Indians take Naquin in first round

Selected 15th overall…

Outfielder Tyler Naquin

Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 190
Age: 21

Previously Drafted:

33rd round (986th) in 2009 by Baltimore

2012: Junior season at Texas A&M. Hit .380/.458/.541 in 61 games. Had 92 hits, 56 runs, 49 RBIs, 25 walks, 21 stolen bases, 18 doubles, six triples and three home runs. Semifinalist for USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.

2010-12:  Hit .348 (238-for-687) with 49 doubles, 13 triples, seven homers, 153 runs and 112 RBIs in 187 games for the Aggies.

From MLB.com expert Jonathan Mayo, who ranked Naquin 30th in his Top 100 prospects list heading into the Draft:

“Naquin brings a lot of qualities to the table, but some of it doesn’t add up, making some wonder if he’s a bit of a “tweener.”

Coming from a top-notch program, Naquin has a great approach to the game and plays it the right way. He has a smooth swing from the left side and can spray line drives all over the field. He will occasionally show some leverage and loft, but hasn’t really shown much power to date. He’s a solid-average runner with excellent baserunning instincts which allow him to take the extra base and steal some bases. He might have the best outfield arm in the Draft class, a true plus. He shows pretty good range from the outfield.

Here’s where it gets confusing. Naquin has the arm for right field, but not the power bat typically associated with the position. He has some skills for center field, but hasn’t played there much and might not have the range. Still, his ability to hit, run well, throw and play the game with plus baseball IQ should have plenty of suitors.”

From Indians scouting director Brad Grant on Monday night:

“We feel he’s got the chance to be an above-average hitter. That’s what really atttracted us to Tyler. He’s got unique and unbelievable eye-hand coordination. He’s got really good bat speed. He’s got a knack for centering the baseball. He drives the ball the opposite way very well. He’s got more power than some guys give him credit for. He has the ability to drive the ball to the gap. He has the ability to turn doubles into triples and he’ll occasionall pull a ball out of the yard, too. I think his approach right now is to look to get on base, look to get a hit. When he wants to turn on the ball, he’s got the ability to do that, too.”

From Naquin, who had a conference call on Monday night:

“People rave about power numbers and how I need to increase [mine]. I have no doubt that it will. It’s just getting bigger and stronger and more experience at the next level. … That’s something I talked to my hitting coach about. He said, ‘Hey man, you can go out this season andyou can hit .300 with eight or nine home runs. Or, you could hit close to .400 and hit three home runs.’ In order to help out my team and do what I needed to do to give us a chance to go to Omaha, it was be that guy. Whether I was hitting three-hole for three-quarters of the season and driving in runs, or being that leadoff guy and sparking that flame to get us going early in a game. That was definitely my role, to get on base and let those other guys do their job.”

Check Indians.com later for a feature on Naquin.

The 2012 First-Year Player Draft will resume at Noon ET on Tuesday. MLB.com’s Justin Albers (@Justin_Albers) will be providing updates on Twitter as well as here on the blog. I will be providing updates from the Indians-Tigers series in Detroit.

–JB

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