2012 Indians 1st Round Pick: OF Tyler Naquin
June 4, 2012
With the 1st pick in the 2012 Draft the Cleveland Indians selected outfielder Tyler Naquin out of Texas A&M.
Born: 04/24/1991 - Height: 6'2" - Weight: 175 - Bats: Left - Throws: Right
Baseball America: 25th
John Sickels: 29th
Keith Law: 42nd
Perfect Game: 19th
Jonathan Mayo: 30th
Tony’s Quick take: The Indians made a pretty big reach here, at least according to most of the national draft boards. Naquin is a solid player, but there were better upside players available and more impact quality that it seems the Indians went for an underslot guy here so they could save some money on the pick and then use the saved money so they can be aggressive later in the draft. We will see with that. In any case, he is solid defender with a very good arm, can hit, and runs well. He lacks much power, so for him to go #1 here the Indians have to believe he can handle playing center field.
Jeff Ellis: Naquin might have the best arm in this entire draft and it is his best tool. He can also hit as he has posted high averages in college. More than a few places said he is the best pure hitter in the draft, and he has the potential to be a guy who might end up in the top ten for average. He is also a man without a position. He doesn't have the power for a corner slot, and most think he won't be able to play defensively in centerfield. He doesn't strike out a bunch, but he doesn't walk either. He did get a massive jump in stolen bases this year, and while he is not superfast he is smart on the bases much like Jason Kipnis. We have to assume the Indians think he can handle centerfield, so they get a guy whose profile is that of an okay centerfielder with a cannon arm who might be an ideal number two hitter. The first comp that came to mind for me was Michael Brantley if he had a plus-plus hit tool.
Andrew Zajac: Naquin is a guy who I don't believe many of us had on our radars. He has a cannon for an arm and can hit for average. The two problems, in my opinion, are that he lacks true leadoff hitter speed and he has fringe power. The Indians must believe he can stay in center, but I have a few questions about that. Ideally, he can be a solid #2 hitter who can hit around .300 or better. As Jeff noted, he reminds me a bit of a Michael Brantley.
Indians Press Release:
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has selected OF TYLER NAQUIN with the 15th overall selection in the first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Naquin, 21, is a junior outfielder at Texas A & M University in College Station, TX. He batted .380 (92-242) for the Aggies this season with 18 doubles, 6 triples, 3 home runs and 49RBI in 61 games. He also scored 56 runs, stole 21 bases in 26 attempts and posted an OPS of .999 (.458OB/.541SLG). A first-team All-Big 12 selection, he also is a semifinalist for the 2012 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award and received Louisville Slugger third team All-American honors.
As a sophomore in 2011, Naquin led all NCAA Division I batters in hits (104) and hit a Big 12-best .381 (104-273) with 23 2B, 7 3B, 2HR and 44RBI in 68 games. He was named Big 12 Player of the Year and garnered All-America honors from College Baseball Insider (First Team), American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings (Second Team) and Collegiate Baseball (Second Team) on an Aggie team that advanced to the College World Series in Omaha. Last summer he was a member of the USA Baseball 2011 Collegiate National Team, batting .321 (17-53) with 4 2B, 1 3B, 2HR & 10 RBI in 12 games.
The 6-3, left-handed hitting outfielder finished his three-year collegiate career with a .348 (238-687) batting average with 49 2B, 13 3B, 7HR, 153RS and 112 RBI in 187 games. Tyler hails from Spring, TX outside of Houston where he was a two-time all-State selection at Klein Collins High School. The Aggies’ season ended yesterday after a loss to TCU. Naquin (NAY-quinn) was drafted out of high school in the 33rd round in 2009 by the Baltimore Orioles.
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But after thinking about it, I think we need to consider what Tony has been saying - this guy has been propped as having the best hit tool of the college players, and was compared to David DeJesus on the MLB broadcast. Now, DeJesus as a corner OF - while definitely an MLB player - is probably not a guy who drives a team to a title. But a DeJesus playing an average or better defensive CF *IS* a heck of an MLB player.
From my understanding, Naquin has been kept out of CF in College Station by one of the better defensive CFs in college ball, so it's not unreasonable to assume he can play a decent CF. Added to that the possibility that the Tribe's scouting staff thinks he may be able to add some power... I can see him being a solid MLB CFer.
(of course, he may wind up not being able to play CF, and may not be able to add power, and may not be a .300 hitter and more a .280 hitter, and that guy doesn't really help).
Also, I'd like to point out that while Kipnis' college numbers look considerably better (and I'm a huge Kipnis fan, so if Naquin can be close to Kipnis I'll be happy) Kipnis played in the silly ball era of college ball, while Naquin's sophomore and junior years were spent with the deadened BBCOR bat, so it's not close to an apples to apples comparison.
The sad part is we have light hitting corner outfield prospects like Naquin throughout the system in the likes of Crowe, Bo Greenwell, Tyler Holt, Tim Fedroff, Anthony Gallas, Jordan Smith, Jordan Henry, Air Jordan..
By the way, I have tons of quotes from Brad Grant and Tyler Naquin in today's update (literally a full page of them) and some quotes/comments from rival scouts. And of course lots of analysis and opinion on the pick and their plan of attack: http://www.indiansprospectinsider.com/blog/2012-mlb-draft-thoughts-on-naquin-and-more-28220
I just want to say again both BA and PG said he is the best pure hitter in the draft. He is not a Trevor Crowe, his hit tool is legit.
He is not who I wanted but there is some potential for a solid MLB player
do you see someone like Naquin moving quickly through the system because he's an advanced hitter and could potentially sign early? Do you think its possible he could be in the majors by next year?
I was rooting for Giolito or Stroman though. Shows you what I know.
I really am hoping he doesn't sign but that appears unlikely. Sounds like he'll sign for whatever they throw him. I think this guy projects as a 4th OF'er . Something this team has an absolute abundance of.
Plus you wonder if he signs under slot, and allows the Indians to take a risk in round 2
Also, let me say before I post this tomorrow, but the industry really likes Naquin. Guy is viewed highly. May not become a star, but he's well liked by the people I talked to tonight....I will have at least one quote from outside the org maybe a few other if I am given permission.
and the Tribe reach for what looks to be a Trevor Crowe esque player?
Willing to bet the Indians go with an arm in round 2 though.