Here is a breakdown of the top 10 college outfielders for the upcoming 2012 draft which will be held on June 4-6.
1. Tyler Naquin, Texas A&M, 6’-2”, 180 pounds
2012 stats: 30 G, .431 AVG, 29 R, 8 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 11 SB, .507/.690/1.197
Naquin has all the makings of a future All-Star right fielder in the major leagues. One of the better hitters in the draft, the left-handed hitting junior currently ranks among the top in the nation in batting average. He led the nation in hits (104) as a sophomore while batting .381 overall. Had 35 extra-base hits over 68 games last season, and has 13 over 30 games this year, showing gap-to-gap power that should produce more home runs as he matures. Also owns arguably the strongest and most accurate outfield arm in the draft and has built a reputation as a guy you do not run on. A definite first-round pick.
2. Travis Jankowski, Stony Brook, 6’-3”, 190 pounds
2012 stats: 27 G, .330 AVG, 26 R, 9 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 17 SB, .420/.569/.989
Jankowski is the prototypical leadoff hitter and should be able to stick in center field due to his speed, range and arm. Hit .355 last season, with 38 RBI, 30 stolen bases and just 22 strikeouts over 58 games. Teams looking for a high-average hitter, with elite speed and a great approach at the plate, would be thrilled to get a guy like Jankowski. Will also be an instant fan favorite because of his hustle and all out style. Should find his name called in the first round.
3. Richie Shaffer, Clemson, 6’-4”, 220 pounds
2012 stats: 29G, .343 AVG, 25 R, 11 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 5 SB, .485/.833/1.318
Schaffer mixes jaw-dropping power with a patient approach at the plate, a rare attribute these days. His 29 walks rank among the leaders, and not many can match his tremendous power to all fields. While he currently plays third base for Clemson, and he projects nicely there, he could very well make a transition to right field due to his strong arm and above-average speed. Has seen his stock soar from a borderline first-round pick to a potential top-20 pick.
4. Victor Roache, Georgia Southern, 6’-1”, 235 pounds
2012 stats: 6 G, .412 AVG, 6 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .600/1.000/1.600
Roache suffered a broken wrist just a week into the season, but it shouldn’t effect his draft status. He led the nation in home runs last year with 30, and he has as much power as anyone in the draft. Has extremely quick wrists, allowing him to drive the ball to all fields, as well as catch up to any pitch. He strikes out a lot, but he also draws a lot of walks and his approach is getting better. His lack of speed may force him to first base at the major league level and his frame would fit perfect there. His power alone will land him in the first round.
5. Adam Brett-Walker, Jacksonville, 6’-5“, 225 pounds
2012 stats: 31 G, .304 AVG, 23 R, 9 2B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 4 SB, .397/.652/1.049
Like Roache, Brett-Walker may end up better suited for first base because of his size. The right-hander hit .409 with 13 home runs and 73 RBI over 61 games as a sophomore in 2011. His long swing leads to a lot strikeouts, but also like Roache, he takes his share of walks. Has been heating up of late, going 12-for-28 (.429) with two doubles, three home runs and six RBI over his recent seven-game hitting streak. He is still a borderline first-round pick but could improve his status with a strong finish to the year.
6. Barrett Barnes, Texas Tech, 6’-1”, 210 pounds
2012 stats: 31 G, .358 AVG, 30 R, 10 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 14 SB, .467/.798/1.265
Barnes is one of the better power/speed players in the draft. He has recorded a hit in 26 of his 31 games on the season, and over the last 11, has hit .372 with nine extra-base hits and 11 walks. His size, speed and arm should allow him to stick at center field in the majors. The way he has played this year, he could very well be selected among the top-60 picks come June.
7. Brandon Thomas, Georgia Tech, 6’-3″, 205 pounds
2012 stats: 29 G, .365 AVG, 30 R, 11 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 11 SB, .456/.609/1.065
Thomas has excellent speed and a very patient approach at the plate, two things that will keep him at the top of any batting order. His size suggests more power could come, but he is more of a line-drive doubles hitter. Has been on fire lately, going 14-for-25 (.560) over his last six games with three doubles, six RBI and five stolen bases. He has a multi-hit game in all six games. The junior is a switch-hitter who hits well from both sides of the plate, and his strong and accurate arm will play well in center field at the major league level. He is playing his way into the first round this year.
8. James Ramsey, Florida State, 6’-0”, 190 pounds
2012 stats: 29 G, .418 AVG, 39 R, 6 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 31 RBI, .546/1.102/1.648
Having perhaps the best offensive season in the nation this year as he leads everyone in SLG and OPS, and is among the top 10 in home runs, runs and OBP. Over 178 games coming into this year, the senior has a career .323 average with 134 runs, 35 doubles, nine triples, 21 home runs, 144 RBI and 22 stolen bases. Hits from the left side, and while he doesn’t possess great tools, gets the most out of his talents. He is a gamer that can flat out hit and projects to a left fielder due to his lack of speed and arm strength. Will get drafted high on his bat alone, much like Jedd Gyorko of the Padres.
9. Preston Tucker, Florida, 6’-0”, 220 pounds
2012 stats: 30 G, .319 AVG, 25 R, 6 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 26 RBI, .400/.828/1.228
Tucker is a left-handed power hitter with a great approach at the plate. Over 228 career games at Florida, the senior has drawn 107 walks to just 94 strikeouts, good for a .455 OBP. He ranks among the nation’s leaders in home runs, SLG and OPS this year and has been one of the best players on the best team in the country. The fact that he generates so much power from the left side, along with his plate discipline, should land him among the top-60 picks in the draft.
10. Jeremy Baltz, St. Johns, 6’-3”, 205 pounds
2012 stats: 29 G, .281 AVG, 26 R, 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 8 SB, .373/.588/.961
After hitting .396 with 24 home runs and 85 RBI as a freshman, winning College Freshman of the Year honors, Baltz’ numbers have been dipping ever since. He has said that the new bats that favor pitchers have played a big role in that, and from taking a look at how dominant pitching has been over the last two seasons at the college level, I believe him. He still projects to a middle-of-the-order run produce due to his power and overall hitting abilities. He has only struck out 11 times over 29 games this year, showing a great approach at the plate, as well. Could sneak into the top-60 picks with a strong finish to the season.