Draft 2012: Prospects 151-175
Reports written by Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt, Conor Glassey, John Manuel and Nathan Rode.
151. Josh Schubert, of, Calhoun (Ga.) HS
Schubert is in the process of legally changing his last name from the current McAdams. By any name, he's one of the toolsier preps hitters in Georgia, a high-risk, high-reward player with significant upside. He's 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and he runs well for his size, a tick above-average now, though he will wind up a fringy or below-average runner as he fills out. Otherwise, it's not hard to project on Schubert, a righthanded hitter who flashes plus raw power when he makes consistent contact. He'll likely wind up on a corner, and his strong arm makes right field a logical future location. Teams that believe in Schubert's bat have to believe he'll refine a raw approach at the plate, relying in part on his impressive batting-practice displays. He committed late to High Point, and scouts consider him signable, which may get him to get picked in the first two rounds even though the scouting consensus appears to peg him as a third- to fifth-round talent.
152. Steven Okert, lhp, Oklahoma
The Brewers drafted Okert after each of his two seasons at Grayson County (Texas) CC, in the 43rd round in 2010 and in the 33rd round in 2011. If they want him this June, they're going to have to pull the trigger much earlier. Okert has blossomed after transferring to Oklahoma and moving to the bullpen a month into this season. A fastball that sat at 88-91 mph a year ago now resides at 90-93, consistently touches 95 and peaks at 97. He has added velocity to his slider, and it's death on lefthanded hitters. Some scouts think it's still worth giving Okert a chance to start in pro ball, though he may lack the changeup and command to make that work. They love his effortless delivery and note that he has firmed up his 6-foot-2, 219-pound frame.
153. Timmy Robinson, of, Ocean View HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Robinson is the half-brother of Twins righthanded reliever Alex Burnett, who was a 12th-round pick out of Ocean View High in 2005. Robinson flew under the radar for most of his prep career, but his numbers this spring (.518 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs in 83 at-bats) attracted flocks of scouts down the stretch. Robinson has a strong, thick build at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, and the star quarterback for Ocean View's football team is more athletic than he looks at first glance. Scouts disagree on his present speed, but either way he projects as a below-average runner as he matures, and he'll be tied to left field. He has decent defensive instincts, but his arm is below-average. Robinson has a chance to hit enough to make that work, and his plus or better raw power translates well in games. While his swing isn't pretty, he has decent timing and pitch recognition, and he shows enough feel for hitting that his power should play. His offensive upside should get the Southern California commit drafted in the fourth or fifth round.
154. Brandon Lopez, ss, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
Lopez joins a long line of recent American Heritage products, including Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero. While Lopez plays shortstop in high school and has improved his defense this spring, he profiles as a third baseman as a pro. The righthanded hitter has added strength to his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame and doesn't have the speed (7.0 seconds over 60 yards) to stay in the middle infield. Scouts who like him see power potential out of his fluid, balanced swing, particularly as he matures and gets stronger. He shows a willingness to use the whole field and can drive the ball to right field. Soft hands, nimble footwork and an above-average arm complete the third-base package. Teams that think Lopez will firm up his body and add power will buy him out of a Miami commitment.
155. Keon Barnum, 1b, King HS, Tampa
Barnum and Georgia prep Matt Olson have similar profiles as lefthanded-hitting power prep first basemen. Olson has superior hitting ability and ranks higher, but Barnum has more power, which may elevate him past Olson on some draft boards. Barnum has been a prospect since eighth grade, joining Reggie Williams' travel-ball team in the Tampa area as a 14-year-old and playing with older competition. Scouts have seen plenty of his somewhat long but powerful, leveraged swing. He has the strength and loft power to earn 70 raw power grades on the 20-80 scouting scale. Barnum also has long arms that lead to swings and misses, and he's not always confident or comfortable against offspeed pitches. His solid-average arm strength would be wasted at first base, and his fringe-average speed could make left field a possibility down the road. He's a Miami recruit.
156. Micah Johnson, 2b, Indiana
Johnson's junior season almost ended before it began. Not only did he struggle in the Cape Cod League last summer, but he also hurt his throwing arm. It continued to bother him after he returned to Indiana, relegating him to DH duty. After going 3-for-21 in nine games, he had surgery that knocked him out for two months. He swung the bat better and returned to second base after rejoining the Hoosiers, and in a down year for college hitters he still could factor into the top five rounds of the draft. Though he's just 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Johnson can drive the ball thanks to his bat speed. He has good pop for a middle infielder, at times too much for his own good, as his lefthanded swing gets long and he doesn't control the strike zone. Though Johnson is athletic—he reportedly beat No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Greg Oden in a one-on-one basketball game when both were in high school—he's not a lock to stay in the infield. He has hard hands and some scouts think he might fit better in center field. He has the speed to make the transition, as he ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash on scout day during the fall, and enough arm for the outfield.
157. Corey Black, rhp, Faulkner (Ala.)
Black has some surface similarities to 2004 No. 1 overall pick Matt Bush, starting with his 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame. He's slighter than Bush, who like Black first attracted attention at Mission Bay High in San Diego as a two-way player. Black wound up missing much of his junior season with Tommy John surgery and went to San Diego State, getting more time as a pitcher than a hitter. He pitched 121 innings in two seasons and went 4-5, 3.56 with 78 strikeouts and 42 walks in 73 innings as a sophomore, but he was taken off the Aztecs roster in the fall. He wound up showcasing himself at the Arizona Fall Classic and transferred to NAIA Faulkner so he would be eligible to pitch in 2012. Black has a quick arm and can run his fastball up to 94-96 mph at times, and he should sit there in a future bullpen role. Both his slider and changeup have their moments; his changeup developed into a reliable second pitch, with his breaking ball remaining inconsistent. Black's fastball should get him in the first five rounds despite his medical history and size.
158. Cory Raley, ss, Uvalde (Texas) HS
A dual-threat quarterback at Uvalde HS, Raley rushed for 1,470 yards and 20 touchdowns last fall. He hasn't played in many showcase events, and Uvalde is off the beaten scouting path in Texas, yet word of Raley's athleticism still spread this spring. His best tool is his well above-average speed, as he's capable of getting from the right side of the plate to first base in 4.0 seconds. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder has the arm and actions to stay at shortstop, though his bat will need time to develop. That figures to happen at Texas A&M rather than in pro ball, because it may take a seven-figure offer to get Raley to sign. His brother Brooks was a two-way standout for the Aggies and now pitches in the Cubs system. Another brother, Russell, starred at Oklahoma and now coaches for the Sooners.
159. Joey DeMichele, 2b, Arizona State
Scouts like to use the cliche that "hitters hit," as shorthand for a player who has always produced. They certainly use it for DeMichele, who hit .368/.412/.663 last year and was batting .335/.405/.562 this year with a compact, lefthanded swing. He has good barrel control and the ability to square everything up, and he is a tough out who has the ability to hit to all fields. At 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, he'll be more of a gap hitter, though he has enough strength to hit the occasional home run. The questions come on defense, where DeMichele will have to work to remain at second base. He has an average arm and actions, but needs to improve his footwork and quickness. DeMichele has a track record of continual improvement, and he worked hard to improve his body and shows good makeup on and off the field. A team that believes he can play second base could take DeMichele as high as the second round.
160. Matt Carasiti, rhp, St. John's
While Carasiti has served as St. John's Friday starter this season, he has less of a chance to stick in a rotation than his teammate, Kyle Hansen. Carasiti fits better in a relief role, which he filled for St. John's in 2011. In 60 innings this spring, he was 4-4, 4.03 with 49 strikeouts and 25 walks in 60 innings. He has a big body at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and a quick arm that generates low-90s fastballs with downhill plane. However, he lacks command and consistent secondary stuff. His second pitch is a slider, and at times he'll snap one off that has sharp break to it, but most will come out flat. He has alternated between a changeup and splitter for a third pitch, but won't have much use for either if he moves to the bullpen. His frame and arm strength give him a good foundation, and he's a hard worker so scouts see upside if he can put it all together. He could go anywhere from the fourth to sixth round.
161. Patrick Wisdom, 3b, St. Mary's
While most scouts like Wisdom's defense and makeup, this spring has raised questions about how much he'll hit. Scouts who believe in him point to his track record, which includes a .351/.423/.582 line last year and a league-leading seven home runs in the Alaska League last summer, when he was the league's No. 2 prospect. They see a solid hitter with above-average power. This year, however, he was hitting just .254/.380/.435. Scouts who don't believe in Wisdom don't think he'll have enough bat to profile at third base, where he's a strong defender with above-average arm strength. He is an average runner who moves well for his size, and a great teammate with an outstanding work ethic. Wisdom played some catcher in high school, and a team may ask him to give that another shot.
162. Jackson Willeford, 2b, Ramona (Calif.) HS
An Arizona recruit, Willeford is an undersized baseball rat with strength and feel for hitting, reminding Southern California scouts a bit of Tony Wolters, who signed with the Indians for $1.35 million in 2010. He has good strength in his 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame, and the lefthanded hitter excels at driving the ball into the left-center-field gap. He can also turn on balls with authority—he was hitting .419/.532/.849 with 10 homers through 111 at-bats this spring. Scouts who believe in his his power potential see Willeford as a lefthanded Marcus Giles type, but others see below-average power (think Aaron Miles, without the switch-hitting ability). He is an aggressive hitter with good pitch recognition and a chance to be a solid-average hitter down the line. Willeford has some thickness in his lower half, and he'll have to move from shortstop to second base in pro ball. His average arm will play there, and his hands and actions are adequate. He's an average runner, and his quality instincts help his tools play up a bit.
163. Sammy Ayala, c, La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day HS
Ayala's three-sport prowess kept him somewhat under the radar in baseball circles, but he made a name for himself at the Southern California Invitational at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in June, hitting an inside-the-park homer against top prep lefthander Max Fried and an RBI single to the opposite field against righty Andrew Potter. A standout defensive end in football, Ayala has a physical, 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame. He projects for average or slightly better power down the road, but scouts are divided on whether he will hit. He tends to get pull-happy and is vulnerable against soft pitches away or hard pitches in. He'll look bad at times in the batter's box, but his feel for hitting has improved and should solidify once he focuses on baseball. Ayala's arm is above-average, but his receiving and blocking is a work in progress. He moves well enough to play a corner outfield spot, but plenty of scouts think he has a chance to stick behind the plate. A club that believes in his power and defense could take him as high as the second or third round, while other teams would be content to let him go to UC Santa Barbara.
164. Jeremy Baltz, of, St. John's
Baltz burst onto the college scene in 2010 after hitting .396/.479/.771 with 24 home runs and earning first-team All-America honors as a freshman. His power production dropped off with the new bats in 2011, but he enjoyed a good tour in the Cape Cod League by hitting .321/.434/.457 with wood and remained one of St. John's top hitters in 2012. He was hitting .330/.416/.503 with six home runs and more walks (25) than strikeouts (18). His value lies in the bat. He has good bat speed and size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) that produce above-average raw power. His approach should allow him to hit for average, but he's another college bat fighting the stigma of being a right-right corner player. Left field and first base are his only options, as he has a below-average arm, is a fringe runner and isn't overly athletic. A team that believes in his bat could take him in the fourth to sixth round.
165. Evan Hill, lhp, Mount Pleasant (Mich.) HS
Hill has passed righthander Justin Alleman as the Wolverine State's top high school prospect, and the combination of his projection and strong college commitment have scouts dreaming of what he might become after three years at Michigan. A 6-foot-4, 190-pounder, Hill has an effortless delivery and feel for a three-pitch mix. His fastball currently works at 86-88 mph and tops out at 91, but his athleticism and frame bode well for added velocity in the future. He spins his curveball well and shows promise with his changeup. It's not a stretch to imagine him becoming a top-two-rounds pick for 2015. His potential would give him a chance to sneak into the fourth round this June, but teams don't think he'll sign for less than first-round money.
166. Seth Streich, rhp, Ohio
Streich has rarely been completely healthy this spring, pitching through hamstring and oblique injuries that cost him two starts. Neverthless, he has shown some of the best velocity in the Great Lakes. Streich can run his fastball up to 95 mph and sit at 92-93 mph throughout a game when he's at his best. He also can overpower hitters with an 85-86 mph slider. He has a strong pitcher's build at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. Streich lacks consistency with his pitches, in particular his control and command, and has gone just 9-16, 4.93 in three seasons at Ohio. He also has played first base and DH for the Bobcats, and scouts believe he'll improve once he concentrates on pitching. The Twins selected his brother Tobias as a catcher in the fifth round in 2009, and Streich should go in the same area of this year's draft.
167. Ross Stripling, rhp, Texas A&M
Stripling was mostly a football and basketball player in high school in Texas before breaking his left leg as a senior. Bored during his rehab, he began fooling around on the mound with a cast on his leg, then went 14-0 in his first season as a pitcher, earning an academic scholarship and walking on at Texas A&M. He tied for the NCAA Division I lead with 14 wins and helped the Aggies reach the College World Series in 2011, then returned for his senior season after failing to sign with the Rockies as a ninth-rounder. On the day (May 12) he was scheduled to graduate with a degree in finance, he threw a no-hitter against San Diego State. The scouting report remains the same on Stripling. He's an athletic 6-foot-3, 190-pounder who works at 88-91 mph with his fastball and gets outs with his 12-to-6 curveball. He uses an over-the-top delivery, which he repeats well, and has a decent changeup. He has the stuff and command to make it as a starter, and he's intriguing as a reliever because he hit 94 mph and featured a sharper curve when he came out of the bullpen in past seasons.
168. Alec Asher, rhp, Polk County (Fla.) JC
Asher was a 23rd-round pick of the Giants out of high school in 2010, and was set to sign for $80,000 when his contract was voided due to a bone chip in his elbow. Asher, who had Tommy John surgery when he was 14, pitched at Santa Fe (Fla.) JC in 2011, then moved on to Polk County this spring, helping the school to its first Junior College World Series berth. He was named top pitcher of the state juco tournament after throwing 7 2/3 innings on three days' rest in the championship game. He has dominated juco competition (12-1, 1.39, 113-24 SO-BB ratio in 104 IP) working off a hard 89-94 mph fastball that consistently reaches 95 and has touched 97. He locates the pitch well and has shown an ability to pitch to both sides of the plate with it. Asher has gotten leaner since high school, and his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame helps him maintain his velocity deep into games. None of his secondary pitches excites scouts. His curveball is more of an early-count pitch, and he doesn't regularly throw his decent slider for strikes. He hasn't needed much of a changeup. Asher's medical history pushes him down some boards, but the Division-II Tampa commitment is considered signable.
169. Sam Gillikin, of, Hoover (Ala.) HS
Scouts in the Deep South contrast Gillkin, an Auburn recruit who committed as a sophomore, with fellow Alabama prep Mikey White, who has superior baseball instincts. Gillikin, though, has a better profile and more prodigious tools. His athleticism played on the football field, where he was a wide receiver and then a quarterback as a senior. A lefthanded hitter, Gillikin could go out in the first two rounds to a team that saw him on the right day. He's a 6.6-second runner over 60 yards, with impressive bat speed and above-average raw power. He has maintained his tools despite several football injuries, including a broken collarbone and back issues that caused him to miss games. His football intensity is evident on the diamond. Some scouts question his pitch recognition and selectivity at the plate, and how usable his power will be in games when he faces more advanced pitching.
170. Austin Schotts, ss, Centennial HS, Frisco, Texas
Like Cory Raley, Schotts is a speedy Texas high school shortstop who has starred on the gridiron (in his case, as a safety) and shot up draft boards after not drawing much attention before this spring. He's more advanced at the plate, while Raley has a better chance of sticking at shortstop. Five-foot-11 and 180 pounds, Schotts has a sound righthanded swing and more pop than the typical middle infielder. His power gets him into trouble at times when he lets his stroke get too big. A well above-average runner, Schotts covers enough ground at shortstop, but his fringy arm doesn't fit on the left side of the diamond. He could move to second base and has the speed for center field. He's committed to Oklahoma State.
171. Clate Schmidt, rhp, Allatoona HS, Acworth, Ga.
Schmidt has contributed to the unpredictable spring for high school talent in Georgia, as scouts try to gauge how his stuff will play as a pro and how strong his commitment to Clemson is. He is his team's best pitcher and best hitter despite a slight 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, playing shortstop or center field when he isn't on the mound. His athletic ability produces a quick arm and excellent velocity at times, with 92-96 mph readings on the showcase circuit last summer. Schmidt also has shown feel for a breaking ball, flashing a plus curveball and a Frisbee slider. He hasn't been physical enough to maintain his stuff over the full high school season, though. He velocity fell off to the 86-91 mph range this spring, and scouts complained that he threw too many breaking balls, further sapping his velocity and feel for his fastball. He could be a two-way player for Clemson, as he's an above-average runner with the ability to stay in the infield in college, and it will be interesting to see if a team will sign him away from the Tigers.
172. Heath Slatton, rhp, Columbia Central (Tenn.) HS
Slatton, who has starred as an outfielder and pitcher for his Columbia Central team since his sophomore season, stands out in a down year in the Volunteer State, though even he has been inconsistent. He has a physical frame and would also be a two-way player at Middle Tennessee State, with loft power from the left side of the plate. He's more of a professional prospect on the mound, though. He has a clean arm action with a projectable 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame, and he's still figuring out what to do with his talent. At times Slatton pitches with a fringe-average fastball, but on other days—some of them in front of crosscheckers—he has been around 90-94 mph. He's not a showcase or USA Baseball veteran and hasn't faced a lot of premium competition outside of Tennessee. His breaking ball and nascent changeup are as inconsistent as his fastball velocity.
173. Andrew Calica, of, Eastlake HS, Chula Vista, Calif.
Calica has raised his profile with scouts by playing hard, having fun and consistently performing at a high level. He is a quick-twitch athlete with a chance for four average tools and below-average power. The switch-hitting Calica isn't physical at 6 feet, 170 pounds, but he swings hard and has a knack for making hard contact to all fields. He has a chance to be an average hitter as he matures. Calica is just an average runner, but he has good outfield instincts that give him at least a chance to stick in center field. He is an aggressive defender who isn't afraid to lay out for balls in the gaps, and he has an average arm. Some scouts think Calica (who is also a standout student) would be best served by developing his body and refining his game for three years at UC Santa Barbara, but a team could make a run at him in the fifth-round range.
174. Vincent Jackson, of, Luella HS, McDonough, Ga.
Jackson has earned comparisons to Domonic Brown, the Phillies prospect who is also out of metro Atlanta. Like Brown, Jackson is a raw, lean, tall, lefthanded-hitting outfielder, standing at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds. Jackson isn't as raw as Brown was coming out of high school, in part because he has focused on baseball, yet he remains far from his ceiling. He might make a quicker impact for Tennessee on the mound because he throws a lot of strikes, but his 84-88 mph fastball doesn't excite scouts as much as his raw power and hitting ability. Scouts that like Jackson are projecting on the bat based on his hand-eye coordination. His swing is long, like his arms and body, yet he makes hard contact and could develop impressive power with improved hitting mechanics. Just an average athlete, Jackson has average speed and arm strength. Most scouts see him as a corner outfielder down the line, and may choose to take a run at him after three seasons at Tennessee.
175. Spencer Edwards, of, Rockwall (Texas) HS
At the outset of 2012, Edwards was more highly regarded than Rockwall teammate Steve Bean, who seemed destined to attend Texas. Now their positions have been reversed, with Bean figuring to go in the first two rounds and Edwards unlikely to go high enough to prevent him from becoming a Longhorn. If Edwards doesn't sign, he'll be draft-eligible as a 21-year-old sophomore in 2014. A switch-hitter, he stands out for his plus-plus speed and quick bat. He could develop gap power once he fills out his 6-foot, 180-pound frame, though a hitch in his swing leads to concerns about his offensive ceiling. Edwards plays shortstop at Rockwall but likely will move to center field at Texas or in pro ball. He has enough arm for shortstop but tends to flip his throws too much, and his hands are too hard for the infield.