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2012 MLB Draft Top 75 Prospect Big Board (Hitters Only)

Lists stink because they simply aren’t all that informative. Sure, this particular list shows that, for example, I slightly prefer Rahier to Dahl, all else being equal, but without the rationale explaining the process, then there really isn’t a ton of value added to something that otherwise looks like any other cut-and-paste job of one of the dozens of lists floating around the internet at any given time. Long story short, this is just the beginning. The list itself, though unimpressive to look at, is the byproduct of hours upon hours of work, but, again, it is only the beginning. Explanations will be added throughout the week, so check back in over time to read the hows and whys of player placement. In the meantime, feel free to send along a note either in the comments or via email (robozga at gmail dot com) and I’ll get to it as soon as possible. Four quick notes because I apparently hate getting to bed at a reasonable hour:

* Zunino at one was much more of a slam dunk than I had anticipated when I started to build the actual list one month ago. That said, while I think his floor (definite big league catcher, borderline starter at worst) is considerable, I think the risks with any young catcher need to be put back in focus. Recent “can’t miss” college catching prospects like Posey (injury) and Wieters (“slow start” to his career, at least so goes the unfortunate perception of many) have had early pro careers that highlight some of the ups and downs young catchers go through as they transition to the pro game. Using a pair of top ten big league catchers doesn’t really show the point I’m trying to make — I think (hope?) I have it explained better in the forthcoming rationale for the picks — so maybe Zunino at number one makes even more sense than I think.

** I’m nervous about putting Buxton so high without ever having seen him in person since last summer. Rarely do I trust my own eyes in this way — long-time readers should remember that one of the early goals of this site was to consolidate all of the draft information from the many bright minds who really know the game — but the mixture of a lack of any overwhelming evidence about his superiority over the rest of the prep class (his tools are outstanding, just so we’re clear – I’m not hating here) and, yeah, a little bit of my growing cockiness has led me to this point. I guess the question for me remains pretty simple: what separates Buxton from all the other athletic prep outfielders with plus tools like Almora, Dahl, Brinson, and Winston? Again, I’m no scout, but I don’t see the hit tool/raw power for Buxton that clearly trumps what those other guys have. So why has Buxton been the helium guy all spring above the rest? I’m a little nervous there’s some groupthink going here, and it seemed that even the comps jumped up from Austin Jackson to an idealized combination of the Upton brothers practically overnight. Nervous or not, he’s still the pick for the second best position player in the country, so it isn’t like I’m downplaying his ability. Just being that guy, I guess.

*** Ah, nevermind. I wrote this back on 8/15/11: “We could talk about the wildest comp I’ve ever heard in my life — what high school outfielder’s swing had a salty veteran scout muttering the name of a Hall of Fame third baseman as an honest to goodness comp? — or we could talk about how I couldn’t place Lance McCullers similarity to somebody I “knew” (turned out to be pretty embarrassing, but the rising senior looks a lot like the actor Penn Badgley in a certain light) until well after the fact.” A scout in Chicago actually said that Buxton reminded him of Mike Schmidt as a hitter. As a native Philadelphian, I hate to admit that I’m just a tad too young to fully appreciate the reference, at least in terms of being a regular baseball watcher during Schmidt’s playing career, but a comp like that, mentioned by one scout (who was otherwise negative all day long) and backed up by another, isn’t something thrown around lightly. Buxton won’t hit 548 homers in his career, but as a point of reference (bat speed, bat speed, bat speed), it is fun to use as a starting point to let the imagination wander.

**** As a general prospect rule, I don’t care about injuries. You show a skill once, you own it. The injured players who rank highly here don’t deserve to get knocked down just because of some missed time in their draft year.

  1. Florida JR C Mike Zunino
  2. OF Byron Buxton (Appling County HS, Georgia)
  3. SS Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
  4. C Stryker Trahan (Acadiana HS, Louisiana)
  5. SS CJ Hinojosa (Klein Collins HS, Texas)
  6. OF Albert Almora (Mater Academy, Florida)
  7. Clemson JR 3B Richie Shaffer
  8. Georgia Southern JR OF Victor Roache
  9. 3B Trey Williams (Valencia HS, California)
  10. 3B Tanner Rahier (Palm Desert HS, California)
  11. OF David Dahl (Oak Mountain HS, Alabama)
  12. TCU JR C Josh Elander
  13. 3B/OF Joey Gallo (Bishop Gorman HS, Nevada)
  14. OF Courtney Hawkins (Mary Carroll HS, Texas)
  15. C/2B Alex Bregman (Albuquerque Academy, New Mexico)
  16. SS/2B Gavin Cecchini (Barbe HS, Louisiana)
  17. Texas Tech JR OF Barrett Barnes
  18. OF Lewis Brinson (Coral Springs HS, Florida)
  19. Arkansas JR 3B Matt Reynolds
  20. Buffalo JR C Tom Murphy
  21. Oklahoma City JR C Dane Phillips
  22. Florida JR SS Nolan Fontana
  23. Arizona State JR SS Deven Marrero
  24. OF Jameis Winston (Hueytown HS, Alabama)
  25. 3B Rio Ruiz (Bishop Amat HS, California)
  26. Purdue JR C Kevin Plawecki
  27. Texas A&M JR OF Tyler Naquin
  28. Kentucky JR C Luke Maile
  29. 3B/OF David Thompson (Westminster Christian HS, Florida)
  30. UCLA JR OF Jeff Gelalich
  31. Chipola SO OF Andrew Toles
  32. 3B Addison Russell (Pace HS, Florida)
  33. Florida State JR 1B Jayce Boyd
  34. South Carolina JR 1B Christian Walker
  35. OF Nick Williams (Galveston Ball HS, Texas)
  36. OF Anthony Alford (Petal HS, Mississippi)
  37. Walters State CC SO OF/1B Marcus Davis
  38. Connecticut JR 2B LJ Mazzilli
  39. Virginia JR SS Stephen Bruno
  40. Stanford JR 3B Stephen Piscotty
  41. St. Mary’s JR 3B Patrick Wisdom
  42. Cal Poly JR OF Mitch Haniger
  43. Jacksonville JR OF Adam Brett Walker
  44. SS/3B Corey Seager (Northwest Cabarrus HS, North Carolina)
  45. 3B Carson Kelly (Westview HS, Oregon)
  46. Florida State JR 2B Devon Travis
  47. Florida JR 1B Brian Johnson
  48. SS/2B Adrian Marin (Gulliver Prep HS, Florida)
  49. Georgia Tech SO OF Kyle Wren
  50. Miami JR SS Stephen Perez
  51. Stony Brook JR OF Travis Jankowski
  52. Florida State SR OF James Ramsey
  53. 1B Ron Miller (Serra HS, California)
  54. Florida SR 1B Preston Tucker
  55. Texas JR OF Jonathan Walsh
  56. Miami SR C Peter O’Brien
  57. North Carolina JR 2B/SS Tommy Coyle
  58. Stanford JR 2B/SS Kenny Diekroeger
  59. Virginia JR SS Chris Taylor
  60. OF Jesse Winker (Olympia HS, Florida)
  61. OF Fernelys Sanchez (George Washington HS, New York)
  62. Louisiana State JR OF Raph Rhymes
  63. Georgia Tech JR OF Brandon Thomas
  64. Baylor JR 1B Max Muncy
  65. OF Rhett Wiseman (Buckingham Browne & Nichols HS, Massachusetts)
  66. OF Josh Henderson (Home School, Virginia)
  67. Orange Coast JC SO C Stefan Sabol
  68. OF Vahn Bozoian (Ayala HS, California)
  69. 3B Daniel Robertson (Upland HS, California)
  70. Stanford JR OF Jacob Stewart (2012)
  71. Rice rJR OF Jeremy Rathjen (2012)
  72. Jacksonville JR OF Dan Gulbransen
  73. Vanderbilt JR OF Connor Harrell
  74. St. John’s JR OF Jeremy Baltz
  75. 2B Chase Nyman (Pascagoula HS, Mississippi)

Also receiving votes Missouri JR OF Blake Brown, Stanford JR OF Tyler Gaffney, Cypress Ranch HS (Texas) 2B/OF Leon Byrd, King HS (Florida) 1B Keon Barnum, TCU SR OF Jason Coats, Hamilton HS 3B Mitch Nay (Arizona), Providence HS (North Carolina) 3B Jackson Campana, Alabama SR OF Taylor Dugas, Farragut HS (Tennessee) SS AJ Simcox, Texas-Arlington JR OF Preston Beck, and James Madison HS (California) 3B Corey Oswalt.



  1. […] The top 75 hitters eligible for the 2012 MLB Draft are ranked at The Baseball Draft Report.  -LINK […]

  2. homerhitter says:

    You have Dane Phillips at #21……ironic since he is the backup catcher to a 4 year starter at Oklahoma City University by the name of Chad Carman, who was the NAIA Rawlings Gold Glove winner at catcher for 2011.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Not sure I’d use the word ironic, but I guess it is kind of interesting. I’m also not sure I’d call Phillips the “backup” since that implies that that is all he is: a backup catcher to Carman. They’ve both started every game this year for OCU with Phillips outhitting Carman (no slouch of a prospect in his own right, as I’m sure you know) by a pretty healthy margin. Judging by recent box scores — I tried to make this more official and give exact numbers, but their team site is littered with 404 errors and links that claim to be baseball but take you to softball results — it appears that the two guys share off between catcher and right field pretty regularly, especially with all of the double headers in their schedule. Of course, I could be wrong on that as I don’t know the exact split of catching duties – I’d be really interested to know the exact breakdown, as well as how Phillips’ defense is progressing, but I haven’t heard much on the latter other than generally positive (“still not great, but better”) reviews. I’d also like to learn more about Carman, who I kind of remember from last year but don’t have a ton of info on in my notes. In any event, Phillips is an excellent prospect who is pretty easily one of the five best college catching prospects in the country.

      • Homerhitter says:

        Check your stats again between Carman and Phillips. They have narrowed a lot. Yes, they split time catching and playing right field in non-conference games, but Carman caught almost all the conference games and will be catching all of the playoff games. He was the NAIA Rawlings Gold Glove winner at catcher last year and has been the main catcher since he was a sophomore. His defensive skills outstanding.

  3. Mike says:

    I known that you must have misplaced him because there is no way he does not make your list and make it high if you have any idea what your doing

    • Mike says:

      That person would be Marcus Stroman

      • Rob Ozga says:

        Call me crazy, but I like Stroman a lot more as a pitcher than as a shortstop – that’s why he didn’t make this particularly hitter only list. Though come to think of it, he’d actually be a damn interesting shortstop prospect (he certainly held his own playing there as a freshman for Duke, so much so that I thought he had big league upside as a hitter when I saw him in Durham that year) were it not for his really bright future on the mound…so maybe you’re on to something here. Jokes aside, the big board for pitching prospects will come later on and you can be sure that Stroman will be quite high on the list.

  4. […] 2012 MLB Draft Top 75 Prospect Big Board (Hitters Only) […]

  5. […] 2012 MLB Draft Top 75 Prospect Big Board (Hitters Only) […]

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