Standout Carroll High School outfielder and University of Texas commit Courtney Hawkins is next at No. 6 in our pre-2012 draft coverage of 12 Blue Jays draft targets in 12 days. Like we did last year, we’ll also be hosting a live chat throughout the entire first round again starting at 7 p.m. ET, so make sure to pop by.
The players on our list are not who are considered to be the “best” players in the draft, but rather who could realistically be around when the Jays take the podium and who we would like to see the Blue Jays go after, with an emphasis on the latter.
Other articles in the series:
No. 1 – Lucas Giolito
No. 2 – Max Fried
No. 3 – Lance McCullers
No. 4 – Zach Eflin
No. 5 – Corey Seager
No. 7 – Chris Stratton
No. 8 – Richie Shaffer
No. 9 – Nick Travieso
No. 10 – Lucas Sims
No. 11 – Andrew Heaney
No. 12 – Joey Gallo
2012 MLB Draft Preview
No. 6: Courtney Hawkins
OF/RHP | 18 years old / 6′3″ 210 lbs
Born: November 12, 1993 in Corpus Christi, Texas
High School: Carroll (Corpus Christi, TX)
College Commitment: Texas
Baseball America Rank: 15 (7th among position players)
ESPN/Keith Law Rank: 10 (5th among position players)
- Was ranked as having the best power in the state of Texas according to Perfect Game
- Ranked sixth in the latest edition of ESPN’s The Starting Nine, which profiles the top nine high school players in the country
- When not involved with baseball, Hawkins played basketball, ran track and field and even fielded college offers for football
- Doesn’t have a favorite MLB team but players like Jackie Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Justin Upton all had an impact on him
- A good student that will prioritize a college scholarship in any post-draft contract negotiations
From the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic:
Doing a back flip on flat ground, courtesy of Baseball America:
Armed with a low-90′s fastball, a splitter and an intriguing slider, right-handed pitcher Courtney Hawkins has gone 3-2 with a 0.99 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings for his Carroll Tigers squad this season. Success on the mound, however, is nothing new for Hawkins, as he went 10-2 with a 2.35 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 2011 and pitched a complete game to help Carroll win the Texas 5A title the year before that in 2010.
But don’t let Hawkins’ performance as a pitcher fool you, because he will be drafted in the first round on Monday as an outfielder and as one of the top high school bats in the country.
A gifted athlete with plus-plus strength, Hawkins’ MLB-ready, 210-pound body is the main reason why he was ranked by Perfect Game as having the best power in the baseball-rich state of Texas, and is considered one of the best power hitters in this draft. Showing plus-plus bat speed and a big, powerful swing, Hawkins drives the ball with tremendous pull-side power and can spray the ball deep to any part of the ballpark. His power has been described as easy, in that it doesn’t take much for him to drive the ball deep, and he profiles as a potential 25 home run-hitter in the majors.
Hawkins is a great fastball hitter and can hit the fastest pitches, but his power fades somewhat against breaking balls, raising questions about his contact ability down the road when coupled with his free-swinging approach. Regardless, Hawkins is considered an exciting prospect with five-tool potential because of his natural athleticism in the field.
“He’s still got some things to work on with his approach at the plate,” one National League scouting director told Perfect Game in March, “but it’s all there. He’s got the whole package.”
Hawkins initially had a verbal commitment with Oklahoma before signing with Texas to play center field, a position that scouts are mixed he’ll play at the big-league level. Hawkins takes good routes in the field and runs relatively well, especially for his size, but is considered to lack the defensive upside required for center field. Instead, Hawkins fits the profile of a prototypical right fielder, considering his plus arm plays in the outfield, having been clocked at 91 mph on throws with good accuracy as well.
“He’s more athletic than anybody I’ve ever coached that also has as high of a baseball IQ has he has,” Carroll coach Lee Yeager told Perfect Game in a February interview . “He’s really gifted and there’s no doubt he’s the best player I’ve ever coached. He does things on a baseball field that a lot of people just can’t do.”
Hawkins is physically and athletically advanced for his age but also extremely raw, especially when grading his hit tool. He’s considered to be a high-risk, high-reward selection, the kind of player that could muster a low average with a ton of strikeouts or one that could be a classic right fielder with good defense, a great arm and 20/20 potential.
Why the Blue Jays could be interested:
Even though pitching is the currency of baseball, we could see a change in draft strategy from the Blue Jays this year and watch them select a position player with their highest pick for the first time since selecting David Cooper No. 17 overall in 2008. Hawkins will probably be long gone when it’s the Jays’ turn to pick at No. 17 on Monday, but as a coveted, high-reward high school player with plus power and plus strength, the Jays would surely snatch him up if he somehow fell to them.
Hawkins has succeeded on the field at every national showcase that he’s been to, but what has drawn rave reviews is his makeup, an important element in a player to any organization. In addition to being a fierce competitor and an intelligent player, Hawkins simply enjoys playing baseball.
“Courtney is just an outstanding young guy,” Houston Banditos Black owner/head coach Ray DeLeon told Perfect Game. “Sometimes I have to tone him down because he has too much fun. He’s just a happy go-lucky guy and he’s just exactly what big leaguers act like. When it’s time to go, he goes, and he just has a good time doing it.”
The draft coverage here at Jays Journal continues — stay tuned here and on Twitter as Kyle (@KyleMatte) and I (@Jared_Macdonald) continue our top 12 draft target series leading up to the first round on the Monday, June 4th.