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2012 MLB Draft Top 100 Prospect Big Board or:

(February 15, 2012 EDIT – Since this is the site’s current most Google friendly landing spot, I believe a “thanks for stopping by, stranger” is in order. So, thanks for stopping by, stranger. I also want to apologize for the dated list. What you see below was originally published in July of last year, so expect to see a whole host of changes in the upcoming updated big board to be released shortly.)

(May 21, 2012 EDIT – Be sure to stop over to the 2012 MLB Draft Rankings Index for more up to date information and rankings. Players are added literally every day of the week, so check in early and often…or not, I get paid the same (not at all!) either way.)

How I Learned to Stave Off Baseball Withdrawal and Love the All-Star Break

As much as I hate not having meaningful baseball to watch for three whole days right smack dab in the middle of summer, I can’t deny that my productivity gets an unusual spike in mid-July every year. Behold below, the fruit of this year’s All-Star break labor. I typically hate running lists without any kind of explanatory remarks, but I didn’t want to hold up publishing this out of fear that the extra time “adding commentary” would actually wind up as time spent adding, subtracting, and rearranging names. Perhaps some justification will come next week and/or in the comments section if the opportunity arises.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first ranked list of 2012 draft prospects floating around the internet. That leaves me very vulnerable to looking clueless once the industry leaders start putting together their rankings — keeping my fingers crossed that Baseball America’s first 2012 draft ranking doesn’t include a player in their top ten that I completely whiffed on in my top hundred — but also puts me out ahead of any of the classic “you’ve just taken BA/PG’s lists, changed a few names, and called it a day” complaints that crop up in my Inbox from time to time. If there is something egregious in my ranking, whether it be the placement of a player or a prospect’s omission, feel free to let me know so we can make the next overall ranking that much better. I’ll spare you my old rant about rankings being living, breathing, evolving organisms, especially when published eleven months ahead of draft day.

As for the list itself, well, I shudder to think about how silly it will look by next spring. The amount of projection that goes into a project like this is ridiculous. Performance matters, of course, but much more weight is given to tools, athleticism, body type, swing mechanics, and, for pitchers, raw stuff and throwing motion. The high rankings of UCLA SO RHP Scott Griggs and Vanderbilt SO LHP Sam Selman are two great examples of projection over production, while the absence of Florida SO RHP Hudson Randall (a player who didn’t miss the list by as much as had expected, by the way) shows why sometimes production isn’t the end-all, be-all in ranking prospects.

Lastly, this list is just one man’s opinion. Based on firsthand observations, statistical research, crosschecking with old allies in the business, and reading publicly available scouting reports, I’d like to think it is a pretty well-informed opinion. Like all of my rankings, the emphasis is on where I’d draft each player and not where I necessarily think each player will be drafted. Here we go…

  1. RHP Lance McCullers (Jesuit HS, Florida)
  2. Stanford SO RHP Mark Appel
  3. OF Nick Williams (Galveston Ball HS, Texas)
  4. 3B Trey Williams (Valencia HS, California)
  5. LSU FR RHP Kevin Gausman
  6. Florida SO C Mike Zunino
  7. RHP Lucas Giolito (Harvard Westlake HS, California)
  8. TCU SO C Josh Elander
  9. Texas Tech SO OF Barrett Barnes
  10. Arizona State SO SS Deven Marrero
  11. Texas A&M SO RHP Michael Wacha
  12. Georgia Southern SO OF Victor Roache
  13. RHP Walker Weickel (Olympia HS, Florida)
  14. RHP Taylore Cherry (Butler HS, Ohio)
  15. OF Albert Almora (Mater Academy, Florida)
  16. SS Addison Russell (Pace HS, Florida)
  17. James Madison SO OF Johnny Bladel
  18. Rutgers SO 3B Steve Nyisztor
  19. Kentucky SO LHP Taylor Rogers
  20. Arkansas FR RHP Ryne Stanek
  21. Texas A&M SO OF Tyler Naquin
  22. Stanford SO SS Kenny Diekroeger
  23. RHP Ryan Burr (Highlands Ranch HS, Colorado)
  24. SS/RHP Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
  25. Florida State SO 3B/1B Jayce Boyd
  26. RHP Clate Schmidt (Allatoona HS, Georgia)
  27. South Carolina SO 1B Christian Walker
  28. Jacksonville SO OF Adam Brett Walker
  29. Stanford SO OF Jacob Stewart
  30. Florida Atlantic SO RHP RJ Alvarez
  31. OF Vahn Bozoian (Ayala HS, California)
  32. RHP/1B Joey Gallo (Bishop Gorman HS, Nevada)
  33. Florida SO LHP Brian Johnson
  34. Florida SO SS Nolan Fontana
  35. Georgia Tech SO RHP Buck Farmer
  36. RHP Lucas Sims (Brookwood HS, Georgia)
  37. RHP/1B Kayden Porter (Spanish Fork HS, Utah)
  38. Clemson SO 1B Richie Shaffer
  39. St. John’s SO OF Jeremy Baltz
  40. RHP Tyler Gonzalez (Madison HS, Texas)
  41. LHP Hunter Virant (Camarillo HS, California)
  42. Stanford SO 3B Stephen Piscotty
  43. UCLA SO RHP Scott Griggs
  44. Duke SO RHP Marcus Stroman
  45. Virginia SO RHP Branden Kline
  46. RHP Ty Hensley (Santa Fe HS, Oklahoma)
  47. 3B David Thompson (Westminster Christian HS, Florida)
  48. OF Anthony Alford (Petal HS, Mississippi)
  49. RHP Carson Fulmer (All Saints’ Academy HS, Florida)
  50. North Carolina SO RHP Michael Morin
  51. Arizona State SO RHP Jake Barrett
  52. Vanderbilt SO LHP Sam Selman
  53. UCLA FR RHP Eric Jaffe
  54. Buffalo SO C Tom Murphy
  55. OF Josh Henderson (Home School, Virginia)
  56. Connecticut SO 2B LJ Mazzilli
  57. OF Rhett Wiseman (Buckingham Browne & Nichols HS, Massachusetts)
  58. SS CJ Hinojosa (Klein-Collins HS, Texas)
  59. Arizona SO RHP Kurt Heyer
  60. St. John’s SO RHP Kyle Hansen
  61. Samford SO LHP Lex Rutledge
  62. Stanford SO OF Tyler Gaffney
  63. Vanderbilt SO OF Connor Harrell
  64. OF Jesse Winker (Olympia HS, Florida)
  65. RHP Jamie Callahan (Dillon HS, South Carolina)
  66. Maine SO RHP Jeff Gibbs
  67. LHP Max Fried (Montclair Prep HS, California)
  68. Virginia Commonwealth SO RHP Blake Hauser
  69. Baylor SO 1B Max Muncy
  70. 3B Corey Oswalt (James Madison HS, California)
  71. College of Charleston FR OF Daniel Aldrich
  72. TCU SO OF Kyle Von Tungeln
  73. Florida SO LHP Steven Rodriguez
  74. 3B Austin Dean (Klein HS, Texas)
  75. Mississippi State SO RHP Chris Stratton
  76. Miami SO SS Stephen Perez
  77. 2B/C Alex Bregman (Albuquerque Academy, New Mexico)
  78. C Chris Harvey (Germantown Academy, Pennsylvania)
  79. 3B Rio Ruiz (Bishop Amat HS, California)
  80. California SO LHP Justin Jones
  81. LHP Matt Crownover (Ringgold HS, Georgia)
  82. Texas SO LHP Hoby Milner
  83. SS Gavin Cecchini (Barbe HS, Louisiana)
  84. RHP Carson Kelly (Westview HS, Oregon)
  85. Coastal Carolina SO RHP/SS Josh Conway
  86. LHP Matthew Smoral (Solon HS, Ohio)
  87. Clemson SO RHP Dominic Leone
  88. Oklahoma State SO LHP Andrew Heaney
  89. Monmouth SO RHP Pat Light
  90. RHP Cody Poteet (Christian HS, California)
  91. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi FR RHP Justin Meza
  92. SS Jesmuel Valentin Diaz (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy)
  93. College of Charleston SO LHP Christian Powell
  94. Oregon SO LHP Christian Jones
  95. Cal State Fullerton SO RHP Dylan Floro
  96. 1B Keon Barnum (King HS, Florida)
  97. Arizona State SO RHP Brady Rodgers
  98. Texas SO OF/C Jonathan Walsh
  99. Georgia Southern SO RHP Chris Beck
  100. Arkansas SO RHP DJ Baxendale


  1. Mack Ade says:

    Excellent list.

  2. Plowboy says:

    Sorry my man, but nobody is going to pick a max effort, maybe 6ft. Prep pitcher #1. People like to keep their jobs.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      I don’t disagree. For me, however, right here and right now (well, at least as of a month ago when this list when up), McCullers is my favorite 2012 draft prospect. Neither his delivery nor his height bother me, but, hey, that’s just me: I understand professional scouting departments likely feel differently. The odds on him going first overall are incredibly slim, almost to the point that I’d call it impossible…heck, he might not even wind up being one of the first 3, 4, or 5 top prep righties off the board. I like him, though.

  3. Interesting list. Shows how much competition there is in the Florida HS. I’d maybe bump the kid who just took the FL home run crown away from Prince Fielder up the list a little bit.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      David Thompson came in at 47th, but, you’re right, there is an argument to be made that he could wind up higher down the line. The power is legit, I love his approach, and the arm/athleticism to either stick at third or wind up an above-average right fielder. Pretty crazy that he’s but one of eight high schoolers from Florida on the list.

  4. […] placement on my big board is highly speculative at this point. He’s currently 43rd on said list of top 2012 MLB Draft talents. His fastball remands an explosive pitch, and both his curve and change — apparently FB/CB/CU […]

  5. […] back into focus as we finally go back and talk about what in the world I was thinking when I put this beast together: there will be explanations, justifications, rationalizations, and, of course, […]

  6. Lui says:

    You forgot Avery Romero. The best pure hitter in the 2012 class. Softer hands, stronger arm (90+) from Shortstop. Better average hitter and more power than all the 2012 shortstops listed. One of the top hitters in the Area Code and East Coast Pro Showcase. Broke Alex Rodriguez record at the CABA World Series hitting 9 homers in 5 games. Just one shy of Josh Hamilton.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      You’re right, Romero is a darn fine prospect. His performance at the Area Code Games was a real eye opener, and there has been nothing but positives spoken about his game since. Gorgeous swing with power that caught me by surprise, plus the hands, actions, release, and footwork to either stick up the middle in the infield — I’ve heard 2B as a more likely home than SS long-term, but you might have other ideas on that — or, if you believe much of the scouting buzz of late, maybe even get a shot behind the plate as a professional. Either way, I’m a big fan and look forward to seeing how he develops between now and next June.

  7. Avid Fan says:

    Cody Poteet s/b much higher on the list (#90). He is this year’s Dylan Bundy – hit 96 at Petco and most people I speak to rate his curve ball #1 for hsrhp – struck out 5 of 6 at Area Code in his 2 ip there – also showed well at USA baseball against collegiates – giving up dinger but striking out 1 in his inning of work – easy first rounder – he has a lot of momentum – only knock is height (6′) but that is why there are exceptions – Bundy last year, Lincecum, Wagner, Pedro, Guidry – the scout that pushes Poteet will be rewarded – just as direct comparison Lucas Sims at 36 is a tad high – he got roughed up at Petco but he did settle down and one outing does not a ranking make – would take Poteet over Sims though and that would be virtually unanimous among scouts.

    I also like Fried as well. Struck out side in his inning of work at Petco after lead-off single – great breaking ball and LHP of course helps big time so he can pitch til he’s 45 – exhibit 1 – Arthur Rhodes

    Hard for Giolito to outperform because of expectations but he would have to implode to not get name called top 10. McCullers needs to locate better or he is Schlereth for Detroit – his height hurts him as well but has heat and bloodlines – his curve ball not even close to Poteet or Fried.

    UCLA has great rotation if all opt to go college route but me thinks Giolito, Poteet and Fried are gone unless injury bug hits in senior year. Possibly Virant as well if he moves into first round. UCLA may have recruited too well….recruit some 3rd/4th rounders why don’t you?

    No, not a UCLA homer or Poteet’s agent – but was there at Petco and have avid baseball fan particularly recruiting.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      This is a really good comment that I want to respond to in full when I have a little more time. My rankings we all done pre-showcase, so there are many changes to be made. I was also at Petco and think I saw a lot of what you did, but I’d have to check my notes to be sure. Hang tight…and feel free to send along any other observations, if you’re up to it – you clearly know your stuff.

      • Avid Fan says:

        Perhaps a reranking is in order after the 18U USA Baseball COPABE Pan Am ‘AAA’/18U Championships in late September – the 28 will be cut down to 20 then so there will be more to judge – best vs best – once these guys go back to high school – will be hard to measure – stats get inflated with the bats / competition / or even teammates on your own team – you get guys to pop up and you have below average defense or worse sub par catcher who can’t handle 90+, etc… – best measuring stick are these venues where they face off against each other –

        btw 8 of the 28 at 18U aren’t on your list – doesn’t mean they should be – your list obviously has college types but I think next year’s hs class is best in years – will be interesting to see how new CBA impacts draft/slotting – intl players? Lots to look forward to….

      • Rob Ozga says:

        Yeah, I’ll probably wind up waiting as long as possible to re-rank and doing something early in the fall seems like as good a time as any. I’m also trying to wrap up some 2011 loose ends while I still have some free time this summer – in my line of non-baseball work, September is the craziest month of the year. The initial list was far too college heavy, but I chalk that up to familiarity (and lack thereof for the HS players) on my end. 2012 looks like a weak college year, and an unusually strong high school group…not quite the opposite of last year, but close. Your point about judging players this time of year is very well taken. I know some say that the showcases and tournament all-star game format aren’t the best way to evaluate talent (too artificial a setting, I guess), but I set about 90% of my high school rankings before the actual high school draft season begins.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Poteet as the 2012 Dylan Bundy is a thought that has stayed with me since I first read your comment. The fastball is similar to Bundy’s both in velocity and movement. What turned Bundy’s FB from plus to plus-plus, at least for me, was the ability he showed in spotting it for consistent pitchers’ strikes; haven’t seen a prep arm hit the black as often or as well as Bundy did this past spring. It’ll be fun to see just how good Poteet’s heater (again, not just in terms of velocity but more in movement and command) can get this upcoming season. I prefer Poteet’s curveball to Bundy’s when comparing the two pitches at their respective points in development. Poteet’s curve is already an outstanding pitch when he commands it while Bundy’s went from fairly pedestrian during the showcase circuit (based on what I saw) to the plus offering it morphed into by May. The few low-80s changeups Poteet threw this summer looked promising, but I obviously didn’t get much of a read on a pitch that he doesn’t have to currently use to get hitters on. Either way, he impressed the heck out of me and he’ll be shooting up the rankings on the next edition.

      Giolito is a stud who I think is at the precipice of a slow build up draft boards that reminds me a little bit of what Jameson Taillon did in 2010. I’m won’t say he’ll go second overall…but I won’t say he can’t, either. My biggest disappointment in McCullers performances this summer was command. I really, really like the stuff, but way too many of his pitches wind up catching too much of the plate. I wonder if taking a little off the fastball would help him harness it better. The Schlereth comparison is an interesting one.

      I don’t often make note of a player’s college commitment when I take notes, but a few programs get special mention due to their reputation of getting big recruits on campus. I’ve always stuck with Stanford and Vanderbilt for obvious reasons, but schools like UCLA and Florida are now pretty much at that point. It isn’t likely any of UCLA’s big four gets to school, as you say, but I’d love to see what arms like that would do at the college level, for purely selfish reasons of course. College recruiting is pretty wild – sometimes it seems like you are best served going after the best of the second tier talents instead of the sure fire top two round prospects. Then again, and I think I read a coach (Ole Miss?) mention this recently, when you do land that Giolito/Poteet/Fried/Virant (or Gerrit Cole) type of player your program can be transformed overnight. One player does not a team make, but it sure as heck doesn’t hurt on the field (Friday starters are worth their weight in gold) or off (little bit of national attention can go a long way with future recruits).

      • Plowboy says:

        Hey Rob, your post about Giolito seems pretty spot on. Word has it that he’s been tearing it up in Fall/Winter Ball out in Cali. Sitting…sitting! a consistent 95-98 with a wicked CB and a Change-yp many are mustaking for a split-finger. And he’s throwing nothing but strikes. I’ve heard from more than a few peeps who say he’s one of the best HSers they’ve ever seen. What do you got on him?

  8. Brad says:

    #17 Bladel …same Bladel that got 2 hits all summer at Cape Cod ?

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Nope, the Bladel that hit .336/.460/.493 (park/schedule adjusted) with 42 BB and 26 SB in 211 AB this past spring for JMU. Alright, you got me. In my defense, Bladel was hitting over .150 (impressive, right?) back when these rankings were initially published. There’s no denying Bladel has been awful on the Cape this summer. His 4 for 74 (.054 BA) is ugly any way you slice it, but he did have a HR and his strike zone judgment (9 BB/15 K) didn’t totally fall off a cliff despite his struggles. He dominated in the postseason…fine, he was 1-1 with a single, but still. Progress! His disappointing summer combined with the rise of a few dozen high school guys on the showcase circuit probably spells the end of Bladel ever sniffing a ranking as high as 17th. However, the tools — which remind me a good bit of Mikie Mahtook’s, for what it’s worth — are still there.

  9. Tony Mcfadden says:

    I see a lot of young right handers going high in this draft, and I have also seen most of these young men throw in person. I like where Ryan Burr is on your board, a guy who flies under most peoples radar. What do you feel make him better than these other high profile guys?

  10. Kim says:

    Hey Guys,
    I have a question about a Lefty that seems to have dropped off the radar. He played last year at Southern Nevada and went undrafted but many sites had him as probably the 3 best prospect in Nevada. His name is Matt Dunbar. I found results about him in the summer in both the Cape Cod League and the Northwoods league both pretty solid. I actually saw him pitch in Idaho last year and and he gave up a hit to the leadoff guy then retired the 21 hitters in a row. He had a filthy slider. I know I’ve missed something along the way but any info would be appreciated.


  11. JR says:

    Cesar Gomez, a Venezuelan players, 17 years old, who is in his senior year of school in Bradenton Fl, 6’y 190 lb, 5 tools, strong, fast and elegant in the CF. I saw him this summer in the wood bat summer at IMG Academy.

  12. Jim Smith says:

    Hey there is an excellent OF at Columbus State University – Ryan Lewis, he has been an outstanding player.

  13. Justin says:

    Here’s a kid- SS Andre Jernigan, Homestead High School, defensively smooth athletic shortstop. Great plate presence and bat. A bit underexposed, but will climb draft lists come this spring

  14. Bill Gray says:

    Cody Gray Central Arizona College Pitcher 88-92 mph 13-1 last year ERA 2.0 Threw 3 shutouts in 2012 for CAC Great fit for MLB. Look on internet under CODY Gray CAC or Cody Gray Baseball. Can throw 6-8 innings and keep same velocity. Great presence and control Last game 84 strikes . Worth the look!!

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