Moving along in the infield, it’s time to take a look at some of the more premium defensive positions. Some of those that come out of this group could be among the more valuable position players in the 2012 Draft, both sides of the ball considered. It’s hard to peg prep second basemen. Most that project to end up there are currently shortstops, and talented ones at that. Those that fit into that category here are not perfect fits, and could still end up at the shortstop position with work.
|Stock Up||Nolan Fontana, Florida: He has made marked improvements on both offense and defense this year. Always grading out high on makeup, Fontana’s work ethic has shown up a lot. His defense could make him a solid shortstop, or plus defensive second baseman. Fontana’s plate discipline and high contact rate is yet another positive. The most surprising development this year would have to be in the power department. It may have made him a lock for the first round.|
|Stock Down||Deven Marrero, Arizona State: Not quite sure what happened here. He really just hasn’t shown the same kind of offensive potential that he did last year. The growth most expected has not shown up in 2012. In a shallow draft, he shouldn’t fall out of the first round, even with an underwhelming spring.|
College Second Basemen:
|Stock Up||Joey DeMichele, Arizona State: The second/third basemen started the year hot, and has continued to be one of the Sun Devils best hitters. I’m not sure that he has one massive standout tool, but if you had to choose one, it might be the hit tool. Solid defense could give him a long pro career.|
|Stock Down||Kenny Diekroeger, Stanford: He has generally underwhelmed most of his college career. Even still, he won’t be a bad selection for whichever team takes him. Diekroeger’s pure talent and potential are enough to warrant a supplemental 1st round gamble. Admittedly, the offensive talents most expected to see the last two years have been glaringly absent.|
High School Shortstops:
|Stock Up||Addison Russell, Florida HS: If he can stick at the shortstop position, he could challenge Carlos Correa and Gavin Cecchini for the title of top offensive prep shortstop. There are plenty of skeptics that think he’s ticketed for third though. Even still, he has the bat for a corner postion. A later round pick in the first round is possible.|
|Stock Down||C.J. Hinojosa, Texas HS: He came into the spring as a darkhorse candidate to be one of the very best shortstops. A solid commitment to Texas had made him less of a possibility, and a much more recent shoulder injury keeps him from convincing scouts of his potential before June. A later overslot sign is still possible, but who knows with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.|
High School Second Basemen:
|Stock Up||Jesmuel Valentin Diaz, Puerto Rico: Still very much a shortstop right now, there have been enough questions about his defense to fit him here. It’s certainly not horrible though, and he has the quickness to be solid there with work. He has been overshadowed by Carlos Correa in Puerto Rico, but don’t sleep on Valentin Diaz, especially considering his strong 20111 summer showcase.|
|Stock Down||Alex Bregman, New Mexico HS: The part-time infielder, part-time catcher was looking like a very interesting prep bat throughout last year and the early stages of this spring. Some teams may get scared off by the lack of exposure to him this summer after a finger injury though. Bregman could be a fantastic pick after the 1st round with his mix of work ethic, quickness, and impressive hit tool. Especially if he can stick at shortstop or catcher. If not, LSU will have a fine player.
Next Up: Third Basemen, Outfielders