League Top 20 Prospects

2012 Appalachian League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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See also: 2012 Appalachian League Top 20 Prospects Chat With Matt Eddy
See also: Complete 2012 League Top 20 Prospects Schedule
FIVE YEARS AGO
1. Cole Rohrbough, lhp, Danville (Braves)
2. Cody Johnson, of, Danville (Braves)
3. David Bromberg, rhp, Elizabethton (Twins)
4. *Neftali Feliz, rhp, Danville (Braves)
5. *Jeff Locke, lhp, Danville (Braves)
6. Nick Barnese, rhp, Princeton (Devil Rays)
7. *Pete Kozma, ss, Johnson City (Cardinals)
8. *Brandon Hicks, ss, Danville (Braves)
9. Steve Evarts, lhp, Danville (Braves)
10. Mike McCardell, rhp, Elizabethton (Twins)
11. Michael Fisher, ss, Danville (Braves)
12. Jose Martinez, of, Bristol (White Sox)
13. Estarlin de los Santos, ss, Elizabethton (Twins)
14. Loek Van Mil, rhp, Elizabethton (Twins)
15. Deibinson Romero, 3b, Elizabethton (Twins)
16. Ozzie Lewis, of, Elizabethton (Twins)
17. Ebert Rosario, 3b, Greeneville (Astros)
18. Brad Tippett, rhp, Elizabethton (Twins)
19. Kraig Binick, of, Bluefield (Orioles)
20. Kyle Greenwalt, rhp, Greeneville (Astros)
*Has played in major leagues
BURLINGTON, N.C.—Predictably, the new mid-July signing date instituted for the 2012 draft had a positive impact on the talent levels of the six domestic short-season and Rookie leagues. More top draft picks signed in time to suit up and play enough to qualify for our prospect lists.

Perhaps no league benefited more than the Appalachian League, where No. 2 overall draft pick Byron Buxton, an outfielder with the Twins, ranked as the Rookie-level circuit's top prospect and helped drive Elizabethton to a league title. Three other first-rounders—Bristol center fielder Courtney Hawkins (White Sox, No. 13 overall), Danville righthander Luke Sims (Braves, No. 21) and Kingsport shortstop Gavin Cecchini (Mets, No. 12)—made this Top 20. So did Johnson City third baseman Carson Kelly, a Cardinals second-rounder who signed for $1.6 million.

Greeneville shortstop Carlos Correa, whom the Astros drafted first overall, batted .371/.450/.600 but his 41 plate appearances weren't enough to qualify for our list. Other premium 2012 draft picks who didn't meet playing-time requirements included Bluefield center fielder D.J. Davis, taken 17th overall by the Blue Jays, and three supplemental first-rounder: Elizabethton righthander J.O. Berrios (Twins), Greeneville righty Lance McCullers Jr. (Astros) and Bristol first baseman Keon Barnum (White Sox).

Johnson City catcher Steve Bean (Cardinals, sandwich round) and Elizabethton righty J.T. Chargois (Twins, second) qualified but didn't earn enough support from managers and scouts to make the cut.

1. Byron Buxton, of, Elizabethton Twins
Age: 18  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 188  Drafted: Appling County HS, Baxley, Ga., 2012 (1st round).
Baseball America's top-rated player in this year's draft, Buxton went second overall after the Astros opted for Correa. Buxton signed for $6 million, more than any other 2012 draftee, and ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Appy League as well as the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He may need four years for his body and skills to mature, but he has five-tool potential.

"He's a player where you have no concerns about him reaching his ceiling," one scout said. "He projects to be at least a 60 hitter with 60 power (on the 20-80 scouting scale) because he makes consistent hard contact. He has the speed for infield hits and the power for extra-base hits."

Buxton's top-of-the-line speed was evident in his sub-3.9-second times to first base during the playoffs, as were his confidence, bat speed and consistent swing path at the plate. He shows a willingness to bunt for hits and an aggressive approach on the bases. He covers a ton of ground on defense and his plus-plus arm is considerably stronger than that of most center fielders.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
77 16 22 6 1 1 6 8 15 7 0 .286 .368 .429

2. Courtney Hawkins, of, Bristol Sox
Age: 18  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 220  Drafted: Carroll HS, Corpus Christi, Texas, 2012 (1st round).
After signing for $2.475 million as the 13th overall pick in June, Hawkins batted a cumulative .284/.324/.480 with eight homers in 229 at-bats at three minor league stops. The White Sox aggressively pushed the teenager to high Class A for the Carolina League playoffs, and he belted two homers and drove in five runs in seven games as Winston-Salem fell in the finals.

"His bat speed is probably the best I've seen at this level since I've been doing this," Princeton manager Michael Johns said. "He takes a monster hack now, but when he shortens it up he has a chance to hit for more power because his bat head stays in the zone so long. I also liked that he hit offspeed pitches against us."

Hawkins' work ethic and power potential are unquestioned, but if he hopes to become a more complete hitter he must learn to better identify pitch types and stop trying to pull everything. He has solid speed and can handle center field now, but most observers expect he'll move to right field in his early 20s, following the same migration made by the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Upton before him. Hawkins' range and arm strength make right field a good fit.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
147 25 40 8 1 3 16 7 37 8 2 .272 .314 .401

3. Bubba Starling, of, Burlington Royals
Age: 20  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Gardner-Edgerton HS, Gardner, Kan., 2011 (1st round).
The Royals committed a franchise-record $7.5 million to sign Starling, the fifth pick in the 2011 draft. Despite that outlay, Kansas City pumped the brakes this season, holding him back in extended spring training and then sending him to Burlington at age 20 rather than to a more advanced league.

For Starling to deliver on his immense offensive potential, he'll need to streamline his hitting mechanics and develop better pitch recognition. Pitchers had success retiring Starling with good fastballs and breaking pitches away because a hitch in his stroke didn't allow him to consistently get to his plus power. His lower half gets out of sync when his foot doesn't get down in time, and he struggles to stay inside the ball or hit outside pitches with authority with his long, loopy swing path.

An top-notch athlete who had a football scholarship to play quarterback at Nebraska, Starling shows plus range in all directions in center field and could handle the defensive demands of the position right now in the big leagues. He averaged 2.5 putouts per game, tops among Appy outfield regulars. He throws well and possesses the above-average speed necessary to pose a threat on the bases.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
200 35 55 8 2 10 33 28 70 10 1 .275 .371 .485

4. Blake Snell, lhp, Princeton Rays
Age: 19  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Shorewood HS, Shoreline, Wash., 2011 (1st round supp).
Add Snell to the list of hard-throwing lefthanders who have passed through Princeton in recent years. Past alumni include Matt Moore (2008), Enny Romero (2010) and Felipe Rivero (2011), who like Snell all had fastballs that sat in the low 90s when they ranked among the Appy League's finest.

Snell attacks the strike zone with his heater, which tops out at 95 mph, and a trio of offspeed pitches he's sorting through. His low-80s slider is probably his No. 2 offering, and it helped him limit Appy lefties to two hits in 20 at-bats with 10 strikeouts. His changeup and curveball are close to average and need further refinement.

Snell runs up high pitch counts because, like many young pitchers, he tries to strike out as many batters as possible. The Rays shut down him with general fatigue following his Aug. 18 start, so he fell just short of qualifying for the ERA title. His ERA (2.09) and strikeout rate (10.1 per nine innings) ranked second among Appy pitchers with at least 40 innings.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 1 2.09 11 11 0 47 34 12 11 4 17 53 .193

5. Mauricio Cabrera, rhp, Danville Braves
Age: 18  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 180  Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010
Cabrera signed with the Braves for $400,000 in July 2010, then spent a season in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League prior to joining Danville this year. He bypassed the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League just like Randall Delgado did in 2008. Cabrera's older brother Alberto made his big league debut with the Cubs in August.

Cabrera's radar-gun readings alone—he sits at 94 mph and peaks at 96 with his fastball—would cause evaluators to take note. He emerged as the league's top righty prospect after factoring in his sturdy frame, power arsenal and performance. Cabrera served as the ace of a playoff team and led the Appy League with a .213 opponent average.

Cabrera's fastball sinks when he stays on top of it, and he generates natural cutting action at other times. He already shows an advanced feel for an above-average changeup, while his low-80s slider occasionally flashes plus and breaks down and in to lefties. A wrist wrap compromises his control of his breaking ball, and his development of the pitch could mean the difference between starting and relieving down the line.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
2 2 2.97 12 12 0 58 45 23 19 2 23 48 .206

6. Luke Sims, rhp, Danville Braves
Age: 18  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 195  Drafted: Brookwood HS, Snellville, Ga., 2012 (1st round).
In what seemingly used to be an annual rite, the Braves selected a Georgia high school talent with their top pick in June, drafting Sims 21st overall and signing him for $1.65 million. Atlanta hadn't taken a Peach State product in the first round since Jason Heyward in 2007.

A two-way standout in high school, Sims already throws a 91-92 mph fastball that tops out at 95 and a plus 77-78 mph curveball. His changeup gives him a chance for a third-above average pitch. He struggled with walks and to command his changeup because of what one manager deemed a funky arm action, but most observers believe Sims has the athleticism and desire to work through his mechanical issues and stay in the rotation.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
2 4 4.33 8 8 0 27 26 14 13 2 12 29 .243

7. Max Kepler, of, Elizabethton Twins
Age: 19  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 180  Signed: Germany, 2009
The son of Polish and American ballet dancers, Kepler was born and raised in Berlin and signed with the Twins for $800,000, the largest bonus ever for an amateur European position player. He batted .267/.352/.372 at Elizabethton in 2011, but a combination of more contact and more power led to a breakout with the league-champion Twins this season. Kepler led the league in slugging (.539) and total bases (125) while ranking second in extra-base hits (31) and RBIs (49).

Kepler has grown into his 6-foot-4 frame and has slowed to an average runner, but the Twins will accept that tradeoff because he's become more aggressive as he's grown accustomed to pro ball. Batting third for Elizabethton all season, he showed a mature hitting approach by using the whole field, staying back on breaking balls and rarely going outside his strike zone. One manager thought that he lost power by taking his hand off the bat during his follow-through, but with a more consistent swing he has at least average power potential.

Kepler has played all three outfield spots as well as first base, and most evaluators see him as a left fielder in the long term, putting more focus on his offensive production. He has fringy arm strength.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
232 40 69 16 5 10 49 27 33 7 0 .297 .387 .539

8. Roberto Osuna, rhp, Bluefield Blue Jays
Age: 17  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 230  Signed: Mexico, 2011.
The nephew of former big league reliever Antonio Osuna, Roberto has toed the rubber in three different countries in the past two seasons. He made 13 appearances in the Mexican League before the Blue Jays purchased his rights from Mexico City for $1.5 million in August 2011. Toronto then aggressively pushed Osuna to Bluefield in June and then short-season Vancouver in July, where he struck out 13 over five innings in his Canadians debut.

Osuna already weights in at 230 pounds at age 17, about 70 pounds heftier than his uncle at a similar age. While he may not have projection remaining, he has advanced control and feel for pitching. He sits 91-92 mph and reaches 95 with his fastball, and his plus changeup is difficult to hit because he locates it down in the zone with good arm speed.

"He can really pitch," Johns said. "Here's a 17-year-old throwing 3-2 changeups with the bases loaded. He's throwing his fastball to both sides too, up, down. He just never got rattled."

Developing Osuna's slurvy breaking ball will be a point of emphasis going forward. Even with a fringy breaking pitch, his pitchability could make him a mid-rotation starter.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 0 1.50 7 4 0 24 18 5 4 1 6 24 .200

9. Victor De Leon, rhp, Johnson City Cardinals
Age: 20  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 190  Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
DeLeon has arm strength comparable to the league's other top international pitchers, Cabrera and Osuna. He has the most pro experience of the trio—he signed as a 17-year-old in 2009—but also the highest walk rate of the group. DeLeon missed two weeks in July with shoulder soreness but showed no ill effects in a strong playoff start.

DeLeon touches 98 mph and regularly works at 92-95 with his fastball. He also throws a low-80s slider with plus velocity and lateral tilt. He hasn't refined his command or his feel for a changeup, which could mean that his future is as a late-inning reliever rather than as a starter.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
3 0 3.25 10 10 0 44 39 19 16 1 20 42 .227

10. Santiago Nessy, c, Bluefield Blue Jays
Age: 19  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 230  Signed: Venezuela, 2009.
Nessy signed for $750,000 in 2009 and has advanced deliberately through the lower levels of the Blue Jays system. Like many of Bluefield's top prospect, he earned a promotion for the short-season Northwest League's stretch run and playoffs.

International scouts wondered if Nessy could stay behind the plate because of his jumbo frame, but he answered those questions for the time being by establishing himself as the Appy League's finest defensive catcher. He threw out 33 percent of basestealers thanks to plus arm strength and accuracy. He sometimes wants to be too quick and comes out of his throwing mechanics, but managers lauded his blocking skills, arm strength, effort level and game-calling ability. He's bilingual and communicates well with his pitchers.

Nessy's greatest attributes on offense are his bat speed and above-average power. He takes a wild hack and tries to pull every pitch he offers at, but if he can learn a modicum of restraint he ought to have more than enough bat to profile as a starting catcher.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
160 26 41 8 0 8 23 13 47 0 0 .256 .320 .456

11. Brandon Martin, ss, Princeton Rays
Age: 19  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 185  Drafted: Santiago HS, Corona, Calif., 2011 (1st round supp).
The Rays selected Martin 36th overall in last year's draft, six picks after Jake Hager, a fellow high school shortstop. Hager moved on to low Class A Bowling Green this year, while Martin assumed Hager's former position as shortstop for Princeton, catching the eye of Appy League managers with his consistent defensive play and surprising power.

Martin led all league shortstops in assists (194), putouts (78) and double plays (37), proving his durability by playing in 63 of the Rays' 68 games. He understands the ins and outs of the position, converts all the balls he gets to into outs and makes strong, accurate throws to first base. He benefits from a quick exchange and arm action, leaving no doubt he can handle the shortstop position despite just average speed.  

Martin was one of eight Appy leaguers—and the lone middle infielder—to reach double digits in homers (10), the result of solid power and the bat speed to catch up with any fastball. However, he hit just .209 and stuck out in 26 percent of his plate appearances because he struggles to identify and hit breaking balls. He hit a miserable .194/.249/.358 in 201 at-bats versus righthanders and probably won't hit for much of an average going forward without making more contact.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
254 46 53 11 4 10 32 21 73 8 1 .209 .272 .402

12. Gavin Cecchini, ss, Kingsport Mets
Age: 18  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La., 2012 (1st round).
Cecchini's older brother Garin signed with the Red Sox for $1.31 million in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, while Gavin went 12th overall this June and signed for $2.3 million. An errant pitch broke a bone in the tip of his right middle finger on Aug. 1, knocking him out of action for nearly two weeks and forcing him to DH for the balance of the summer.

He didn't play shortstop for Kingsport for the final month of the season, so managers didn't get a good look at Cecchini on defense. He possesses the footwork, hands and range to be an average shortstop, but he'll need to further develop his average though accurate arm to seal the deal. He has average speed and is a plus baserunner.

Cecchini probably won't develop more than gap power, but if he can stay in the middle infield it won't matter because he has a chance to hit for average. His overall batting line took a hit when he played through his hand injury and hit .247/.301/.286 during August. He can get too aggressive and he has a lot of moving parts to his swing, but he makes hard line-drive contact when he barrels the ball.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
191 21 47 9 2 1 22 18 43 5 4 .246 .311 .330

13. Carson Kelly, 3b, Johnson City Cardinals
Age: 18  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 200  Drafted: Westview HS, Portland, Ore., 2012 (2nd round).
The Cardinals made Kelly the first Oregon high school player taken in the first three rounds of the draft since Steve Bechler in 1998. He signed for $1.6 million, the highest bonus amount of the second round, and reported to Johnson City, where he smacked nine home runs despite hitting just .221.

Part of Kelly's struggles to hit for average can be attributed to his youth, as he turned 18 in mid-July. Johnson City manager Oliver Marmol said that Kelly, given his amateur background, struggled with the speed of the game initially. "He still could hit a good fastball," Marmol said, "but this was his first time seeing spin and good changeups, so it took him a while to get used to seeing them and laying off."

Kelly showcases a solid line-drive stroke and enough loft to drive the ball for long hits. He uses a quiet hitting setup without a lot of movement, though some don't like that he moves his hands up and down as a timing mechanism to start his swing. Kelly doesn't run well and won't be more than playable at the hot corner if he doesn't enhance his lateral quickness, but he compensates to a degree with good hands and above-average arm strength.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
213 24 48 10 0 9 25 10 33 0 0 .225 .263 .399

14. Daniel Norris, lhp, Bluefield Blue Jays
Age: 19  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn., 2011 (2nd round).
The third of three Blue Jays prospects to make this list, Norris signed for $2 million at the 2011 deadline and struggled in his pro debut this summer. His 7.97 ERA was somewhat misleading, because he had the worst baserunner strand rate (45 percent) in the league. He had similar issues in two starts at short-season Vancouver.

Though Norris' arm strength—his fastball sits in the low 90s and touches 96 mph—and projectability are evident, he often fails to stay in sync with his mechanics. He struggles to strike a balance point in his delivery and his arm drags, leaving him unable to get over his front side and get extension. He imparts quality spin on a potentially plus curveball and he also has feel for a changeup, but he'll need a repeatable delivery to get the most out of them.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
2 3 7.97 11 10 0 35 44 35 31 4 13 38 .295

15. Andrew Toles, of, Princeton Rays
Age: 20  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 5-10 Wt.: 185  Drafted: Chipola (Fla.) JC, 2012 (3rd round).
Toles probably would have went higher than the third round of the 2012 draft had he not been dogged by whispers of bad makeup. He latched on with Chipola (Fla.) JC this year after being dismissed from Tennessee following the 2011 season. Toles' father Alvin played linebacker for the Volunteers, went in the first round of the 1985 NFL draft and spent four seasons with the New Orleans Saints

"Short, strong and fast" describes not only Toles' swing but also his stature. He takes a big cut with premium bat speed and has plus raw power—and more usable power than most players his size. His quick-twitch athleticism ought to allow him to hit for average. He batted .359 through Aug. 6 before going into a 14-for-82 (.171) spiral to close the season.

Toles' non-hitting tools grade well. He's at least a 60 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale with above-average range and arm strength. He stole just 13 bases in 18 tries in the Appy League, but he has the speed and baserunning acumen to build on that total.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
199 31 56 13 3 7 33 12 36 14 5 .281 .327 .482

16. Patrick Leonard, 3b, Burlington Royals
Age: 19  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 225  Drafted: St. Thomas HS, Houston, 2011 (5th round).
The Royals forked over $600,000 last year to sign Leonard, and he made that decision look wise by tying for the Appy League lead with 14 homers and finishing third with 46 RBIs.

Leonard offers profile power at third base, a quick bat and the controlled hitting approach and pitch recognition to continue hitting homers as he moves up. He can turn on inside fastballs and drive them for distance—he pulled 10 of his 14 homers to the left of center field—but he also hits breaking balls and seldom chases outside his zone. A comfortably below-average runner, Leonard won't leg out many infield hits, but he can raise his average and cut down on strikeouts if he learns to use the whole field instead of looking to pull everything.

A burly 6-foot-4 with a thick lower half, Leonard played shortstop in high school before shifting to the hot corner with Burlington and leading Appy third basemen in fielding average (.929) and assists per game (2.6). His hands and strong arm will play at third, though he'll need to improve his range to his left as well as his body control on bunt attempts.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
235 37 59 9 3 14 46 30 55 6 2 .251 .340 .494

17. Adrian Houser, rhp, Greeneville Astros
Age: 19  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 205  Drafted: Locust Grove (Okla.) HS, 2011 (2nd round).
Houser spent half of his 2011 pro debut at Greeneville, posting a 4.56 ERA and 19-15 K-BB ratio in 26 innings. He fared much better in his repeat of the Appy League this year.

Scouts like Houser's repertoire, 6-foot-4 frame and ability to deliver the ball on a downhill plane. He pitches at 90-93 mph and touches 95, inducing plenty of groundballs with the sinking action on his two-seam fastball. He appears to cut the ball at times.

Houser owns a big-breaking, mid-70s curveball that he might throw too much at this stage. He tends to slow his arm when throwing a fringy changeup. Streamlining his delivery and fastball command will top his to-do list in 2013.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
3 4 4.19 11 11 0 58 53 28 27 1 23 54 .233

18. Jose Peraza, ss, Danville Braves
Age: 18  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 167  Signed: Venezuela, 2010.
The Braves signed both Peraza and Mauricio Cabrera on July 2, 2010, and they could team up again at low Class A Rome next season after playing well in the Appy League. A rangy athlete, Peraza began the summer by hitting .318/.348/.424 in 85 Gulf Coast League at-bats prior to joining Danville on July 17.

More of a spray hitter now, Peraza shows the quick bat to hit for gap power and occasional homers as his body matures. A plus runner, he stole 25 bases in 30 tries between his two stops. He's an excellent bunter and baserunner.

Peraza played in just 17 games at shortstop for Danville, but in that time he outdistanced the field in rate measures such as assists (3.7), double plays (0.8) and total chances (5.5) per game. While he offers above-average range, his tendency to push throws concerned at least one league manager.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
121 21 34 4 0 1 18 9 18 15 2 .281 .351 .339

19. Jochi Ogando, rhp, Pulaski Mariners
Age: 19  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 210  Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
Ogando began playing baseball in 2008 and signed with the Mariners a year later as a projectable 16-year-old righthander. Prior to that, basketball had been his game of choice, which is understandable given his 6-foot-5 frame.

Given his inexperience, Ogando is more thrower than pitcher at this stage, a fault Appy League observers were willing to overlook given that his fastball sits at 94-95 mph and peaks at 97. The velocity and life on his fastball confound righthanders, who batted just .217 with one homer in 115 at-bats against him. Lefties get a better look at the ball given his long arm stroke, lack of a consistent second pitch and whippy arm action.

When Ogando works ahead of batters, his hard curveball and slider can function as chase pitches, but he doesn't throw his breaking stuff for strikes with any consistency or trust his changeup. He may not need that changeup if he winds up in the bullpen, as most Appy observers expected he would. He could develop into a set-up man.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
2 3 4.17 12 12 0 50 49 27 23 2 23 39 .247

20. Cameron Gallagher, c, Burlington Royals
Age: 19  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 210  Drafted: Manheim Township HS, Lancaster, Pa., 2011 (2nd round).
Gallagher pulled down $750,000 as a Royals second-rounder last year, but his career has yet to gather steam because he signed late and dealt with myriad injuries this season. He hit just .157 in 28 games between two Rookie leagues in 2011, then caught just 30 games for Burlington this season between visits to the trainer's table. Early in the season, Gallagher injured his receiving hand on a catcher's-interference play and later missed nearly two weeks after  jamming his shoulder while running the bases.

Gallagher weathered injuries to gun down 26 percent of basestealers. Area scouts worried that he might outgrow catcher, but he impressed Appy League observers by receiving the ball well with soft hands, calling a great game and making strong, accurate throws to second base.

A simple swing and knack for barreling the ball suggest Gallagher will hit for average as he matures, and a high contact rate this season argues strongly for that case. Though he doesn't have premium bat speed, he's already quite physical and can drive the ball to his pull side. He'll never be a factor on the bases because of well below-average speed, but his other tools give him a chance to profile as a starting catcher.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
127 13 35 10 0 3 15 10 16 1 3 .276 .331 .425