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2012 MLB Draft: Big 12 Pitchers to Know

Young pitchers without great stuff who rely on pinpoint command and clever pitch sequencing who suddenly develop and, as importantly, maintain much better stuff are one of player development’s most beautiful sights to behold. That’s been Wacha’s progression to this point. His transformation from unheralded high school recruit to steady performer with good but not great stuff to his current position as major college staff ace who flashes knockout stuff that compliments his well-honed command and consistent mechanics has been a lot of fun to watch over the past few years. He’s always been a good prospect, but his improved fastball velocity and sharper breaking ball have helped make his always excellent changeup and strong fastball command even more valuable. Taylor Jungmann is a popular comp, and a good one, but he reminds me just as much as another 2011 first rounder, Matt Barnes. Either way, Wacha is a very good prospect and a first round caliber arm.

Poppe is still largely a progression pick, so take his high ranking as more of an indication of the lack of potential starting pitchers than anything else. Heaney always gets high marks for his pitchability and for good reason. Lefties who can spin a good breaking ball are always in demand. He also has a good upper-70s changeup and an above-average cutter, and he’s a lot of fun to watch pitch because of the way he varies his arm slot from pitch to pitch.

I might be the last holdout who still thinks Dicharry will be a good pro pitcher, but he’s got the pedigree, three-pitch mix, and build to start. Anderson, once thought of as the next great Missouri righthanded pitcher, is almost all the way back in his return from a torn labrum. At last check he wasn’t all the way there (heard he was hitting 90, which is very good news, but still not his pre-injury peak of 93) and his breaking ball isn’t quite what it used to be, but his changeup is still excellent, his athleticism is top notch, and his mechanics are loose and free.

Magnifico has made headlines because relievers with 100 MPH fastballs often make headlines. He’s still a little bit of a one-trick pony for me, but that one trick is a good one. If either his cutter or upper-70s change rounds into an above-average second pitch, he’s a potential big league closer. Jester, the pitcher ranked right below Magnifico, is academically ineligible in 2012, but still a viable prospect as a two-pitch reliever with great command of his mid-90s fastball and a slider with plus upside. Jester’s would-be teammates include both Martin and Stripling. Martin hasn’t received the attention I think he deserves. He’s probably a reliever in the long run, but every bullpen needs the kind of nasty sinker/slider combo guy mowing batters down in the middle innings. Stripling is similar, but swap out a plus curve for Martin’s plus slider.  Finding a spot for the injured Sam Stafford was a pain in the neck. The 2011 second round pick faces an uphill battle as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Stafford, Oregon lefty Christian Jones, and Purdue RHP Brad Schreiber, all out until 2013, are particularly tough to slot in on these pre-draft follow lists.

  1. Texas A&M JR RHP Michael Wacha
  2. Kansas JR RHP Tanner Poppe
  3. Oklahoma State JR LHP Andrew Heaney
  4. Texas SR RHP Austin Dicharry
  5. Missouri JR RHP Eric Anderson
  6. Oklahoma JR RHP Damien Magnifico
  7. Texas A&M JR RHP Jason Jester
  8. Texas A&M JR RHP Kyle Martin
  9. Texas A&M SR RHP Ross Stripling
  10. Oklahoma SO RHP Jonathan Gray
  11. Oklahoma State JR RHP Mark Robinette
  12. Baylor JR RHP Max Garner
  13. Oklahoma State JR RHP Randy McCurry
  14. Texas JR RHP Josh Urban
  15. Texas JR LHP Hoby Milner
  16. Oklahoma JR LHP Steven Okert
  17. Texas A&M rSO RHP Parker Ray
  18. Texas SR LHP Sam Stafford
  19. Texas A&M JR LHP Ross Hales
  20. Oklahoma State JR RHP Chase Stevens
  21. Baylor JR RHP Kolt Browder
  22. Texas A&M JR RHP Rafael Pineda
  23. Oklahoma rSO LHP Jordan John
  24. Oklahoma State SR LHP Kyle Ottoson
  25. Oklahoma JR RHP Jack Mayfield
  26. Texas Tech rSO RHP Duke von Schamann
  27. Baylor JR LHP Josh Turley
  28. Oklahoma State SR RHP Blake Barnes
  29. Texas Tech rJR LHP Rusty Shellhorn
  30. Kansas rJR RHP Thomas Taylor
  31. Texas Tech JR RHP Shane Broyles
  32. Oklahoma JR RHP Chris Burgess
  33. Missouri JR LHP Blake Holovach
  34. Texas JR RHP Keifer Nuncio
  35. Missouri SR RHP Dusty Ross
  36. Missouri rSO LHP Jake Walsh
  37. Missouri rSO RHP Jeff Cline
  38. Texas A&M SR LHP Estevan Uriegas
  39. Texas Tech SR RHP John Neely
  40. Kansas State SR RHP Matt Applegate
  41. Baylor SR RHP Tyler Bremer
  42. Kansas State SR RHP Kayvon Bahramzadeh
  43. Texas Tech rSR RHP Brennan Stewart
  44. Texas Tech JR RHP Jamie Parten

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