The 2012 MLB amateur draft is now just a month away, and with much of the high school and college seasons either finished or nearing their ends, it is becoming more and more clear who the top prospects are heading up to June 4. Here is my latest mock, including all of the first-round supplemental picks.
1. Houston Astros – Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
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Appel continues to prove why he is the safest and most polished pick in this draft. He is 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 81 K/20 BB over 79 innings on the season. His 7.9 innings-per-start show the kind of workhorse he will be at the next level. His effortless delivery, coupled with his large frame (6’-5”, 220 pounds), allows him to go deep into games. His fastball reaches the upper-90s with ease and he has a plus swing-and-miss slider, an above-average change-up with late fade and will also mix in a cutter. His size, repertoire and mound presence is very similar to Justin Verlander.
2. Minnesota Twins – Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS (GA)
The Twins can go with a player, who despite his age, has very few holes to his game. The 6’-1”, 180-pound right-hander has often drawn comparisons to Justin Upton because of his all-around play. He is hitting .566 this season with 14 doubles, 46 runs, 18 RBI and a .663 OBP over 24 games batting form the leadoff spot. He is a perfect 28-for-28 in stolen base attempts and has struck out just once. The power is there already despite having hit only one home run this season. He simply isn’t getting anything to hit from opposing pitchers but has been patient enough to take what they are giving him without chasing balls away. He is also a dominant pitcher as he has struck out 78 batters over 39 innings.
3. Seattle Mariners – Mike Zunino, C, Florida
This seems like a perfect destination for Zunino, a 6’-3”, 225-pound right-hander who excels on both sides of the field. With the Mariners having some of the top pitching prospects in baseball in Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, Zunino would give them a great signal caller and a strong defensive presence behind the plate. He also can hit the tar out of a baseball, something the Mariners always seem to need. He was named the SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore last season, hitting .371 with 19 home runs and 67 RBI. Over 44 games this season, he is hitting .335 with 18 doubles, 12 home runs and 43 RBI for one of the top teams in the nation. Should be a quick riser to the show and a clubhouse leader from day one.
4. Baltimore Orioles – Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
The Orioles are the surprise of the young baseball season so far, and with an excited fan base growing, the organization can add to that by selecting the player with the highest ceiling in this draft. Giolito is a 6’-6”, 220-pound right-hander whose fastball can reach triple-digits. His curveball and slider are already above-average pitches with plus potential. He also mixes in a change-up and split-finger to keep hitters off balance. The injury to his elbow isn’t serious, and he is being shut down merely as a precaution. A future rotation with Dylan Bundy and Giolito at the top could change the landscape of the AL East and help bring Baltimore back to it’s prominence of the 1970s and early ’80s.
5. Kansas City Royals – Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco
The Royals can add the best available pitcher in Zimmer, a 6’-3”, 225-pound flamethrower who is still relatively new to pitching. A converted infielder who never pitched in high school, he has become one of the best power/control pitchers in the country. Through 11 starts, he has a 2.71 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 85 K/13 BB over 76.1 innings for the Dons. His fastball can reach 98 mph and he has been clocked at 94 mph deep into games, showing great durability. Zimmer also features a power curve that projects to a wipe-out pitch at the next level. His slider is above average, his change-up is still developing, and he has excellent command of all four pitches. Huge upside.
6. Chicago Cubs – Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU
The Cubs need all kind of help. Their offense has many holes, but with young prospects like Javier Baez, Daniel Vogelbach, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson, Matthew Szczur, among others, the bats are on their way. Their depth of pitching in the minors, however, is shockingly bad. Aside from Dillon Maples, who has yet to begin his pro career, and Nick Struck, Trey McNutt and Ben Wells, the starting pitching is sparse. Gausman would give them a frontline starter who should be a quick riser to the majors. At 6’-5” and 200 pounds, he uses his size, and upper-90s fastball to blow away hitters, while also having great control of his pitches. His change-up has late, fading action and should be an above-average pitch, while his breaking ball is still developing.
7. San Diego Padres – Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
The Padres could always use a bat but would be hard pressed to pass on the best left-hander available in the draft. Fried, a teammate of Giolito, has shown the ability to be a leader and put a team on his back in the absence of his star teammate as Harvard-Westlake is currently the number-five ranked team in the country by ESPN. He is 6-1 on the season with 83 strikeouts over 50.1 innings and has held opponents to a .162 batting average. His fastball can hit 94 mph with late sink, his change-up projects to plus and his curveball is arguably the best in the draft, regardless of class.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates – Walker Weickel, RHP, Olympia HS (FL)
The 6’-6”, right-hander is 10-0 on the season with a 1.47 ERA and 72 strikeouts over 55 innings for the number-one ranked team in the country by ESPN. His delivery is downhill and deceptive with his fastball touching 94 mph and his low-70s curveball and low-80s change-up both project to plus offerings. He is a big game pitcher who went 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA and 12 K/2 BB over 13.1 innings for gold-medal winning U18 Team USA at the Pan Am Championships this past fall. With top prospects Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon both pitching like future aces this season, Weickel would give them another power arm at the top of their rotation in a few years.
9. Miami Marlins – Lance McCullers, RHP, Jesuit HS (FL)
In his 11th start of the season, McCullers finally allowed an earned run. He is now 11-0 and sports a 0.12 ERA over 58.1 innings with 107 K/18 BB while only allowing 16 hits. His fastball has been legendary since he hit 96 mph on the radar gun as a sophomore, and it currently can touch triple-digits. The one knock on him coming into this season was his command. Over his first three years, he had walked 50 batters over 77 innings for a 5.9 walk per nine inning ratio. His 2.8 walks per nine innings this year show the improvements he has made in that area. Along with his fastball, he also features a knee-buckling curveball and a slider that projects to plus. He has a feel and poise for the game not seen in many players his age, which could be in the genes as his father, Lance McCullers, was a seven-year major league veteran.
10. Colorado Rockies – Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (PR)
Correa is a defensive whiz at shortstop, but his size (6’-4”, 190 pounds) may force a move to third base. A line-drive hitter with extremely quick wrists, many believe his doubles will turn into home runs as he fills out. An exciting player whose potential is sky high. Is committed to Vanderbilt, which is always a tough sign.
11. Oakland Athletics – Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State
Billy Beane hasn’t selected a high school player in the first round in over a decade. He doesn’t take many risks and landing the best defensive shortstop in the draft here would be as safe a pick there is. Marrero, a 6’-1”, 200-pound right-hander was the Pac-10 defensive Player of the Year last season and is on track to claim the award again this season. He can also handle the bat and set an ASU record by hitting .397 his freshman season to go along with 43 RBI. This season, he is hitting .280 with six doubles, four triples, three home runs, 23 RBI and 10 stolen bases. He has a great approach at the plate as he has only struck out 66 times over 536 career at-bats.
12. New York Mets – David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain HS (AL)
Dahl is one of the purest hitters in the draft, as well as one of the most gifted athletes. The 6’-2” left-hander’s game reminds some of the Angels’ Mike Trout. As a junior at Oak Mountain High, Dahl batted .449 with 18 doubles, three triples and two home runs while driving in 29 runs. He struck out only 10 times in 118 at bats, posted a .703 slugging percentage, .493 on-base percentage and hit .488 with runners in scoring position. He then joined U18 Team USA and hit .364 with 11 runs, nine RBI and seven stolen bases batting leadoff, while also playing flawless defense for the gold medal winners. More power will come as he matures, and he has one of the highest ceilings in the draft.
13. Chicago White Sox – Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy (FL)
I liken Almora to Derek Jeter the way he plays the game, his intangibles and the instant leadership he will bring wherever he goes. A six-time member of Team USA, he is hitting .603 with six home runs, 34 RBI and 27 stolen bases this season for Mater. He earned MVP honors at the Pan Am Championships in Colombia, hitting .421 (16-for-38) with a team-leading 11 runs, five doubles, 11 RBI and nine stolen bases as Team USA went 9-0, outscoring opponents 88-8. He is a five-tool player with more power coming as he matures.
14. Cincinnati Reds – Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
The Reds can add one of the more polished pitchers in the draft in Wacha, a 6’-6”, right-hander who can dial his fastball up to 95 mph and has one of the best change-ups in the draft. He is 6-0 on the season, with a 2.22 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 78 K/14 BB over 77 innings. His power and superb command of his pitches, along with his size, make him a potential workhorse ace at the next level.
15. Cleveland Indians – Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern
Roache had surgery for a broken wrist he suffered just six games into the season. It shouldn’t cause any long-term effects, and he did lead the nation in home runs last year with 30, so his draft status should remain this high. He has power to all fields, and his quick wrists allow him to catch up to any pitch. His approach at the plate is getting better and more refined every year, so he should be a good-average at the next level.
16. Washington Nationals – Stryker Trahan, C, Arcadiana HS, (LA)
The Nat’s can grab one of the best catchers and hitters in the draft. Other than Zunino, Trahan is the only other catcher who has franchise player-type abilities. With his short stroke and excellent bat speed, he generates incredible power and should hit for a high average. Hit .460 with five home runs as a junior in 2011 with a 1.281 OPS. At 6’-2” and 215 pounds, he makes for a big target behind the plate, and his strong arm and footwork make him a solid defender. Has been clocked at 6.64 in the 60. Phenomenal athlete who could be a standout right fielder if he chooses. He also hits from the left side, a rarity for catchers.
17. Toronto Blue Jays – Chris Beck, RHP, Georgia Southern
Beck is a power pitcher who struck out 16 batters over six innings against College of Charleston on march 30. For the season, he has a 3.43 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 94 K/21 BB over 78.2 innings. The 6’-3”, 220-pound right-hander can hit 96 mph with his fastball and both his curveball and change-up are quality pitches. He turned heads at the Cape Cod League over the summer, posting a 2.12 ERA with 41 K/13 BB over 51 innings, showing good command of his pitches. Lots of upside.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers – Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State
Not many players improved their stock more than Heaney did this year. Over 84 innings, he has a 1.82 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 102 K/18 BB. His change-up and slider are both above-average offerings, and his command is off the charts. His fastball sits in the low-90s with good movement. At 6’-2” and 185 pounds, he isn’t a power pitcher, despite his high strikeout totals. Instead, he relies on his pinpoint control and ability to throw any pitch, in any count.
19. St. Louis Cardinals – Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe HS (LA)
The Cardinals would get a high-character player along with one of the more athletic players in the draft. Timed at 6.6 in the 60, Cecchini is always a threat on the base paths and is a perfect 25-for-25 this season. He is hitting .395 with a .514 OBP, six home runs, 27 RBI while playing gold-glove caliber defense at shortstop and using a wooden bat. His strong arm, range and instincts should allow him to stick at the position, but he could also make a seamless transition to second base if needed. Led U18 Team USA with a .469 average at the Pan Am Championships, adding 10 RBI and eight stolen bases while playing a flawless second base.
20. San Francisco Giants – Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo HS (CA)
The Giants always seem to have a plethora of pitching in the minors, and grabbing Virant here, arguably the best available left-hander, would add to their stable. Virant is a Greg Maddux-type pitcher in that he isn’t going to overpower you, rather dominate you with his command, aggressiveness and ability to throw any pitch, in any count. Has four pitches that all grade out to at least average, and with his 6’-4”, 180-pound frame, has a lot of room for improvement. His fastball is his best pitch, sitting in the low 90s, and his curveball has serious potential. He is also a freak athlete with elite speed and a tremendous hitting abilities, something that will come in handy playing in the National League. Another member of U18 Team USA, Virant is a gamer who plays his best in the biggest events.
21. Atlanta Braves – Joey Gallo, 3B/1B, Bishop Gorman HS (NV)
Over his last 14 games, Gallo is hitting .681 (30-for-44) with 13 home runs and 40 RBI, and for the season, is now hitting .561 with 14 home runs and 61 RBI over 28 games. The 6’-5”, 220-pound third baseman is the best power bat available in this draft, and Coors Field would suit him perfectly. He could also be the heir to Todd Helton at first base, as his size would play well there. A high-character player who was a member of the gold-medal winning U18 Team USA at the Pan Am Championships. Also a standout pitcher whose fastball can reach the upper-90s to go with a very good curveball.
22. Toronto Blue Jays – Matthew Smoral, LHP, Solon HS (OH)
(The Blue Jays receive this pick as compensation for failing to sign last year’s first-round pick Tyler Beede.)
Smoral is a 6’-8” southpaw with a lot of upside. He has an easy, fluid delivery, and mixed with his size, could emerge as a front line workhorse down the line. He features a low-90s fastball and a change-up with late sink. Both pitches are potential plus offerings and he has command of both of them. He is very aggressive on the mound, attacking hitters inside and out, without fear.
23. St. Louis Cardinals – Lucas Sims, RHP, Brookwood HS, (GA)
At 6’-2”, Sims has a lively arm and can get his fastball in the upper 90s. His curveball already rates as plus, his change-up is above average and he has added a sinker to his arsenal this season. Went 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA with 52 strikeouts over 32 innings as a junior in 2011 and is 4-0 with a 0.89 ERA over 39.1 innings this season, his first as a starter. He has a bulldog mentality on the mound and could be a potentially dominant closer down the line if he went that route.
24. Boston Red Sox – Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State
Stratton is a guy who is getting a lot of attention these days as his game has improved drastically from a year ago. The 6’-3”, 200-pound right-hander has a 2.39 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 95 K/17 BB over 75.1 innings this season, including 17 strikeouts against LSU on March 16. He features a fastball that can hit 95 mph, a curveball that borders on plus and an above-average change-up. He is a great command pitcher with power and he has a great mound presence.
25. Tampa Bay Rays – Travis Jankowski, OF, Stony Brook
The Rays love speedy outfielders who can hit for some power, and Jankowski fits that mold to a tee. A prototypical leadoff hitter who gets on base at a high clip and can rack up stolen bases, he would also be a perfect number-two hitter as he has gap power and can knock in runs. The 6’-3” left-hander is hitting .390 with 13 doubles, nine triples, three home runs, 29 RBI and 29 stolen bases over 44 games this year. He is also a great defensive center fielder and a very intelligent player.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks – Tyler Naquin, OF, Texas A&M
The Diamondbacks have been stockpiling pitchers over the last couple of drafts and have some of the best young arms in the majors to show for it. Naquin would bring one of the best bats in the draft with him to the desert, as well as the best outfield arm. The 6’-2” left-hander is hitting .395 with 11 doubles, four triples, three home runs, 40 RBI and 15 stolen bases over 45 games this season. He has also drawn 21 walks to 25 strikeouts, showing a very good approach at the plate. He was named Big-12 Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2011, hitting .389 and leading the nation in hits with 104.
27. Milwaukee Brewers – Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS (GA)
(Brewers get the Tigers first-round pick as compensation for losing Prince Fielder)
The shortstop position is very deep this year, and Russell excels on both sides of the field. With soft hands, exceptional range and a canon arm, he fields his position effortlessly, but a move to third could come due to his size. Played for U18 Team USA at the Pan Am Championships hitting .393 with nine RBI, four stolen bases. He hit the team’s only home run of the tournament, a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning against Canada in the gold-medal game that put the game away early for Team USA. Overall, he hit .364 with 14 RBI, six stolen bases and a 1.095 OPS over 15 games for the team. One of those players who makes the game look incredibly easy.
28. Milwaukee Brewers – Richie Shaffer, 3B/1B, Clemson
The Brewers can add some serious power to their organization after losing a lot of it when Prince left town. At 6’-4”, 210-pounds, the right-hander has raw, jaw-dropping power to all fields. Over his 152 career games at Clemson, he is hitting .327 with 40 doubles, 28 home runs, 129 RBI and a 1.080 OPS. He has struck out 125 times; however, he has drawn 107 walks, demonstrating an advanced approach at the plate. He plays third base now, but may be better suited for a corner outfield position.
29. Texas Rangers – Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke
Nolan Ryan has built the recent success of the Rangers around pitching. He can add the nation’s leader in strikeouts in Stroman, a 5’-9” flamethrower who has a 2.22 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 102 K/21 BB over 73 innings. Because of his size, some question his durability to be a starter, but he could be a lethal closer and often draws comparisons to Tom Gordon.
30. New York Yankees – Tanner Rahier, SS, Palm Desert HS (CA)
This has been a perfect marriage in my eyes since my first mock. The Yankees are going to need an heir to Derek Jeter’s throne, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Rahier would fill both of those voids. A tireless worker, the 6’-2”, 205-pound right-hander generates plus power from his short, compact swing and finished second at the 2011 Power Showcase held at Chase Field, after leading the first round with 11 home runs. His arm has been clocked at 93 mph, and his plus-range at footwork make him a legitimate shortstop at the next level. He also runs a 6.6/60.
31. Boston Red Sox – Stephen Piscotty, 3B/1B, Stanford
Piscotty is one of the best hitters in the draft; however, the one question on him is can he provide enough power to stick at a corner infield position? At 6’-3” and 215 pounds, he has the size but has only hit 12 home runs over 153 career games, including this season. Still, he is a .338 career hitter who rarely strike out and can spray the ball to all fields. A John Olerud-type from the right side.
32. Minnesota Twins – Matthew Reckling, RHP, Rice
Reckling is another pitcher who has greatly improved his stock this season. The 6’-4”, senior came into this season needing to work on his command. He had always been a power pitcher, as his 143 strikeouts over 131 innings showed. However, he also walked 89 batters over that span, and a 6.1 BB/9 ratio won’t cut it in the big leagues. His dedication and improvements over the offseason have been noticed by scouts as he has posted a 1.44 ERA, 0.88 WHIP with 80 K/25 BB over 68.2 innings this year. He has kept his power while also dropping his walks-per-nine innings to 3.3. His .143 BAA also ranks among the top in the nation.
33. San Diego Padres – Trey Williams, 3B, Valencia HS (CA)
The Padres can add some serious power wiT. Williams, a 6’-1″, 200-pound right-hander who was once walked with the bases loaded. Has incredible bat speed, and the ball just jumps off his bat to all fields. In 182 at-bats over the last two seasons, he has hit 19 home runs, rarely getting a pitch to hit. Has good bloodlines, too, as his father, Eddie Williams, played 10 seasons in the major leagues and was the fourth overall pick by the Mets in 1983.
34. Oakland Athletics – Nolan Fontana, 2B, Florida
Fontana has great offensive skills as well as being one of the better defensive second baseman in the draft. Through 44 games this season, he is hitting .300 with eight home runs, 26 RBI and nine stolen bases. He also has an outstanding approach at the plate as he has drawn 33 walks to just 17 strikeouts. An all-around talent at his position in the mold of Chase Utley.
35. New York Mets – Nick Williams, OF, Ball HS (TX)
Williams is still raw in some areas but his tremendous power and smooth stroke from the left side have drawn some comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. He also has excellent speed, which should make him a threat on the base paths once he becomes a better base runner. His arm has been clocked at 93 mph, and mixed with his speed, makes him a plus defender, as well. Williams has as much talent as anyone in the draft, he just needs some refining.
36. St. Louis Cardinals – Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty HS, (FL)
There may not have been a prep pitcher who improved his stock more than Eflin this year. The 6’-5”, 200-pound right-hander has had his fastball clocked as high as 97 mph, and it routinely sits in the 92-94 mph range. He did have an arm injury that caused him to miss some time, and some scouts worry that it could be more serious than initially thought, but Eflin is going to go out and pitch to prove them wrong. Moxie can’t be taught.
37. Boston Red Sox – Ty Hensley, RHP, Santa Fe HS, (OK)
Hensley is a 6’-5”, 220-pound horse who can get his fastball up to 95 mph with ease. His loose arm and easy delivery allow him to maintain his velocity late in games. He also features a sharp curve that grades as plus, as well as an above average change-up. A gamer with great poise and presence on the mound. Is 7-0 this season, with a 1.40 ERA and 79 strikeouts over 40 innings.
38. Milwaukee Brewers – Rock Rucker, LHP/OF, Russell County HS (AL)
Now that Rucker is focusing full-time on the mound, his upside is sky high — 6’-5” lefties who can zip it 95 mph are always a hot commodity. With some refining to his game, he could be something special. He also has a hammer curve that is already a devastating pitch. He is an intimidating presence on the mound and is also a superb athlete who could be drafted as an outfielder if he chooses. He is 7-0 this season with a 0.41 ERA and 66 strikeouts over 34 innings. He also remains one of the best power bats around, as he is hitting .383 with 13 doubles, eight home runs and 40 RBI through 37 games. Very high upside with Rucker.
39. Texas Rangers – Dylan Baker, RHP, Western Nevada CC College
Baker, a 6’-3”, 215-pound right-hander, is the top JUCO pitcher in the draft and has been nearly untouchable all season. Through 13 games, he is 11-0 with a 0.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 93 strikeouts over 59.1 innings. He is holding opponents to a .127 average. He has three pitches that all grade as plus already – a fastball that touches 97 mph, a hammer curve and a mid-80s slider that wipes out hitters. The only concern with him is his control. With 32 walks allowed on the season, his pitches can tend to get away from at times. Could go way higher come June, and with some work on his control, could be the steal of the draft.
40. Philadelphia Phillies – Adam Brett-Walker, OF, Jacksonville
The Phillies can add some insurance for Ryan Howard as Walker is a 6’-5”, 225-pound beast of a hitter much like Howard. One of the top power hitters in the draft, Walker hit .409 with 13 home runs and 73 RBI over 61 games as a sophomore in 2011. Has a long swing that leads to a lot of strikeouts, but he isn’t afraid to take a walk either. Through 46 games this season, he is hitting .331 with 13 doubles, eight home runs and 35 RBI. His 27 walks to 38 strikeouts show an improvement on his approach at the plate.
41. Houston Astros – Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida
Johnson has been knocked around a bit this season, but he still remains one of the better southpaws in the draft. At 6’-4” and 200 pounds, he features a low-90s fastball with sink, an above-average change-up and his slider projects to a plus pitch at the next level. Has great mound presence and an advanced feel for pitching. Also a tremendous hitter and could be drafted high as an outfielder. Over 122 at-bats this season, he is hitting .320 with eight doubles, five home runs and 30 RBI.
42. Minnesota Twins – James Ramsey, OF, Florida State
Ramsey has been, arguably, the best college player in the country this season. He is a smart player who gets on base at a very high clip and has few holes on offense. Through 44 games, the 6’-1”, 190-pound left-hander is hitting .392 with 55 runs, nine doubles, six triples, nine home runs and 37 RBI. He has also taken 39 walks for a .533 OBP. Has enough arm and range to hold down left field but his offense is what scouts love.
43. Chicago Cubs – Martin Agosta, RHP, St. Mary’s
Agosta is known for having unreal composure on the mound and a feel for the game not seen in many players his age. He is a tactician on the mound, keeping hitters off balance by throwing in and out at will. At 6’-1”, 185-pounds, he generates a lot of power from his frame and can get his fastball up to 96 mph, but controls it better in the lower-90s. His cutter is his wipe-out pitch and he also throws in a slider. On the season, he has a 2.11 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 71 K/22 BB over 81 innings.
44. San Diego Padres – Jesse Winker, 3B/OF, Olympia HS (FL)
The Padres can continue to add power as Winker is a left-handed hitter with excellent bat speed and an impressive approach at the plate. Hit .509 with seven home runs as a junior. At 6’-3” and 200 pounds, he has raw power to all fields and gets good reads on pitches. Was named most outstanding pitcher at the Pan Am Championships, going 2-0 with 10.1 scoreless innings for gold-medal-winning Team USA. His bat, however, is what scouts are in love with.
45. Pittsburgh Pirates – Lewis Brinson, OF, Coral Springs HS (FL)
Brinson hit .473 with four home runs, 23 RBIs and a 1.496 OPS over 20 games as a junior last season. He was 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts and had 16 walks, leading to a .623 OBP. His stock is soaring after more than holding his own at summer tournaments, establishing himself as one of the best all-around players in the country. Has plus bat speed and gap-to-gap power, which could turn into home-run power as he matures. His speed and strong arm make him a solid defensive player as well. Through 22 games this season, he is hitting .382 with four doubles, four triples, four home runs, 21 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
46. Colorado Rockies – Clint Coulter, C, Union HS (WA)
The number-two ranked high school catcher behind Stryker Trahan by most scouts, Coulter is just starting to focus on baseball full time. A former all-state wrestler, he is a huge target behind the plate at 6’-3” and 220 pounds. He generates tremendous power, and his quick wrists allow him to catch up to any pitch. He has the footwork and arm to be a very good defensive backstop at the next level.
47. Oakland Athletics – Branden Kline, RHP, Virginia
After serving as a relief pitcher last season for Virginia, Kline, a 6’-3”, 190-pound right-hander, was inserted into the starter role this year. Through 11 starts, he has a 3.52 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 76 K/31 BB over 71.2 innings. He uses his plus slider as a wipe-out pitch, and his fastball sits in the low-90s with good movement. He also adds a curveball and change-up, both of which are above average. His stuff is electric at times, but if he wants to be seen as an elite starter, he needs to sharpen his control.
48. Chicago White Sox – Rio Ruiz, 3B, Bishop Amat HS (CA)
Ruiz missed most of the season after surgery to break up a blood in a vein near the clavicle in his right shoulder. Still, Ruiz is one of the best third base prospects in the draft and will be able to stick at the hot corner at the next level. Defensively, his soft hands, range and strong, accurate arm make him one of the best at the position. At the plate, his plus bat speed from the left side allows him to make consistent contact to all fields. Hit .455 with 19 extra base hits in 101 at bats as a junior. Very disciplined in all aspects of the game and a student of the game.
49. Cincinnati Reds – Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll HS (TX)
Hawkins is a five-tool prospect with tremendous power to all fields. He hit .410 with 15 home runs and 22 stolen bases as a junior. His plus arm (clocked at 92 mph from the outfield), mixed with his 6.6/60 speed, project him as a future right fielder in the majors. Still raw with his plate discipline, but that can be said about most high school players. Committed to Texas and could be a tough sign, but worth the risk here. He is hitting .461 with eight home runs and 33 RBI this season, as well as going 3-1 on the mound with a 0.83 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 25.1 innings.
50. Toronto Blue Jays – Max Foody, LHP, IMG Academy (FL)
At 6’-4”, 225 pounds, Foody is a big, power lefty with a lot of upside. His fastball touches 94 mph, and his curveball is a potential plus pitch. Has overcome Tommy John surgery, and while he may have some command issues this season, he is still 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 39.2 innings. A big-time sleeper pick because of his potential.
51. Los Angeles Dodgers – Josh Elander, C, TCU
Elander is more offense than defense as a catching prospect, but he can handle the position enough to be an everyday back stop. At 6’-1” and 215 pounds, the right-hander has shown a boost in power this season, as he is hitting .317 with six home runs and 30 RBI through 42 games. He also has very good speed for the position, as he has swiped 11 bases on the season. Has drawn 28 walks for a .442 OBP, showing a very good approach at the plate.
52. St. Louis Cardinals – Carson Kelly, 3B/RHP, Westview HS (OR)
Kelly is an athlete who excels both on the mound and at the plate. He hit .473 with 14 home runs as a junior and is a line-drive hitter with power to all fields. Has very good bat speed and a solid approach at the plate. His strong arm and athleticism should allow him to stick at third base, if he chooses. As a pitcher, his curve, sinker and 93 mph fastball are all quality pitches with the ability to get better with more time and focus on the mound. Was outstanding at the Pan Am Championships for Team USA, going 2-0 1.29 ERA and 12 K/1 BB over 14 innings.
53. Texas Rangers – Duane Underwood, RHP, Pope HS (GA)
Underwood is a hard-throwing right-hander whose fastball can hit 97 mph with ease. He also features a hard curve that projects to a plus pitch and a deceptive change-up that is still developing. His command can get away from him at times, but his strong arm, athleticism and high baseball IQ will have many teams flocking to Georgia to see his talents.
54. Philadelphia Phillies – Jake Barrett, RHP, Arizona State
The Phillies can grab a pitcher who would be able to help them sooner rather than later in Barrett, a 6’-3”, 230-pound right-hander who has been brilliant as a closer this season. Over 25 innings, he has a 1.80 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 30 K/6 BB. He is ultra-competitive on the mound and can get his fastball in the upper 90s to go along with a plus curveball and decent change-up.
55. Chicago Cubs – Mitchell Traver, RHP, Houston Christian HS (TX)
At 6’-7” and 250 pounds, Traver is a big and strong right-hander with a plus fastball that can hit 95 mph with late life. His curveball is a potential plus pitch, and his change up is developing nicely. Struck out 67 batters over 41 innings as a junior, but also walked 27 batters, showing needed improvement on his command. Over 61.1 innings this season, he has a 1.60 ERA, 75 strikeouts and has only allowed 33 hits. His 36 walks, however, show he still needs to improve on his command to be an effective starter at the next level. The potential is very high.
56. San Diego Padres – Barrett Barnes, OF, Texas Tech
Barnes is one of the premiere power/speed guys in the draft, as well as being a very good defensive outfielder. Through 47 games this season, he is hitting .337 with 15 doubles, five triples, seven home runs, 46 RBI and is 19-for-20 in stolen base attempts. He also has a great approach at the plate, walking 28 times for a .437 OBP.
57. Cincinnati Reds – Ty Buttrey, RHP, Providence HS (NC)
Another prep pitcher who saw his stock soar after hitting 97 mph on the radar gun, Buttrey is a 6’-5”, 205-pound right-hander who is just getting used to starting games. His fastball sits in the 92-94 mph range, his mid-80s change has late fade and projects to plus, and he also features a upper-70s hard curveball that he says is a knuckle-curve. He has a smooth delivery, and he is a quick pitcher, not letting opponents get comfortable in the box. High upside.
58. Toronto Blue Jays – Rhett Wiseman, OF, Browne & Nicholls HS (MA)
Wiseman is still considered raw, mainly because he plays so many sports. With all of his focus on baseball, he has true five-tool talent. He hit .447 with 11 home runs and 29 stolen bases as a junior last season. His short, compact swing generates gap-to-gap power, and he projects to be a high-average hitter. Runs a 6.51/60 and is a threat on the base paths at all times. His accurate and strong arm, along with his speed, will allow him to stick at center field. His commitment to Vanderbilt could make him a tough sign.
59. St. Louis Cardinals – Kyle Carter, OF/LHP, Columbus HS (GA)
Carter has tremendous power from the left side, something every team covets. He won the sixth-annual Power Showcase at Chase Field in December by smacking seven bombs in the final round – six more than anyone else. He has 11 home runs on the season and is also an outstanding pitcher, going 7-1 on the season with a 0.89 ERA and 54 strikeouts over 45 innings. Still raw in some areas but a very high ceiling.
60. Toronto Blue Jays – Keon Barnum, 1B, King HS (FL)
Barnum is a big-time power hitter who has power to all fields from the left side of the plate. Hit .491 with six home runs and 10 stolen bases in 55 at-bats his junior season. He also walked an incredible 26 times, showing amazing discipline for his age. At 6’-4” and 220 pounds, has the frame, to go along with a plus arm and defense, to stick at first base. He is hitting .397 with five home runs, 15 RBI and 22 walks over 24 games this season.