TAMPA - With more than half of Prospect Wire's staff based in the state of Florida, we tend to see a lot of Florida players multiple times.
On Wednesday, we released our 2012 Top 100 Prospects for the state of Florida. 10 observations:
1. Lance McCullers is as easy of a #1 as it gets. I live in Tampa and have had the luxury of watching McCullers throw at least 7 different times and he is never less than 93mph, and has been up to 97mph. His 82-84mph breaking ball is as "plus" as it gets. SS Addison Russell and RHP Walker Weickel are also a pretty easy #2 and #3. Quality athletes like Russell that can REALLY hit don't come along often. Russell's package includes all of the necessary tools, but also has maturity, instincts, and A+ makeup. The 6'6" Weickel is super-projectable and easily sits in the 90's while still learning to coordinate has massive levers.
2. #4, #5, #6, and #7 are practically interchangeable. All four are outstanding pure hitters that seem born to hit a baseball. Jesse Winker gets the nod at the 4 spot with the left-handed bat and one of the more projectable bodies of the four. #5 Chris Chinea comes next despite a mature frame and right handed bat, he can really mash and can play a premium position (catcher). Avery Romero comes in at #6 despite the smallest frame of the four. The Dan Uggla comparisons as an impact bat and MLB second baseman seem fair if all the stars align for Romero. The most exciting of the four is lefty Keon Barnum, who has drawn comparisons to Fred McGriff during his 2 years in high school. Barnum probably has the best bat speed, he's probably the strongest, he swings it left-handed and he is very projectable. The problem? He's still learning how to hit, and has swung and missed a ton early in his high school career. Once he learns how to hit - lookout.
3. Toni "Oshea" Jones comes in at #21. The Tampa, FL SS/RHP is a bit under the radar because he hasn't attended major events. But his last 4 outings have been 91-92mph as effortless as it gets. He can really pick it at SS, has a plus arm, can run, and has quick hands at the plate. All the tools are their for Oshea, he just needs player development at this point.
4. LHP Ivan Pelaez comes in at #30. Pelaez is a small-framed lefty, and that alone makes this somewhat of a controversial ranking. But there isn't a better "pitcher" out there. Pelaez is advanced on setting up hitters, has outstanding command, and above average secondary stuff. None of his secondary stuff is "plus" right now, but he can put it exactly where he wants it to go, and he pitches with a mean streak.
5. RHP Yency Almonte comes in at #47. The Miami Columbus righty doesn't have the velocity right now, but he has a very projectable body and delivery. There is a lot more to come from Yency. #58 Correlle Prime also falls into this category.