With the draft less than 24 hours away, prospect junkies are finalizing their notes as they prepare for the next wave of talent. This time of the year is truly special for dynasty league players that draft mid-season. For weeks we've been hearing his stock is up, his stock is down, and seeing movement on mock drafts that leaves us still wondering. In order to get a clearer idea of which players could impact the future of fantasy baseball I turned to Minor League Ball's Matt Garrioch. Matt gave me a quick synopsis of various players including some interesting comps and perfect world projections. You can find his top 400 draft prospects here and his scouting book with additional information here. For more information on draft eligible players and current/future prospects visit Matt's site http://www.mlbprospectguide.com
Mark Appel, P, Stanford: He tends to be around the plate. He leaves balls up in the zone and almost throws too many strikes. He suffers from "pitch to contact" syndrome; an affliction that many Minnesota Twins fans are aware of. If a team has a good defense behind him and he pitches with a little more killer instinct as well as develops more with instruction and better competition, he could be a front-line starter. If he doesn't gain those things and stays a similar pitcher, he may just be a #3 or 4 starter that you are always expecting more from.
Mike Zunino, C, Florida: With a solid but not great bat, he could be a top 10 fantasy catcher when he debuts. He has raw power that translates nicely into in-game power. Perfect world projection: A .280 hitter with 20-25 home run power. A #5 type hitter, depending on the team. Think Jason Varitek.
Marcus Stroman, P, Duke: Stroman is an undersized righty, listed as 5'9",190 LBS. Arguably the top collegiate pitcher. He features He has a nasty hard slider that is an out pitch and a plus
change-up that he throws from a low 3/4 delivery. He can run his fastball up to 98
and can sit from 94-98 MPH. He is very athletic and repeats his delivery well. He has good command, so walks and hits against should be limited. It's possible he could move be moved to the bullpen but he would be a very good late inning reliever as he has the mentality to dominate wherever he pitches. As a starter think Johnny Cueto
Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco: Kyle Zimmer is an athletic righty that has a pretty fresh arm. He may need more time than a typical college arm since he hasn't been pitching a long time and he is inconsistent with his velocity and his secondary pitches. Zimmer is built in the power pitcher mold at 6'4", 220 LBS and has the fastball to go along with it. Sitting 92-96 and reportedly reaching triple digits on occasion. The slider that he throws is a strikeout pitch and he could turn out to be an ace in time but I would be somewhat cautious with him due to his lack of track record.
Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State: At the plate, he has very good contact ability. He tends to be aggressive at the plate and doesn't exhibit the patience that could improve his pitch selection. When he makes contact he hits the ball well. He won't hit a ton of homers, maybe in the 10-15 range but he isn't a slap hitter and should hit more than his fair share of doubles.
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Louisiana State: He is a long and lean at 6'4", 175 and needs to add strength to become a great player. On the mound, he is poised and looks like he belongs. He uses his size and arm angle to work down in the zone. He has mid to upper 90's velocity from a clean, easy delivery. It shows good life tailing down and in to righties. That kind of power arm is not easy to find. The fact he could add 15-20 LBS to his wide shoulders makes me believe he could be a workhorse with dominant stuff at the next level.
His secondary pitches are impressive and flash plus-plus potential. That being said, they are inconsistent.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard Westlake, CA: He could have been the #1 overall pick if it wasn’t for a minor elbow injury. He has the potential to be a 200+ K guy at the major league level.Giolito has the highest ceiling of anyone in the 2012 draft. The amazing thing is that his floor is very high as well. As long as the injury issue doesn't linger , he could have a floor of a #2 starter with the ceiling of an ace. His fastball reaches as high as 99 MPH but is usually a 94-96 MPH well commanded pitch. It has late movement and good sink. He also possesses the best breaking ball in the draft. Think Josh Beckett.
Trey Williams, 3B, Valencia, CA: On the offensive side, Trey can rake. The smooth swinging righty should have an above average bat with above average power as well. He's not a burner but he has solid average speed. He could be a .280 type hitter with 25 home runs annually. He's physically mature and has good baseball instincts. Williams could be a future middle of the order hitter with a good glove as well
Carlos Correa, SS, PR Baseball Academy: Correa has the bat to play at either SS or 3B. Perfect world projection: A top 10 player at either position who could hit .280 with 20+ homers. He could grow into a 30+ homer guy if he fills out and muscles up. Based on skill set & size think Alex Rodriguez with considerably less power.
Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake, CA: Max Fried is a high school lefty possibly the top left-hander in the draft. He is 6'3", 170 LBS and is the definition of projectable. His curve ball is one of the best, if not the best. He is thin and loose in his delivery and can already touch 95. He's more likely a #2 starter but in a perfect world could be a #1. Think Cole Hamels.
Gavin Cecchini, SS, Louisiana: Gavin is a great hitter with a quick swing and a contact approach. The swing is more of a line drive swing than a power swing but he will hit a few out as he gains strength. He will hit his share of extra base hits to the gaps though. He utilizes his speed very well and could be a 25-30 steal guy early on.
Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carrol, TX: Hawkins is 6'3, 210 LBS and looks like he could play in the big leagues right now. He passes the eye test. His speed is impressive, his power is well above average and he could give CF a run in pro ball. He could be a 20-20 guy, or a 30-10 guy in pro ball. Think Torii Hunter.
Byron Buxton, OF, Georgia HS: Buxton is one of the few in this draft with superstar potential. He has quick wrists and should hit for solid average as well as a decent amount of power, in the 15+ homer range. He has more of a line drive swing and the home runs will likely be just from hitting the ball right than powering it over the fence. Perfect world projection: He could hit .280 with 20 homers and steal 20 bases. Think BJ Upton
Position Players: D.J. Davis, an outfielder, could be one of the fastest players in all of baseball right now. He has ran similar times in the 60 yard dash as Billy Hamilton. If you want speed, Davis should get on base enough to pay dividends in the stolen base area. Dave Dahl could have a Jay Bruce type of ceiling with maybe a little less power. Stryker Trahan is a catcher with huge power potential that has no good comparison. He could be a .280/.380/.480 hitter with 15 steals as a catcher. Joey Gallo has enormous power potential. He hits a homer about every 5 at bats in high school. I’m not sure how the bat will play in pro ball but he can also throw 97 MPH on the mound. Gallo's skill set is unique. Adam Dunn is probably the closest to what he offers. Big power, big swing and miss. Albert Almora may make it to the majors before any other prep talent and could have a .300/.370/.500 type peak. Corey Seager is a tall athletic 3B that has a very good bat. He is more athletic and has a better bat than his older brother Kyle. He can stick at 3B as long as he doesn't grow too much taller. He is athletic enough to try the OF if that happens. I would compare him to Alex Gordon. Tanner Rahier could be the player with the most helium and could go in the top 15 picks. He was talked about as a potential 3B in the past but this spring, scouts are raving about his bat and his potential. I even heard a Derek Jeter comp. I think the bat could have that kind of potential at his peak but I’m not sold he can stick up the middle.
Pitchers: High school pitchers Lance McCullers, Jr, Zach Eflin and Matt Smoral are the cream of the crop past Giolito and Fried. McCullers may end up in a bullpen but he can throw 97 and has improved enough to get a shot starting. Matt Smoral broke his foot so he may slide in the draft but he is a big lefty with top of the rotation potential. McCullers has MLB bloodlines and is very athletic. His potential is a solid #2 starter or a dominant closer. He has a upper 90's fastball and a knockout breaking ball. He will need time to develop, so don't expect impact before 2015. Eflin is the prototypical RHP prospect. He is an athletic 6'5", 200 LB guy that has low to mid 90's stuff, a very good breaking ball and projection to maybe gain a tick or two on the fastball. A comp could be Matt Garza.