2012 MLB Mock Draft: Take 2
We are just shy of two weeks until the draft, and there seems to be a lot of consensus on the draft. Just about every site and service ranks Buxton as the top player. They all have Appel going number one, and Heaney going to the Tribe at 15. This draft might not be as interesting to most Tribe fans since they don’t have a high pick, but this pick might be even more important, since the farm system could use an infusion of talent thanks to graduation and trades.
1. Houston – Mark Appel, RHP Stanford
I am giving into the peer pressure. Appel was projected last June to be the number one pick in this draft, and he looks like he will manage to hold onto that projection. He has a potential plus plus fastball and a curve and change that should develop to be league average pitches. I am not sure he is a player who projects to be a number one pitcher. I am from the school that there are only 8-10 top pitchers who are true number ones, but he has the potential to still be a very good pitcher.
2. Minnesota- Byron Buxton, OF, Georgia HS
This pick is also pretty much consensus across the board. Buxton should not slide past two and the only reason he doesn’t go number one is that Houston seems set on picking a pitcher. He is a legit five tool player who has speed to burn. I think his ceiling could be that of Matt Kemp. I know that might seem crazy with what Kemp was doing this year, but that is the potential. He could be a 40-40 guy in this league.
3. Seattle - Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico
Seattle was enamored with Lindor last year. I think this year they take the young shortstop and this one has more power potential than Lindor does. I don’t think he will stay at shortstop, but his bat should allow him to profile anywhere. His bat speed is talked about in every article, and he is going to hit and with significant power. The ARod comparisons are flying, and while they are not fair it says a lot for how talented Correa is.
4. Baltimore – Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU
I won’t lie, I really like Gausman. He throws in the mid 90’s, has hit 99 in a game, and in warm ups has hit triple digits. He looks to have three legit pitches and a slider that might end up grading out as plus. He could go along with Bundy to give them a dominating 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation for years to come.
5. Kansas City - Kyle Zimmer, RHP, University of San Francisco
The Royals had the 5th spot last year, and were supposedly targeting college arms. The problem was the arms were off the board, so they went with the local star in Bubba Starling. This year they get the last of the upper tier of college arms in Kyle Zimmer. Zimmer can throw in the mid 90’s, which really complements his low 80’s curve. He doesn’t excite people as much as Appel or Gausman but he should still be a candidate to be some teams' one or two pitcher down the road.
6. Chicago Cubs - Mike Zunino, catcher, Florida
Zunino has taken some dings this year for his lack of productivity. Yet he is hitting .320 with 14 home runs and 22 doubles. He is going to be a good defender and should be a solid hitter with some real power. He might not fit a major need for the Cubs, but he is the best college hitting prospect in this draft, and he plays a position that lacks depth at the Major League level.
7. San Diego – Lucas Giolito, RHP, California HS
This might be an ideal pairing. The Padres get the local kid, who if not for injury, would have never been available to them. He might be more tempted to sign with a team like San Diego who is a team close to where he is from. He is a commit to UCLA, but the chance to stay nearby and get the best medical care possible should be enough to tempt him to sign while San Diego gets the only pitcher in this draft that has true number one potential.
8. Pittsburgh – Max Fried, LHP, California HS
No pick in this draft has given me more debate, because so many sources have them taking Deven Marrero, a shortstop from ASU. This might make sense because he might even sign under slot and give them more money to spend later, a strategy they employed years ago when they drafted Tony Sanchez at 4. Here is the thing, it did not work then and since then they have taken a lot of high upside guys. Fried is the number one left handed pitcher in this draft, and it would be interesting to see him and his high school teammate (Giolito) go back to back.
9. Miami – Albert Almora, OF, Florida HS
They might take Heaney here or Ty Hensley, because they have major connections scouting wise to the state of Oklahoma, it is where their scouting director lives year round I believe. I think it would be hard to pass on the local talent. Almora is a sure fire centerfielder, who to me has a little bit of Carlos Beltran in him. He has plus power and hitting tools along with the potential to be a plus defender.
10. Colorado – Courtney Hawkins, OF, Texas HS
Colorado has not had a problem drafting prep players. Hawkins' pure athletic mix would make him a very interesting player for Colorado. He can already hit tape measure home runs so he could put up massive home run numbers in Colorado, or he might fail to ever reach AAA. He is a risk pick, but Colorado has taken risky players before, and one thing this organization is very good at is even with players falter (Matzek, Wheeler) they do not give up on them and get them back on track. This ability should make the thought of a risk like Hawkins even easier to consider.
11. Oakland – Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson
Shaffer to Billy Beane makes too much sense. If it was a few years ago this would be a slam dunk. Oakland has moved away from a lot of its moneyball beliefs, yet in this case they would be getting a proven college talent at a premium position. Shaffer has maybe the best power of any college bat, he walks a lot, but he also strikes out a bunch. I know a lot of prep players have been tied to the pick, but can Beane pass on Shaffer?
12. NY Mets – Joey Gallo, OF, Nevada HS
The Mets were seen to have reached last year when they grabbed projected sandwich pick Brandon Nimmo in the middle of round one. I think they might make a bit of a reach pick and grab another major athlete here. Gallo has the best pure power in the entire draft, which is the most expensive attribute to buy in free agency or acquire in a trade. On top of the massive power he has in his bat, he can also throw 100 MPH. So if he does flame out as a hitter, which there is a concern about, he can still be converted to the mound. He is a top talent and based on the power in his bat and arm, he will find his way into the top half of the draft.
13. Chicago White Sox – Andrew Heaney, LHP, OSU
The White Sox have gone with a college player only approach to the early rounds of the draft as long as anyone. As the team is very much still contending, I think all the talk about a complete rebuild is a bit premature. If they stand pat, then I think they take Heaney who is a complete pitcher who is nearly ready. He is a bit slight, but multiple places have said if he was heavier he would be a top ten pick. The White Sox can take him here, help him get bigger and stronger, and then have him help out their team as early as next season.
14. Cincinnati – Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas AM
I have compared Wacha to former Cincinnati draft pick Mike Leake before not in terms of stuff, but more in terms of really dominating at the college level without truly filthy stuff. Wacha is a worm killer and will challenge Andrew Heaney to see who can make the majors faster. In a hitter’s park like Great America, there is a lot of value in a pitcher who can keep the ball down and keep hitters in the park. He might not be sexy, but he will be solid and could be the guy to replace Bronson Arroyo down the line.
15. Cleveland - Stephen Piscotty, 3B/OF, Stanford
The Indians have a long history of drafting bats from Stanford. Piscotty is a big right handed bat, who is not only a good value, but also fills an organizational need. I think he is best suited to be an outfielder, but just looking at Piscotty you have to like what you see at 6’3” 215. In 161 college games his line is .346/.411/.476 with 40 doubles, 12 home runs, 59 walks, and only 61 strike outs. Stanford discourages hitters trying to pull the ball which is why a lot of people think there is a lot of power still in his bat, and to be fair this should also see an increase in his strikeout totals. Yet here is a guy here who could fill the biggest need of the Tribe and the entire system, a right handed bat with some power. You never draft for need, you draft value, but this is a perfect case where value meets need.
16. Washington – Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke
Washington likes to gamble when it comes to the draft, and they have spent a lot and taken a lot of risk picks. So Stroman to the Nats makes a lot of sense especially when it’s reported they have been looking at college arms. He has the best stuff of any player on the board, his arm is real and if he busts they get a knock out closer. In other words, maybe the lowest floor in this draft. His lack of height (5’8”) is the only reason he is available otherwise he would long be off the board. A team like the Nats could even sign him and have him up by August to help the pen for the playoff run, making him have even greater value.
17. Toronto – Lance McCullers, RHP, Florida HS
Toronto has gone for high upside prep players of late. They were unable to sign their first rounder last year, Tyler Beede, but did sign another top prep pitcher in Daniel Norris. McCullers is a guy who seems to be a real love or hate type. He inspires gushing comments in some places, and others say he might just end up in the pen. His command woes and sudden senior year improvement remind me a lot of local product Stetson Allie, who also had great stuff and seemed to finally get a better feel in his last year. Well Allie has really struggled as a pro, and any pitcher with that much a history of command issues scares me. A team with as much minor league talent as the Blue Jays can afford to gamble on an arm that if his command is starting to improve could end up being the top pitcher in this draft.
18. Los Angeles - Chris Stratton, RHP, MISS ST
I saw that the last eight drafts the Dodgers have taken a pitcher in round one. This means anyone who does not have a pitcher going to the Dodgers here either has great information or might be way off. I like Stratton a lot, he has improved a lot this year, and his slider has allowed him to go strike out for strike out with Kevin Gausman this year in the SEC. He has good command, a plus looking pitch in his slider, and should be able to move quickly all of which make him a potential top 20 pick.
19. St. Louis – Deven Marrero, SS, ASU
This is the compensation pick for losing Albert Pujols. Marrero was thought to be a top five player heading into the year, and for whatever reason he has fallen apart. Defensively he is still there as he can and will be able to handle shortstop, yet his mechanics are a mess. If you are St. Louis isn’t this the perfect time to take a risk on a player who everyone thought would be a shortstop who could hit? He could be the guy to replace Furcal and be a plus hitter with a cannon arm from shortstop. He will find his way into the top 20 picks, and right here seems like a good fit.
20. San Francisco – Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida
It seems right to put Johnson and Marrero back to back, as both have failed to live up to their draft stock this year. The problem for San Francisco is that since they have became a team that drafts later, they have exclusively drafted college players. In this mock, the college players have come flying off the boards and this is not a deep draft for college players to begin with, so Johnson is the top college player left. He is not an exciting back of the rotation lefty to me, a guy who is going to look amazing in the minors when his off speed stuff dominates and people will get over hyped by. I don’t want to bash the guy; he is going to be a solid unspectacular major leaguer who is ready for the majors quickly. He should be ready to compete by midseason next year for a rotation spot, and might be the favorite to replace Zito.
21. Atlanta – Tyler Naquin, OF, Texas AM
I have seen Atlanta linked to a lot of high school players, but they have become very conservative drafters over the past few seasons. If Naquin can profile as a centerfielder, which he has been playing of late, then Naquin becomes a lot more exciting. He has a plus hit tool to go along with plus speed. His scouting reports strike me as a lot like current San Francisco Giants prospect Gary Brown. Brown was ranked the 38th best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America before the season began, so there is value in a player like Naquin who can hit, run, and play solid defense.
22. Toronto – Gavin Cecchini, SS, Louisiana HS
This is the compensation pick from Toronto failing to sign their first round pick Tyler Beede a year ago. Bloodlines might be the hottest word in sports over the last five years as there is a gained value from having good genes and family members who also play professional sports. Cecchini’s brother is a prospect in the Red Sox system. His brother was also a shortstop, but the consensus view is that Cecchini will be able to stay there. As I read up on Cecchini he really reminded me a lot of current Indians' prospect Tony Wolters, if Wolters had been able to remain at shortstop and was a strong defender there. Cecchini seems to have the intangible tags that just can’t be judged by facts and figures. Middle infielders always go high, and Cecchini while not being the top bat available is rising in part because he looks like he is going to be a long term shortstop.
23. St. Louis - David Dahl, OF, Alabama HS
Dahl is a player who has been talked about as a possible top ten pick. He would be a great value pick for St. Louis at this point. The Cardinals draft the best player on their board rather than targeting college versus prep players, and at this point there is a good chance it would be Dahl. He might not project as a star like some of the players chosen earlier, but he could end up with a Hunter Pence type but with better speed.
24. Boston Red Sox – DJ Davis, OF, Mississippi HS
Davis is a very hot name of late, which could see him end up in the top half of the first round. He has speed to spare, and has shown some late power. The question is do you believe the power is legit or more of a mirage. A team that feels like he is a plus athlete with speed and power might grab him a lot sooner than expected. The Kenny Lofton comp is being thrown around a lot with him right now.
25. Tampa Bay – Matthew Smoral, LHP, Ohio HS
I kept trying to find a place for Smoral, but a lot of teams seem to be more intent on taking college players which caused a talented high school player to slide. Smoral was looked at as a possible top ten pick before he got hurt (broken bone in his foot). This led to another problem were the only way he could be evaluated was by watching tape which led to questions about his mechanics which in turn caused his tock to take another hit. He is still a talented pitcher, who if he had been healthy might have been the top lefty in this draft. If any team can develop young pitching of late it’s been the Rays, so this might be the best place for Smoral.
26. Arizona – Zach Elfin, RHP, Florida HS
Elfin is a huge right hander at 6’5”. He sits in the low 90’s, but the hope is that with development and growth that he will end up being able to throw in the mid 90’s. The Diamondbacks have been drafting and developing pitching talent extremely well for the last few years. They have a lot of depth and talent in their system, but this should not block them from taking a player with the size and potential of Elfin, who if not for injury would not have even lasted this long.
27. Milwaukee - Addison Russell, SS, Florida HS
This pick is compensation for the loss of Prince Fielder in free agency. Russell is another player who should be able to stick at shortstop. He has some power potential in him as well, so even if he did have to move off shortstop he would transition fine. I still think that he can stay at shortstop, and be the shortstop of the future that this organization has lacked since they traded away Escobar.
28. Milwaukee – Stryker Trahan, C, Louisiana HS
There is some debate if Trahan will be able to stay at catcher. If he does stay at catcher, he has a potential to be a very good there because of just how good his bat could be. Some places think he might end up in the outfield, where his bat is good enough to profile if his skills behind the plate do not improve. Late in the first round he is a good risk pick, because worst case he is an interesting outfield prospect, best case he is a very good catching prospect.
29. Texas – Lucas Sims, RHP, Georgia HS
Sims is a guy who might be in play as early as Atlanta’s pick. He has a good three pitch mix, has gotten up to the mid 90’s, and should be able to sustain this velocity as he gets stronger. There are some consistency knocks on him, but at the end of round one, it is hard to find a pitcher with more upside than Sims.
30. New York Yankees – Ty Hensley, RHP, Oklahoma HS
Hensley’s father was drafted out of both college and high school, so he has good bloodlines. He is big at 6’5” and throws in the mid 90’s. His fastball has good movement, and his curve looks like a potential plus pitch down the road. The reason he would still be on the board at this point is because of command and consistency issues. He is a player who has good stuff, but his stuff has not been enough to ease the concerns about his inconsistencies.
31. Boston Red Sox- Cory Seager, 3B, North Carolina HS
Seager is another player with good bloodlines. His brother plays for Seattle in the majors and he is already bigger than his brother at 6’3”, 190. He projects to have plus power potential from the hot corner. Keith Law thinks so highly of him, he states that if he goes to school, there is a very good chance he is a top five pick in 2015. So it makes sense for a team like the Red Sox to take a risk and grab a talent with that much potential this late.
Speaking of Keith Law, I am taking a page from him and ending my mock after 31 selections. Mocks are hardly an exact science, and if you get 20% of your picks right it’s a good year. Still, the point of the mock is to inform the reader on players who should go on the first two days of the draft, and to survive as a guide when the draft does occur so that whoever your favorite team does draft that the reader will have some knowledge of that player.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
I for one would like Shaffer or Piscotty. Gallo is a massive talent, but he is left handed and with major questions about his hit tool. Shaffer has more power, but Piscotty should strike out less. Shaffer would be the better defender and should stick at 3B, I think Piscotty is an OF. I like Shaffer better on the whole, but like Piscotty a lot for the Tribe, the two players will be ranked back to back on my big board with Gallo after them