The 2012 amateur draft is just two days away, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Shane Watson | RHP
A Southern California kid from the Los Angeles suburbs, Watson garnered a lot of attention this spring for his strong performances against high-end area competition with Lakewood High School. He’s committed to USC.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 200 lbs., Watson’s bread and butter pitch is one of the best curveballs in the entire draft. It sits in the upper-70/low-80s with sharp break and he has the ability to throw it for strikes or bury it in the dirt for swings and misses. His fastball usually sits in the low-90s and he’s shown the ability to hold his velocity deep into games. He’s also flashed 96-97 in showcase events. Watson throws a changeup and a cutter but both need a lot of work. He has a clean delivery but must work on overall consistency, typical high school stuff. Watson’s athleticism and competitiveness are considered pluses as well. Here’s more video.
Baseball America (#30) and MLB.com (#34) like Watson more than Keith Law (#50) based on their recent rankings, but all three agree he’s a fringe first rounder/sandwich round player. It’s worth noting that Baseball America said the Yankees have some interest in the young righty for their first round selection (#30 overall) in their latest mock draft. I’m a fan of prep arms in general so you won’t find any complaints here, though I do like that Watson has a legitimate knockout offering in his curveball. Developing an out pitch is one less thing he’ll have to work on in pro ball.