2012 Team-By-Team Draft Analysis
Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery and his staff had to do things a little differently this year. After shelling out $8.4 million on the Arizona's first two picks last year (righthanders Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley), the team's draft pool this year was just $3.8 million. The team landed prep catcher Stryker Trahan (1) in the first round (26th-overall), but had to play things relatively conservative after that because of their limited budget. Hometown righthander Jake Barrett (3) has vicious stuff if he can stay healthy and California prep righthander Ben Eckles (11) could be a nice sleeper in the later rounds.
The Braves started things out with a local flavor, picking high school righthander Luke Sims (1) from Brookwood High in Snellville, Ga., and then Georgia lefthander Alex Wood (2). After that, the Braves got two players with good secondary skills—Florida prep catcher Bryan de la Rosa (3) is one of the best defenders in this year's class and Montana outfielder Justin Black (4) is a speedy center fielder—but questionable bats. The Braves played things pretty straight and could have gotten a good deal with power-hitting catcher Josh Elander (6) from Texas Christian in the sixth round.
The Orioles had their choice of college pitchers at the No. 4 spot but passed on Mark Appel to take Kevin Gausman. If Gausman's breaking ball becomes more consistent, he has a chance to be better than Appel. Preps Adrian Marin (3) and Colin Poche (5) have upside but weren't on everyone's radar that high; Branden Kline (2), Lex Rutledge (6) and Matt Price (7) were all ace college relievers prior to 2012, and all have power breaking balls. Righty Derick Velasquez (15) is their most intriguing pick after the 10th round.
BOSTON RED SOX
The Red Sox went college-heavy early to manage costs, then took some toolsy preps such as undersized Jamal Martin (11) and hard-throwing Carson Fulmer (15). Much of the class will hinge on signing Deven Marrero (1) and getting a bit more stuff out of Brian Johnson (1) once he gives up hitting to become a full-time pitcher. A fresh Ty Buttrey (4) would have gone higher; he has the most upside of any Sox pitching draftee. The Red Sox also drafted three players with football connections: outfielder Shaq Thompson (18) from Grant High in Sacramento (who is committed to Washington as a safety), Arizona State outfielder Brandon Magee (23) is also a linebacker on the football team, and Nebraska outfielder Khiry Cooper (25) is also a wide receiver for the Cornhuskers.
The Cubs seemed locked in on Florida prep outfielder Albert Almora (1) in the weeks leading up to the draft and they got him sixth-overall. With plenty of big-game experience, Almora is the most polished high school player in this year's class. After Almora, the Cubs loaded up on arms, going with seven pitchers in a row including two righthanders who looked like first-rounders at one point: Missouri State's Pierce Johnson (1s) and Pope High's Duane Underwood (2) from Marietta, Ga. Supplemental first-round righthander Paul Blackburn from Heritage High in Brentwood, Calif., has polish and upside.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Look at the White Sox taking a high school player in the first round for the first time since 2001; its their first prep hitter taken that high since Mark Johnson in 1994. Courtney Hawkins is more than a dude who does backflips; he's a profile right fielder. Four of the Sox's picks in the first 10 rounds were high schoolers, including slugging first baseman Keon Barnum (1s). Righthander Chris Beck could be a steal in the second round if he finds his Cape Cod League form. Righty Eric Jaffe (11) was once a big-time dude who has had a less-than-ideal college odyssey.
The Reds got a nice balance of high school and college players, as well as pitchers and position players. Even though they had mostly been linked to college pitchers in the first round, the team started things off by grabbing Florida high school righthander Nick Travieso (1). With a physical build, a fastball that's already been up to 98 and the fact that he's relatively fresh on the mound, Travieso has tremendous upside. The Reds also selected prep outfielder Jesse Winker (1s) from the Sunshine State and Winker has some thunder in his lefthanded bat. The Reds also picked toolsy UCLA outfielder Jeff Gelalich (1s) and California prep shortstop Tanner Rahier (2), who had some first-round buzz before the draft, with pick No. 78.
The Tribe played it straight and got solid talent with Tyler Naquin (1) in the first round, though that may have been a bit higher than the consensus. Toolsy prep outfielders D'Vone McClure (4) and Josh Schubert (7) have upside, as do young righthanders Mitch Brown (2), Kieran Lovegrove (3) and Dylan Baker (5). College seniors Jacob Lee and Josh Martin are solid, signable arms who aren't throwaway picks; Lee has pitchability and Martin touches 94.
The Pirates were expected to take Alabama prep outfielder David Dahl, but when Stanford righthander Mark Appel fell to the Pirates, it allowed the Rockies to snatch up Dahl (1). With a smooth lefthanded swing and center field tools, Dahl reminds some scouts of Colby Rasmus. The Rockies took Radford righthander Eddie Butler in the supplemental first round. Butler throws a lively fastball but needs to develop better secondary pitches. The team added intriguing catching depth with Buffalo masher Tom Murphy (3) and sweet-swinging Puerto Rican Wilfredo Rodriguez (7). The team also added a few local prospects, most notably the best pitching prospect in the state, athletic prep righthander Ryan Warner (3s).
The Tigers had no first-round pick and were working with a $2.1 million bonus pool, so it was tough to get creative. They took Texas preps with their first two picks, and right Jake Thompson (2) and shortstop Austin Schotts (3) both have warts but upside to go with it. Their college picks are a mix of performance and raw upside, with Stanford outfielder Jake Stewart (9) being the top talent. Hudson Randall (7), Florida's crafty ace, may be a tough sign. Georgia prep Rashad Brown (26) is a toosly sleeper, while righty Clate Schmidt (36) has single-digit talent.
The Astros played it very smart with Carlos Correa, a legit No. 1 overall talent in this class. Owner Jim Crane already has confirmed a verbal agreement, and Correa is expected to sign for below the $7.2 million pool amount. That leaves extra money to sign 41st overall pick Lance McCullers Jr. (1s), who might have had the draft's biggest arm. Steady Nolan Fontana (2) fills an organizational hole at shortstop; preps like third baseman Rio Ruiz (4) and lefty Hunter Virant (11) lend upside to the rest of the class' college bent.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The Royals went heavily for pitching at the top with four of their first six selections. San Francisco righthander Kyle Zimmer's (1) athleticism and power arm stick out in a system with more high-upside lefties than righties. Vanderbilt lefthander Sam Selman (2) came on strong down the stretch and became one of the draft's best-available lefties. Stanford second baseman Kenny Diekroeger (4) was once the top college bat in the class but has been an enigma to scouts. Fred Ford (7) has intriguing power that showed up in junior college and in workouts for the club.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Thanks to the signing of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson this past offseason, the Angels had the lowest first pick at 114th overall (third round), which also made for the lowest draft pool at $1,645,700. With their top pick, the Angels took R.J. Alvarez (3), a righthander from Florida Atlantic who has a 92-97 mph fastball and a hard slider in the low 80s. A low pool forced the Angels to go the college route and they popped just one high school player in the first 10 rounds. However, Los Angeles was able to still snag some talent as six of its first eight picks were in the BA 500. Mississippi second baseman Alex Yarbrough (4) is known for being an offensive-minded infielder while South Carolina lefthander Michael Roth (9) has one of the better college careers in history despite pitching with a very modest fastball.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
North Carolina high school infielder Corey Seager (1) had some of the most helium this spring and the Dodgers got a quality defender with a beautiful lefthanded swing at pick No. 18. Seager's brother, Kyle, is in the big leagues with the Mariners. The Dodgers got another player with big league bloodlines with their second pick, shortstop Jesmuel Valentin (1s) from Puerto Rico. Jesmuel's father is Jose Valentin. Several of the Dodgers' picks fall into the high-risk, high-reward category, and they may have gotten a package deal with Gus Dominguez's Cuban lefthanders, touted Onelkis Garcia (3) and Alfredo Unzue (32).
The Marlins got the best college lefthander in the draft with Oklahoma State's Andrew Heaney (1) going ninth overall. They followed that up with three solid high school position players in Avery Romero (3) from Florida, Kolby Copeland (3s) from Louisiana and Austin Dean (4) from Texas. Romero has a knack for squaring the ball up and plays with a lot of energy, but he'll likely wind up at third base or second base; some teams wanted to try him out behind the plate, but the Marlins announced him as a shortstop. Copeland has a nice lefthanded swing with some power potential, but will have to move to a corner outfield spot. Dean is also limited defensively, but has a solid bat. The Marlins got a pair of college shortstops with Austin Nola (5) from Louisiana State and Anthony Gomez (6) from Vanderbilt, and could have gotten a steal in the 14th round with Fresno Pacific (Calif.) catcher Michael Vaughn.
With their two first-round picks last year, the Brewers took two college pitchers (righthander Taylor Jungmann and lefthander Jed Bradley). This year, with back-to-back first-round picks after losing Prince Fielder, the Brew Crew loaded up on hitters, specifically power hitters. The team took high school catcher Clint Coulter with pick No. 27 and then Georgia Southern outfielder Victor Roache at 28. Roache led the nation with 30 home runs last year but missed most of this season with a broken left wrist. The Brewers added a pair of intriguing outfielders from California with their next two picks in Mitch Haniger (1s) from Cal Poly and Tyrone Taylor (2) from Torrance High. Milwaukee also added a pair of premium defenders from Puerto Rico with shortstop Angel Ortega (6) and outfielder Edgardo Rivera (8), who is at least a 70 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale.
The Twins knew they needed arms but couldn't pass on Byron Buxton at No. 2 overall. He's the face of a class filled with hard-throwing college relievers, plus hard-throwing Puerto Rican righty J.O. Berrios (1s). The system needs mid-90s arms and got plenty, while lefty Andre Martinez (6) fits the strike-throwing Twins pitchability mold. Big Adam Brett Walker (3) is the top power bat, and his dad played for the Vikings in 1987. L.J. Mazzilli (9) is the son of ex-big leaguer Lee and has offensive second baseman upside.
NEW YORK METS
With the 12th overall pick, the Mets got shortstop Gavin Cecchini out of Barbe High in Lake Charles, La. Cecchini is the younger brother of Red Sox third base prospect Garin Cecchini. Gavin is a more natural shortstop, but hits righthanded and doesn't project to hit for as much power as his older brother. After Cecchini, the Mets got two solid college bats in Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki (1s) and Arkansas third baseman Matt Reynolds (2). The biggest surprise in the draft may have been diminutive Hawaiian prep shortstop Branden Kaupe going in the fourth round, but the Mets got some intriguing players later in the second day. If the team can sign 14th-round righthander Chris Flexen away from his commitment to Arizona State, he'll be a good get.
NEW YORK YANKEES
The Yanks balanced relatively cheap signs—including seniors in rounds 8-10—to take some chances on high-ceiling preps such as Ty Hensley (1st), Austin Aune (2nd) and Nathan Mikolas (3rd). No surprise that New York took Peter O'Brien, a catcher whose best tool is his bat. The Yanks should have the budget to sign some prep picks after round 10, such as Canadian righty Dayton Dawe (15) or Georgia prep Vincent Jackson (23), who got some Domonic Brown comparisons.
The A's haven't gone to the high school ranks with a first-round pick since 2001 when they Jeremy Bonderman out of Washington, and it was the first time since 1978 that the team has gone with back-to-back-to-back high school picks to start off a draft. They returned to that pool this year and picked up shortstop Addison Russell 11th overall. Scouts were convinced Russell (1) would have to move off shortstop, but that was before he lost over 20 pounds in the offseason. The A's stuck with prep picks in the first supplemental round and got two corner infielders with potent bats in third baseman Daniel Robertson (34th overall) and first baseman Matt Olson (47th overall). Only Bruce Maxwell (2) would be consider a big reach by Oakland. A catcher/first baseman at Division III Birmingham-Southern, Maxwell ranked 415th on the BA 500, but went 62 overall.
Because the team signed closer Jonathan Papelbon in the offseason, the Phillies didn't make their first selection until 40th overall in the supplemental first round. In that round, the Phillies nabbed two high school pitchers with upside. Lakewood (Calif.) High righthander Shane Watson has a workhorse build, touched 96 mph this spring and drops in a power curveball. At 54, the team got righthander Mitchell Gueller from West High in Chehalis, Wash. Gueller was regarded by some as the best athlete in the Northwest this year and touched 94 mph with his fastball. In the second round, the team also got Iowa prep righthander Alex Rash, a longtoss monster who has been clocked as high as 95 mph. The team added some interesting bats later in the draft, most notably fifth-round outfielder Andrew Pullin from Centralia (Wash.) High and sixth-round third baseman Cameron Perkins from Purdue.
The Pirates are in an interesting position. With the eighth overall pick, the team was able to land Stanford righthander Mark Appel, who was a solid bet to go first or second heading into draft day. With the seven spot slide, Appel lost leverage and may have lost several million dollars. The Pirates showed they are going to play hardball with the Boras Corp. advisee, as the team did not shy away from premium talent with their choices in the top five rounds, such as Texas Tech outfielder Barrett Barnes (1s), Texas prep catcher Wyatt Mathisen (2), Florida prep righthander Jon Sandfort (3), Georgia Tech outfielder Brandon Thomas (4) and Bellevue (Wash.) JC righthander Adrian Sampson (5).
SAN DIEGO PADRES
The Padres had six picks in the top 100 last year and will continue to stock their teeming farm system with six more in that range this time around. Picking seventh overall, the Padres got the best high school pitcher in the class in lefthander Max Fried from Harvard-Westlake High in Studio City, Calif., and added two more interesting prep arms from Florida in righthanders Zach Eflin (1s) and Walker Weickel (1s). San Diego got a speedy center fielder with Stony Brook outfielder Travis Jankowski (1s) at pick No. 44 and one of the best college bats in Oklahoma City catcher Dane Phillips (2), though his defensive position will be a question.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
The Giants loaded up on pitching in 2012, using seven of their top 10 picks on pitchers. That trend started with their first-round choice, Mississippi State righthander Chris Stratton (1), who has a nice pitcher's frame, touches 95 mph with his fastball and shows good feel for his two breaking balls, as well as for throwing strikes. The Giants got some of the best power arms in the draft with Oklahoma lefthander Steven Okert (4), who tops out at 97, and St. Edward's (Texas) righthander Stephen Johnson (6), who touched 101 mph this spring. The team also picked Alabama righthander Ian Gardeck in the 16th round, and he's touched 98 mph in the past, but his stuff was down this spring.
While the Mariners would have probably liked a shot at ultra toolsy high schoolers Carlos Correa or Byron Buxton, picking Florida catcher Mike Zunino (1) third overall was a no-brainer. Zunino gives the Mariners two things their farm system is thin on—a front-line catching prospect and a middle-of-the-order bat. After Zunino, the Mariners grabbed Pennsylvania prep third baseman Joe DeCarlo (2), a high-energy player with some upside in his bat, and Puerto Rican righthander Edwin Diaz (3), who is rail-thin but has a lightning-quick arm. The Mariners put together a balanced draft with plenty of upside.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
The Cardinals draft is fascinating. Getting Texas A&M righthander Michael Wacha (1) with pick No. 19 is a steal. Stanford third baseman Stephen Piscotty (1s) went about where he projected to go with pick No. 36, but on either side of him, the Cardinals reached a little for college players—Florida State senior outfielder James Ramsey (1) at 23 and St. Mary's third baseman Patrick Wisdom (1s) at 52—which should give them a little extra money for Texas prep catcher Steve Bean (1s), Oregon prep third baseman Carson Kelly (2) and/or California prep third baseman Trey Williams, who slid to the 11th round.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
The Rays got one of the best college bats on the board in Richie Shaffer, who wasn't expected to last until the 25th overall pick. If he can't play third it probably won't bother the Rays, who are set there with Evan Longoria. Tampa went college-heavy for signability, balanced by toolsy, upside picks they are known for such as outfielders Spencer Edwards (2), Andrew Toles (3) and Bralin Jackson (5).
The Rangers love upside almost as much as they love their own process. With the 29th pick, Texas took toolsy high school outfielder Lewis Brinson as well as first baseman Joey Gallo (1s) and outfielders Jamie Jarmon (2) and Nick Williams (2). One could argue forever whether or not those were reaches, but the biggest surprise was righthander Collin Wiles (1s) being popped with the 53rd pick. After Williams, Texas went on a run of very signable college players, perhaps to save money to make a run at outfielder Jameis Winston (15). Winston was considered the top quarterback recruit in the country and has expressed a firm commitment to attending Florida State for both sports.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Did any team play the board like Toronto? Six of their first seven picks ranked in the top 45 on the BA 500, and slugging high schooler Mitch Nay ranked 101. Then they went senior after senior from the fourth round on, going back for upside in rounds 11-16. Canadian lefty Ryan Kellogg (12) may give them a home-country discount. If they get outfielderAnthony Alford (3) done in the third round, they'll have landed the draft's best athlete with the 112th selection, and Duke righty Marcus Stroman (1) gives them a safe hedge against all their upside picks. Well played, Blue Jays.
The Nationals made one of the biggest splashes in the first round by rolling the dice on California high school righthander Lucas Giolito. Giolito entered the spring as one of the top players in the draft, touched 100 mph early in the season but then missed most of the year with an elbow injury. With the eighth-smallest draft pool in this year's draft at $4,436,200, the Nats will have to get creative to sign Giolito away from his commitment to UCLA. It's no surprise then that, after Giolito, eight of the team's next nine picks were college players. Without many other high-upside picks, the Nationals put all their eggs in one basket by taking Giolito.