MLB Draft 2012: Last Minute Ranking of the Top Prep Players Available

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MLB Draft 2012: Last Minute Ranking of the Top Prep Players Available
Courtesy of ESPN

The 2012 Major League Baseball draft starts on Monday and this year's class has a ton of talent. Here is a look at the best players in what is an extremely deep high school crop.

 

1. Byron Buxton, CF, Appling High School, Baxley, Georgia

Buxton is the best high schooler available in this year's draft, and his impressive array of tools makes him a premium prospect. He is incredibly fast, has an athletic body at 6'1" and 175 pounds and a plus arm. That means he'll be able to stick in center, and his swing produces a lot of contact and could lead to power in the future. 

Taking toolsy high school guys at the top of the draft is always risky, but if Buxton pans out, he could be a perennial All-Star.

 

2. Carlos Correa, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico

While Buxton sits atop this list, Correa isn't far behind. He's 6'4" and 190 pounds, which means he may outgrow shortstop but has the range and all-around skills to be a plus-plus defender at third base. The thing that makes Correa special is his picture-perfect swing. 

Correa has big-time power potential and an advanced approach for a high schooler. Plus, he's only 17 and has plenty of room to grow and add some bulk. He's likely ticketed for third base in the future but should hit well enough to be a good fit there.

 

3. Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake, Studio City, California

At 6'3" and 170 pounds, Fried has room to grow and lots of projection. He currently sits in the 89-93 mph range but will likely be able to add a few ticks to that in the future. He also pitches out of an arm slot that helps him hide the ball, meaning his fastball looks even harder than it actually is.

Fried adds a sharp, downward curveball and he has a great changeup. He is an outstanding athlete, and his repeatable delivery and ability to consistently throw strikes will make him a hot commodity on draft day. Expect him to come off the board early and move quickly through the minors.

 

4. Albert Almora, CF, Mater Academy, Charter, Hialeah Florida

Almora has one of the most polished high school bats in this draft, and he has an advanced approach and feel for hitting. He is an above-average defender in center and is a decent runner as well. At 6'2" and 170 pounds, he has decent size and should be able to stick in center.

Luckily, Almora has shown an ability to hit with wood bats and has no problem squaring the ball up and with his raw strength, he should produce home runs moving forward. He will almost certainly be the second prep outfielder to come off the board and could be the second high schooler gone. 

 

5. Luc Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake, Studio City, California

Giolito is an enigma because of his injury history but if he had stayed healthy, he could have been the No. 1 overall pick this year. He is 6'6", 230 pounds and has a golden arm. Giolitio was touching triple-digits earlier in the year before an elbow injury sidelined him for most of the season.

Not only does Giolito have a professional body already, he has an advanced feel for a great curve but needs to develop an inconsistent changeup. His health is the issue; if teams are comfortable with medical reports on his elbow, he'll come off the board fast. He could have as much upside as any player in this year's draft.

 

Just missed the cut: Courtney Hawkings, OF, Carroll High School, Corpus Christi, Texas; Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty High School, Oviedo Florida; Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe High School, Lake Charles, Louisiana; Addison Russell, SS, Pace High School, Pensacola, Florida. 

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