The college baseball season is a week old, which means the time has come to begin assessing the draft potential for thousands of baseball players. ESPN Insider Keith Law has begun his preparations for the 2012 MLB Draft by putting together his Top 50 prospects across college and high school baseball. This year does not feature a sure-fire number one like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper, but it does feature a lot of solid talent up and down the draft board.
The Bay Area is well represented in Law's Top 50 list. Bay Area high schools are fairly limited in terms of the top prospects, but six of Law's Top 50 come from Stanford, Saint Mary's College and University of San Francisco. Additionally, one of the "ten more names to know" is RHP Freddy Avis from Menlo Park HS in Atherton.
Mark Appel is the most prominent prospect on the board, with Law ranking him third. Law thinks he could be in the mix for the number one overall pick, but Law thinks Appel is a bit inconsistent and does not miss enough bats to justify the top pick yet:
He's an athletic right-hander who has touched 99 mph with his fastball but sits more low- to mid-90s while flashing an occasionally plus breaking ball; hitters see the ball well out of his hand and he doesn't miss as many bats as you'd like.
The list includes two Stanford infielders in third baseman Stephen Piscotty (#11) and shortstop Kenny Diekroeger (#49):
He probably ends up at first base or in an outfield corner, but he can hit and is showing more power already this season with more hip rotation to drive the ball.
He won't stay at short, and Stanford has really screwed up his swing, but he's still worth a high pick in the hopes that a pro team can undo what's been done in Palo Alto.
Saint Mary's has two players on the list including third baseman Patrick Wisdom (#21) and RHP Martin Agosta (#40)
There was a lot of early hype on Wisdom as one of the few potential impact bats in the college ranks; his approach is aggressive, perhaps too much so, but the ball comes off his bat well and he projects to stay at third base.
He's a strike-throwing right-hander has touched 94 mph and will get lots of looks this spring thanks to his teammate Wisdom.
Finally, San Francisco Dons RHP Kyle Zimmer comes in at No. 18 on Law's Top 50:
He's recovered from some minor injury questions to sit 94-98 mph for three innings in his start last Friday, with an average curveball and some feel for a change.
We'll keep an eye out over the course of the season as these prospects and others look to improve their draft stock heading into June's Rule 4 Draft.