The 2012 amateur draft starts tonight, so I’m going to highlight some last-minute prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Stephen Piscotty | 3B/OF
A Bay Area kid who wound up at Stanford, Piscotty has been a consistent performer in college and won the Cape Cod League batting title last summer. He started his career with the Cardinal as a left fielder before moving to third as a sophomore and then back to the outfield as a junior.
Big and athletic at 6-foot-3 and 215 lbs., Piscotty has managed to avoid the pitfalls of the “Stanford Swing,” an approach the coaching staff forces onto the team’s hitters and is designed to filet the ball the other way. He has natural strength and gets backspin on the ball, giving him better than average power potential from the right side — once the Stanford gets taken out of his swing. Piscotty is an aggressive hitter who doesn’t walk much but also doesn’t strike out much because of his contact skills. His hands and feet work well at the hot corner and he has a very strong arm — he’s a weekend starter for the Cardinal but is a better pro prospect as a position player — so a move to right field down the line shouldn’t be a problem if necessary. Piscotty’s makeup and work ethic are considered pluses as well.
Keith Law (#15), MLB.com (#18), and Baseball America (#26) all consider Piscotty a middle-to-back of the first round talent in their latest rankings. For what it’s worth, Kevin Goldstein said the Yankees have started to target college bats and Piscotty in particular with their first round pick (#30 overall) in his latest mock draft. I like him because right-handed power is hard to find, but we shouldn’t downplay how difficult it may be to get him back to his natural swing to untap that pop. The Yankees have a pretty strong track record of cleaning up swings and getting more offense out of players than expected — Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Dante Bichette Jr. being the most notable examples — which is comforting, is nothing else.