Draft 2012: Prospects 101-125
Reports written by Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt, Conor Glassey, John Manuel and Nathan Rode.
101. Mitch Nay, 3b, Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz.
Nay started the year slowly, and scouts said he was trying to put his team on his back and pressing at the plate. He struggled offensively and defensively before turning things around in the weeks leading up to the draft. He has been flying up draft boards and could even sneak into the back half of the first round. Nay has a good frame at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds and shows above-average power potential, as well as a plus arm. Some scouts wonder how much Nay will hit for average, though he did make adjustments this season when he realized pitchers were throwing him a steady diet of curveballs and changeups. He'll have to work to stay at third base, but could handle a move to right field because of his arm strength. Nay moves well laterally but has below-average speed. He's part of a loaded Arizona State recruiting class, but Nay is unlikely to wind up on campus.
102. Andrew Toles, of, Chipola (Fla.) JC
Toles was part of the deep Georgia prep class of 2010 and was a fourth-round pick of the Marlins that June. He didn't sign and went to Tennessee, where his father Alvin and uncle Johnnie Jones played football. Alvin Toles, a linebacker, was a first-round pick in the NFL draft in 1985, and his son could go that high in the baseball draft thanks to his unique tools. A 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, he has tremendous speed and earns comparisons to Braves center fielder Michael Bourn for his overall tools. He's a well above-average runner who knows how to use his speed defensively and on the bases, where he can be an aggressive basestealer. He also has a solid-average arm. Toles lacks power yet has enough strength to fight off good fastballs. Scouts say he plays with energy and has shown a good work ethic, but he was dismissed last fall from the program at Tennessee, where talent like his is in short supply, and has had been benched and suspended at Chipola JC this spring. Signability will determine whether Toles goes out in the first four rounds as expected, but the weak class of college hitters should allow him to go out higher than he did out of high school.
103. Brett Phillips, of, Seminole (Fla.) HS
A 6-foot-1, 185-pound outfielder, Phillips has a good profile as a lefthanded hitter who throws righthanded and has plus speed. His fast-twitch athleticism helped him become an all-county football player as a senior—the only year he played varsity. He's also raw on the baseball diamond but has plenty of tools, including perhaps the state's best throwing arm. Some scouts give him 70 grades on the 20-80 scale for his arm and his speed, though that's more often on his jailbreak swings. He should be an above-average center fielder with experience. Scouts' biggest questions center on his bat. Phillips uses the whole field, but scouts have to project to give him even average power. He uses more of a contact-oriented swing at this point, though he will show power in batting practice. Phillips had draft helium in May, and scouts were trying to judge his signability. He has committed to a resurgent North Carolina State program, which spirited a similar player, Trae Turner, out of Florida last spring. He may have to go in the first three rounds to keep him away from college.
104. Duane Underwood, rhp, Pope HS, Marietta, Ga.
A Georgia signee, Underwood has plenty going for him. He has a quick arm and athletic frame at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and if he winds up in Athens, he has a chance to contribute as both a hitter (he's a solid-average runner) and on the mound. He's young for the draft class as well, as he turns 18 in July. Pro scouts see him as a pitcher and a potential first-rounder on the right day, but that had not happened often enough in his senior season. Underwood at his best has a fastball that sits in the 91-94 mph range and touches 97-98. He has shown the ability to spin a breaking ball, though his curve often is soft in the 73-75 mph range and he tends to overthrow it. He has a firm but effective changeup, and this spring it has been his best pitch, in part because it's the pitch he controls the best. Underwood's fastball command has been erratic this spring, and his velocity often drops off quickly into the 87-92 mph range, and he hasn't shown much feel for pitching this spring. His mechanics are sound, though at times he loses his tempo and rushes his delivery. Scouts also want to see him handle adversity better. Scouts like Underwood and he had some supplemental-round buzz, but his inconsistent spring could knock him back a bit.
105. Jesse Winker, of, Olympia HS, Orlando
Scouts like to call players like Winker "famous" because he's been seen a lot. He is a showcase veteran who played for USA Baseball's 18-and-under team last summer and fall, tossing a shutout against Aruba. He also has played at high-profile Olympia High and was a teammate of Yankees prospect Mason Williams in 2010 and the last three years with righthander Walker Weickel, who is expected to go in the first two rounds. Winker helped lift Olympia to a tremendous spring, though it fell in the playoffs after winning its first 29 games. Winker is a lefthanded hitter and thrower who plays center field in high school but will be a corner outfielder or first baseman down the line because of modest athleticism. While he's a fine hitter with good balance and loft in his swing, that profile puts his bat at a premium, and Winker had just three home runs this spring. He's physical and has strength that allows him to drive the ball to all fields, and scouts have seen him hit good velocity in showcases. They laud his makeup and work ethic. Signability was a major question mark for the Florida recruit.
106. Martin Agosta, rhp, St. Mary's
Agosta pitched to Andrew Susac at Jesuit High (Carmichael, Calif.) before going on to have a successful career at St. Mary's, where he'll finish among the school's career wins and strikeouts leaders. He has won nine games this season, the Gaels' first nine-game winner since Toby Foreman won 10 in 1991, though he has been up and down from a scouting perspective. He showed above-average velocity in the fall, but has mostly pitched in the 90-92 mph range this spring. When he does reach back for 94-96, he usually leaves the ball up in the zone. His main secondary pitch is a cutter, and he mixes in a slider. He would need to add a changeup to profile as a back-of-the-rotation starter. That's why some scouts prefer him as a reliever in pro ball, where he can air out his fastball for an inning or two and just focus on his cutter and slider. Agosta has an average build at 6-foot-1 and 178 pounds, the ball comes out of his hand easily and his fastball shows good life. He has good control, but still needs to work on his command.
107. Mitchell Gueller, rhp, West HS, Chehalis, Wash.
Gueller stands out on the field with his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame, and some scouts regard him as the top athlete in the Northwest this year. He ran a 6.90-second 60-yard dash at the Area Code Games last summer and shows strength with the bat but is more advanced on the mound. The Washington State recruit pitches with a quick pace, already has an above-average fastball and shows flashes with his secondary offerings. Gueller doesn't face quality competition, but he has been up to 93 mph every time out and has touched 94. He shows flashes of an above-average breaking ball and changeup, too. The breaking ball can be a little slurvy right now and will likely be turned into more of a true slider in pro ball.
108. Brady Rodgers, rhp, Arizona State
Being at Arizona State almost hurts Rodgers because it's easy for scouts to compare him to another former Sun Devil and say, "Well, he's not Mike Leake." While Leake does have better stuff and athleticism, Rodgers still has plenty to offer. Like Leake, Rodgers is a bit undersized, and his stuff plays up because of his varied arsenal and pinpoint command. He fills up the strike zone with an 88-92 mph fastball and adds three solid secondary pitches: a curveball, slider and changeup. His slider is the best of the three and might be a tick above-average, but his command is better than his pure stuff. Scouts see Rodgers as a back-of-the-rotation starter and worry that his slender, 6-foot-2, 198-pound frame may not be able to withstand the grind of 180 innings and that over a full season his fastball might be below-average at times.
109. Kyle Hansen, rhp, St. John's
The younger brother of Craig Hansen—Boston's first-round pick out of St. John's in 2005—Kyle won't go quite as high. He has large frame at 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, and figures to pitch out of the bullpen in pro ball just like his brother. He has a plus fastball that sits in the low 90s and gets up to 96 mph with good sink. His command is just fair, though he has been able to keep his walk rate under three per nine innings while striking out more than 11 per nine. Questions about his secondary stuff lead scouts to project him as a reliever. He flashes a slider with depth that can be average to plus at times, but it's inconsistent. He has also mixed in a changeup with sink that has improved, but probably won't be much of factor in pro ball. His mechanics aren't terribly clean and he has some funk in his delivery, but he makes it work. When he's on he gets out in front well and can be very difficult to pick up.
110. Mitchell Traver, rhp, Houston Christian HS
Traver established himself as a first-round candidate with a breakout performance at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., last fall. He sat at 92-94 mph with hard sink on his fastball and backed it up with a hard curveball and a solid changeup. His 6-foot-7, 240-pound frame added to his intrigue. But Traver hasn't lived up to that standard this spring. He has operated mostly at 89-92 mph with his fastball, showing less life and command. His secondary pitches have been inconsistent too, as has his ability to repeat his delivery. Traver is more physical than athletic, struggling at times to stay on top of his pitches and to field his position. It's still easy to dream on Traver's upside, but he figures to go no higher than the third round—and that may not be early enough to sign him away from a Texas Christian commitment.
111. Max White, of, Williston (Fla.) HS
White gets compared to fellow prep Florida outfielder Brett Phillips as both are athletic, speedy center fielders. White is more of a wiry athlete at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, and has a good profile as a lefthanded speedster with range and arm strength. He emerged as a prospect as a sophomore as both a pitcher and hitter, but left shoulder surgery limited him to just five games as a junior and limited his showcase exposure. His arm strength has started to return this spring, including some low 90s readings in short stints on the mound. Scouts like White's tools in center, as he's a consistent 6.5-second runner over 60 yards with improving instincts. He is adding strength and has batting practice power with surprising bat speed, but he has a raw approach at the plate and hasn't faced a lot of hasn't advanced pitching. Scouts have compared him to players such as former Florida outfielder Matt den Dekker (now with the Mets) all the way to Steve Finley if his power develops. He wasn't a consensus supplemental pick, but if he's considered signable away from a Florida commitment he could go that high to the right team.
112. Josh Elander, c/of, Texas Christian
Pressed into catching duty with Team USA last summer after playing sporadically behind the plate in his first two college seasons, Elander got the job done defensively. Combined with enthusiasm about his bat and makeup, it seemed to give him a chance to be a first-round pick. Scouts continue to believe in his offensive potential, and while they laud his work ethic, they doubt he'll be able to catch in pro ball. A 6-foot-1, 215-pound righthanded hitter, Elander is starting to tap into his plus raw power while maintaining his discipline at the plate. He has average arm strength and a quick release, and he had thrown out 36 percent of basestealers through mid-May. He moves well behind the plate, too, but he has hard hands that lead to receiving issues. More athletic than most catchers and close to an average runner, he probably could handle the outfield and played primarily right field as a freshman. He has enough bat to profile on an outfield corner and to get drafted around the third round.
113. Fernando Perez, 3b, Central Arizona JC
Perez put up impressive numbers at Central Arizona (.338/.399/.571), especially considering Arizona junior colleges use wood bats and he could have been a senior in high school. A Mexico native, he moved to California to live with his uncle in 2010, his sophomore year. He played two years at Otay Ranch High in Chula Vista, Calif., but had enough credits to graduate and joined childhood friend Jorge Flores at Central Arizona. Perez shared the middle infield with Flores, spending most of his time at second base, though he profiles better at third. He started hot with the bat, then went through a slump, but battled through the adversity. A lefthanded hitter, Perez got pull-happy during his slump, but generally has a smooth swing with good balance and bat speed. He made adjustments and knows how to use the whole field. Scouts see him as an average to plus hitter with average power potential. He has a strong arm and soft hands, but will have to work hard to remain at third base because of his thick lower half and questionable footwork.
114. Steven Rodriguez, lhp, Florida
Frequently referred to by his nickname Paco, Rodriguez has evolved from a left-on-left specialist as a freshman for the Gators into a flexible weapon out of the team's bullpen. He has a funky delivery, most notable when he comes set in the stretch: He nearly stops once, then comes set a second times. Scouts who block out the calls of "Balk!" from opposing fans see Rodriguez execute his pitches well, starting with a hard, upper-80s cut fastball that gets in on righthanded hitters. He has enough fastball to keep hitters honest, throwing 91-92 mph and pounding the strike zone. He adds a sweepy but effective slider that at times has depth. Always efficient, Rodriguez has been much better in 2012, putting hitters away more consistently. His 12.23 strikeouts per nine innings ranked fourth in the nation, and he had a 6-1 K-BB ratio in a career-high 53 innings. Deception is built in to Rodriguez's approach, with an arm action that helps him hide the ball in the back before it comes out of a three-quarters slot. He's a safe pick who at least should be a lefty specialist but has shown the durability and dominance to be more than that.
115. Seth Willoughby, rhp, Xavier
Breaking the hamate bone in his left hand may have been the best thing that ever happened to Willoughby. Xavier planned on using him as a two-way player for the second straight season, but when he hurt his hand in the third game of the season he no longer could serve as the Musketeers' cleanup hitter. Once he focused on pitching, his stuff took off. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder has seen his fastball jump from 87-90 to 92-95 mph and his so-so slider turn into an 88-90 mph cutter that's a legitimate out pitch. He sometimes falls in love with the cutter, costing him fastball command. Through 24 appearances, he had a 1.12 ERA, a 40-11 K-BB ratio in 32 innings and a .170 opponent average. While Willoughby profiles strictly as a reliever, he could move quickly and earn a late-inning role in the majors. He has gone from not being on scouts' follow lists coming into the spring—they saw him more as a senior sign for 2013—to flying up draft boards, perhaps as high as the third round.
116. Tim Cooney, lhp, Wake Forest
Undrafted out of high school, Cooney emerged as an early-round prospect last season when he went 7-3, 3.01 with 91 strikeouts and 18 walks in 99 innings for the Deacons. For Chatham in the Cape Cod League last summer, Cooney had 46 strikeouts to just eight walks in 48 innings. His junior season has been a different story, as he's been up and down throughout. In 13 starts he was 5-6, 3.76 with 76 strikeouts and 36 walks in 84 innings. Cooney relies on command, so he has been inconsistent because it has been inconsistent. He has a good delivery but seemed to be overthrowing this year. His fastball ranges from 87-93 mph, and he'll typically sit 88-91. He has good secondary stuff in a cutter, curveball and changeup. The cutter is an out pitch that can sit in the mid-80s, and he uses his changeup against righties. His curveball is inconsistent. Despite a rocky season, scouts like the package Cooney offers and his overall track record, and he still has a good chance to go in the first few rounds.
117. Buck Farmer, rhp, Georgia Tech
The aptly named Farmer (whose family has a long agricultural history) has raised his draft stock with his consistency for an injury-plagued Yellow Jackets pitching staff. An unsigned 46th-rounder of the Braves in 2009, Farmer will go at least 40 rounds earlier thanks to his durable 6-foot-3, 228-pound frame and above-average fastball. Farmer doesn't overpower hitters but throws a lot of quality strikes with his 88-92 mph fastball, at times touching 95. He competes well and challenges hitters with the fastball, though it's not a swing-and-miss pitch. His changeup has surpassed his slider in consistency as his best secondary offering, though he has feel for the breaking ball and locates it. Farmer has performed for three seasons and also threw well in summer ball in the Coastal Plain League (2010) and Cape Cod League (2011), though he was hit fairly hard in the Cape. He has some effort in his delivery and his arm action isn't clean, so despite his frame and track record of performance, scouts see him more as a reliever than as a starter. He still figures to go out in the first five rounds and perhaps as high as the third.
118. Kenny Diekroeger, 2b, Stanford
Diekroeger's career has been a bit of a roller coaster. He emerged as one of the top high school prospects in 2009, showing great athleticism, and the Rays took him in the second round, but he turned down a reported $2 million offer to go to Stanford. He looked like he'd be one of the top prospects for 2012 when he hit .356/.391/.491 as a freshman, playing mostly at third base, but his performance since then has not matched expectations. While most scouts think he'll be an average hitter, he has never shown much power, and this season he was batting in the bottom third of the Stanford lineup. He did not play summer ball last year, instead working out to get in
better shape, and scouts say he looked trimmer this year than he did at
the end of last season. Diekroeger has soft hands and solid arm strength, and while he's athletic he's just an average runner, which limits his range defensively. He played shortstop as a sophomore and spent most of this spring at second base, though he had moved back to shortstop in recent weeks. He'll likely move to second as a pro, and some scouts say he'll end up as a utility player because his versatility is more valuable than his pure offensive or defensive skill. A team that believes he still has offensive upside will take him in the first five rounds, but he won't see another $2 million bonus offer.
119. Austin Maddox, rhp, Florida
Maddox was a decorated amateur player who at one time projected as a first-round pick due to his power bat and arm strength. A high school catcher and pitcher, he fell to the 37th round of the 2009 draft (Rays) after ranking No. 81 on BA's Top 200 draft prospects. Maddox went to Florida and has helped the program make consecutive trips to Omaha while transforming himself as a player. Blocked at catcher by Mike Zunino, Maddox hit 17 home runs as a freshman corner infielder but tumbled to six in 2011 with the less-potent bats, and his lack of selectivity and a defensive position drove down his stock as a hitter. After not pitching as a freshman, he seized the closer role as a sophomore, and he remains there as a junior. Scouts now view him as a pitcher, though his background as an everyday player days comes through in his competitiveness. Maddox has closer makeup and mound presence to spare, with confidence and an attacking mentality. At his best, he features a 92-94 mph fastball that has reached 96, and he gets swings and misses in the strike zone with it. His arm action causes his offspeed stuff to be erratic, but scouts think his mechanics can be refined with a full focus on the mound. He throws a slurvy slider, which is effective when he stays on top of it, and a changeup that gives hitters a different look. He's had some rotator cuff tendinitis this spring but generally has handled a heavy workload well, and his 6-foot-3, 235-pound body should help him hold up under a pro workload.
120. Brett Mooneyham, lhp, Stanford
Mooneyham has size (6-foot-5 and 215 pounds) and pedigree, and he was a premium prospect coming out of high school in California, coming in at No. 78—just ahead of Virginia-bound Danny Hultzen—in Baseball America's 2008 draft rankings. Mooneyham's father, Bill, was a righthander who signed with the Angels as a first-round pick in the secondary phase of the June 1980 draft and spent nine seasons in pro ball, reaching the big leagues with Oakland in 1986. His father was drafted five times, and this will be Brett's third pass through the draft. He didn't sign as a 15th-round pick of the Padres out of high school, and the Nationals took a flier on him in the 38th round last year, even after he missed the entire season following surgery to repair a cut on his left middle finger. It's hard for scouts to get a good read on him because his stuff has been up and down throughout his college career. He touched 94 mph in high school, was down in the 86-88 mph range with Team USA in 2010, and was in the 90-91 mph range and touching 93 this spring. He has a knack for spinning a breaking ball, switching between a curveball and slider this season, and shows a decent changeup. The biggest concern with Mooneyham is his control. As a big kid, his delivery is funky and can get out of sync. He works a lot of deep counts, but also gets a lot of uncomfortable swings. Scouts say Mooneyham has a great work ethic, though sometimes he tinkers with his delivery and his pitches too much.
121. Alex Bregman, 2b, Albuquerque Academy
Bregman put his name on the map by hitting .564/.596/.846 for USA Baseball's 16-and-under team in 2010. He followed that up by hitting .378/.500/.459 when he played for the 18-and-under team in 2011, and he broke New Mexico's high school single-season home run record with 18 last year. While he won't be a slugger as a pro, Bregman does pack impressive strength into his 5-foot-11 frame. He has quick hands and an efficient, compact swing. He has bat speed, knows how to get leverage and sprays the ball to all parts of the field. He was going to spend half of his games behind the plate this year, but that plan was derailed when he broke the tip of his right middle finger and missed most of the season. Most scouts believe he fits best at second base, where he's a steady defender with solid-average arm strength. Bregman is a fringe-average runner but shows good instincts on the bases. Scouts love his makeup, and coaches, teammates and fans appreciate his knack for putting the bat on the ball, hard-nosed hustle, smart play and quiet swagger. Bregman is believed to be a tough sign away from Louisiana State.
122. Damien Magnifico, rhp, Oklahoma
There may not be a pitcher in the entire draft who lights up radar guns as consistently as Magnifico, who regularly hits 100 mph. He reached triple digits 22 times in an April 10 start against Arkansas, working at 96-97 in the ninth and popping a 99 mph heater on his 103rd and final pitch. The question is what else he will bring to the table. His fastball lacks life and opponents see it and hit it well. He had just 27 strikeouts and a .282 opponent average through his first 43 innings this spring. Six-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Magnifico has made adjustments this spring. He'll flash a two-seam fastball with less velocity and more sink, and he's made progress with a cutter/slider, though it still grades as a well below-average pitch. He'll mix in a changeup, but it doesn't keep hitters off his fastball. A fifth-round pick by the Mets out of high school in 2009, Magnifico redshirted at Howard (Texas) JC in 2010 while battling a stress fracture in his elbow that required the insertion of screws. As a draft-eligible sophomore, he has more leverage than most college prospects.
123. Carson Fulmer, rhp, All Saints Academy, Lakeland, Fla.
Fulmer pitched with Walker Weickel, Jesse Winker and Nick Travieso as part of a Florida quartet of pitchers on USA Baseball's 18-and-under squad last November, winning the gold medal at the Pan American Championships in Columbia. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Fulmer has athletic ability and strength but lacks a premium pitcher's frame. He does have premium stuff, with one of the best fastballs in the country. He has effort in his delivery but sits in the 92-93 mph range and regularly hits 95. At times, his breaking ball gives him a second plus pitch; it's a power slider that can reach the low 80s. Fulmer uses his thick lower half well in his delivery and harnesses his stuff to throw strikes, though he lacks true command. He has flashed a solid if firm change in the low 80s but will need to develop it more at higher levels. The effort in his delivery includes a bit of a head whack, and at times Fulmer backs off the velocity to find the zone more. He has shown some feel for pitching as well as competitiveness. A Vanderbilt signee, Fulmer will be a tough read in terms of his signability, but most scouts thought he was leaning toward playing pro ball.
124. Alex Yarbrough, 2b, Mississippi
Yarbrough hopes to join a parade of Mississippi infielders who have reached the majors in recent years, from Matt Tolbert to Cam Coghlan to Zach Cozart. He's closer to Coghlan as an offense-first infielder with modest athleticism and excellent hands, and he's hit his way into consideration for the first five rounds. His hands play on both sides of the ball; Yarbrough has excellent bat control and manipulates the barrel well. He has natural hand-eye coordination and a patient approach that helped him hit .389 through mid-May in Southeastern Conference play, second-best in the conference. Coaches consider him a calming presence defensively. He doesn't get to a ton of groundballs but makes the plays on balls he gets to, with no errors in league play and just two overall. He also showed solid pop in the Cape Cod League last summer, ranking second on Cotuit behind Victor Roache in home runs and doubles, and figures to hit his share of doubles. Yarbrough's arm strength is sufficient for second base and turning the double play; he's a fringy to below-average runner. He'll have to hit to be a regular, but plenty of scouts think he'll do just that.
125. Tyler Pike, lhp, Winter Haven (Fla.) HS
A Florida State recruit, Pike doesn't have a present pitch that wows scouts, but he grows on them with his athleticism, natural deception, three-pitch mix and ability to make hitters swing and miss. He sits around 88-89 mph with his fastball, but touches 92 and 93 both early and late in games. He raised his profile early in the season when he matched up with Tampa Jesuit's Lance McCullers Jr. and threw hard and well. He has natural deception in his easy delivery, and his ability to repeat helps him control the strike zone well. Pike projects to have average or better command of his fastball as well as his curve and changeup. He's added a bit of velocity to his curveball but could use more, and he has shown a solid feel for his changeup. Pike would be an asset as a two-way player for the Seminoles; he has a solid swing and is a 6.8-second runner in the 60, though he lacks power at the plate. He's considered a tough sign, but he could go in the first three rounds if teams think he'll pass up school.