Draft 2012: Prospects 126-150
Reports written by Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt, Conor Glassey, John Manuel and Nathan Rode.
126. Alex Young, lhp, Carmel Catholic HS, Mundelein, Ill.
Young is the top prospect in Illinois, but he may not be the first player selected from the state because of signability questions. A team could select him as early as the third round, but that may not be high enough to lure him away from a Texas Christian commitment. After three years with the Horned Frogs, he could go even higher because he's a projectable lefthander who's just starting to figure things out on the mound. His fastball ranges from 87-91 mph and has touched 93 in workouts. The projection and athleticism in his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame hint at more velocity. With large hands and long fingers, he also shows aptitude for spinning a curveball. Young needs to improve his fastball life, curveball consistency and overall command, as well as a developing a changeup. But all of the ingredients are there.
127. Timmy Lopes, 2b, Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
For years, Lopes was overshadowed by his high-profile older brother Christian, who wound up signing for an $800,000 bonus as the Blue Jays' seventh-round pick last year. The younger Lopes had a breakout performance at the Southern California Invitational in Compton in February, and scouts now think he is a better player than his brother. Lopes has some thickness in his lower half that worries some scouts, but he showed solid-average speed this spring that plays up because of his advanced baseball instincts. He has solid range and good actions at shortstop, though his average arm fits better at second base, where he has a chance to be a solid-average defender. His best asset is his natural feel for the barrel. He makes consistent, hard contact and has a mature, all-fields approach. Lopes projects as an average or slightly better hitter with fringe-average power at best. The UC Irvine recruit could be drafted between the second and fourth round.
128. Austin Aune, of, Argyle (Texas) HS
Aune led Argyle HS to the Texas 3-A football championship game, passing for 3,411 yards and 33 touchdowns while rushing for another 538 yards and nine scores. A solid college quarterback prospect with a Texas Christian football scholarship, he also has baseball potential and the intention of playing both sports for the Horned Frogs. If he's signable, he'll fit into the first five rounds of the draft. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounds Aune offers an impressive package of tools, starting with plus raw power and arm strength. He has a balanced lefthanded stroke and solid speed, and scouts praise his makeup as well. He's still raw and hasn't shined at showcase events because he has split his time between two spots and hasn't faced much in the way of baseball competition. A shortstop at Argyle, he may not have the hands to stick in the infield. While he could get a shot at third base or center field, he's likely destined for right field at either TCU or in pro ball.
129. Felipe Perez, rhp, Fairmont Prep, Anaheim
Perez dominated inferior competition this spring, posting an 81-6 strikeout-walk mark through 41 innings. Scouts rave about his character, but they also regard the academics-oriented Perez a difficult sign away from UCLA. He combines present feel for pitching with good projection thanks to a loose arm action and athletic frame. He works in the 88-91 mph range and could add velocity. He commands his fastball to both sides of the plate well for a high school pitcher, and he has good feel for a sharp, downer curveball and promising changeup. He lacks the present stuff to be a blue-chip prospect, but he could have three average or better pitches down the line, and scouts consider him a top-five-rounds talent even though signability may drive him down in the draft.
130. Justin Garza, rhp, Bonita HS, La Verne, Calif.
Undersized at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, Garza attracted minimal interest from scouts and colleges until signing with Cal State Fullerton toward the end of the recruiting cycle. He raised his profile by showing some of the best stuff at the Southern California Invitational in February, and over the course of the spring scouts began to view him as a bona fide top-five-rounds prospect despite his lack of physicality. Garza has electric arm speed and an easy arm action. He isn't afraid to pitch inside with a 90-94 mph fastball that he commands well. His curveball projects as an average or slightly better pitch, and he has been tinkering with an 84-87 mph slider/cutter that scouts are intrigued by. He also has the makings of an average changeup. Scouts won't be as content to let him head to Fullerton as they would have been six months ago.
131. Kieran Lovegrove, rhp, Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS
Lovegrove has flashed outstanding stuff over the last two years, but the quality of his stuff can vary from outing to outing, or even from inning to inning. He was electric last summer, tired in the fall, then got off to a good start to the spring. He labored early in a May outing, working in the 86-91 mph range, then ran his heater up to 92-94 mph and flashed a vicious 86 mph slider in his final inning after his team took the lead. Lovegrove has plenty of projection in his lean 6-foot-4 frame, but durability is a concern for scouts. He often pitches around 90-93 and bumps 94, but he needs to prove he can maintain his velocity in order to be a starter. His slider can be a wipeout pitch in the 83-86 mph range, but it can also get slurvy and softer. He also has the makings of a decent changeup. Lovegrove's funky, complicated delivery and short stride probably contribute to his inconsistency, but if the Arizona State signee can iron out his mechanics and add strength, his upside is significant.
132. Damion Carroll, rhp, King George (Va.) HS
Carroll is a good example of the adage, "If you're good, they'll find you." He was absent from the showcase circuit and pitched for his American Legion team last summer, but plenty of scouts were in on him this spring. An excellent athlete who also excels in basketball, Carroll is raw but physical at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, drawing comparisons to a young Lee Smith. He has a strong arm and sits in the low 90s, touching 95 mph. His secondary stuff needs work, but he has shown two breaking balls with at least average potential. His curveball has power tilt with tight, three-quarters break when it's on. His changeup will need work. The jury seems to be split on Carroll and he lost some steam later in the season, but he has no Division I college commitment and should be signable in the fourth to sixth round.
133. Jamie Jarmon, of, Indian River HS, Dagsboro, Del.
The last Delaware prep to be taken in the first 10 rounds was shortstop Derrik Gibson, a second-round pick of the Red Sox in 2008. A team that thinks Jarmon can stick in center field could pop him in the first five rounds, but they will have to be patient. He's a good athlete and may have a chance to play football in college, but his tools are raw and he lacks baseball instincts right now. He has run a 6.8-second 60-yard dash, but he doesn't get out of the box quickly and most scouts think his speed plays average to a tick above. He's physical and strong at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and has average power that is acceptable on a corner, but he'll have more value if he sticks in center. He's had an up-and-down spring from a performance standpoint and tends to tinker with his stance too much, but he has bat speed. Early on, he was in a deep crouch and swung uphill, and he tends to struggle with offspeed stuff too.
134. Kris Hall, rhp, Lee (Tenn.)
Hall began his career at Division I Cleveland State, going 1-2, 11.36 as a freshman before transferring to NAIA Lee when Cleveland State announced it was shuttering its program. He helped the Flames reach the NAIA World Series last year as a reliever and did it this year as the staff ace, going 11-0, 1.52 with 115 strikeouts and 43 walks in 95 innings. Hall started putting it together last year, with his fastball jumping from the 86-88 mph range up to the low to mid-90s. His slider gives him a swing-and-miss pitch that at times is a true plus pitch at 86-87 mph, and he throws an effective hard curve as well. At other times his slider is flat and sweepy. Physical at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he maintained his stuff even as a starter this year, especially early in the season, though he endured a dead-arm period late in the spring. Hall's delivery remains unrefined, as do his changeup and control, and many scouts see him as a reliever, pushing him down to the fourth or fifth round.
135. Brandon Welch, rhp, Palm Beach State (Fla.) JC
Welch was primarily an outfielder in high school, though he closed from time to time, and he played both ways as a freshman last year at Daytona State (Fla.) JC, posting a 5.68 ERA. He transferred to Palm Beach State JC as a sophomore, moving into the rotation and going 4-3, 2.83 with 79 strikeouts and 13 walks in 76 innings. The athletic, quick-armed Welch generated buzz early in the spring, showing one of the liveliest arms in Florida and sitting around 92-94 mph and touching 96 with his fastball. The separating factor was a power slider that at times reached 84-87 mph, with depth. With all the talent in the state's high school and college ranks, though, scouts had a hard time bearing down on juco players, and when they checked in at the state tournament in May, Welch's velocity had dipped into the 87-90 range. Welch, a Florida Atlantic signee, is a bit undersized at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, so most scouts see him as a reliever at the pro level.
136. Rhett Wiseman, of, Buckingham Browne & Nichols HS, Cambridge, Mass.
Wiseman caught the eye of scouts on the showcase circuit last summer with his premium bat speed and athleticism, but he's far from a finished product. He stands at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds with a chiseled physique, and he's a tireless worker with exceptional makeup. While scouts love his athleticism and raw tools, he swings and misses too often. He hasn't dominated against modest competition this spring, and he still has a lot to learn. He has made adjustments to his stance by adopting a wider base and putting more weight on his back leg, but he needs to learn to use the whole field and keep his body under control. He is a plus runner and should be a legitimate center fielder. He has a below-average arm now, but his motion is awkward so it could get straightened out with better instruction. He served as class president, excelled at an academically rigorous high school and is committed to Vanderbilt, so he figures to be a tough sign if he doesn't go in the top two rounds.
137. Teddy Stankiewicz, rhp, Fort Worth Christian HS, North Richland Hills, Texas
Stankiewicz is a polished high school pitcher who fits in the third to fifth round on talent, but he may not be signable away from an Arkansas commitment outside of the top two. He flashes two above-average pitches that should improve as he fills out his projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame. His fastball usually sits at 88-92 mph, topping out anywhere from 89-94 on a given day. His slider is very good at times and mediocre at others. He also uses a curveball as a show pitch and has the makings of a changeup. Stankiewicz has good body control and command for a high school pitcher and could contribute immediately as a freshman for the Razorbacks if he doesn't sign. Scouts like the way he repeats his delivery and competes.
138. Dansby Swanson, ss, Marietta (Ga.) HS
Swanson has had a storybook career at Marietta High, serving two seasons as captain of the basketball team in addition to three seasons of varsity baseball—one as a teammate of 2010 Angels first-round pick Chevez Clarke. Swanson has shown the athletic ability and smooth infield actions that should allow him to stay at shortstop, at least in college. His arm strength may be shy for short as a pro, though other scouts think he'll be a more consistent thrower with more distance from basketball and added strength. An above-average runner, Swanson has good instincts and quick-twitch athleticism. Scouts also like his simple, fundamental swing. The downside is the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder's lack of strength and contact-focused approach. Swanson is a strong student with a GPA north of 4.0, so scouts expect him to follow through on his commitment to Vanderbilt, unlike fellow Georgia prep Matt Olson, another Vandy signee.
139. Jake Thompson, rhp, Rockwall-Heath HS, Heath, Texas
Thompson is having the best spring and is believed to be the most signable of the top players in a strong Texas Christian recruiting class that also includes Mitchell Traver and Austin Aune. He originally committed to Nebraska, then changed his mind after the Cornhuskers fired coach Mike Anderson. Strong and physical at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Thompson pitches at 88-92 mph and touches 94, and he holds his velocity deep into games. He has improved his slider this spring, giving him a second plus pitch at times, though it lacks depth at others. His stuff and consistency should improve once he focuses on pitching. He also plays first base for Rockwall-Heath and offers plenty of righthanded power potential, though his future definitely is on the mound.
140. Max Muncy, 1b, Baylor
Muncy had one of the best bats among Texas high schoolers in 2009, when the Indians took a flier on him in the 49th round, and three years later he has one of the best among college players in this draft. With a short lefthanded stroke and a disciplined approach, he barrels balls consistently. He has proven he can hit with wood, too, turning in a pair of solid summers in the Cape Cod League. Muncy has a strong build at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds and shows pop to his pull side, though scouts hesitate to project him as having more than average home run power. That could be a problem if he's limited to first base, where he has started all but one game in his three years at Baylor. Muncy has decent speed and athleticism, enough to consider trying him at another position. The Bears gave him a look at second base during fall ball, and he gave catching a shot in high school.
141. Torsten Boss, 3b, Michigan State
Scouts agree that Boss is one of the best college bats in the Midwest, but opinions diverge from there. Supporters see him as a guy with solid tools across the board who will be able to handle third base, while others believe he doesn't have a true defensive home. Boss has a pretty lefthanded swing and can catch up to quality fastballs. He's patient enough to take walks when pitchers try to work around him. Boss hit a soft .237 in the Cape Cod League last summer, but he helped his cause with a pair of homers in front of several scouting directors early this spring. He hit an opposite-field drive off a 95 mph fastball from St. John's Kyle Hansen at the Big East/Big Ten tournament, then pulled a ball out of the park against Texas A&M's Michael Wacha. At 6 feet and 200 pounds, Boss has the strength and bat speed to have average power, though his swing can get long. He has spent most of his Michigan State career at third base and has started games at second base, center field and right field. He has enough arm strength for third, but his hands are hard and his infield actions aren't the smoothest. While he's a plus runner in the 60-yard dash (6.65 seconds), his speed plays closer to average and he didn't take good routes while playing center field at the start of this season. A team that sees Boss as a third baseman could take him as early as the third round.
142. Chris Taylor, ss, Virginia
Despite being the 3-A high school player of the year in Virginia in 2009, Taylor went undrafted and saw limited action as a freshman for the Cavaliers. He started all 68 games for Virginia as a sophomore, however, solidifying himself at shortstop after spending the first four games in the outfield. He had been up and down this spring and was hitting .279/.374/.448 in 201 at-bats. Taylor doesn't have one standout tool, but he gets attention with his defense and speed. He has a chance to stay at shortstop with good hands, a strong arm and good range, as he is a plus runner. The question is how much he will hit. He tends to stick with an inside-out approach and doesn't let loose as much as scouts would like. He has 21 extra-base hits, but he's a gap hitter as his home run power is below-average. He would be a useful utility player, but a team that thinks he can provide solid offense at shortstop could take him in the first four rounds.
143. L.J. Mazzilli, 2b, Connecticut
The son of former major league player and manager Lee Mazzilli, L.J. has obvious bloodlines to go with his athleticism and offense. He has been a consistent hitter for the Huskies and was batting .325/.392/.557 with nine home runs in 212 at-bats this spring. He stands at a 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and has a good, balanced approach at the plate to go with a direct swing. He can hit to all fields and showed more pop this year, though he will have fringe-average power at best. He profiles best as an offensive-minded second baseman, if he can make the grade defensively. He had 17 errors in 51 games this season, but scouts say he could become passable with development. He tends to sit back on balls, which can cause hops to eat him up and force him to rush throws. His arm is average. He's an average runner and can swipe some bases, but it won't be a big part of his game.
144. Jamie Callahan, rhp, Dillon (S.C.) HS
South of the Border had some competition this spring as scouts bypassed the iconic Interstate 95 tourist trap to see Callahan pitch for Dillon High. He has a good pitcher's frame with projection remaining at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. His fastball ranges from 88-92 mph and touches 93-94. Depending on the day, he can show two good breaking balls. He has a 12-to-6 curveball as well as a slider with short break and depth. He pitches with a high arm slot, so the curveball will likely be the better pitch for him down the road. He has shown some feel for a changeup that sits around 80 mph, but like most high school arms it's a pitch he'll need to work on. A South Carolina signee, Callahan won't be 18 until August, so scouts can dream a little more on his upside.
145. Cameron Perkins, 3b, Purdue
The most dangerous hitter on a Purdue team that won its first Big 10 Conference regular season title in 103 years, Perkins homered in his first college game and has been a consistent threat ever since. A confident hitter who isn't afraid to attack early in the count or out of the strike zone, he has a quick righthanded swing and a 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame that gives him the strength and long levers to drive the ball. He can get too aggressive and likely will have to make adjustments to his swing and approach in pro ball, though he hasn't run into trouble yet. Perkins' hands, arm and speed are all decent to average. He's unorthodox at third base but gets the job done, though scouts aren't enamored of his low arm slot on throws. If he can't handle the hot corner, left field would be the next option. He gets high marks for his makeup and baseball savvy, and in a weak year for college bats he shouldn't get past the fifth round.
146. Sam Selman, lhp, Vanderbilt
The Angels made a serious run at Selman when he was coming out of high school in Austin, Texas, drafting him in the 14th round. Selman instead headed to Vanderbilt, but he has not broken through as a star at the college level, in part because he pitched just 12 innings in his first two seasons for the Commodores. He got his work in the Northwoods League the last two summers, working a combined 86 innings and going 2-4, 3.89 for Mankato. Selman got his chance this spring but pitched his way out of the weekend rotation before working his way back into the mix, and his 8-3, 4.03 mark made him Vandy's most successful starter. He has added strength to his slender, 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame (he was 160 as a freshman), and he maintains his fastball velocity more consistently, sitting 91-94 mph and reaching 95. His inexperience on the mound shows, as he's not adept at making adjustments on his own, and scouts question his feel for pitching. His secondary stuff lacks consistency, and a wrap in his arm action inhibits both his control and release point on his slider and changeup. Selman has upside and needs innings, but he may not be an easy sign even as a Vanderbilt junior.
147. Matt Reynolds, 3b, Arkansas
Reynolds opened his college career as a shortstop before a torn thumb ligament short-circuited his freshman season. He has played more at third base since, both for the Razorback and for USA Baseball's college national team last summer. He's a solid athlete with a tweener profile: defensive tools suited for third and a bat that profiles better up the middle. Reynolds lacks third-base power, with a line-drive, gap-to-gap approach. He doesn't have the proper load in his swing to produce more than fringe-average power. He responded well to last summer's challenge of playing with Team USA and later in the Cape Cod League, improving his preparation and pushing himself to improve. He was Arkansas' best hitter this spring (.350/.460/.541) thanks to a more consistent approach and better patience at the plate. He's an average runner who can steal a bag as well. Reynolds may hit his way into an everyday role if he gets the chance to play shortstop or second base as a pro, as he has soft hands, good footwork and an above-average arm.
148. Lex Rutledge, lhp, Samford
Rutledge ranked just behind Mississippi State's Chris Stratton among Mississippi high school pitchers in 2009, and he spurned the Brewers as a 26th-round draft pick to attend Samford. The Bulldogs made him a closer and he thrived in that role, going 5-1, 1.71 with 11 saves in 2010 and striking out 65 in 47 innings. Rutledge struggled with command when he moved into the weekend rotation in 2011 and moved back into the bullpen in 2012. Walks remained a problem, though, and he has 84 in 142 career innings with a 6.81 ERA this spring. Rutledge has thrown hard in two summers in the Cape Cod League, hitting 97-98 mph in short spurts. His fastball has resided more in the 91-93 mph range this spring but touched 95-96. If he throws strike with it, he can put hitters away with one of the draft's better curveballs, a power pitch in the 79-82 mph range with downer action. It's a swing-and-miss pitch that at times gets slurvy. He hasn't shown strong stuff when used on back-to-back days. He could go as high as the second round, but more likely will last into the fourth or fifth.
149. Blake Hauser, rhp, Virginia Commonwealth
Coming out of high school in 2009, Hauser was the top prospect in Virginia because of his arm speed and low-90s fastball. He didn't sign as a 25th-round pick on the Indians and headed to Virginia Commonwealth. He has worked almost exclusively in relief and hasn't taken a big step forward, but scouts still like his fastball. He was 5-2, 3.48 this spring, with 60 strikeouts and 25 walks in 31 innings, and opponents were batting .130 with just five
extra-base hits. Hauser was sitting around 93-95 mph early this spring, though he lost some velocity as the season went on. Scouts attribute that
to how much he throws his slider, saying it's not uncommon to see 80 percent sliders in some outings. The slider is a potential plus pitch, but it can detract from his ability to snap off his fastball consistently. He's not very physical at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds and figures to stay in the bullpen, where he could have two plus pitches and move quickly if he shows better fastball command.
150. Ronnie Freeman, c, Kennesaw State
Freeman is a solid player who benefits from position scarcity. Competent college catchers get pushed up draft boards, and Freeman has shown he is competent. Offensively, he's more than that, showing good strength in his average-sized 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame. Freeman slugged .622 as a sophomore, adding 20 doubles to his 10 home runs, and thrived with wood last summer, batting .349 with six homers in the New England Collegiate League. He has been pitched around a bit more as a junior but still ranked sixth in the Atlantic Sun Conference in batting. He has a sound swing, above-average raw power and some feel for hitting. Defensively, Freeman has average arm strength and soft hands, but his stiff actions and lack of agility tend to betray him. He had thrown out 26 percent of basestealers this season.