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Baseball Draft-Capsules

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr./AP Sports Writer
June 3, 2012 at 1:03 a.m.


Some of the top players eligible for Monday's baseball draft (with position, school, height, weight and college class):

ALBERT ALMORA

OF, Mater Academy (Fla.), 6-foot-2, 170 pounds.

One of the top high school hitters in the draft is possible top-five pick and has established himself in big-time competition, playing on six national teams including being MVP of gold medal-winning U.S. team at 18-under Pan American Championships in Colombia. Has terrific outfield instincts and projects as big league center fielder with outstanding arm. Also has powerful bat. Hit .606 with six homers and 35 RBIs as senior.

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MARK APPEL

RHP, Stanford, 6-5, 215, junior.

Ace of Cardinal's staff with mid-90s fastball is possible No. 1 overall pick after solid season, going 10-1 with 2.27 ERA and 127 Ks in 119 innings. Would be first time in draft history that No. 1 picks in MLB and NFL (Andrew Luck, Indianapolis) came from same school. In last start before draft, avenged only loss of season by beating Fresno State in NCAA tournament, fanning 11 in dominant four-hitter.

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BYRON BUXTON

OF, Appling County (Ga.) H.S. 6-2, 170.

Possible top overall pick could be first high school outfielder to go No. 1 overall since Delmon Young in 2003. Considered five-tool player with blazing speed, outstanding arm, terrific defense and bat that's considered the best among all draft prospects. Has raw power that has lots of potential to be at least average at next level.

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CARLOS CORREA

SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, 6-4, 190.

The 17-year-old Correa is expected to be at least a top-10 pick, which would make him highest selection ever to come from Puerto Rico - besting catcher Ramon Castro, who went No. 17 to Houston in 1994. Committed to play at University of Miami, Correa has incredibly strong arm and terrific instincts/motions defensively. Should stay at SS at next level. Lots of power and bat speed that makes scouts drool.

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MAX FRIED

LHP, Harvard-Westlake H.S. (Calif.), 6-4, 180.

Top lefty in draft transferred from Montclair College Prep for senior season, joining friend Lucas Giolito, also a likely first-rounder, and becoming ace of staff. Projects as front-of-rotation type of arm in majors with low- to mid-90s fastball, nice, tight curve and terrific changeup. A UCLA recruit who's likely to go in top half of opening round.

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KEVIN GAUSMAN

RHP, LSU, 6-4, 185, sophomore.

Sixth-round pick of Dodgers in 2010, but didn't sign and then stepped into LSU's rotation as freshman. Draft-eligible sophomore has had terrific season, going 11-1 with 2.72 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 115 2-3 innings. Has smooth, easy delivery with fastball that usually sits in the low- to mid-90s but can jump as high as 100 mph. Pitched well in two starts for USA Collegiate National Team last summer.

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LUCAS GIOLITO

RHP, Harvard-Westlake H.S. (Calif.), 6-6, 230.

Was considered country's top high school right-hander entering season, and still might be despite not pitching after spraining elbow ligament in March that required rest (not surgery) to heal. While teams might be slightly scared off, Giolito projects to possible front-line starter when healthy. Was considered possible No. 1 overall pick before injury. Throws fastball in upper-90s and has outstanding curve and changeup. Father, Rick, is Hollywood producer and actor. Could join Max Fried as first-rounders from same high school.

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COURTNEY HAWKINS

OF, Carroll H.S. (Texas), 6-2, 210.

Talented Hawkins also has fastball in the low-90s, and was dominant in playoff start on mound last week. But combination of powerful, quick bat and outstanding outfield arm has teams looking at him as potential big league slugger. Can be overaggressive, leading to some strikeouts, but overall ability is tantalizing. Projects as corner outfielder in majors.

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TRAVIS JANKOWSKI

OF, Stony Brook, 6-3, 190, junior.

America East player of year is one of college baseball's top leadoff men and among draft's top all-around athletes. Helped lead Seawolves to second NCAA tournament appearance in three years at the plate and in field. Despite average power, left-handed hitter constantly slaps ball around field and uses terrific speed to make things happen on bases. Projects as sure-handed center fielder at next level. Was MVP of prestigious Cape Cod League last summer.

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LANCE McCULLERS Jr.

RHP, Jesuit H.S. (Fla.), 6-2, 205.

Son of former major league reliever Lance McCullers has similar strong build and has improved since being moved into starting rotation after mostly relieving last two years. Gatorade national high school player of year has fastball that reaches mid-90s consistently and mixes in nasty slider that hits mid-80s. Went 13-0 with 0.18 ERA, 140 Ks and 30 walks in 77 1-3 innings, but also hit .280 with 21 RBIs while playing shortstop. Will pitch in pros, although teams mixed on whether it will be as starter or reliever.

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DEVEN MARRERO

SS, Arizona State, 6-1, 195, junior.

Top college shortstop was selected as Pac-12 defensive player of year in 2011 and has terrific range, enough for teams to project him to stay at position at next level. Hit just .279 with 4 HRs and 32 RBIs for Sun Devils, but is line-drive gap hitter who could develop respectable power for his position in pros.

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MARCUS STROMAN

RHP, Duke, 5-9, 185, junior.

Hardly strikes an imposing presence on mound, but has terrific repertoire that makes him dominant at times with mid-90s fastball, nasty slider and solid changeup. Led Division I with 136 Ks. Finished 6-5 with 2.39 ERA, and had 17 strikeouts in seven innings vs. George Washington in March. Has been compared to former Royals star Tom Gordon because of size and velocity.

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MICHAEL WACHA

RHP, Texas A&M, 6-6, 200, junior.

One of college baseball's most dominant pitchers has smooth mechanics and outstanding command of low- to mid-90s fastball and devastating changeup that Baseball America called the best in this year's draft class. Could become a front-line starter if he continues to improve breaking pitch. Went undrafted out of high school in 2009, but could be one of first 15 picks this time around.

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KYLE ZIMMER

RHP, San Francisco, 6-4, 220, junior.

Potential top-five pick is in mix with Stanford's Mark Appel and LSU's Kevin Gausman as top right-handers available in this year's draft. Dons' ace went just 5-3, but had 2.85 ERA with 104 Ks and only 17 BBs in 88 1-3 innings, and threw consecutive shutouts during one stretch. Has fastball that can hit high-90s regularly and a knee-buckling curve. Draft stock started to rise a year ago, when he outdueled UCLA's Gerrit Cole - the No. 1 pick in the draft - during NCAA tournament.

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MIKE ZUNINO

C, Florida, 6-2, 220, junior.

Slugger is excellent defensive catcher who has been compared to Jason Varitek for way he handles pitching staff. Mentioned as potential No. 1 overall pick, and is expected to be one of first three players selected. Was Southeastern Conference player of year last season and followed that up with outstanding campaign at plate for top-ranked Gators.

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