2012 Prospect Position Rankings: Center Fielders






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Ranking players is one of the bedrocks of what we do here at Baseball America.
With the Top 100 Prospects list now in the books, we're not putting the offseason rankings away just yet. We're ranking prospects by position, continuing today with center fielders.

Center field has always been a home for the most well-rounded prospects. The top center-field prospects are often among the few true five-tool stars. That's true again this year as both Mike Trout and Bubba Starling have five-tool potential. The difference is that Trout is nearly ready for the big leagues while Starling has yet to have an official pro at-bat.

Brett Jackson, No. 3 on the list, can't be described as a five-tool prospect, but he doesn't really have a deficiency either. Trout helps this list a lot, but it is pretty clear that center field is not the deepest position in the minors.

Top 2012 Rookie: Mike Trout, Angels. He has to fight through a logjam of high-priced talent in Anaheim, but his exceptional talent should eventually be too much to ignore.

2012 Breakout: Jake Marisnick, Blue Jays. After an excellent first full pro season, Marisnick could really take off in 2012.

1. Mike Trout, Angels: Angels' crowd in outfield is about the only thing that can slow him down.

2. Bubba Starling, Royals: Has the most upside on this list, and arguably the most risk.

3. Brett Jackson, Cubs: Does a lot of things well, which makes up for the fact he doesn't do anything exceptionally.

4. Gary Brown, Giants: Could give the Giants much-needed youth in center field soon. If so, he'll become team's first everyday center fielder under age 30 since 2001 (Calvin Murray).

5. Anthony Gose, Blue Jays: He's always had impressive tools and an impressively large number of strikeouts. He's working on quieting his approach.

6. George Springer, Astros: Excellent size/speed combo, but he'll have to continue improving strikeout rate as he did in 2011.

7. Matt Szczur, Cubs: Former football player is now 10 pounds lighter as a full-time baseball player.

8. Jake Marisnick, Blue Jays: Could be significantly higher on this list a year from now.

9. Starling Marte, Pirates: His defense is so good that he could force Andrew McCutchen to eventually move to a corner.

10. Leonys Martin, Rangers: Power development will determine whether he is an impact player or a complementary one.

11. Michael Choice, Athletics.

12. Mason Williams, Yankees.

13. A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks.

14. Grant Green, Athletics.

15. Brandon Nimmo, Mets.

16. Brian Goodwin, Nationals

17. Aaron Hicks, Twins

18. Ravel Santana, Yankees

19. Mikie Mahtook, Rays

20. Jackie Bradley, Red Sox

21. Keeyn Walker, White Sox

22. Jordan Akins, Rangers

23. Slade Heathcott, Yankees

24. Logan Schafer, Brewers

25. James Baldwin III, Dodgers

26. Jiwan James, Phillies

27. Brett Eibner, Royals

28. Jermaine Mitchell, Athletics

29. Jae-Hoon Ha, Cubs

30. Adam Eaton, Diamondbacks