Offseason Outlook: Big bats highlight Class of 2012 corner infield prospects

By Mike Rosenbaum

While the Class of 2012 may be loaded with depth both on the mound and behind the plate, the same cannot be said for corner infielders.  In 2011, Missouri housed a slew of top-notch first and third basemen such as Mike Ehrhard (CBC), Case Munson (Francis Howell), Payton Reed (Kickapoo), Juan Bowers (Trinity), and Matthew Dye (Liberty) – players who placed near the state-lead in every major offensive category.

This year the corner infield crop is significantly smaller, but despite the reduced field of players there remains considerable talent.  Four of the five players on this list have already committed to Division I institutions, while two have even received consideration for this June’s MLB Amateur Draft.  Therefore, while the list of standout Class of 2012 corner infielders might not be 8-12 players deep as it is at other positions, these five players undoubtedly have the potential to be impact players this spring and beyond.

Spencer JohnsonNo. 1 Spencer Johnson, 1B/3B, Parkview; Committed to Missouri State

For the second straight season, Johnson (right) will head into the spring season as Prep Baseball Report Missouri’s No. 1 ranked Class of 2012 player.  In 2011, the 6-foot-4, right-handed hitter earned Prep Baseball Report Missouri First Team All-State honors after batting .438 with a .546 on-base percentage, eight doubles, 13 home runs, 43 RBI, and 12 stolen bases.  Johnson was also one of a select group of players chosen to attend the annual Super 60 Pro Showcase in McCook, Illinois.  In less than a month he will attend the Super 60 once again, as he looks to continue building his stock for MLB Amateur Draft in June.

No. 9 Braxton Martinez, 3B/SS. Francis Howell North; Committed to St. Louis University

Few players had as impressive of a season as Martinez did in 2011.  Playing mainly shortstop for Howell North, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder batted .522 with 10 home runs and 48 RBI on his way to earning Prep Baseball Report Missouri Second Team All-State honors.  This past summer, Martinez was selected to play for the Cincinnati Reds scout team.  At the plate, the combination of his size and quick wrists yield legitimate power and he possesses a knack for making consistent, hard contact.  Although he will likely once again play shortstop this spring, his size and athleticism projects better at third base at the next level.   Like Johnson, Martinez will attend the Super 60 in early February where he will have a chance to put himself on all 30 teams’ draft radar. 

No. 27 C.J. Martin, RHP/1B, Oakville; Committed to Eastern Illinois

Considering that he only began pitching only two years ago, Martin has made tremendous strides on the mound.  In late November, Eastern Illinois signed the 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander, whose fastball sits in the upper-80s, to a National Letter of Intent.  Although Martin’s future may be on the bump, he will still be a threat at the plate in 2012.  Last spring, Martin hit .324 with six doubles, three home runs, and 17 RBI, and has the power to post even better numbers in 2012.

No. 38 Logan Dollins, 3B, Kennett; Committed to Arkansas State

The quiet leader of a talented Kennett squad that finished third in the Class 3A tournament last season, Dollins is one of the better-kept secrets in the state.  The 5-foot-11 right-handed hitter batted .425 last season with 10 doubles, three triples, five home runs, and 33 RBI – he was a combined 4-for-6 with two doubles, a triple, home run, and four RBI in the state tournament against Westminster and Springfield Catholic.  A starter since his freshman year, Dollins has a .417 career average and his 95 hits and 86 RBI have him on pace to shatter both school records.  He is also arguably the best defensive third baseman in the state with smooth actions and an accurate, mid-80s arm across the infield. 

No. 67 Willie Floros, 3B, SLUH; Uncommitted

After batting .422 with six doubles, 22 runs scored, 14 RBI, and a .554 OBP as the SLUH second baseman in 2010, Floros transitioned to third base prior to the 2011 season.  One of the key run-producers for SLUH, a team that was undefeated during the regular season and finished with an overall record of 24-1, Floros batted .250 but still posted a .406 on-base percentage with a team-leading seven doubles and 24 RBI – the second best mark on the team.  With the graduation of Sasha Kuebel, Floros will be called upon once again to contribute this spring, as SLUH attempts to turn in another successful and memorable season.