2012 Draft: These five college players are on the rise

Stony Brook's Travis Jankowski could be a top-10 pick. (Efal Sayed/The Statesman)

With the 2012 MLB amateur draft now less than two weeks away on June 4-6, it’s time to take a look at another five college players whose stock is rising through their recent play and overall success this season.

Travis Jankowski, OF, Stony Brook
56 G, .411 AVG, 66 R, 16 2B, 9 3B, 4 HR, 40 RBI, 34 SB .476/.621/1.097

The way Jankowski has been playing lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go in the top 10 picks. The 6’-3”, 200-pound left-hander has very few holes in his game and should be a quick riser to the major leagues. He is hitting .544 (25-for-46) during his current 10-game hitting streak, and over his last 21, is a ridiculous 46-for-86 (.535) with 33 runs, five doubles, five triples, three home runs, 21 RBI and a slash line of .600/.814/1.414. Oh, and he has stolen 14 bases with just two strikeouts over that span. He gets on base, rarely strikes out and is a big-time threat on the base paths. He also is a very good defensive center fielder with a strong, accurate arm and speed to get to most anything hit his way.

Josh Ludy, C, Baylor
55 G, .361 AVG, 34 R, 13 2B, 13 HR, 64 RBI, .449/.616/1.065

Through his first 25 games this season, Ludy had zero home runs. Since then, he has smacked 13 over his last 29 including a 5-for-6 game with three home runs and seven RBI against Kansas State on April 15. He is also hitting .431 (31-for-72) over his last 21 games with three doubles, 11 home runs and 28 RBI. The 5’-11”, 210-pound right-hander is a big, solid guy but he came into this season with just five home runs over 289 career at-bats. With 26 walks to 39 strikeouts on the year, he also shows a very good approach at the plate. Ludy’s breakout season could see him get selected in the first couple of rounds come draft day.

Pierce Johnson, RHP, Missouri State
3-6, 2.55 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 112 K/26 BB, 91.2 IP, 11.1 K/9

Johnson was one of the top stories of the college season before he went down with forearm stiffness, causing him to miss a couple of starts. In the three starts after he came back, he allowed 12 runs on 19 hits over 17.1 innings. His once soaring stock was cooling down and his teammate Nick Petree was grabbing all of the headlines with his record 74.1 scoreless innings streak. Petree’s streak came to an end, however, and Johnson has resumed grabbing all of the headlines for Missouri State. Over his last three starts, he has allowed three runs on 17 hits over 25 innings. He has also struck out 27 batters to just three walks over that span. The 6’-3”, 185-pound right-hander has a fastball that sits in the 92-95 mph range, along with an above average change-up and curveball.

Kurt Heyer, RHP, Arizona
11-2, 2.03 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 92 K/19 BB, 119.2 IP, 6.9 K/9

I recently had a chance to interview Heyer (article here), and since that interview, he has been lights out. Over his last three starts, he is 3-0 and has allowed just one run on 17 hits over 26 innings. He has tossed two complete games during that span (both shutouts) and now has six complete games on the season. His ability to keep hitters off balance, induce ground balls and go deep into games, will make him a very sought after prospect come draft day. He is a very smart pitcher with great mound presence and some of the best command in the draft.

Kevin Plawecki, C, Purdue
54 G, .361 AVG, 48 R, 20 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 41 RBI .451/.551/1.002

Plawecki may be the best hitting catcher in the draft, even better than Mike Zunino. He has six-three hit games on the season, has reached base safely in 50 of his 54 games and has only struck out eight times all season. The 6’-1”, 215-pound right-hander has raw power despite his five home runs. His 20 doubles show the kind of gap power he has and his .451 OBP further shows his advanced approach at the plate. Over his 161 career games at Purdue, he is hitting .350 with 46 doubles, 16 home runs, 135 RBI and just 29 strikeouts. He is also no slouch on defense, throwing out 34.3 percent of would be base stealers over the last two seasons, and he has a reputation as being a great game caller.

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