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Looking Ahead To The 2012 MLB Draft

Right now, the Houston Astros are on pace to have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft. There is still quite a bit of season to play, so there is no guarantee they could finish that highly in the draft.

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But, it stands to reason they'll have another pretty high pick. If they do land in the top five, which prospects might be the most interesting?

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Stanford right-hander Mark Appel has had a sensational season for the Cardinal and could jump to the top of the 2012 class. So could fellow Stanford teammate Kenny Diekroeger, who's playing shortstop but figures to switch to third base in the pros.

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The guy who most intrigues me for Houston is Galveston Ball outfielder Nick Williams. The 6-foot-3 hitter has been compared to Jason Heyward as a junior and really impressed scouts on the showcase circuit last summer as a 16-year old.

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This season, Nick "Billy" Williams hit .537/.637/1.159 in 102 plate appearances with 13 home runs, eight doubles and two triples. Williams also stole 14 of 16 bases and struck out 19 times. As a junior. At a Class 4A school.

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The talk about Williams is pretty hyperbolic right now, like this quote from Baseball America last November: 

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His swing hints at the possibility of huge power. If Williams learns to keep his head on the ball and front side closed consistently he will be the rare player who has no limitations.

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Scouting baseball isn't the same as scouting for football, where you get extra credit for drafting local guys. But, if Williams is really this good and he's there at the top of next year's draft, you have to think Jim Crane might be very tempted to take him and make Williams the face of the Astros. With Williams and George Springer, the Astros would have a very powerful middle of the order.

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