Day 3 of our Draft Preview and we pick up on pick #51. Again, this is not a prediction of who will be selected where come Monday when the first selection is announced. It’s rather a list of the top talent available in the draft. Some are considered un-signable while others are simply top talents by the consensus and we’re putting our two dollars into the conversation. Check us out on Monday as we will be doing live updates on the site as well as on our Twitter feed:@BaseballInstinc. Check out the first of this series with draft prospects 1-25 in our 2012 MLB Draft Preview 1-25.
51. Paul Blackburn RHP Heritage HS, Brentwood, Calif. - A tall righty with major projection in his frame. He’s just 170 lbs and despite the lack of size generates low 90s fastballs touching 94. There is more velocity there and his mechanics are clean and repeatable. He also throws a curveball and changeup which are game ready and could be above average pitches with a chance at being plus.
Our Instinct - His fastball will reach plus as he matures, his changeup will be pitch in his arsenal that is most determining to his future success. There is a wide range of future outcomes, but with the chance at 3 plus pitches, clean mechanics and loads of projection he’s an easy arm to like high in the 2nd round.
52. Kyle Twomey LHP El Dorado HS, Placentia, Calif. - Twomey is a 6’3″ 165 lbs lefty. So there is plenty of room to add to his 88-91 mph fastball in time. An uptick of 3-4 mph would put him in rare air because the pitch already has late life and commands it well. He also has a solid changeup which will grade plus in time. It had fade and sink depending upon his need. He also has a curveball and cutter but both are in the works. One will need to develop into average or better.
Our Instinct - The type of projection pitcher we like to look for. He’s going to be a pitcher who can be molded as he grows into his frame. He’s learning to pitch without premium stuff and doing well with it. Once he adds 20-25lbs and adds some velocity he could move up the charts quickly.
53. Alec Rash RHP Adel DeSoto Minburn HS, Adel, Iowa – Rash is 6’5″ and 195 lbs is a baseball, basketball and football star, so the Iowa product has athleticism to go along with a 92-93 mph fastball that het to 95 and a high 80s slider. He’s a tough sign, committed to Missouri.
Our Instinct – Size, athleticism and current stuff. He has all the makings of a front line starter. Granted its inside of a very rough package and it will take time and patience to get the most out his talents. He could be a 1st round pick in 2015 but I think a team will see his upside and take him inside the 2nd round this year.
54. Jesse Winker OF Olympia HS, Orlando – Winker is one of the most refined hitters in the high school draft class. His left-handed swing produces line drives to all fields and pull power. He’s a CF but will move to a corner spot as a pro.
Our Instinct – Winker is going to hit for average and should have all fields power in the future good for at least 15-20 HR power and possibly more. The bat is what will get him to the show and how much power he develops will determine just how good he can be. We think more of that doubles power will turn into HR power.
55. Wyatt Mathisen C Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, Texas - After Trahan, Mathisen is next best prep backstop even though he’s a High School SS. Mathiesen reaches the low 90s on the mound and has enough bat to have hit .453 with 14 doubles and 3 HR in 86 High School AB. He’s going to need plenty of time to transition to the plate. Not the easiest of moves.
Our Instinct - He’s athletic enough to handle SS so a move to catcher shouldn’t be too much to handle. How much power he develops and how long it takes him to ease into full time catching will decide if he can stick there. If his bat advances quickly a move back to the infield at the 3B position could be a fall back. But he has the frame to catch right now at 6’2″ and 215 lbs.
56. Ryan Burr RHP Highlands Ranch (Colo.) HS - Burr is a a workhorse at 6’4″ and 215 lbs and when we got to see him the WWBA he was bringing a 92-94mph fastball with a mid 70s curveball and a changeup in the 81-83 range with good sink. He’s just turned 18 (Happy Birthday, Kid), so he’s young for the draft class and he’s still baby faced. So there is still projection in his profile.
Our Instinct - Burr may be my biggest sleeper after Lovegrove. With Lovegrove I can see the fixes to make him an elite talent. But there are fixes. With Burr, I see projection and a player being devalued by a lack of vision. Burr has some small issues with his mechanics but the foot plant and longer arm action will be easily fixed in short season ball and he should be up an running by 2013 with little issue. With his 3 pitch mix, frame and projection he could easily be a mid-rotation innings eater and possibly more. He may have some of the highest upside outside the first round.
57. Mitch Brown RHP Century HS, Rochester, Minn. - Brown is 6’2″ and 210 lbs. He has a solid lower half and uses it well to get his velocity. His fastball sits in the low 90s with a slider in the 86-88 range. The slider isn’t a wipeout pitch, sometimes moving more like a cut fastball than a true slider. He also throws a curveball which has more consistent break to it and a feel for a changeup which he uses in game.
Our Instinct - Brown has a 4 pitch mix that isn’t the norm for a high school right-hander, especially coming out of cold country like Minnesota. He’s been lauded for his approach so it bodes well for him to continue developing his pitch mix and approach. Some tweaks to his delivery could add velocity and allow him to enhance his command even further. He’s a good bet as any high school pitcher to become a back end starter and he could reach mid-rotation status if the mid 90s fastball can become a norm.
58. Skye Bolt OF Holy Innocents Episcopal HS (Ga.) - Outside of the name, why scouts see Bolt as too flashy is beyond me. He’s a polished high school hitter, swings it from both sides of the plate with contact and future power. The swings remind me of Chipper. He has present speed and in time will become a solid base stealer as well.
Our Instinct - The kid I got see play seemed like a gamer and has outstanding tools just waiting to be polished into a pro. He still has plenty of room to grow into his frame and should add 20+ lbs without losing a step. He’s going to be a tough sign away from North Carolina, but I think he’s going to be a “surprise” high pick and turn pro. Another sleeper who is projected in the 5+ round level.
59. Lewis Brinson OF Coral Springs (Fla.) HS - Brinson is a big lean OF at 6’4″ and reports at 185. Having seen him in person I’m not sure the weight is accurate. But he has so much frame to fill out and so many tools to grow into. A team loses out on Byron Buxton may see Brinson as a secondary option. He’s not as polished nor has he been as successful. But the tools are there.
Our Instinct - In 71 AB he’s hit .408 with 4 doubles, triples and HR. So he’s doing a bit of everything. He’s a plus defender with a great arm and could have a chance at plus power in the future. There’s a lot of projection here, but Brinson hits with a lot of leverage and once he packs on the weight and man powers it up he could be a player that teams regret by passing.
60. Freddy Avis RHP Menlo School, Atherton, Calif. - Avis is a 6’2″ 180 lbs projection based RHP. He works with a 92-94 mph fastball and a mid 70 curveball. His mechanics need refinement and he’s by no means a finished product but he’s also a smart pitcher with a knowledgeable approach.
Our Instinct - He’s almost un-signable and teams aren’t going to gamble on these types this year. So chances are high that he goes to Stanford. He could be a 1st round selection in 3 years.
61. Brian Johnson LHP/1B Florida - There’s debate at Baseball Instinct as to whether Johnson profiles better as a hitting 1B or a back end starter. He’s been very durable for the good Gators team and if he focuses on pitching fully he could become a solid major league starter. His fastball sits low 90s and for a lefty is works well based on his command. He also throw a curveball, slider and changeup, all which grade out as average.
Our Instinct - Johnson is a safe pick and may go in the 1st round to a team looking to save on the first round money and split out amongst 2 or more picks. He’s a solid bet to become a back end rotation type with a good pitchers frame for innings. There isn’t a lot of upside here though.
62. Rio Ruiz 3B Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif. – Ruiz is a big two sport star as a QB and SS. He has a 94-95 fastball s the arm is there for the position, but he’ll move to 3B as a pro due to a lack of range. He has plus raw power from the left side and needs refinement of his approach.
Our Instinct – Ruiz is going to need time to refine his plate approach, but he’ll transition fine to 3B and could be a plus defender with a plus arm. How well he matures as a hitter will determine his upside, but he has the tools to be a special 3B.
63. James Ramsey OF Florida State - Drafted by the Twins later int he 2011 draft, he returned to school and has put up a .380 season with 10 doubles, 6 triples and 11 HR. He also has 9 steals and is the first captain of the Seminoles in a long time. He’s not going to stick in CF nor have the power to play LF. But he’s been an infielder before and the team that drafts him will certainly try to make him a 2B again.
Our Instinct - He’s going to have enough bat to warrant a roster spot on a big league club and should play above his tools. Whether or not he can stick as a MI or IF/OF super utility player will determine how valuable this draft pick could be. We think he has the chops to make it as a 2B.
64. Nolan Sanburn RHP Arkansas - A bullpen arm for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Sanburn has a mid to upper 90s fastball sitting mostly 96-98 with a power breaking curveball in the mid 80s. He has the two pitch mix to make him a solid bet to succeed in a bullpen role quickly.
Our Instinct - He’s this high because we think that he will succeed in the pen and that a team should give a chance at eating innings in the minors and trying to develop a changeup. He’s just 20 years old so he has the time to develop. His 6’1″ 205 lbs frame says innings could be there and if he succeeds as a SP he could be similar to Tyler Thornburg.
65. Kevin Plawecki C Purdue – Plawicki is a ready now catcher who is actually more offense than he is defense. Despite being offensive minded, he’s still led the Boilermakers this season and has thrown out 40% of base-stealers while striking out just 28 times in three season.
Our Instinct – His ability to make contact is elite and while he doesn’t have that same type of power he should have more than enough to be an offensive threat. He’ll do enough behind the plate to stick and should hit at every level.
66. Steve Bean C Rockwall (Texas) HS – One f the top High School backstops in the nation, Bean has a plus arm ranking out in the top quarter of the scouting scale and he’s growing a receiver. He swings it from the left side and project to have average power.
Our Instinct – Bean is going to need some time to develop but projects well as a catcher long term. He swings it well from the left side making his profile a premium one. If his power develops as projected he could be a full time catcher in the majors some day.
67. Jesmuel Valentin 2B Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R. – Valentin has major league bloodlines and has been around the game his whole life. So transitioning into pro ball shouldn’t be much of an issue. He’s a SS playing mostly 2B so he’s already versatile. He’s going to be a gap to gap hitter with occasional HR power.
Our Instinct – Valentin should get a chance to play SS, unless he’s drafted to the same team as Correa, who he’s played 2B next to at the PR Academy. But in time he probably fits better at 2B anyway. He’ll need time to continue to develop as a switch hitter but should be a solid average across the board with the bat.
68. C.J. Hinojosa SS Klein Collins HS, Spring, Texas – Hinojosa should be in college at Texas already and not even eligible for this draft. His commitment to the Longhorns is considered unbreakable. But money may sway the SS. He a line drive hitter with developing power and a plus arm with enough range to play SS as a pro.
Our Instinct – He’s probably going to Texas but even 3 years there is not going to raise his already lofty draft stock. He’s a solid defender and should easily be able to stick at SS long term. There are questions as to if he’ll develop enough power to be an above average offensive player or if his value will be predicated on his glove.
69. Trey Williams 3B Valencia HS, Santa Clarita, Calif. – Huge raw power with the ability to play SS, but will move to 3B as a pro. He will handle the position well and has more than enough arm to be an excellent defender. If his work ethic is there that is.
Our Instinct – Trey Williams would be a first round talent if his fire for the game wasn’t in question. His approach at the plate needs refinement and he could take a while before becoming a professional hitter. But the power and bat speed are elite and things that can not be taught. He could be a star or a bust. So he’ll drop in the draft.
70. Clate Schmidt RHP Allatoona HS (Ga.) – Schmidt has an average fastball in the low 90s but has flashed 95 and a curveball with good break that is inconsistent. There is no set third pitch yet, but he shows a changeup from time to time. What he does have is an ability to work the plate and projection.
Our Instinct – As he fills out and refines his mechanics, his velocity will increase and his curveball will be more consistent. He’s a smart enough pitcher to develop a changeup and game plan it into his system. Once the corrections are made he should handle the lower levels well and upside velocity will determine if he’s more than a mid-rotation starter.
71. Nolan Fontana SS Florida – The Gators SS is a grinder and at 6’1″ 190lbs he’s got the frame quickness of a middle infielder and should stick there as a pro. He works counts and makes solid contact though doesn’t have more than average power. He has hit 9 HR with 9 doubles this season in a very competitive NCAA conference but is hitting under .281.
Our Instinct - I don’t see Fontana being more than a utility type but that floor is pretty high and he should be able to make a living playing ss/2B as a pro with a scrappy offensive game near the lower half of the order.
72. Mitch Haniger OF Cal Poly – The OF has plus power and a plus arm suited for RF as a pro. While he isn’t going to hit for .300+ AVG he does have a good approach and knows how to use his power by working into good hitters counts. He plays CF for Cal Poly, but is only average there and his arm should make him at least AVG in RF.
Our Instinct – Haniger will need to hit for the premium power that he projects to in order to make it as a major league regular. But he should move quickly once signed as there isn’t a lot of development to reach his ceiling as an average OF regular.
73. Chris Beck RHP Georgia Southern – Beck hit the spotlight in the Cape Cod League last year when he was flashing plus velocity in the in the mid 90s with a hard cutter and slider. He’s been down in the low 90s this spring but is still one of the strikeout leaders in the nation.
Our Instinct – Was the premium velocity real? At this level its a good gamble to venture that it was. If he can bring that premium velo to the next level with a 4 pitch mix he could rocket to the big leagues as a mid-rotation starter.
74. Barrett Barnes OF Texas Tech – High level college power hitter with speed. Despite being fast he doesn’t use it as game speed enough and may never be that type of player. But he has a 6’1″ 219 lbs frame geared for pull power.
Our Instinct – He doesn’t have the arm for a premium OF spot but should have enough power to play LF. His ability to hit for AVG is the biggest question and if upper level hitters start working him away how much will his power translate. He’s willing to take walks, but upper level pitchers won’t miss the outside corner if they know they can take away his power.
75. Jameis Winston OF Hueytown (Ala.) HS – Winston is an elite athlete. Heading to Seminole country to be their star QB, the Alabama native has struggled this season with the bat but still flashes some enticing tools. He has plus physical tools pretty much across the board, with plus speed and future plus power. He’s 6’4″ and 215 lbs yet very athletic.
Our Instinct – The switch hitter is far from a polished product, he’s going to fall on the draft boards and is almost certain to attend FSU. He’ll play two ways and could be available again in 2015 if football doesn’t take over his baseball career.
Clint Coulter C Union HS, Camas, Wash. - Considered one of the top catching prospects in the draft class, Coulter is more of a rough draft than a finished piece. He’s a big kid and has hit .402 this high school season but that’s just 42 AB worth of data. He’s 6’3″ and 200 lbs but athletic for his size. His bat has shown above average power but it hasn’t translated into a lot of production.
Our Instinct - He may be a better overall prospect with a few years of college experience under his belt. I’m not sold on the bat and he’s not a finished product behind the plate. He may go within the first few rounds, but this isn’t the player profile I go for.
That’s the last of’em. After 500 scouting reports, hours and hours of video, games, showcase events… that’s the last of the 2012 Baseball Instinct Draft Preview. We’ll be right here tomorrow LIVE. So stick with us through the draft which is tomorrow on the MLB Network and we’ll bring you pick by pick insight on where the draft is heading and what we think of the current selection.
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Other names to give serious consideration to come Monday
Cody Poteet RHP Christian HS, El Cajon, Calif., Nick Williams OF Ball HS, Galveston, TX, Kenny Diekroeger SS Stanford, Edwin Diaz RHP Naguabo (P.R.) HS, Derick Velasquez RHP Merced (Calif.) JC, Avery Romero 3B Menendez HS, St. Augustine, Fla., Stephen Johnson RHP St. Edward’s (TX), Jake Barrett RHP Arizona State, Adam Brett Walker OF/1B Jacksonville, Dan Langfield RHP Memphis, Matt Koch RHP Louisville, Adrian Sampson RHP Bellevue (Wash.) CC, Chase DeJong RHP Wilson HS, Long Beach, Brandon Thomas OF Georgia Tech, Preston Beck OF Texas-Arlington, R.J. Alvarez RHP Florida Atlantic, Branden Kline RHP Virginia, D’Vone McClure OF Jacksonville (Ark.) HS, Kolby Copeland OF Parkway HS, Bossier City, La., Brady Rodgers RHP Arizona State, Pat Light RHP Monmouth, Keon Barnum 1B King HS, Tampa, Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP Fort Worth Christian HS, North Richland Hills, Texas, J.T. Chargois RHP Rice, Lex Rutledge LHP Samford, Jeff Gelalich OF UCLA, Kyle Hansen RHP St. John’s, Fernando Perez 3B Central Arizona JC, Jamie Callahan, rhp, Dillon (S.C.) HS, Preston Tucker OF Florida, Martin Agosta, rhp, St. Mary’s, Tony Renda 2B California, Brett Mooneyham LHP Stanford, Kolby Copeland OF Parkway HS (La.), Dylan Baker RHP Western Nevada JC, James Kaprielian RHP Beckman HS, Irvine, Calif., Mason Melotakis LHP Northwestern State, Matt Olson 1B Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga., Seth Willoughby RHP Xavier, Alex Bregman 2B Albuquerque Academy, Damien Magnifico RHP Oklahoma, Tyler Pike LHP Winter Haven (Fla.) HS, Alex Young, lhp, Carmel Catholic HS, Mundelein, Ill., Justin Garza, rhp, Bonita HS, La Verne, Calif., Jake Thompson, rhp, Rockwall-Heath HS, Heath, Texas, Josh Schubert, of, Calhoun (Ga.) HS, Cameron Perkins, 3b, Purdue, Steven Okert, lhp, Oklahoma, Alec Asher, rhp, Polk County (Fla.) JC, Austin Schotts, ss, Centennial HS, Frisco, Texas, Andrew Calica, of, Eastlake HS, Chula Vista, Calif., Kyle Carter, of, Columbus (Ga.) HS, Vahn Bozoian, of, Ayala HS, Chino Hills, Calif., Bryan de la Rosa, c, Bucky Dent Academy, Delray Beach, Fla., Ryan Warner RHP Pine Creek HS, Colorado Springs, Col.