With the 23rd-overall pick (and their second in the first round), the Cardinals pick Florida State senior James Ramsey.
Ramsey has a solid left-handed bat and hit .385/.520/.683 this season. He has some speed and could play center field or second base. His tools grade out as average to slightly above and he's a good all-around player, but none of his tools jump off the page.
As a senior, Ramsey will likely sign for a deal below the slot value of $1.775 for this pick.
Duke has had plenty of first-round picks in basketball, but 5-foot-9 righthander Marcus Stroman became the school's first first-rounder in the June MLB draft. The Blue Jays made it happen with the No. 22 overall selection—their second first-round selection, following prep outfielder D.J. Davis at No. 17 overall.
Stroman jumped into first-round consideration last summer when he struck out 17 of the 25 batters he faced with USA Baseball's college national team as the closer. Then he performed consistently all spring for a poor Duke team, ranking second in the nation in strikeouts (136, behind Andrew Heaney's 140) and third in strikeouts per nine innings.
Stroman gets strikeouts both with his fastball, which sits 92-94 mph, and he has added a changeup and cutter in the last year as he evolved from an infielder/closer into a starter. He always has had his wipeout slider that can make hitters look silly. He should be one of the fastest players to the majors in this year's class, and some scouts think he can start. But they all know he can be a big league reliever in short order.
With the 21st overall pick in the draft, the Braves went with the hometown kid and selected righthander Luke Sims from Brookwood High in Snellville, Ga.
Sims has an athletic build and throws his fastball in the 90-93 mph range, topping out at 97. He shows a power breaking ball that is his best secondary offering and has an excellent track record of success on the high school showcase circuit and during his high school career.
The Giants have a strong reputation for drafting pitchers in the first round and getting them to the big leagues. Now they hope Mississippi State righthander Chris Stratton can join a recent lineage that includes current San Francisco starters Matt Cain (2002), Tim Lincecum (2006) and Madison Bumgarner (2007).
Stratton excelled this spring for the Bulldogs and edged out LSU's Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick tonight, as Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year. His stuff isn't quite as firm, with a fastball that usually sits 92-93 mph but touches the mid-90s. His breaking stuff sets him apart; he throws both a slider and a curveball, and both can be above-average, with the slider getting higher grades.
While he doesn't have a 70 pitch, Stratton has lots of 55s and 60s as well as a fairly fresh arm. He fits right in for vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow, who has overseen the Giants' pitcher development for 16 years.
With the 19th-overall pick in the draft, the Cardinals went with Texas A&M righthander Michael Wacha.
Wacha is one of the most polished pitchers in this year's class and is a great value at No. 19, as we had him rated as the 11th-best player in the draft.
Standing 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, Wacha has an above-average fastball and the best changeup in this year's class. His slider is still developing but shows flashes of being a plus pitch. He pounds the zone with all of his pitches and works at a fast pace.
Wacha joins teammate Tyler Naquin in the first round and gives the Aggies a pair of first round picks for the first time since 1993.
The Dodgers have hit the Carolinas hard in recent years, relying on scout Lon Joyce for players such as Allen Webster, Jerry Sands, Jake Lemmerman and James Baldwin III, among others in their system.
They went back to the Carolinas for this year's first-rounder, selecting suburban Charlotte, N.C., infielder Corey Seager. The Northwest Cabarrus High alum is the younger brother of Mariners infielder Kyle Seager and has similar pure hitting ability while projecting to hit for more power and a better frame. Seager has a chance to play shortstop as a pro but likely slides to third base and has the pop to fit the profile. He has a smooth, powerful swing, and the consensus was he'd have to go out in the first round to keep him from attending South Carolina.
With the 17th-overall pick, the Blue Jays selected outfielder D.J. Davis from Stone High in Wiggins, Miss.
Davis' father, Wayne, played in the Blue Jays minor league system from 1985-1988.
D.J. is a speedy lefthanded hitter with four potential plus tools. His arm is his only below-average tool right now. Click here to see video of Davis from last fall.
The Nationals have not been afraid to spend money in the draft, and they will have to if they intend to land their 2012 first-round pick.
Righthander Lucas Giolito entered the spring as the top high school pitcher on the board, but he hasn't pitched since March due to a sprained ligament in his elbow. The Nationals were unafraid and selected him 16th overall, getting potentially a top talent who fell due to injury. The same thing happened last year with first-rounder Anthony Rendon, the Rice infielder who already has been hurt again this spring.
Their bonus pool ranks 23rd out of the 30 teams at roughly $4.4 million. Giolito, whose fastball touched 100 mph this spring, is committed to UCLA and gives Harvard-Westlake High a pair of first-round picks, joining No. 7 overall pick Max Fried. They are the first pair of prep pitcher teammates to go in the first round since 2002 (Scott Kazmir, Clint Everts).
Giolito is throwing off flat ground but hasn't thrown off a mound since March. Giolito has incredible upside but obvious red flags due to health and signability, making this a gutsy pick for the Nationals.
With the 15th-overall pick, the Indians passed on college righthanders to take Texas A&M outfielder Tyler Naquin.
Naquin is the best pure hitter in this year's class, with a lefthanded swing that has evoked comparisons to Will Clark. He has a line drive approach and goes to the opposite field with authority. Naquin is a plus runner, though it isn't clear how well he'll be able to handle center field since he mostly played right field for the Aggies.
Naquin doesn't project to hit for a lot of home run power, but should hit plenty of doubles and has the best arm strength in this year's draft.
The Reds were linked to many players throughout the latest mock drafts but wound up taking a late-rising high school pitcher: Miami area prep Nick Travieso out of Archbishop McCarthy High.
Travieso was mostly a relief pitcher and hitter until his senior season, when he emerged as one of the top starters in the state of Florida. Now he winds up being the top Florida prep pitcher drafted—ahead of Lance McCullers, Walker Weickel and Zach Eflin.
Travieso improved as the season went on, adding pitchability to his plus stuff. He ranked 40th on the BA 500 thanks to his power repertoire but moved up to No. 30 on BA's updated Top 50. He's running his fastball up to 98 mph at times this spring and has a slider that earns "wipeout" descriptions. "He's a piece of clay," an area scout said late in May. "He used to be just all fastballs, but now he's learning to use his secondary stuff, and he's learning how to repeat his delivery.
"He didn't start throwing his breaking ball until last year. Now he's touching 86 mph with his slider, and he's getting better life on his two-seamer as well."
With the 13th-overall pick the White Sox selected high school outfielder Courtney Hawkins from Carroll High in Corpus Christi, Texas. This is the first time the White Sox have gone with a high school player in the first round since 2001.
Hawkins stands 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. He's a freak athlete who fits the power-hitting right field profile to a T. He shows excellent power potential and a strong arm, as he's also been up to 95 mph off the mound. Hawkins is playing in the Texas high school semi-finals this week.
The highlight of my spring was Hawkins doing a backflip at USA Baseball's National High School Invitation. Watch the video here.
Gavin Cecchini was on hand for the draft in Secausus, N.J. He won't have to go far for his introductory press conference, as the Mets took him 12th overall.
Cecchini has good tools, but that's not what wows scouts. Cecchini has solid offensive ability, and some scouts consider him more of a bottom-of-the-lineup hitter. He makes consistent contact and is an above-average runner, but his strength is his defensive ability at short, baseball instincts and overall ease of play. He can make shortstop look easy and has plenty of arm strength and accuracy.
Baseball America's video of Cecchini is here.
With the 11th-overall pick, the Oakland Athletics selected high school shortstop Addison Russell from Pace (Fla.) High.
Russell has been a top high school prospect for years. He played in the Under Armour All-America game before his junior year of high school and then in all the showcase circuit's top events last summer.
Russell lost at least 20 pounds from where he played on the showcase circuit to tighten up his body and give him a better chance to remain in the middle of the diamond. Even if he has to move to third base, however, Russell has the bat and power potential to make it work at third base.
The Rockies play in baseball's biggest outfield at Coors Field. Alabama prep outfielder David Dahl should have the speed to feel at home.
The Rockies drafted Dahl with the 10th overall pick; he ranks 12th on the BA 500. The Rockies haven't taken a prep outfielder this high since 1998, when they took Choo Freeman.
Dahl earns comparisons to players from Colby Rasmus to Andy Van Slyke for his tools, which include above-average hitting ability, 60 speed on the 20-80 scale and a cannon throwing arm. Scouts dinged the Birmingham, Ala., prep for his baseball motor and his power, which requires some projection, but some scouts expect him to hit for above-average power eventually, and he has good baseball instincts.
You can see video of Dahl here.
With the ninth-overall pick, the Marlins selected Oklahoma State lefthander Andrew Heaney. Marlins scouting director Stan Meek lives in Oklahoma and has drafted players from the state before, most recently high school righthander Mason Hope in the fifth round last year, catcher J.T. Realmuto in the third round in 2010 and lefthander Chad James in the first round in 2009.
But Heaney isn't the pick here because he's from the Sooner State, he's the pick because he's the best player on the board. Heaney ranked No. 10 on our updated draft board, but it's no surprise that the Marlins preferred Heaney over injured high school righthander Lucas Giolito.
Heaney's fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range and touches 95. He was among the leaders in the country in strikeouts this season and should move through the minor leagues quickly.
The Pirates didn't expect Mark Appel to be there at No. 8, not when the Stanford righthander was projected to go in the first four or five picks.
But Appel was No. 3 on BA's latest Top 50 and fourth on the BA 500. He's a 6-foot-5 pitcher with a solid frame, fastball up to 97 mph, plus changeup and above-average slider. The fastball tends to be true, but Appel's control has been good enough for him to be the Cardinal's ace all spring. He's finishing strong, getting Stanford to super regionals with a 10-1, 2.27 season that includes a 127-26 strikeout-walk ratio in 119 innings.
Appel joins an organization that also includes power righthanders Jameson Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, and Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. The Pirates' future rotation could be quite imposing if Appel signs, but he wasn't expecting to slide to the eighth selection. The Pirates have a bonus pool of just under $6.6 million; much of that may wind up going to Appel.
Picking seventh-overall, the Padres took the best high school pitcher available in the draft with lefthander Max Fried from Harvard-Westlake High in Studio City, Calif.
Fried is a great athlete who also hit cleanup for his high school and the athleticism helps on the mound. Fried pitches in the 89-91 mph range and tops out at 95. He has a well above-average curveball and a very good changeup. Fried pounds the zone with all three pitches.
Fried will likely forgo his commitment to UCLA and has already pitched at Petco Park in the Perfect Game All-American game last summer.
Albert Almora combines a high school player's upside with the polish of a college hitter. He's headed to Chicago after the Cubs selected him sixth overall.
Almora has tools, game instincts and makeup; his lone weakness is his fringe-average speed, which some scouts describe as below-average. Scouts give him 60s across the board otherwise, with some giving him higher grades for his arm strength. His instincts allow him to play center field at a high level; one scout said he was a 40 runner with 80 range and said he played center field like some players do shortstop, being instinctual rather than reactive like almost all outfielders.
You can see video of Almora here.
With the fifth-overall pick the Royals selected San Francisco righthander Kyle Zimmer. Several scouts in Northern California preferred Zimmer to Appel thanks to his athleticism and fastball movement.
Zimmer's fastball was clocked as high as 98 mph and he mixes in an above-average curveball and a changeup. Zimmer has a fresh arm, as he only started pitching seriously in college, but he also faded down the stretch and dealt with a hamstring injury.
The Orioles were rumored to be seeking college pitchers all spring and wound up with one, taking righthander Kevin Gausman out of Louisiana State.
An eligible sophomore, Gausman has been LSU's ace all spring and is still pitching for the Tigers, helping lead the team to the super regional round. Gausman's fastball reaches 97 mph consistently and scouts give his changeup plus grades; one area scout said it moved so much he thought it was a slider. His slider is his top breaking ball, and while scouts liked it as an above-average pitch in high school, it's been inconsistent as a college player.
Gausman is 11-1, 2.72 with 128 strikeouts in 116 innings this spring for LSU with just 27 walks allowed.
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