2012 MLB Draft: First Round Pick Profiles
The Astros surprised almost everyone by taking Puerto Rican high school shortstop Carlos Correa with the first overall pick over Stanford right-hander Mark Appel. Appel fell to the eighth pick, where he was taken by the Pirates.
The Astros surprised almost everyone by taking Puerto Rico high school shortstop Carlos Correa with the first overall pick over Stanford right-hander Mark Appel.
Complete Draft Results (Rounds 1-40)
The Eye On Baseball team has the draft covered, with capsules for each of the 31 first-round picks.
1. HOUSTON ASTROS -- Carlos Correa: SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Correa will almost certainly be the highest draft pick directly out of Puerto Rico, besting catcher Ramon Castro, who was taken 17th overall by the Astros in 1994. Just 17, many wonder if the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder will outgrow the shortstop position. His arm and quickness, along with his size, means he could be a top-flight third baseman. Correa is a 4.0 student and has committed to Miami, but there's almost no chance he'll step foot on campus.
2. MINNESOTA TWINS -- Byron Buxton: OF, Appling County (Ga.) HS
A quick internet search will give you comps to Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Eric Davis and Bo Jackson -- even if those are off, if you can squint your eyes and see any of those four in an 18-year-old, you're seeing something special. There are reports that his fastball has been clocked at 99 mph, but he has no interest in pitching. With elite speed and that kind of arm, he has the makings of a generational talent defensively. He didn't hit for much power as a senior in high school, but he did finish second at the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field last year. The University of Georgia signee also played football, but his future is in baseball, and not at Foley Field in Athens.
3. SEATTLE MARINERS -- Mike Zunino: C, Florida
Catchers worthy of a top-five pick are rare, which makes Zunino all that more attractive. The son of Reds scout Greg Zunino, the Gators catcher not only has the tools, but also the intangibles that lead to Jason Varitek comparisons. His hitting and power tools are solid, above-average, which makes them play much higher at his position. He also has above-average skills behind the plate. The SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore, Zunino is hitting .316/.388/.667 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI this season. He had four RBI, including a three-run homer, in the team's victory over Georgia Tech this past weekend to secure a spot in the NCAA Super Regional.
4. BALTIMORE ORIOLES -- Kevin Gausman: RHP, Louisiana State
A sixth-round pick of the Dodgers in 2010, Gausman is a draft-eligible sophomore. In his two years at LSU, he's 16-7 with a 3.07 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 205 1/3 innings in the nation's best baseball conference. This year he was 11-1 with a 2.72 ERA as the team's Friday night starter. A hard thrower, he also has a very good changeup, but his breaking pitches have been in question. He started the season with a slider, but his new pitching coach at LSU, Alan Dunn, had him ditch it for a curveball, then brought back the slider later in the season.
5. KANSAS CITY ROYALS -- Kyle Zimmer: RHP, San Francisco
When he topped last year's top pick, UCLA's Gerrit Cole, in the NCAA Regionals last season, Zimmer shot to the top of draft prospect lists. He's done nothing to hurt that during his junior season with the Dons, going 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings, while walking just 17. A third baseman out of high school, Zimmer moved to the mound at San Francisco because of his strong arm. He throws in the mid-90s and has touched 99. He has a great curveball, a good changeup and a slider.
6. CHICAGO CUBS -- Albert Almora: OF, Mater Academy (Fla.) HS
Some consider the high school center fielder as the best all-around player available. A true five-tool player, his defense may be the most outstanding and when coupled with a strong, accurate arm, he can provide an immediate impact in the field. His hit tools and speed aren't off the charts, but show up in games. At 18, he's already been a part of a record-tying six different Team USA teams, was USA Baseball's 2011 athlete of the year and MVP of the 18-and-under Pan American Championships in Columbia in November. He's signed with Miami and is advised by Scott Boras.
7. SAN DIEGO PADRES -- Max Fried: LHP, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) HS
Fried is, by a solid consensus, the top prep lefty in the draft. The 6-foot-5 UCLA commit has command of three pitches including good movement on his hard stuff and an easy delivery. If there's a weakness it's consistency with his curveball, although when it's on it's outstanding. At the end of the day, though, Fried is a hard-throwing left-hander who pounds the zone and has a classic pitcher's frame, and those are always in demand. He might wind up the top talent in this draft.
8. PITTSBURGH PIRATES -- Mark Appel: RHP, Stanford
Appel has all the stuff -- a 98 mph fastball, a hard slider and a changeup. At 6-foot-5, he also has the length that many scouts like and add to that a clean delivery, and he's probably closer to the big leagues than any other starting pitcher in the draft. That said, he's not exactly dominated at Stanford and hitters seem to square him up quite a bit. His fall to eighth was a surprise, but a future rotation with Gerrit Cole and Jamison Tallion should make Pirates fans excited about the future.
9. MIAMI MARLINS -- Andrew Heaney: LHP, Oklahoma State
Clean mechanics, deceptive delivery, three-pitch arsenal (including a plus change), stamina, good velo for a lefty, instincts on the mound, throws strike after strike, command specialist. There's much to recommend Heaney -- he led the Cowboys in wins in all three of his seasons in Stillwater, Okla. In 2012, he was 8-2 with a 1.60 ERA. Given his maturity and high floor, he should move quickly through the system. The star potential may not be there, but the certainty is.
10. COLORADO ROCKIES -- David Dahl: OF, Oak Mountain (Ala.) HS
Dahl has speed on the bases, contact skills and the ability to hit for high averages. What he doesn't have is projectable power. With improved plate discipline, however, he could develop into a capable leadoff man. A left-handed hitter, he has outstanding speed and an outstanding arm. With some refinements, he should be able to stick in center. If Dahl doesn't sign, then he'll be Auburn-bound.
11. OAKLAND ATHLETICS -- Addison Russell: SS, Pace (Fla.) HS
What immediately jumps out here is the power potential. One ESPN.com scout said Russell has maybe "the best [raw power] I've seen since Giancarlo Stanton." The shortstop initially looked primed for third base, but dropped some pounds in the offseason with the hopes of sticking at short. The Auburn signee stands at 6-foot-1, but has dropped down to 185 pounds, still reportedly retaining the power. From all accounts by those who have seen him in person, Russell's upside is enormous. With that said, it's not surprising he's already being advised by Scott Boras.
12. NEW YORK METS -- Gavin Cecchini: SS, Barbe (La.) HS
Cecchini has the defensive chops to stick at the position and even be an asset there at the highest level. He also runs the bases well and earns praise for his makeup and work ethic. As for the bat, Cecchini has a quick, line-drive stroke (he batted .532 as a junior) but doesn't project to hit for much power. Still, he can develop into a useful regular if he's able to control the strike zone and learn to pick up high-level breaking stuff.
13. CHICAGO WHITE SOX -- Courtney Hawkins: OF, Carroll (Texas) HS
Hawkins may possess the most power potential of any high school player in this year's draft, and with power being at a premium, that has made him a more attractive prospect for many teams. A right-handed hitter, he also throws in the low-90s off the mound, but that arm will be better used in the outfield. Although he played center field for the Tigers, he is big, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and looks like the prototypical right fielder, with the arm and bat to match. He signed with Texas, but is unlikely to end up in Austin. So far this season -- the Texas baseball playoffs are still going on -- he's hitting .437 with 11 home runs.
14. CINCINNATI REDS -- Nick Travieso: RHP, Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.) HS
It’s hard to imagine a high school player who throws 99 mph being buried on the depth chart, but after playing at two national powerhouse high schools, that may have been the case with Travieso. As a junior, Travieso got only 18 innings of work on the mound. But, as a senior, he showed marked signs of development nonetheless. The latest reports have the right-hander’s fastball pushing into the mid 90s, with the ability to reach back for a little more at times. He’s also added a respectable slider to his game. In April alone, Travieso threw a no-hitter, worked in a combined no-hitter and took another hitless outing into the seventh inning. He’s committed to Miami.
15. CLEVELAND INDIANS -- Tyler Naquin: OF, Texas A&M
In his breakout sophomore campaign, Naquin led the nation in hits, with 104. He finished that season with a .381 verage, 68 runs scored, 147 total bases and 44 RBI. In his junior year, Naquin knocked in 46 runs and tallied a .384 average, but with 50 fewer at-bats, couldn’t come near matching the gaudy numbers he posted in the other categories. Obviously, the lefty can hit, but despite being a home run threat in high school, has yet to find his power stroke on the collegiate level. Boasting an outstanding arm and solid defense, if Naquin can prove his speed in the field, he may project out as a major league center fielder.
16. WASHINGTON NATIONALS -- Lucas Giolito: RHP, Harvard Westlake (Calif.) HS
If not for a March elbow injury, Giolito would have been a favorite to be taken by the Astros with the first pick. The 6-foot-6 right-hander suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and chose not to have surgery. Gilotio has three above-average offerings in his fastball, curveball and changeup, giving him a legitimate upside as a No. 1 starter. He also has a long-toss regimen that is reportedly more impressive than that of former UCLA star and current Diamondbacks prospect Trevor Bauer. What makes Giolito's case more interesting is that he has committed to UCLA and there was some posturing that he could actually go if he didn't go in the top 10. However, he seems like a natural fit with the Nationals, who have been aggressive building their franchise through the draft. His family doesn't need the money -- even that kind of money -- so he could turn down a mid-first-round bonus. His father, Rick Giolito, is an actor and producer.
17. TORONTO BLUE JAYS -- D.J. Davis: OF, Wiggins (Miss.) HS
Speed is the calling card for the Mississippi outfielder, who some say is faster even than his fellow Mississippi product Billy Hamilton, who stole more than 100 bases for the Reds' low-Class A team in Dayton last season. Unlike Hamilton, Davis is more than just a speedster. At 6-foot, 170 pounds, he has some power potential. A left-handed hitter, he also has the potential to hit for average. His arm is considered below average, but his speed more than makes up for that.
18. LOS ANGELES DODGERS -- Corey Seager: 3B, Northwest Cabarrus (N.C.) HS
The younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, Corey is bigger and more physical than his brother at 6-3, 205. Seager hit .517 with 10 home runs as a senior and was selected as North Carolina's Gatorade Player of the Year. A left-handed hitter, he shows the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He played shortstop in high school, but with his size, he projects more as a third baseman. He's committed to play baseball at South Carolina.
19. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (from Angels for Albert Pujols) -- Michael Wacha: RHP, Texas A&M
At 6-6, Wacha generates a nice downward plane toward the plate and has a fastball that touches the mid-90s. He also has exceptional arm speed, but his secondary offerings are a mixed bag. Wacha's curve is fringy at best, but scouts generally like his change-of-pace. The development of his breaking ball will determine his future. Wacha was 9-1 in 16 starts for the Aggies, putting up a 2.06 ERA and striking out 116 in 113 1/3 innings, while walking just 20. Right now, Wacha's a classic high-floor, low-ceiling, major-conference college arm.
20. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS -- Chirs Stratton: RHP, Mississippi State
The 6-foot-3 junior has drastically improved upon his 5.21 ERA from the 2011 season, as this season he is 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings. His mid-90s two-seam fastball is reportedly used merely to set up a devastating slider, his out pitch that is consistently clocked in the 85-87 range. He also offers a low-to- mid 80s change. Stratton entered the year being hyped as merely a third or fourth rounder, but his repertoire has grown and his numbers pushed him all the way up here.
21. ATLANTA BRAVES -- Lucas Sims: RHP, Brookwood (Ga.) HS
Once again, the Braves stay close to home for their first-round pick. Sims is a right-hander from Brookwood High School in suburban Atlanta. Sims has touched 97 mph. He also has a good slider and curveball, in addition to a changeup. He's athletic, also playing shortstop, but there are concerns about his ability to last deep into games. He could be a future closer.
22. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (supplemental for failure to sign 2011 first-round pick Tyler Beede) -- Marcus Stroman: RHP, Duke
Just 5-foot-9, Stroman still throws in the mid-90s and served as the Team USA closer last season. As a closer for Team USA, he didn't allow a hit in 8 1/3 innings. At Duke he started, going 6-5 with a 2.39 ERA. He struck out 136 and had 26 walks in 98 innings, while putting up a 1.88 FIP for a 21-34 Duke squad. If he starts his pro career as a reliever, he could be the closest of any of this year's draftees to the big leagues, much like Chris Sale in 2010. There are plenty of doubters about Stroman's ability to start because of his size, but nobody doubts he can strike out big-league hitters. In addition to his fastball, he has a slider that's considered a legitimate out pitch, to go along with a solid changeup.
23. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS -- James Ramsey: OF, Florida State
Ramsey was drafted in the 22nd round by the Twins last year after his junior season and was reportedly offered second-round money, but instead decided to return to school for his senior year -- a rarity in college baseball. A left-handed hitter, Ramsey is hitting .385/.520/.683 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI. He's been compared to Tim Tebow for his "winning" attitude and strong Christian beliefs. He's the first player in Florida State coach Mike Martin's 33 years at the school to wear a "C" as a team captain. There's a question of whether he can stay in center or if he has the power potential to play either of the corner spots. He could also end up at second base.
24. BOSTON RED SOX -- Deven Marrero: SS, Arizona State
Marrero is the total package defensively -- he may have the strongest infield arm in the entire draft class -- and has the potential to develop into a Gold-Glove shortstop in the bigs. At the plate, he boasts gap-to-gap power and a strong, level swing through the zone. He could stand to be more selective, and opinions vary on his power potential. He's also not a fast runner, particularly by the standards of his position. Marrero hit just .284/.340/.436 at Arizona State this season.
25. TAMPA BAY RAYS -- Richie Shaffer: 3B, Clemson
Shaffer's calling card is power -- power to all fields. He's got a bit of a long swing, which could be exploited at the higher levels, but the ball jumps off his bat. Shaffer likely won't be able to stick at third because he lacks the instincts, but his powerful throwing arm could make him an ideal right fielder. While the home-run potential will make him a high pick, there's some question about his ability to make adequate contact against major-league pitching. Even so, he's the best pure college hitter available.
26. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS -- Stryker Trahan: C, Acadiana (La.) HS
Heading into the season, Trahan was billed by ESPN as "the nation's best backstop," where the outlet noted his good arm, quick feet behind the plate and above-average power. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder is committed to Ole Miss, but we'll see if that changes after being selected here. He hits left-handed and is said to have a had a disappointing senior season by several outlets, but it's pretty clear the potential is there for a solid defensive catcher with above-average major-league power.
27. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (from Tigers for Prince Fielder) -- Clint Coulter: C, Union (Wash.) HS
At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Coulter is a big, strong impressive athlete who was a state wrestling champion in high school. There's questions whether he can stay behind the plate, but with a lack of speed, he doesn't have too many other options. He was coached by former big-league catcher Tom Lampkin in high school. He's signed a scholarship to play at Arizona State, but it's unlikely he'll end up there.
28. MILWAUKEE BREWERS -- Victor Roache: OF, Georgia Southern
The good news: Roach led all Division I hitters with 30 home runs in 2011. The bad news: He broke his radius bone three inches up from the wrist and dislocated his ulna bone on a diving play in February, and has not swung a bat since. And, if that weren’t bad enough, he left scouts puzzled at the end of last summer’s Cape Cod League season. After a torrid start with the Cotuit Kettleers, Roach hit just one homer in his final 20 games and struck out 31 times. He’s a prospect that will live or die on his bat, since his outfield skills, and base-stealing abilities, are just average. If there’s any redemption to be had, it’s that Roache has proven he can bounce back from serious injury. Before his breakout 2011 season, he broke his ankle so severely it required eight screws and a metal plate.
29. TEXAS RANGERS -- Lewis Brinson: OF, Coral Springs (Fla.) HS
A 6-foot-4, 185-pounder, Brinson is an exceptional athlete and adds power to good speed. Brinson plays center field and could stick there, adding solid pop for the psoition and a plus arm. Last year he beat Bryon Buxton in the home run derby at Wrigley Field in the Under Armour All-America Game. Brinson fits into the Rangers' recent picks of ultra-athletic players. He's drawn comparisons to Cameron Maybin and Dexter Fowler.
30. NEW YORK YANKEES -- Ty Hensley: RHP, Santa Fe (Okla.) HS
Hensley's fastball sits in the low 90s, and on the mound he's poised beyond his years. His hard breaking ball is inconsistent but has impressive potential. His change is very much a work in progress, and he's mechanically inconsistent at times. Still, Hensley has projectable skills and a coachable demeanor. A switch-hitter, he also has a bat that might be able to play in the field, as well. His father, Mike, was drafted by the Cardinals with the 53rd overall pick in 1988.
31. BOSTON RED SOX (from Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon) -- Brian Johnson: LHP, Florida
The left-hander was 8-4 with a 3.56 ERA, but doesn't blow anyone away with his fastball that tops out around 94, but is usually more around 88-90. However, his command and control are excellent, which makes his stuff seem better. Johnson was one of the best two-way players in college baseball, playing first base in addition to pitching. He's hitting .310/.350/.455 with five home runs and 40 RBI this season for the Gators.
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