ACC Baseball Tournament 2012: MLB Draft Prospects You Must Watch

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMay 23, 2012

Courtesy of Four Seam Images
Courtesy of Four Seam Images

The start of the ACC baseball tournament on Wednesday brings with it a number of notable stars who will soon be taking their talents to Major League Baseball. 

In just two short weeks, the 2012 MLB draft will take place, and even though there isn't that one impact player in the ACC who is going to vie for the No. 1 spot, there is a lot of depth and some intriguing names worth keeping an eye on this week. 

Here is a look at the best draft prospects for you to pay attention to as the ACC tournament gets underway.


Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson

In a draft that is lacking in power bats, Shaffer is going to be one of the hottest commodities available thanks to his plus power. As great as hitting home runs is, that skill alone won't make you a good big leaguer. 

Fortunately, Shaffer is not lacking in other tools. He has good bat speed and a solid approach that should let him hit for a good average and draw his share of walks thanks to a good eye at the plate. 

Shaffer's defense at third base is not likely to be Gold Glove-caliber at the next level, but he has a strong arm and good instincts for the position that should let him be at least an average defender. 

Look for Shaffer to be drafted in the No. 10 to 20 range, with a strong chance to go on the high end of that if he has a dominant postseason performance. 


Branden Kline, RHP, Virginia

Kline has gone from the bullpen to the rotation this year, and his stock has risen dramatically as a result. He is not going to go in the first round, but there is a chance he goes in the second round. 

The biggest drawback to Kline is his delivery. It's not exactly straining his arm or shoulder. He just starts with a crouch that keeps his body low to the ground and he holds that position all the way through his release, meaning he isn't driving the ball down in the zone. 

If professional pitching coaches find a way to work with Kline on his mechanics, they could turn him into a No. 3 or 4 starter. He has the stuff to pitch in a rotation, with a low-90s fastball and a good slider, and his body is still maturing, so there is projection left in him. 


James Ramsey, OF, Florida State

Courtesy of Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel
Courtesy of Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel

Ramsey has been terrific for the top-seeded Seminoles as they enter the conference tournament. His successful college career has done wonders to put him on the prospect map. Even though he isn't going to be taken in the first round, nor does he have that one skill you take notice of, he is a solid player. 

Speed and arm strength are Ramsey's two best tools. He is probably best suited to play right field in professional baseball because he doesn't have enough range to stick in center field. 

Ramsey's hitting isn't likely to be better than average, but he does have some power in his bat. If he can find a way to stick in center field, he is probably going to be at least an average big leaguer. 


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