MLB Prospects: 10 Early Flops from the 2012 MLB Draft Class
Peter O'Brien // Courtesy of insidetheU.com
After looking at some of the hot starts of 2012’s top draft picks, I thought I’d do something along those lines this afternoon.
However, instead of noting more prospects that are either tearing the cover off the ball or carving opposing hitters, I’ll be highlighting numerous draft picks that are off to a dreadful start.
While the future remains bright for nearly all of these highly-touted prospects, their lack of immediate success is both surprising and a bit disconcerting.
Steve Bean, C, St. Louis Cardinals
Courtesy of MLBProspectPortal.com
Rookie: .158/.280/.238, 5 2B, 6 RBI, 35 K/17 BB (30 G)
Selected by the St. Louis Cardinals at No. 59, Bean has struggled at the plate since entering professional baseball. A left-handed hitter, the organization moved him from the Appalachian League to their Gulf Coast League affiliate, where he has hit significantly better.
His plate discipline has been decent, but the Cardinals would have preferred a stronger start.
Tyler Gonzales, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Courtesy of mlbdraftguide.com
Rookie: 8 IP, 15.75 ERA, .389 BAA, 4 K/3 BB (6 G)
The final pick (No. 60 overall) in the supplemental first round, Gonzales was a pitcher who relied on velocity and movement, rather than command, in high school.
In each of his first three appearances, the hard-throwing right-hander gave up exactly four runs. On two occasions, he was able to record only one out before getting pulled.
It’s a small sample, but no one wants to begin a professional career in that manner.
Travis Jankowski, OF, San Diego Padres
Crystal Logiudice-US PRESSWIRE
Rookie: .250/.222/.250 (2 G)
Low-A: .236/.288/.321, 9 XBH, 15 RBI, 10 SB, 22 K/10 BB (34 G)
The centerpiece of Stony Brook’s Cinderella season in 2012, Jankowski was selected at No. 44 in this year’s draft. He has plus speed and defense in center field, but his bat has been lacking thus far.
In his defense, he has played most of his games at Low-A Fort Wayne, which is a more advanced level relative to the rest of players on this list.
Joe DeCarlo, SS, Seattle Mariners
Courtesy of philly.com
Rookie: .224/.333/.376, 12 XBH (3 HR), 20 RBI, 32 K/16 BB (35 G)
Drafted in the third round out of a Pennsylvania high school, DeCarlo’s lack of bat speed has been exploited, as well as his willingness to chase off-speed pitches out of the zone.
He should make enough contact to be serviceable at second base, but there’s still a long way to go.
Tanner Rahier, SS/3B, Cincinnati Reds
Courtesy of mydesert.com
Rookie: .209/.288/.341, 9 XBH (4 HR), 23 RBI, 27 K/15 BB (34 G)
A second-round selection of the Reds this year, no one doubted Rahier’s present power. However, his tendency to be too aggressive at the plate worried some scouts, and with good reason.
He’s driving the ball at times and will draw the occasional walk, but the right-hander will need to make more contact going forward.
Peter O'Brien, C, New York Yankees
Courtesy of insidetheU.com
Rookie: .357/.357/.500 (4 G)
Short Season: .160/.223/.223, 4 XBH, 24 K/7 BB (23 G)
It’s hard to find a catcher with two plus tools, let alone one who has also shown his potential at the college level. With plus power and a plus arm, O’Brien has the foundation to be a successful professional catcher.
However, his swing was more a “metal bat swing” when he began his career, and he’s struggled to adapt one that’s more conducive towards advanced pitching.
Shaq Green-Thompson, OF, Boston Red Sox
Courtesy of startribune.com
Rookie: .000/.170/.000, 0-for-39, 37 K/8 BB (13 G)
No, I’m not including him because his first name is Shaq, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. Green-Thompson is included because he’s yet to record a hit in 13 games with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
However, it’s worth noting that prior to the draft, the highly athletic outfielder was intending to play college football.
You’d think he’d at least get lucky once or twice, but so far it’s been mainly swing-and-misses. In fact, he’s only had two non-strikeout outs in 39 at-bats.
Max White, OF, Colorado Rockies
Courtesy of perfectgame.org
Rookie: .181/.306/.238, 4 XBH, 5 SB, 43 K/18 BB (30 G)
The left-handed hitter had some serious helium headed into the draft, as he was selected in the second round (No. 73 overall) by the Colorado Rockies.
Although he has plus speed and all-around outstanding athleticism, White’s baseball skills lag well behind.
With 43 strikeouts in 30 games, the outfielder will need to improve his plate discipline over the final two months of the season to avoid beginning 2013 back in the Pioneer League.
Spencer Edwards, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Courtesy of tampabay.com
Rookie: .184/.217/.299, 7 XBH, 3 SB, 30 K/2 BB (22 G)
Hailing from the same high school as Steve Bean, Edwards was the Rays’ second-round draft pick at No. 88 overall. A switch hitter, the outfielder has a quick bat from both sides of the plate.
However, one has to consider that he’s trying to adapting to professional pitching as both a right- and left-handed hitter.
Stephen Johnson, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Courtesy of stedwards.edu
Rookie: 2 IP, ER, 2 K/2 BB (2 G)
Short Season: 10.1 IP, 6.10 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 9 K/5 BB (10 G)
For a guy who boasted arguably the top fastball in the 2012 draft class—late-season reports had it up to 102 mph—Johnson has been far too hittable in his professional career.
His mechanics and arm action are both unorthodox, but apparently that hasn’t made him any more deceptive to opposing hitters. And although his fastball is explosive, he’s struggled to command it down in the zone, resulting in 13 hits (two home runs) in just over 12 innings.