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2012 Draft: Day 2 Preview

The first day of the draft is in the books, but there are still 39 rounds to go! Plenty of talent is still available. The draft starts up again at 9am here on the best coast, so stick the draft tracker on in the background as you slog away on whatever engrossing document or spreadsheet at your cubicle. Here are some names to scan for as you periodically check in:

Still Available from the top 31

  • 3B Fernando Perez (#9)
  • C Peter O'Brien (#23)
  • C Luke Maile (#27)
  • SS Nolan Fontana (#28)
  • 2B LJ Mazzilli (#29)

Catcher
  • Jeremy Lucas, Indiana State - Lucas has had a nice season at the plate, making consistent contact with a little pop. He was named the MVC player of the year, and for what it's worth, also was named to the conference all-defensive team.
  • Tom Murphy, Buffalo - Even though Murphy plays for a smaller school, I've seen him get some pre-draft hype. Murphy has some power potential, which is what got him noticed. However, Murphy also struck out in almost a quarter of his at-bats, which concerns me, especially in a smaller conference. That's why I'm not as high on him as some others, but he's definitely worth a draft pick on day two.
  • Dane Phillips, Oklahoma City University - Phillips raked in the Cape Cod League, and wanted to transfer from Oklahoma State to a place where he could pursue criminal justice. However, the NCAA did not grant him immediate athletic eligibility, so he transferred to the JUCO ranks. Phillips had a great season, which would be expected considering his production against high levels of competition. Phillips has strikeout concerns, but I still think would be higher on draft boards if he had stayed at Oklahoma State.
  • Tyler Tewell, Appalachian State - Tewell has experience in the outfield too, particularly right field. He's got a solid arm, and had a solid season at the plate. Tewell appears to have gap power more than home run power, but he's a left-handed bat that throws right-handed. Catchers that throw left handed simply don't exist in the pros, which makes it harder to find left-handed hitting ones. Why not take a shot on Tewell at some point of day two?
First Base
  • Nick Backlund, Mercer - Backlund hit 16 home runs this spring, which is a noteworthy total no matter the conference. Strikeouts are a bit of a concern, and Backlund might be the beneficiary of some good luck with a high BABIP too. However, he has hit plenty enough to spend a draft pick on.
  • D.J. Hicks, Central Florida - I listed Hicks in my day two preview last year, but he stayed in school for his redshirt junior season. Hicks has power, but strikeouts could be his downfall as a pro. He does walk alot though, which speaks some to his patience, and also to the respect opposing pitchers have for him.
  • Preston Tucker, Florida - Tucker is a senior slugger, and might have added value in the new harder slotting draft system. He has power, and succeeded in the rugged SEC. Tucker also doesn't have the same strikeout concerns that some of the other sluggers I'm previewing have. A team that's worried about signing some pricier early picks could add a solid, affordable hitter to their farm system by taking Tucker.
  • Ben Waldrip, Jacksonville State - Waldrip clubbed 18 home runs with only 28 strikeouts this season, after a solid showing in the Cape Cod League over the summer. He's listed at 6'6" and 245 pounds, so he's an ominous presence in the batter's box. The size might work against him as he faces pro pitching talent, but some team should draft him and find out what happens. The power is undeniable.
Second Base
  • Brock Hebert, SE Louisiana - Hebert can run, as evidenced by his 36 steals. He strikes more than I'd like to see, especially because he doesn't project for much power. However, Hebert did hit 20 doubles, which at least suggests that he can spray line drives around the field.
  • Ross Heffley, Western Carolina - Heffley is a senior, and put together a great season. He's got some power, good speed, and a great approach at the plate. His defense appears to be good too. I've got a source that told me the Mariners cross-checker was at Western Carolina's scout day, looking at Heffley. I'm guessing several teams have got an eye on him, but there's a very, very good chance this guy is on the M's draft board. Here's a video of Heffley flashing some leather.
  • Jamodrick McGruder, Texas Tech - McGruder has big-time speed. He ended up with more triples (8) than doubles (6) on the season, and 39 stolen bases in 44 attempts. He strikes out more than I'd like, but also walks a ton. If McGruder can keep his strikeouts under control as a pro he's a future leadoff hitter.
  • Tony Renda, California - Whoever drafts Renda might hale him as the next Dustin Pedroia. He's not. The comparison is easy to make since he is, like Pedroia, a diminutive second baseman from the Pac-12 with hitting ability. Pedroia has was more power though. I'm curious to see where Renda gets drafted. I could easily see him returning to Cal for his senior season. I don't think it would impact his draft status too much, because I think he's pretty close to being what he's going to be - a scrappy, intelligent infielder.
Shortstop
  • Kenton Parmley, SE Missouri State - Parmley could potentially be a hidden gem. I haven't seen much buzz around him, but he put together a tremendous season. Parmley has some pop (11 home runs), some speed (12 stolen bases, 3 caught stealing), and more walks (25) than strikeouts (23). Parmley might not stick at shortstop as a pro, but the fact that he plays there and shows some power and speed speaks to his athletic ability. There aren't many college players in this draft class that offer Parmley's well-rounded package of production.
  • Richie Rodriguez, Eastern Kentucky - Rodriguez is a senior, which needs to be kept in mind with his numbers. However, he wailed on pitching all year, and is one of the few college players in the nation with more home runs (13) than strikeouts (12). Maybe he's not a shortstop as a pro, but again, playing shortstop speaks to athletic ability.
  • Matt Wessinger, St. John's - Wessinger probably profiles more as a second baseman, or a middle infield backup, but I'll list him as a shortstop for now. He was drafted in the 37th round last year, but might be a day two pick this year. The senior went 32 for 34 on steal attempts, and flashed a bit of power without racking up strikeouts.
Third Base
  • Taylor Ard, Washington State - I wrote about Ard last year, and said he had a good stroke, but he was too aggressive for his power to show. Ard made some sort of adjustment this year, and the strikeouts are down, while the power numbers are up. Ard was picked in the 25th round last year, and I think there's a good chance he'll get picked earlier this year.
  • Trenton Moses, SE Missouri State - I previewed Moses last year too, and he remains an intriguing prospect. Moses has some notable power potential, and combines that with some intriguing pure hitting skills. He batted .426 this year, to go with 19 home runs, and 40 walks. The strikeout rate is a little bit high for such a high batting average though.
  • Patrick Kivlehan, Rutgers - I am quite curious to see where Kivlehan gets drafted. He played football at Rutgers for four years, and then decided to try out for the baseball team this year, his senior season. He hadn't played since high school. All he did is go out and perform well enough to be named the Big East player of the year. Kivlehan is 22 years old already, but I think has more upside than most college baseball seniors. He flashed both speed and power, which isn't surprising given his football background. Kivlehan's strikeout rate was a touch high, but not absurd, and that's the kind of thing that can come down with more practice and polish. Even though I haven't seen much written about Kivlehan, I expect him to go pretty early on day two.
  • Matt Reynolds, Arkansas - Reynolds brings some defensive versatility, and a bat that started to emerge in the Cape Cod League last summer. He's got a good approach at the plate, and combines that with a little power and solid speed.
  • Josh Scheffert, Nebraska - I've listed Scheffert as a third basemen, but he brings some defensive versatility, and even has pitched on occasion. He had a solid season at the plate, flashing a consistent ability to make contact and reach the gaps. He's got the beginnings of a skillset that could provide quality value off of an MLB bench. That may not sound exciting, but those guys have to come from somewhere.
  • Trey Williams, Valencia HS (CA) - Williams has some holes in his swing, and it's hard to say where he'll end up defensively, but he has power.
Outfield
  • Jeremy Baltz, St. John's - Baltz has several good tools, but no great ones. He has pretty good power, good speed, and a good contact rate with good plate discipline. Baltz has simply been a good college player, which makes him a worth second day choice in this draft.
  • Michael Faulkner, Arkansas State - Faulkner has no power to speak of. In fact, his OPS was only .684. However, Faulkner stole 38 bases, while only getting caught stealing once. He's got speed. He is one-dimensional, but I believe speed takes the least supporting skills to shine through. With a little more plate discipline, Faulkner could be a reserve outfielder.
  • Derek Jones, Washington State - I do my best to keep an eye on local prospects. Jones is a senior, and might be a bit of a one-year wonder. He has a little power, a little speed, and a few holes in his swing, based on the strikeout numbers. Still, an OPS over 1.000 in the Pac-12 should be noticed at some point in the draft, especially when Jones was drafted in the 13th round last year.
  • Zach Kirksey, Mississippi - Kirksey is a senior, and didn't get much playing time until this season. His strikeout rate (and lack of playing time) suggest holes in his swing. However, Kirksey has power. The strikeouts worry me, but he played against tough competition in the SEC. I'd spend a second day pick on Kirksey's power potential.
  • Robert Refsnyder, Arizona - Refsnyder brings a well-rounded game to the diamond. He has gap power, a good ability to make contact, and enough speed to cover the outfield. Refsnyder will provide organizational depth for some team, with the upside to be a bench player or borderline starter if he proves to provide quality defense.
  • Anthony Vega, Manhattan - Vega is a guy that intrigues me a little more than most potential second day picks. He stole 31 bases in 34 attempts, which isn't surprising since he is also a sprinter for the track team at Manhattan. What surprises me some are his 5 home runs, with only 25 strikeouts in 201 at-bats. Vega has spent plenty of time training his legs with his track background, but he's got a little bit of power in his bat without striking out a ton. He might be a stronger candidate to sign after his senior season, but he's worth keeping an eye on.
  • Nick Williams, Ball HS (TX) - Super, super toolsy outfielder with a commitment to the University of Texas. He might be unsignable, and he's raw to boot. However, he's got a pretty left-handed swing, and brings more upside than any college player at this point in the draft.
Left-handed Pitchers
  • Andrew Barbosa, South Florida - I mentioned Barbosa last year, but he was back at USF this spring, and had an even better season. His control improved noticeably. Barbosa started and did quite well. I was going to including him in my day three preview, but I wonder if he sneaks into day two. Barbosa is a massive lefty (6'8"!) with great strikeout numbers. Even though he's a bit older (24 years old), if a team sees potential MLB stuff, he's worth a day two pick. Here's his baseball life story, in 6 minutes and 36 seconds. It's actually quite interesting.
  • Brian Holmes, Wake Forest - Holmes has a sturdy 6'4" frame, and posted solid hit and strikeout rates in the ACC. His big problem is walks, but a pitcher with his size and success (particularly as a southpaw) is still worth a draft pick.
  • Jimmy Reed, Maryland - Reed pitched out of relief, but might have the repertoire to start. Here's a video showing his pitches, complete with his grips. I don't have velocity readings for him, but I liked the lateral movement he got on his cutter and change-up. There's potential for some deception there, either as a reliever or starter.
  • Steven Rodriguez, Florida - Rodriguez, in my opinion, was the most productive reliever in the SEC this year. He has pitched in big situations for a big-time program, and delivered. 
  • Tyler Webb, South Carolina - Webb has a big body (6'6") and looks like he should throw hard. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. He's been a good reliever in the SEC, so I'd be willing to also give him a chance in the pros.
Right-handed Pitchers
  • R.J. Alvarez, Florida Atlantic - Alvarez should be one of the first players off the board in day two. He's a closer with a high-octane fastball that he's used to post some dominant numbers out of the bullpen. He's one of the better relief prospects in this draft.
  • Pat Christensen, La Salle - Christensen has quietly been one of college baseball's best closers the past couple seasons. He has a 6'4" frame, a real good height for pitching, and has always exhibited great control at La Salle to go with good strikeout rates. I wish I could find some video of him, because he looks terrific on paper.
  • Kyle Hansen, St. John's - Hansen is a very tall pitcher (6'8"), but that hasn't hampered his control. He's been a great starter for St. John's, but some see him as a bullpen arm in the pros. I would let him start unless his performance says otherwise. Hansen has been surprisingly hittable, given his high strikeout rates, and I'm not sure if that's just bad luck or something more. We'll find out.
  • Matt Price, South Carolina - Price has pitched mostly out of relief, and been quite effective. His mediocre walk rate and low BABIP make me wonder if Price is beneficiary of SEC hitters fishing for pitches out of the strike zone, but we'll just have to see how that plays out in the pros. Price is good enough to get a YouTube tribute, which has to be worth something.
  • Cody Poteet, SD Christian HS (CA) - Poteet doesn't have huge height or length, and he doesn't get a ton of extension with his throwing motion either. However, he's got good velocity, and a promising curveball. Poteet doesn't bring the same level of polish of the prep arms I rated, but he's got the talent.
  • Chase Stevens, Oklahoma State - Stevens had a solid year mostly in relief for Oklahoma State. Here's a video from his time at Seminole State College, before he transferred to Oklahoma State. The text on the video says he throws 90 mph, but I have no idea how accurate that is. I don't care too much about his velocity. Stevens will go as far as his curve ball takes him. It's got some promising bite to it. He definitely profiles as a bullpen arm as a pro in my eyes, and that curve is worth taking a shot on.
  • Dan Tobik, Tennessee-Martin - Tobik started last year, but didn't find a ton of success. He served as UT-Martin's closer this year, and posted some interesting numbers. He only got five saves, partly because his team didn't win a ton of games. Tobik had quite a few multi-inning appearances, judging from the number of innings he pitched too. Tobik definitely posted some great numbers, but I don't know what kind of competition and game situations he faced. Fun fact about Tobik: his father, Dave, is a former MLB reliever, and even spent one season with the Mariners.
Happy draft following! Check in with the Musings for a recap of day two, and of course a day three preview!