Draft 2012: Prospects 76-100
Reports written by Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt, Conor Glassey, John Manuel and Nathan Rode.
76. Dane Phillips, c/1b
Phillips earned all-Big 12 Conference honors as a sophomore at Oklahoma State in 2011, then led the Cape Cod League in RBIs (34) and finished second in the batting race (.349). Because he spent more time at DH than catcher for the Cowboys, though, he wanted to transfer to Arkansas, which had an opening behind the plate. The NCAA denied him a waiver to play immediately rather than sit out for a year, however, so he opted to play at NAIA power Oklahoma City instead. To no one's surprise, Phillips has continued to hit for the Stars and entered the NAIA postseason with .423/.514/.808 numbers. He's a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder with a quality lefthanded swing and an all-fields approach. He should have a least average power once he starts pulling more pitches. The question is where Phillips will play in pro ball. He has shared catching duties at Oklahoma City with senior Chad Carman, and his inexperience continues to show. Phillips has average arm strength but has a lot of work to do on his receiving, and he's not smooth or quick with his actions. The backup plan would be for Phillips to play on an outfield corner, and while his bat would work there it would diminish his value. He's a below-average runner and outfield defender.
77. J.T. Chargois, rhp
In his first two seasons at Rice, Chargois pitched a total of 34 innings and saw most of his action at first base, where he became a regular as a sophomore. The Cape Cod League's Brewster Whitecaps recruited him primarily as a hitter but wound up needing him on the mound and he blossomed as a closer, saving seven games and allowing one earned run in 17 appearances. Chargois is serving the Owls in both roles this spring but will give up hitting as a pro. His fastball usually operates from 93-95 mph and reaches 98 with some armside run and sink, though it dips to 90-92 when he works on consecutive days. His hard curveball creeps into the low 80s and grades as a plus pitch at times. Despite demonstrating some feel for a changeup in bullpen sessions, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder profiles strictly as a reliever. Scouts don't like his arm action or the effort in his delivery, which limits him to average command and fringy control. He should develop more consistency once he focuses on pitching, and a team looking for a fast-track reliever could consider him in the sandwich round.
78. R.J. Alvarez, rhp
Sun Belt Conference schools like Florida Atlantic don't get power arms capable of throwing 95-97 mph very often, so when the Owls got R.J. Alvarez to campus, they naturally put him in the rotation. The quick-armed 6-foot-1, 180-pounder made 26 starts and went 9-7, 5.17 in his first two seasons. In two summers pitching for Bourne in the Cape Cod League, however, Alvarez thrived in short relief roles, at times touching 97 mph with his fastball. Florida Atlantic moved him to that role this spring and he had similar success, going 5-0, 0.53 with 45 strikeouts and nine walks in 34 innings. The Owls use him for more than an inning or two, at times bringing him in during the middle innings and extending him, and he has shown consistent fastball velocity in the 92-97 mph range this spring with a hard slider in the 82-84 mph range with late bite. At times Alvarez gets around his slider, and like most high-effort relievers he has more control than command. He has a chance to move quickly as a pro.
79. Avery Romero, 3b
Menendez HS, St. Augustine, Fla.
Romero is committed to Florida, but he's not likely to get to school because of his bat, one of the best in a competitive pool of hitters in the Southeast. Romero is active in the batter's box and has an average frame at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds. He has hand strength, a short swing and hand-eye coordination that allow him to lash line drives from gap to gap, and some scouts project him to have above-average power. Others see him as an above-average hitter with average power and wonder where he profiles. His somewhat thick lower half and below-average speed will move him off shortstop, and he may not have enough power for third. He has the lateral quickness to stay in the dirt, possibly moving to second, and his plus arm makes some scouts wonder if he should try catching. Romero has resisted those suggestions to this point. Clubs that believe in his power see him as a third baseman and could jump on him early.
80. Chris Beck, rhp
Beck was a 35th-round pick of the Indians out of high school in 2009 but joined with Victor Roache to front a well-regarded recruiting class for Georgia Southern. After a 2-4 regular season as a freshman, Beck showed significant improvement in the Cape Cod League and dropped scouts' jaws in the fall, when he was throwing his fastball consistently at 95-96 mph while adding an unhittable cutter to go with an improved slider and a changeup that some scouts called his best pitch. He hasn't shown the same stuff this spring, though. He does rank seventh in the nation in strikeouts (97) and 31st with 10.31 strikeouts/nine innings, but he has lost his arm slot, throwing from a lower release point. His fastball has touched 93 mph but generally sits in the 86-91 mph range. His cutter also has not been as good, and all of his pitches have lacked life.
81. Pat Light, rhp
A New Jersey high school product, Light attracted attention on the showcase circuit in the summer of 2008, but he didn't get drafted until the 28th round in 2009 (by the Twins) and headed to Monmouth, where he has carved out a solid career. He has added weight to his projectable frame and is now listed at a physical 6-foot-6, 200 pounds. He has dominated his competition this season and was 7-3, 2.81 with 87 strikeouts in 86 innings. He throws a ton of strikes with a fastball that ranges from 90-96 mph and has walked 12 batters on the season. Both his slider and changeup need work but flash promise. If his secondary stuff progresses, he has the frame, arm strength and command to be a starter, but he could feature a plus-plus fastball in a late-inning relief role.
82. Dylan Baker, rhp
Western Nevada JC
Baker has taken an uncharted path as a prospect. He went to Douglas High in Juneau, Alaska, before pitching at Tacoma (Wash.) CC last year and then winding up at Western Nevada this year. Baker has a good pitcher's frame at 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds and has put up fantastic numbers as the ace for the Wildcats, though scouts see him in the bullpen. His fastball sits in the 90-95 mph range, and his breaking ball shows flashes of being a plus pitch, though scouts would like for it to be more of a true slider. He mixes in an occasional changeup but is more of a two-pitch guy, which limits his role. Scouts don't love his delivery because he doesn't stay in line to the plate and shows effort, which limits his command and would seem to further suggest a future in the bullpen.
83. Onelkis Garcia, lhp
Los Angeles (No school)
Garcia left Cuba in January 2011 and expected to be declared a free agent like most other defectors. Instead, Major League Baseball put him into last year's draft, then withdrew him two days later and reviewed his case. In January 2012, Garcia once again was declared draft-eligible. In the meantime, he tried to stay in shape, often working out at Pierce JC in Los Angeles, near where Gus Dominguez, the former agent who represents him, lives. Garcia pitched in the Puerto Rican League last winter as well with some success, and in Puerto Rico and in the spring adult league he plays in, he has shown two plus pitches. Garcia's fastball sits at 90-93 mph, and his curveball, while somewhat inconsistent, is a true power pitch at its best. Garcia hasn't shown much of a changeup. Garcia has a physical 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame that needs no projection. At 22, he could move through a minor league system quickly as long as he comes out of the gate throwing strikes.
84. Adrian Sampson, rhp
Bellevue (Wash.) CC
Sampson was a highly ranked prospect in high school but needed Tommy John surgery during his senior year, so he didn't get drafted and wound up going the junior college route instead of honoring his commitment to Oregon. Sampson's brother, Julian, spent four years in the Phillies system. Adrian was a 16th-round pick by the Marlins last year, but did not sign and projects to go significantly higher this time around. His fastball has been better than it was last year. He generally has been sitting in the low 90s and touching 94 mph, though he was more in the 87-91 mph in some stretches. His best pitch is his curveball, which is already an above-average pitch with sharp, late break, and he's showing improved feel for his changeup. Sampson pitches with above-average control and command and has the confidence to throw any of his pitches in any count. He is again committed to Oregon but is considered more likely to sign this year.
85. Eddie Butler, rhp
Radford has had just two players drafted in the first 10 rounds in its history, and Butler figures to be the third this spring even though he doesn't stand out physically and was averaging less than a strikeout per inning in the Big South Conference. Butler, 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, has a heavy fastball with boring action that ranges from 90-96 mph, and he has shown aptitude by adding and subtracting from it. He'll sit around 93 mph and amp it up to 95-96 against the middle of an order. He has touched 97 mph late in games. He throws a slider that could be a good pitch but currently lags behind, and his changeup needs work, which could explain why he's not striking more hitters out. Teams will likely give Butler a chance to stick as a starter, but he could move quickly in a bullpen role.
86. Chase DeJong, rhp
Wilson HS, Long Beach
DeJong shined in front of a huge crowd at Blair Field in a matchup against Shane Watson of rival Lakewood on March 30, striking out 12 batters and allowing just one run but losing 1-0. He threw 8 2/3 shutout innings in the rematch a month later, a 3-0 Wilson victory. DeJong isn't quite as electric as Watson and doesn't have as clean a delivery, but he has more advanced feel for pitching. His fastball sits comfortably in the 87-91 range but can reach 92-93 at times, and his downer curveball is a plus pitch at times. He also has good feel for a changeup that has a chance to be better than average. DeJong has a physical 6-foot-5 frame, but scouts don't care for his one-piece arm action and head movement. He has cleaned up his delivery somewhat, not throwing across his body as much and softening his landing, which has freed him up a bit. DeJong's toughness and moxie are among his best assets. The Southern California recruit could be drafted between the second and fourth round.
87. Branden Kline, rhp
As a high schooler in Maryland, Kline came on strong late in 2009. He told teams he had no interest in signing, but the Red Sox tried anyway, drafting him in the sixth round. Kline stuck to his word and went to Virginia, where he pitched mostly in relief as a freshman and as the closer in 2011. He moved to the rotation as a junior and has seen mixed results. He was 6-3, 3.52 in 72 innings with 76 strikeouts and 31 walks, but had a stretch of starts when he allowed just 19 hits and eight walks in 34 innings while striking out 40. Kline has a good, lean pitcher's frame at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, with long limbs and projection remaining. Most of Virginia's pitchers adopt similar deliveries in which they start in a squat position and stay low throughout, and this style has prevented Kline from consistently staying on top of his pitches and commanding them. When Kline is on, his fastball can sit in the low 90s. His secondary stuff has been inconsistent and tends to blend together, but his slider can be a power pitch in the low 80s. Teams could try to iron his delivery out so he can reach his ceiling as a mid-rotation starter, but he could pitch with power stuff as a reliever as well.
88. Mason Melotakis, lhp
A Grapevine, Texas, product, Melotakis slipped out of Texas to play at Northwestern State in Louisiana. He touched 90 mph at times in high school but has filled out physically and become a true power relief arm in his college career. He emerged as a prospect with 10 strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings against Louisiana State as a sophomore and threw plenty of strikes in the Cape Cod League last summer, posting a 22-2 strikeout-walk ratio in 19 innings. The Blue Demons have used him as a starter at times, including a heavily scouted outing May 4 against Central Arkansas. His high-effort delivery wore him out after four innings and he got only one out in the fifth, but he sat at 94-96 mph with his fastball for three innings, typical of his velocity at his best. Melotakis's slider remains inconsistent but flashes above-average. His short arm action is another factor in making the bullpen his likely big league destination. Melotakis has the mentality for it, going after hitters with his power stuff, and should go out in the first three rounds.
89. Brandon Thomas, of
Thomas wasn't heavily scouted as a high school player and didn't earn consistent playing time as a Georgia Tech freshman. He emerged as a regular as a sophomore and ranked as the No. 13 prospect in the Cape Cod League last summer. Thomas has some obvious positives, starting with his big league 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame. A switch-hitter, he's an above-average runner with surprising baserunning savvy, as he's 38-for-44 stealing bases in his career. Thomas' swing from both sides is steady if a bit too strength-oriented and lacking in looseness. Some scouts think he could loosen up with a different conditioning program and develop average power. Thomas has a center-field profile but hasn't played center field at Tech with speedy Kyle Wren (also draft-eligible) playing there instead, pushing Thomas to left field. The team that drafts him will have to project on his ability to play center, or on his power. Center field is the safer bet for Thomas, who should go off the board in the first two rounds.
90. Preston Beck, of
Two years after producing No. 10 overall pick Michael Choice, Texas-Arlington has another power-hitting outfielder. Beck can't match Choice's sheer pop, but he offers plenty from the left side of the plate and is a better pure hitter. With two weeks left in the regular season, Beck paced the Southland Conference in both homers (nine) and RBIs (50). The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder proved his ability to hit for power and average with wood bats last summer in the Cape Cod League before leaving with a hip injury that required surgery. An average runner with a plus arm, Beck fits comfortably in right field. He was clocked at 94 mph throwing from outfield during the Mavericks' scout day last fall. He stands a good chance of becoming one of the highest-drafted players in Texas-Arlington history, likely coming in behind Choice and Hunter Pence (64th overall, 2004).
91. D'Vone McClure, of
Jacksonville (Ark.) HS
Arkansas' top prep hitter, McClure put himself on the map in 2011 when he won several matchups with eventual Indians supplemental first-rounder Dillon Howard. McClure has consistently hit the top arms he has faced (including Trey Killian this year), and gave up football to sign a baseball-only scholarship offer to Arkansas. Few expect him to get to Fayetteville, though. Some scouts compare McClure to Austin Jackson, while others are unsure if he can stay in center field. Like Jackson, McClure takes a big swing and is just an average runner, at times turning in below-average times to first. He'll have to improve his instincts to play center as well as Jackson, but he should have more power. McClure has excellent bat speed and the handsy looseness scouts look for in hitters, and many project him to hit for plus power. Teams that aren't as high on McClure say he has an inconsistent motor and modest speed. Even teams that give him a chance to stay in center realize they are mostly buying the bat.
92. Kolby Copeland, of
Parkway HS, Bossier City, La.
Copeland is frequently compared to Arkansas' D'Vone McClure, though they bat from different sides of the plate. Copeland is a physical, explosive athlete with power and speed from the left side. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, he also was a fine high school football player, though his speed doesn't play as well in baseball, where he's an average runner. He's more notable for his bat speed and good swing path, as his bat stays in the hitting zone a long time. Copeland made a lot of hard contact and projects to have average or better power. His defensive tools are average but he may wind up in left field eventually, placing higher demands on his bat. Scouts who don't buy in say that he swings and misses too much. He sat out the first part of high school season serving a suspension stemming from an underage drinking and driving arrest in December, but he had performed well since returning.
93. Luke Bard, rhp
Bard's older brother Daniel attended North Carolina and was a 2006 first-round pick prior to reaching the major leagues with the Red Sox. Boston also drafted Luke out of high school, in the 16th round in 2009, but he didn't sign and attended Georgia Tech. Like his older brother, Bard has excellent arm strength and an iffy breaking ball. He's not as explosive as his brother but has plenty of power in his fastball, at times sitting 93-95 mph. He also flashed a power breaking ball with depth and late bite. Injuries and ineffective freshmen led Georgia Tech to give Bard a couple of starts, and he was effective while sticking to two pitches. He left a start against Duke on March 31 after 4 1/3 innings, however, and has not pitched since then. Doctors since diagnosed a torn lat muscle, and Bard isn't expected to return this season. At his best, he had a classic college reliever profile and big league bloodlines, so his injury probably will not be a long-term concern.
94. Jeff Gelalich, of
Gelalich played alongside Astros 2009 first-round pick Jio Mier in high school in California, but he wound up at UCLA after being drafted by the Phillies in the 41st round that year. He showed flashes of potential before finally coming into his own as a junior, more than doubling his career home run total while lowering his strikeout-walk ratio from 2-1 over his first two seasons to 1-1 this year. Gelalich has a solid all-around tools package. He is a plus runner who plays a solid right field, though his average arm probably fits better in left at the big league level. He has a simple approach, with a wide base, a short stride and the ability to barrel up hard line drives from the left side. He has improved significantly at hitting the ball where it is pitched, taking sliders away to the opposite field while turning on fastballs in. He flashes good power, hitting home runs off the center-field batter's eye and atop the hitting structure at UCLA this spring, but most scouts project him as a solid-average hitter with average power.
95. Tyrone Taylor, of
Torrance (Calif.) HS
A standout running back and safety for the Torrance football team, Taylor is an excellent athlete who figures to polish some of his rough edges once he focuses on baseball. A shoulder strain relegated him to DH duties and clouded his draft stock a bit, but Taylor has shown a solid-average arm and good instincts in center field when healthy. His above-average speed also plays on the basepaths, where he is aggressive and gets good reads. Scouts are a bit conflicted on Taylor's bat. He has an unusual load, rocking onto his back leg before moving forward, but he has a fairly efficient swing path and good bat speed. He has a tendency to push the ball, but some he has a chance to develop into a quality doubles hitter with fringy power potential as he matures. Taylor's bat carries risk, but his athleticism and all-around tools package could get the Cal State Fullerton recruit drafted between the second and fourth rounds.
96. Matt Olson, 1b
Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.
Olson pitches (righthanded) and hits for Parkview, also known as Jeff Francoeur's alma mater, and has one of the draft's sweeter lefthanded swings. Olson has had a big spring, homering off the nation's top prep lefthander, Max Fried, during the National High School Invitational, and has pitched well also, going 11-0, 1.24. Olson's arm strength would come in handy in the outfield if he could run, and some team might try him in left field, but he's generally considered a plodder and well-below-average runner. His value is in his bat, and scouts think he'll be an above-average hitter for average and power. He shows natural hitting rhythm and a graceful, low-maintenance swing, and his knack for finding the barrel of the bat and good strength help him drive the ball to all fields. Olson is committed to Vanderbilt as a two-way player and could contribute on the mound, but scouts in Georgia aren't convinced he'll be a tough sign and believe he wants to play pro ball. Florida prep first baseman Dan Vogelbach was a second-rounder last year, and while most scouts liked Vogelbach's power potential better, Olson should still go in about the same draft range if teams believe he's signable.
97. Tony Renda, 2b
Renda won Pacific-10 Conference player of the year honors as a sophomore and led California to an unlikely College World Series trip, batting .332/.366/.434. While the Bears slipped on the mound in 2012, Renda has been even better, batting .370/.453/.526 with a career-best five home runs. He's undersized at 5-foot-8 and 173 pounds, but scouts love his ability to hit and his grinder mentality. He swings hard and shows above-average bat speed, but stays in control of the bat head and shows a compact, line drive stroke. He has a good approach at the plate and projects to hit for solid average with power to the gaps. The knock on Renda concerns his defense at second base. He's not flashy and has just modest range, though he makes the plays he's supposed to make and can turn the double play. Renda was a 42nd-round pick out of high school by the Dodgers and figures to go about 40 rounds higher now.
98. Rio Ruiz, 3b
Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif.
Ruiz gained a high profile as the star quarterback for Southern California football power Bishop Amat, but a hyperextended left knee cut his senior season short. Ruiz also starred on the baseball showcase circuit last summer and generated first-round buzz early this spring, but his spring was cut short when he had surgery to remove a blood clot in his neck in March. Ruiz projects as a third baseman in pro ball, and his sure hands, good instincts and body control give him a chance to be an average to plus defender despite his lack of lateral mobility. He is a below-average runner but owns an above-average arm, and he has touched 94-95 off the mound. Scouts like Ruiz's lefthanded swing, quick hands and bat speed, but his approach needs refinement, as he has a tendency to dive out over the plate at times. He has flashed plus raw power, and he projects as an average hitter with average to plus game power.
99. Trey Williams, 3b
Valencia (Calif.) HS
Williams' has been a high-profile prospect for years, and his father Eddie was the No. 4 overall pick in the 1983 and played in the big leagues for 10 years. Scouts began to sour on Williams this spring, however, frequently questioning his lack of energy and intensity. His pitch recognition needs improvement, leading to inconsistent contact (especially against breaking balls) and causing scouts to wonder if he'll be able to unlock his big raw power. He does have plus righthanded power potential, thanks to his natural bat speed and quick-twitch athleticism. Williams will have to move from shortstop to third base in pro ball, but his hands and feet work well enough to give him a chance to be a solid defender with a slightly above-average arm at the hot corner. He has shown the ability to handle slow rollers and throw from various angles. He's a below-average runner, and his speed sometimes plays down. Still, his upside and bloodlines make him likely to be drafted in the top three rounds.
100. Nick Williams, of
Ball HS, Galveston, Texas
Scouts identified Texas high school outfielders Courtney Hawkins and Williams as potential 2012 first-round picks when both were sophomores. While Hawkins has lived up to that billing and likely will go in the middle of the first round, Williams has become the biggest enigma in the state. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder still has first-round tools but rarely demonstrates the aptitude to use them. A lefthanded hitter, he has impressive bat speed and raw strength, but he doesn't use his hands well and is too spread out at the plate. He swings and misses too much and gets fooled by good breaking balls. He has been clocked in 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash, yet he has posted below-average running times from home to first this spring. Williams lacks instincts in all phases of the game, taking such poor routes in center field that he may have to move to a corner. With his fringy arm strength, his final destination could be left field. Some scouts think Williams isn't ready to play pro ball and won't go high enough in the draft for teams to sign him away from his commitment to the University of Texas — unless the tools-happy Rangers decide to take a run.