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2012 MLB Draft: Each Top 25 College Team's Draft-Eligible Star

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterMay 16, 2012

2012 MLB Draft: Each Top 25 College Team's Draft-Eligible Star

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    As the college baseball regular season begins to wind down, teams continue to battle for their respective conference titles and a trip to Omaha, Neb.—all in the face of the upcoming MLB First-Year Player Draft on June 4-6.

    While I have neither ranked or tracked the top college baseball programs here at Prospect Pipeline, Baseball America has once again provided tremendous coverage this season. On Monday it released its updated Top 25 team rankings, which has a much different look after a muddled weekend full of upsets and close losses.

    Using those latest rankings, here is a preview of each team’s top draft-eligible prospect.

25. Mississippi (34-18): Alex Yarbrough, 2B

2 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’1”/175

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Age: 20

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 205 AB, .405/.458/.546, 21 XBH, 20 K/18 BB (51 G)

     

    Overview: A switch-hitter, Yarbrough has a balanced setup and swing from both sides of the plate that plays up due to his impressive plate discipline. He's a high-intensity ballplayer with an admirable baseball IQ. Although he played shortstop for most of his prep and early college career, he lacked the range.

24. Appalachian State (36-12): Tyler Tewell, C/OF

3 of 26

    Height/Weight: 5’11”/190

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Age: 20

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 182 AB, .385/.454/.610, 25 XBH, 15 K/18 BB (48 G)

     

    Overview: Tewell is an excellent and physical defensive catcher who possesses above-average athleticism (for the position) and arm strength. A left-handed hitter, he has an aggressive approach and drives the ball to all fields. While he primarily displays gap power at the moment, he could potentially develop at least average power by adding loft to his swing.

23. Oregon State (32-17): Matt Boyd, LHP

4 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’3”/215

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 30 IP, 3.60 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 21 K/10 BB (25 G)

     

    Overview: Boyd employs a high leg kick and generates a massive amount of torque in his delivery, resulting in mid-90s fastballs. The left-hander’s unusual arm action and three-quarter arm slot adds deception to his pitches, especially his slider. He has above-average command but will need to further develop his secondary pitches to be successful at the next level.

22. Louisville (35-17): Matt Koch, RHP

5 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’3”/205

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 24.7 IP, 4.38 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 26 K/8 BB (18 G)

     

    Overview: Due to his max-effort delivery, Koch profiles best as a reliever—a role that he adapted to well this past summer in the Cape Cod League. The right-hander’s fastball works best in the low-to-mid-90s, though he occasionally touches the upper-90s. His slider is slurvy at the moment, but still generates whiffs due to its depth and deception. Koch also has a changeup, though he rarely throws it and is more of a show-me pitch.

21. San Diego (38-13): Calvin Drummond, RHP

6 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’3”/200

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 22

    Year: SR

    2012 Stats: 79.3 IP, 3.29 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 67 K/28 BB (14 GS)

     

    Overview: Drummond has a great pitcher's frame with the stuff to match but struggles to consistently repeat his delivery from both the windup and stack. The right-hander’s fastball sits 91-94 mph and he’s added a cutter that flashes plus potential. His repertoire used to include a slider, but it was wisely scrapped for the cutter. He also throws a curveball and changeup, both of which already grade as solid, average offerings.

20. Texas Christian (32-16): Josh Elander, C/OF

7 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’1”/215

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 167 AB, .317/.444/.509, 17 XBH, 11 SB, 33 K/33 BB (48 G)

     

    Overview: Elander is a hard-nosed ballplayer who has demonstrated a knack for getting on base despite not being an elite hitter. He has the raw power that projects at the next level despite not showing it over the course of his college career. He’s still relatively new to catching—he’s also seen considerable time in TCU’s outfield—so his average receiving and throwing skills still have room to grow. Elander has the arm and athleticism to be either a catcher or outfielder, though obviously his bat and on-base skills offer much more value behind the dish.

19. Virginia (34-15): Branden Kline, RHP

8 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’3”/195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 20

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 75 IP, 3.96 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 78 K/34 BB (12 GS)

     

    Overview: The Virginia closer up until this season, the 6’3” right-hander has made an impressive transition to the mound.  His fastball works in the low-to-mid-90s with late life and is complemented by a curveball and slider—both are at least average pitches.  He’s not used to the endurance associated with being a starter, but that’s nothing that can’t be improved with a big-league throwing-and-conditioning program.

18. Arizona State (32-17): Deven Marrero, SS

9 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’1”/180

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 188 AB, .261/.320/.404, 15 XBH, 10 SB, 14 K/16 BB (47 G)

     

    Overview: Marrero is in the midst of an all-around down year, as he’s struggled at the plate all season and grown increasingly frustrated.  However, he's still the best shortstop on the 2012 draft board.  At shortstop, he has soft hands, as well as average range and a plus arm.  Scouts remain divided about whether his hit tool profiles as a big-league shortstop, but regardless, he’ll need to improve his contact rate.  Marrero will never hit for much power, but should be able to collect 15-25 doubles annually.

17. Stanford (32-14): Mark Appel, RHP

10 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’5”/190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 94 IP, 2.68 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 95 K/21 BB (12 GS)

     

    Overview: The top collegiate arm headed into the 2012 season, the tall right-hander has the prototypical power build and 94-98 fastball to match. However, while his stats may suggest dominance, Appel has been too hittable all season.  He struggles to get on top of his fastball at times, which results in straighter and lighter variations that linger up in the zone. 

    While his slider can flash plus potential on occasion, it’s an inconsistent pitch.  Appel’s struggles with the pitch have led to him throwing an increased amount of changeups this season—a pitch that currently works due to its speed differential and not due to movement.  He’s a safe pick in any of the top five spots but still lacks the polish and pitchability one looks for in an elite college pitcher.

16. Central Florida (40-12): Darnell Sweeney, SS

11 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’1”/170

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 200 AB, .265/.374/.365, 12 XBH, 18 SB, 29 K/35 BB (51 G)

     

    Overview: Sweeney has been lauded for his overall athleticism, though his baseball skills lag behind his tools. He has plus speed that translates into excellent range up the middle, and his strong arm is more than enough to stick at the position.He has plate discipline that profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter, but struggles to make consistent contact. He’ll likely never hit for much power, but his defense and speed more than compensate.

15. Purdue (39-10): Kevin Plawecki, C

12 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’1”/200

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 185 AB, .368/.459/.562, 24 XBH, 8 K/23 BB (49 G)

     

    Overview: Plawecki is a solid defender who has agility behind the plate and possesses a strong and accurate arm. His short swing produces a high contact rate and he rarely strikes out, yet he’s only shown trace amounts of power. He sprays line drives across the field and will tally his share of doubles, and in general has proven to be a tough out. Plawecki is the type of player whose tools play up due to his all-around hustle.

14. Arizona (33-15): Kurt Heyer, RHP

13 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’2”/211

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 102.7 IP, 2.28 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 85 K/15 BB (13 GS)

     

    Overview: Although they aren't pretty, Heyer’s mechanics and mid-to-high three-quarter arm slot adds deception to all of his pitches. His fastball is nothing special at 88-92 mph, though it does have some sink and boring action, and he’s aggressive with its placement. Rounding out his arsenal is an upper-70s slider that has decent bite and mid-70s changeup with fade. Heyer’s success stems from his ability to locate all his pitches, though time will tell how that translates at the next level.

13. North Carolina State (36-13): Chris Diaz, SS

14 of 26

    Height/Weight: 5’11”/182

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 200 AB, .375/.409/.515, 24 XBH, 7 SB, 28 K/14 BB (49 G)

     

    Overview: Diaz is a highly athletic infielder with smooth actions, soft hands, and above-average range. His approach at the plate is still rather raw, but he has a quick bat and knows how to use the whole field. He profiles more as a second baseman at the next level, and possibly even third baseman if he shows enough power.

12. North Carolina (38-13): Michael Morin, RHP

15 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’4”/190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 48 IP, 0.94 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 43 K/17 BB (31 G)

     

    Overview: One of the more dominant relievers in college baseball, Morin’s fastball typically sits 88-93 mph, though he can reach back for a few more ticks when needed. However, his velocity has tapered off this spring, which has some scouts concerned there may be an underlying injury. His best pitch is without a doubt his curveball, which some scouts consider a double-plus offering and one of the best in college baseball. He also throws a slider that may ultimately develop into a solid-average pitch.

11. UCLA (35-13): Jeff Gelalich, OF

16 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’1”/180

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 184 AB, .391/.474/.582, 17 XBH, 15 SB, 29 K/26 BB (48 G)

     

    Overview: A left-handed hitter, Gelalich has short, compact swing with some loft that suggests above-average power at the next level. He’s refined his approach from last year and cut down the strikeouts, which in turn has led to more consistent contact and a higher batting average. Although he’s capable of playing center field given his 60-grade speed, his bat and above-average arm strength are better suited for a corner outfield spot. 

10. Texas A&M (37-14): Michael Wacha, RHP

17 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’6”/210

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 20

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 92.3 IP, 2.14 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 95 K/16 BB (13 GS)

     

    Overview: Wacha is basically a two-pitch pitcher with a 50-grade fastball and plus changeup that's arguably the best in the entire 2012 draft class. While he’s been effective with a limited arsenal, he’ll need to significantly develop his breaking ball to be successful at the next level. He has a power pitcher’s frame with little room left to grown and is one of the safer pitching prospects in the draft.

9. Louisiana State (39-13): Kevin Gausman, RHP

18 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’4”/180

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: SO

    2012 Stats: 91.7 IP, 2.95 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 112 K/21 BB (13 GS)

     

    Overview: Gausman—who possesses a lightning-quick arm—has consistently popped upper-90s all spring.  Surprisingly, his best secondary pitch is a changeup that grades as an above-average offering.  His slider lacks bite and depth, but considering his double-plus fastball, it should be a legitimate swing-and-miss pitch once it's more developed.

8. Cal State Fullerton (32-15): Dylan Floro, RHP

19 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’2”/180

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 90.3 IP, 2.79 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 58 K/10 BB (12 GS)

     

    Overview: The 6’2” right-hander doesn’t have an overpowering arsenal, though he’s established himself as a legitimate sinkerball pitcher. His fastball, which has both late sink and cut, works in the 88-91 mph range and is complemented by an upper-70s slider with decent depth and tilt. Due to his whippy arm, Floro’s deceptiveness allows his changeup to play up, as he’s comfortable throwing it in any count. He pounds the strike zone with all pitches while generate an exceptional amount of groundballs.

7. Baylor (39-11): Max Muncy, 1B/2B

20 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’1”/205

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 191 AB, .314/.421/.476, 19 XBH, 6 SB, 24 K/33 BB (50 G)

     

    Overview:  A catcher in high school, Muncy isn’t the usual offensive-oriented first baseman, as he’s a surprisingly good athlete with defensive actions and instincts that allow him play multiple infield positions. At the plate, the left-handed hitter works the count and consistently ropes the ball from pole to pole. His power is suspect and may ultimately determine his draft position, as scouts are divided on whether it will ultimately develop.

6. Oregon (37-14): Aaron Jones, OF/C

21 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’1”/195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 20

    Year: SO

    2012 Stats: 164 AB, .274/.348/.482, 20 XBH, 4 SB, 35 K/17 BB (42 G)

     

    Overview: A draft-eligible sophomore, Jones is an intriguing catching prospect despite having played most of his college career as an outfielder—primarily to get his bat in the lineup. However, he’s extremely athletic with a strong arm that is projectable at both positions. His athleticism and bat make him an attractive draft prospect, and his skill set behind the plate—which is currently raw—should improve with more experience.

5. Rice (36-14): J.T. Chargois, RHP

22 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’3”/200

    Bats/Throws: B/R

    Age: 22

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 30 IP, 2.40 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 31 K/12 BB (21 G)

     

    Overview: Possessing a power pitcher’s frame, Chargois only began pitching during his sophomore year at Rice, and since then has assumed a prominent role at the back end of the Owl’s bullpen. His delivery is rather high-effort, but that’s more of a result of his lack of experience. The right-hander’s fastball sits 94-98 mph with late life, while his 85-87 mph slider serves as a legitimate out pitch. He profiles as a closer at the next level due to his arsenal, deception and knack for pounding the strike zone. A two-way player for the Owls, Chargois' bat has been an integral piece of the team's potent offense.

4. Kentucky (41-11): Luke Maile, C/1B

23 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’3”/205

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 191 AB, .319/.432/.545, 21 XBH, 9 SB, 28 K/30 BB (52 G)

     

    Overview: Maile, a strong right-handed hitter, has improved every season with the Wildcats and is currently enjoying his best season to date. He’s an athletic backstop who moves well enough to see some time at first base and maybe even left field if he offers enough with the bat. He has a sound approach at the plate and understands how to manipulate counts in his favor. 

3. Florida (38-14): Mike Zunino, C

24 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’2”/220

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 130 AB, .338/.399/.677, 14 2B, 10 HR, 30 RBI, 25/14 K/BB (51 G)

     

    Overview: Zunino is an athletic catcher who has both the receiving and throwing skills to remain at the position. He's a pure hitter who drives the ball to all fields and generates good extension after contact. His swing can get a bit long at times, but it’s something that will be an easy fix with a big-league hitting coach.  His hit tool is probably the most draftable in the entire class and could allow him to play any corner infield position if need be in the major leagues.

2. South Carolina (38-13): Matt Price, RHP

25 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6’2”/215

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Age: 21

    Year: JR

    2012 Stats: 58 IP, 3.72 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 63 K/26 BB (5 GS, 20 G)

     

    Overview: The 6’2” right-hander really doesn’t have a plus pitch per se, but all of his offerings make him a well-rounded pitcher.  His fastball sits 89-92 mph, which sets up his low-80s slider—his out pitch. Price also features a curveball as well as a changeup that has the potential to be an above-average pitch.

1. Florida State (40-10): James Ramsey, OF

26 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6”/195

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Age: 22

    Year: SR

    2012 Stats: 173 AB, .399/.535/.717, 27 XBH, 7 SB, 32 K/46 BB (50 G)

     

    Overview: Despite the fact he isn’t a physical specimen, Ramsey has excellent raw power to all fields due to a compact left-handed swing. He employs a patient approach at the plate that gives him the ability to hit for both average and power, and he’s a constant on-base threat. In the outfield, Ramsey has above-average speed and range, and may have the ability to remain in centerfield.

     

     

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