potential is the best in this draft. Will go in the top three picks in the draft with a good shot to go number one overall.
10. Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll HS (TX)
Hawkins, a 6’-3”, 215-pound right-hander, has been rising up draft boards all season. An incredible athlete, he has raw power to all fields and is one of the more exciting players to watch. He is hitting .452 with 10 home runs, 34 RBI and 16 stolen bases on the season, after hitting .410 with 15 home runs and 22 stolen bases as a junior last season. He has a big, powerful swing, and when he gets a hold of one, you just know it. Committed to Texas but could go in the first round.