2012 Draft Top 100 Scouting Reports: 26-50
See Also:2012 Draft Top 100 Scouting Reports: 1-25
See Also:2012 Draft Top 100 Scouting Reports: 51-75
See Also:2012 Draft Top 100 Scouting Reports: 76-100
We wrote and compiled scouting reports
on every player in our Early Draft Preview 2012 Draft Top 100. Here are
the reports for the players ranked 26-50. . .
26. Richie Shaffer, 3b/1b, Clemson
Shaffer has blasted 20 home runs during his first two seasons at Clemson, and he continued to show off his plus righthanded power potential in the Cape, tying for second in the league with six homers and winning the home run derby at Fenway Park prior to the CCBL all-star game. Some scouts thought Shaffer was a better power-hitting prospect than Roache, saying Shaffer has the looser swing and better bat speed. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Shaffer's swing is long-levered, and he can be vulnerable on the inner half, but he came on strong this summer once he started driving the ball to the opposite field more often. "He's a hard worker, and he's coachable," Chatham coach John Schiffner said. "The first part of the summer he really was spinning off the ball—I don't know if it was just because he wanted to show the power. The second half it really clicked for him. He's got a very good arm—you don't see it much at first base—and for a big kid he runs well. And he's got ungodly power." Shaffer split time between third and first for the Anglers, but his feet don't work great at the hot corner, and he fits best at first, despite his plus arm. He'll need to work on his concentration and footwork defensively. —2011 Cape Cod Top 30
27. Trey Williams, 3b, Valencia HS, Santa Clarita, Calif.
Williams has been a hot name for the 2012 draft for a while for similar reasons to McCullers: special talent and a big league dad. Williams was a shortstop early in his high school career, but has filled out and now plays third base. His tools profile at the hot corner. He has tremendous strength and bat speed, though he can sometimes look overmatched against quality breaking balls. His line-drive home run to the right-center gap off of a 90 mph fastball at the Perfect Game National Showcase stands out as one of the most impressive round-trippers on the summer circuit. Defensively, Williams is a good athlete with solid arm strength. He is an average runner. A Pepperdine commit, Williams missed several other showcases this summer retaking classes in summer school. Williams' dad, Eddie, was the fourth-overall pick in the 1983 draft and had a 20-year professional career, with 10 of those years spent in the big leagues. While Trey doesn't project to go that high, he certainly could become another first-rounder. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
28. Kyle Zimmer, rhp, San Francisco
After throwing just five innings as a freshman in 2011, Zimmer blossomed into San Francisco's ace down the stretch in 2011, capped by a four-hit, 11-strikeout shutout against UCLA to beat Gerrit Cole in regionals. He followed up his spring with a solid Cape season, posting a 3.38 ERA and a 37-14 K-BB mark in 48 innings. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Zimmer is a power pitcher with a fastball that sits comfortably at 92-94 and touches 95. His curveball can be a hammer in the low 80s with sharp tilt, but sometimes he leaves it up in the zone when he should bury it. Still, it projects as a plus pitch when he learns to stay on top of it more consistently. He made progress with his changeup this summer, but it still has a ways to go. "He had plenty of arm and had a hard curveball—a really good curveball," a second NL scouting director said. "He had a good sense what he was going, and was aggressive. The arm and delivery work—it's not an effort deal—and it looks like he'll be a starter. It was a pretty impressive package." —2011 Cape Cod Top 30
29. Kenny Diekroeger, ss, Stanford
Diekroeger instantly became one of the best incoming freshmen in the country when he spurned Tampa Bay, which had drafted him in the second round in 2009, in favor of the Cardinal. In high school, he emerged as a major prospect by posting an 85.96 score on the Nike SPARQ athletics test during the 2008 Area Code Games, including a nearly 35-inch vertical leap. He largely lived up to the hype as a freshman, leading Stanford in hitting with a .356/.391/.491 line in 216 at-bats, on his way to garnering first-team freshman All-America honors. His talent was on display in the summer of 2010, as New England Collegiate League coaches almost unanimously chose Diekroeger as the circuit's best pro prospect after he hit .324/.354/.446 in 139 at-bats with the Newport Gulls. A physical 6-foot-2, 200 pounder, Diekroeger showed gap-to-gap power to go along with advanced plate discipline and good, quick hands that made it hard for pitchers to fool him. After playing primarily third base at Stanford as a freshman, Diekroeger split his time between shortstop and third base with the Gulls, and some coaches weren't convinced he could stick at shortstop. He has average speed and range to go along with good infield actions and a strong arm. There were questions about his maturity and work ethic down the stretch and he was even benched for part of the postseason, during which he managed only one hit in 15 at-bats. But his athleticism, bat speed and approach suggest he has a bright future as an offensive shortstop or third baseman down the road. Diekroger struggled as a sophomore for Stanford with just 11 extra-base hits with the BBCOR bats, then didn't play during the summer, instead working out on campus. Diekroeger was being challenged by Lonnie Kauppila for the shortstop job as a junior and could move to second base. —John Manuel (Jan. 2012)
30. Tyler Naquin, of, Texas A&M
Naquin was a catalyst for both Texas A&M's College World Series squad and Team USA, though scouts are still trying to determine if he's going to be a big league regular or more of a tweener. He has a good approach, lets pitches travel deep and has some bat speed and ability to impart backspin on the ball. But he also fouls off too many hittable pitches, and the lefthanded hitter is going to have to add strength to his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame in order to profile as a right fielder. His bat might fit better in center field, but he hasn't played their much because the Aggies have speedster Krey Bratsen and the U.S. national team had Lorenzen. Naquin might have the speed and instincts to handle center, and his well above-average arm is definitely suited for right. —2011 Team USA Top 20
31. Adam Brett Walker, of/1b, Jacksonville
Walker, the son of a former Minnesota Vikings running back of the same name, ranked as the top prospect in the Great Lakes League a year ago, and he captured second-team All-America honors this spring after hitting .409/.486/.682 with 13 homers, 75 RBIs and 14 steals. But Walker struggled against premier pitching this summer, hitting just .216/.269/.336 with four homers and a ghastly 8-56 BB-K mark in 134 at-bats. Walker is a physical specimen at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, and scouting directors agreed that he had as much raw power as any player in the Cape, rating it as a 70 or 80 tool on the 20-80 scouting scale. "When he figures it out—if he does—it's going to be really special," Hyannis coach Chad Gassman said. "He'll put on a show in BP, and it barely looks like he's swinging. He's like a three-tool guy; the hit tool's got to come, and the arm is fringy, but he can run really well for his size, and he can defend it at first or in right field." Scouts agree that Walker is athletic enough to handle an outfield spot, and if he hits enough to unlock his massive righthanded power potential, he could be an impact big leaguer. He struggled against better fastballs from the waist up this summer, and he simply could not lay off breaking balls out of the zone. —2011 Cape Cod Top 30
32. Luke Sims, rhp, Brookwood HS, Snellville, Ga.
Sims has a nice, athletic frame at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. His athleticism leads to a balanced delivery and he uses his strong legs well. He gets good angle on his 90-93 mph fastball that tops out at 95 and the pitch has good life. He's not afraid to pitch inside and throws a lot of strikes. Sims also spins one of the best curveballs in the class, a 74-77 mph downer with sharp, late break and mixes in a 82-84 mph changeup, giving him the chance for three plus pitches. Sims' Brookwood team will participate in USA Baseball's inaugural National High School Invitational, presented by Baseball America. He is committed to Clemson. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
33. Duane Underwood, rhp, Pope HS, Marietta, Ga.
Underwood has a solid pitcher's frame, standing 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, and the stuff to match. His fastball sits in the 92-94 mph range and he's touched 95. His curveball is solid average now in the 73-75 mph range and could be a plus pitch someday. He throws a straight changeup occasionally, but mostly works with his fastball-curveball combination. Underwood works quickly and he has a smooth, easy delivery. He throws on a good downward angle with a quick arm, but there are still a few things to work on. He stabs and sweeps in the back of his arm swing and has a stiff, closed landing. Underwood's youth—he won't turn 18 until after the signing deadline—and his loose athleticism should allow him to smooth things out. He is committed to Georgia. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
34. Rio Ruiz, 3b/rhp, Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif.
Ruiz is a physical third baseman with big hands and present strength. He has a knack for making good contact and figures to develop good power with his frame. He won't be a Gold Glove candidate at third base, but can hold the position down. If he does end up needing to switch positions, he would fit in right field with his plus arm. He dabbles in pitching and sits 90-93 mph with a nasty low-80s slider. He is committed to Southern California. He is a star quarterback as well and would probably get a chance to play as a safety or defensive back for the Trojans if he makes it to school. —Nathan Rode (Jan. 2012)
35. Branden Kline, rhp, Virginia
Kline didn't sign despite being the Red Sox's sixth-round pick in 2009 out of high school. He was the closer for Virginia's 2011 College World Series team, going 4-1, 1.88 with 56 strikeouts in 43 innings. He's expected to move into the rotation as a junior. Kline mostly used his 90-93 mph fastball and power slider as a closer but will also incorporate a curveball and changeup in a starting role. "If you told me draw a 6-foot-3 righthanded pitcher, I'd probably draw his body. He's tall, he's lean, he's athletic, he's got a power arm. He's what you want." —John Manuel (Jan. 2012)
36. C.J. Hinojosa, ss, Klein Collins HS, Spring, Texas
Hinojosa planned to graduate high school early, skipping the draft all together to enroll early at Texas, but he couldn't finish all the classes he needed to take. With that not working out, it will be interesting to see what his signability is like this summer. On talent, he's one of the most intriguing players in the class. While he's not a lock to stay at shortstop, Hinojosa shows smooth actions, quick hands and solid arm strength. He's a solid-average runner. At the plate, he drives the ball to all field with authority. He has no problem with velocity, shows great plate coverage and a strong understanding of the strike zone. Hinojosa has very good bat speed and surprising pull power for his 5-foot-11, 185-pound size. He's also a gamer on the field and stands out for his baseball I.Q. and toughness. Hinojosa is young for the class and won't turn 18 until July 15. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
37. Addison Russell, ss, Pace (Fla.) HS
Russell was one of two players to play in the Under Armour All-America Game as an underclassman in 2010 (with the other being Lance McCullers). Russell has explosive athleticism and was seen doing backflips on the field before a game at USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars. Russell is a streaky hitter, but hit well for Team USA in November, hitting .364/.481/.614 with four doubles, two triples and a home run. Russell's swing can sometimes get a long and draws comparisons to Juan Uribe. He has some noise to his swing and swings out of his shoes at times, but Russell frequently hits the ball on the screws and shows impressive power, especially to his pull side. Defensively, Russell shows quick hands at shortstop, but not the quickest feet. He has a thicker build and is just an average runner, meaning he may be better suited at third base or second base. He has choppy actions, but the ball always sticks in his glove and he has above-average arm strength. Russell is committed to Auburn. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
38. Courtney Hawkins, of/rhp, Carroll HS, Corpus Christi, Texas
Few players improved their stock this summer as much as Hawkins. He looked overmatched early in the summer, but really found his groove later on and was one of only two players to hit a home run at the Area Code Games in spacious Blair Field. Hawkins has a muscular, 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame. He has some things to smooth out at the plate—he has a lot of pre-swing movement and changes his eye level a lot during his swing—but keeps his nose on the ball and his strong wrists and forearms give him the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Hawkins has a very aggressive approach at the plate and struggles against offspeed, but showed the ability to turn around velocity. Hawkins is an above-average runner now and fits best defensively in right field with his strong arm. He also pitches and throws in the 88-91 mph range, but struggles to control his offspeed offerings. Hawkins' high school team will play in the USA/Baseball America National High School Invitational this spring and he is committed to Texas. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
39. Freddy Avis, rhp, Menlo School, Atherton, Calif.
Avis attends the same high school that produced Stanford infielder Kenny Diekroeger and is set to also attend Stanford, which is just 10 minutes away from their high school campus. Avis has a well-proportioned build and an athletic, balanced delivery. He shows very good arm speed and throws a fastball in the 90-92 mph range from a three-quarter arm slot. Avis mixes in a 72-74 curveball that shows potential, but needs more consistency an an occasional 83-84 mph changeup. In addition to being a talented pitcher, Avis is also a talented musician. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
40. Hunter Virant, lhp, Camarillo (Calif.) HS
Though Virant has only been pitching seriously for one year, you wouldn't be able to tell by watching him. He has a clean delivery that resembles that of Cliff Lee with the way he sits on a bent back leg at his balance point and with his effortless arm flow. Virant has a 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame with room for added strength. His fastball sits in the 88-92 mph range, but also mixes in an 86-87 mph two-seamer with natural cutting action. Virant also has an array of secondary pitches, including a high-70s slider, a curveball in the low 70s and a 78-79 mph changeup. Virant shows good control of all four pitches, though scouts would like to see the UCLA commit show a little more toughness. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
41. Ty Hensley, rhp, Santa Fe HS, Edmond, Okla.
Hensley comes from a baseball family. His father, Mike, was a second-round pick by the Cardinals in 1988 out of Oklahoma. He spent three years in the minors, but his time was cut short due to arm problems, so he moved on to coaching, spending two seasons at Oral Roberts before spending eight years at Kansas State. The younger Hensley has a big, physical presence on the mound—6-foot-5 and 220 pounds—and it's not hard to envision him becoming a workhorse in the middle of a big league rotation. Hensley shows good body control and an in-line delivery. This summer, his fastball was 91-94 mph and he touched 95. He also throws a quality 12-to-6 curveball between 74-78 mph and flashes a 79-80 mph changeup. His secondary stuff still needs better consistency. Hensley is a hard worker with outstanding maturity and makeup. Like his summer ball teammates, Gavin Cecchini and Stryker Trahan, Hensley is committed to Mississippi. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
42. Nick Williams, of, Ball HS, Galveston, Texas
Williams is an enigma, and the type of player who will be polarizing to scouts—even scouts within the same organization. He's loaded with tools and can put on a show in a workout but is still extremely rough around the edges during games. He shows very good speed, running a 6.47-second 60-yard dash at the Perfect Game National Showcase. He also shows impressive power to all fields, thanks to his lightning-quick bat speed. Williams has very fast hands and stays inside the ball well, but his feet move a lot in his swing, which gives him problems against breaking balls and makes him look silly in some at-bats. Williams is aloof at times during games. He takes poor routes to balls in the outfield and usually slides back into first base feet-first on pickoff throws. His raw tools and explosiveness can't be taught, but he'll have to add some serious polish to succeed at Texas or in the low minors. —Conor Glassey (Jan. 2012)
43. Nolan Sanburn, rhp, Arkansas
The Tigers drafted Sanburn as an outfielder in the 34th round of the 2010 draft out of Kokomo (Ind.) High, but it's clear that his future is on the mound. Sanburn pitched well as Arkansas' closer as a freshman and took things up a notch this summer. He can overpower hitters with a fastball that sits in the 91-94 mph range and gets as high as 98. Sanburn was used as a starter this summer to help develop his slider and changeup, and both showed improvement during his 19 innings of work, in which he struck out 24 and walked nine while going 0-1, 2.33. The slider showed flashes of being an above-average pitch in the 81-85 mph range. Sanburn repeats his athletic delivery well and shows a lot of confidence on the mound. Sanburn, a draft-eligible sophomore this year, is slated to remain in the Razorbacks' bullpen this spring, but should get a shot to start in pro ball. —2011 Northwoods League Top 20
44. J.T. Chargois, rhp, Rice
After Chargois showed premium arm strength in the fall and early spring, Rice expected him to be its starting first baseman and a key bullpen arm in 2011. He wound up starting all 63 games and hitting .299, but made just seven appearances off the mound, posting a 13.50 ERA. So Brewster expected to use him primarily as a hitter, but early in the summer the Whitecaps were short on arms, so they asked Chargois to throw a bullpen. "I said, 'Are you kidding me? He's got to pitch,' " Whitecaps coach Tom Myers said. "We put him in a setup role for a week and a half, and he dominated. Then we moved him into the closer role and never looked back. He's got that aggressive mentality—he attacked." Chargois allowed only one run all summer (0.43 ERA), striking out 20 and walking four in 21 innings while racking up seven saves. He went after hitters with a sinking fastball in the 92-96 range and a plus power curveball that ranged from 78-83. During his longest outing—a five-inning stint in a 15-inning game against Harwich—he even started mixing in a serviceable changeup the second time through the order. His delivery has some violence, and he profiles as a reliever all the way, but he has filthy, back-of-the-bullpen stuff. —2011 Cape Cod Top 30
45. Andrew Heaney, lhp, Oklahoma State
Heaney showed advanced feel for pitching and good command this summer, prompting one coach to predict that he will be the first player from this list to reach the big leagues. He went 4-3, 3.38 with 46 strikeouts and 14 walks in 45 innings for Falmouth, and he ably held down a starter's workload. Durabilty is the primary concern with Heaney; he needs to add strength to his wiry 6-foot-2, 174-pound frame to prove to scouts that he can hold up pitching every five days over the course of a pro season. Still, scouts regard him as a safe college lefty with solid stuff and good competitiveness. Heaney works mostly in the 88-90 range and bumps 91-92 from a three-quarters arm slot, and he often employs a lower slot against lefties, giving them fits. "He's like the kid who just came in from playground—he'll drop down, change arm angles, throw breaking balls from different speeds," Trundy said. "It's like he's pitching at a Wiffle ball game. He's fun to watch." Because Heaney varies his delivery, he has a tendency to run into one bumpy inning per start, but he has the stuff to get himself out of trouble. He effectively mixes a sharp, quick curveball, a decent cutter and a good changeup with tumbling action down in the zone. He's a hard worker and a selfless teammate. —2011 Cape Cod Top 30
46. Josh Conway, rhp, Coastal Carolina
The athletic Conway made 18 starts for the Chanticleers at third base and in the outfield this spring, when injuries left them shorthanded. But even while juggling the added responsibility, he put up a strong sophomore season on the mound, going 8-2, 2.69 as the Saturday starter. He followed that up with a strong Cape season, going 2-0, 1.88 with a 28-10 K-BB mark in 29 innings. Like with Heaney, durability is a concern with the wiry 6-foot-1, 175-pound Conway, but he has a quick arm and a fairly easy delivery for his size. He attacks the strike zone with an 88-93 mph fastball with average life, and his 84-86 slider rates as a solid-average to plus pitch. He also mixes in a solid-average 83-84 changeup with sink and fade. He has a starter's repertoire and command—the only question is whether he will have a starter's durability. —2011 Cape Cod Top 30
47. R.J. Alvarez, rhp, Florida Atlantic
Alvarez has worked as a starter at Florida Atlantic and is 9-7, 5.17 in two seasons. He's been much more exciting in the Cape Cod League as areliever the last two summers. In 2011, Alvarez provided impressive setup work in the Cape All-Star Game at Fenway Park; in the eighth inning, he worked around a walk and an error by getting two strikeouts and a flyout. He pumped 95 mph fastballs and got one of his strikeouts on an 82 mph changeup. Alvarez has a lot of effort in his delivery and throws across his body, but the result is a consistent 90-94 mph fastball out of the bullpen with a lot of armside run. Hitters struggle to pick up his pitches, which also include a hard slurve and an effective changeup. —2010 Cape Cod Top 30 Prospects, 2011 College Blog
48. Lex Rutledge, lhp, Samford
The biggest name on Samford's pitching staff is sophomore lefthander Lex Rutledge, a potential first-round pick for the 2012 draft. Rutledge racked up 12 saves and posted a 1.71 ERA as a closer last year, but he struggled early on in a starting role as a sophomore, and Samford coach Casey Dunn eventually moved him back to the bullpen. He was electric as a reliever in 2010, sitting 92-93 and reaching the mid-90s at times, but his heater dialed back to 89-92 as a starter, and he struggled with his command, walking 45 in 63 innings. He was overpowering in relief in the Cape Cod League in 2010, reaching 90-94 mph regularly and showcasing a hard slider. Location was an issue then as well. In high school, Rutledge reached 90 mph early in his senior season and was the state's most notable pop-up guy (he wasn't a showcase player in the past), but he didn't maintain his fast start and failed to sign as a 26th-round pick. —John Manuel (Jan. 2012)
49. Nathan Kirby, lhp, James River HS, Midlothian, Va.
Somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Matt Smoral and Max Fried, Kirby is one of the top lefthanders in the draft class. He has a nice, projectable frame and his fastball ranges from 88-91, touching 92. His changeup has good fade, but his best secondary pitch is a 77-79 curveball with hard downward break. He is committed to Virginia. —Nathan Rode (Jan. 2012)
50. Jesse Winker, of, Olympia HS, Orlando
Teammates with righthander Walker Weickel, Winker is one of the better bats in the 2012 class. He has a sweet swing and generates big power from a strong base. Evaluators are confident in his bat, which will have to carry him since he is likely a first baseman or left fielder down the line. He is a below-average runner and his arm is average at best. He has great makeup and takes every opportunity to soak up as much knowledge as possible. He is committed to Florida and has a brother, Joey, that plays in the Dodgers organization. —Nathan Rode (Jan. 2012)
Draft Top 100 Scouting Reports: 1-25
Draft Top 100 Scouting Reports: 51-75
Draft Top 100 Scouting Reports: 76-100