With the first 15 rounds of the 2012 MLB amateur draft in the books, most of the top talent is already off the board. With the new CBA rules in place this season, the remaining top players will most likely opt for college or a return to college as you can’t over slot bonus money any more. Let’s take a look at who fared the best over the first two days, taking into account future potential, strategy and overall depth of talent acquired.
10. Washington Nationals
- Officially licensed by the MLB
- Officially licensed by the MLB
- #16 Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
- #80 Tony Renda, 2B, California
- #111 Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Stanford
This could be boom-or-bust for the Nationals, although you have to believe they wouldn’t have selected Giolito unless they were 100-percent sure he was healthy. The 6’-6”, 220-pound right-hander was a lock for the first-overall pick until an elbow injury shut him down for the season. Before the injury, his fastball was touching 100 mph with movement, and he also features a plus curveball and change-up with excellent command of all three. He gets compared to Roy Halladay, and if all goes as planned, a rotation of Stephen Strasburg and Giolito is going to scare the hell out of every team in baseball in a few years. Renda is a 5’-8” right-hander who gets the Dustin Pedroia comparison because of his size, position and abilities. He makes great contact and should be a high-average hitter at the next level with surprising power. He hit .338 over 54 games this season, with 16 doubles, five home runs, 27 RBI and 16 stolen bases. He drew 29 walks to just 18 strikeouts, showing his great approach at the plate. He is also a very good defender and should be an everyday second baseman at the next level. Mooneyham is a 6’-5”, 230-pound left-hander with three above average offerings with his low-90s fastball being his best and a developing plus curveball. He had control problems this year, going 7-5 with a 4.26 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 90 K/37 BB over 82.1 innings. With work on his control, and continued improvement on his secondary stuff, he could turn into another stud pitcher for the Nationals.
9. Chicago White Sox
- #13 Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll HS (TX)
- #48 Keon Barnum,1B, King HS (FL)
- #76 Chris Beck, RHP, Georgia Southern
- #108 Joey DeMichele, 2B, Arizona State
- #201 Kyle Hansen, RHP, St. Johns
The White Sox loaded up on offense with their first two picks. Hawkins is a 6’-3”, 220-pound right-hander who has tremendous power to all fields and enough speed to swipe 20+ bags a season if he doesn‘t continue to get bigger. He is a terrific athlete who also excelled on the mound with a fastball that touches 94 mph. Barnum is a 6’-5”, left-hander with as much raw power as anyone in the draft. He generates a lot of bat speed, allowing him to catch up to any pitch and drive it all over the park. Will take time to develop his overall game, but a lot of upside as the team’s first baseman of the future. Beck was considered a top-three college arm coming into the season. Some inconsistencies in his game this season caused him to slip a bit, but he still had 115 strikeouts to just 29 walks over 103.2 innings. He is a power pitcher with a fastball that can reach 96 mph, and both his curveball and change-up are quality pitches. DeMichele is an extra-base machine who hitting .336 with 14 doubles, seven triples, six home runs, 47 RBI and 12 stolen bases through 56 games this season. He has enough defense to stay at second base and could develop into a middle-of-the-order run producer down the line. Hansen is a 6’-6”, right-hander with three quality offerings, his slider being his best. He has 100 strikeouts to just 26 walks over 86.1 innings this season. The White Sox did a great job of mixing best player available while also adding depth at key positions.
8. Texas Rangers
- #29 Lewis Brinson, OF, Coral Springs HS (FL)
- #39 Joey Gallo, 3B, Bishop Gorman HS (NV)
- #53 Collin Wiles, RHP, Blue Valley West HS (KS)
- #83 Jamie Jarmon, OF, Indian River HS (DE)
- #93 Nick Williams, OF, Ball HS (TX)
- #486 Jameis Winston, OF, Hueytown HS (AL)
The Rangers added a bunch of toolsy players as well as the best prep power-hitter in the draft. Brinson is a lot like Byron Buxton, although he is raw in many areas. He has very good speed, raw power to all fields, good bat speed and is a good defender in the outfield. He is going to take time to develop, but the Rangers can afford to wait on him. Gallo, a 6’-5”, 220-pound left-hander may have landed in the perfect organization for his abilities. He set a Nevada state record by mashing 70 home runs during his high school career, and also won four state titles. There are some holes in his long swing that will need some correcting but he could be a future home run champ down the road. Aldo has an extremely strong arm, often hitting the mis-90s with his fastball on the mound. Wiles ia a 6’-4” projectable right-hander who went 8-0 this season with a 0.10 ERA and 76 strikeouts over 49.1 innings. He features a plus curveball and a low-90s fastball. He is going to take time to develop, but the Rangers are one of the best when it comes to bringing along young pitching. Jarmon is another raw player with exceptional speed and a canon arm in the outfield. He makes good contact but is going to need some time to refine his instincts for the game and overall approach. Williams has drawn comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. with his long swing from the left side, raw power and speed. He has a long ways to go to before he gets to Griffey’s level, but again, the Rangers can bring him along at his pace and hope he figures things out. Ton of potential. Winston is most likely headed to Florida State to play quarterback, especially after being drafted this low. However, if the Rangers can somehow convince him to sign (I give them a one-percent chance of doing so) they would get another raw player with a ton of upside. A switch-hitter, the 6’-4”, 200-pound outfielder makes good contact and has some real power in his bat.
7. Cincinnati Reds
- #14 Nick Travieso, RHP, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL)
- #49 Jesse Winker, OF, Olympia HS (FL)
- #57 Jeff Gelalich, OF, UCLA
- #78 Tanner Rahier, SS, Desert Palm HS (CA)
- #109 Dan Langfield, RHP, Memphis
- #232 Beau Amaral, OF, UCLA
The Reds added some of the best high school talent in the draft as well as some nice college bats. Travieso shot up draft boards when he touched 99 mph this spring. At 6’-2” and 215-pounds, he has the making of a future workhorse. His slider is already a plus pitch to go along with his fastball. He struck out 70 batters over 46.1 innings this season. Winker has great power from the left side while also possessing a great approach at the plate. At 6’-3” and 210-pounds, he will only get stronger and should be a run-producing, middle-of-the-order hitter at the next level. Gelalich has solid tools across the board and seems to be getting better every day. The 6’-2”, 200-pound left-hander is hitting .372 with 11 home runs, 46 RBI, 15 stolen bases and a .462 OBP through 58 games. Rahier somehow slipped to the Reds at #78. Thought of as a lock for the first round, maybe teams were worried about his signability. Whatever the case, the Reds got a kid who is going to work harder than anyone to get to the next level. Cut from the same cloth of Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones, he plays the game the right way, has an extremely high understanding and feel for the game and has across-the-board tools, including some serious power from the right side. Langfield is a 6’-2” power pitcher who fanned 111 batters over 93.2 innings this season. He also walked 47, however, and some feel his arm may be better suited for the bullpen. He adds a slider and curveball to his fastball, but still needs to develop an off-speed pitch. Good upside out of the bullpen with a chance to start if he can develop his strike zone judgment. Amaral is a 5’-11” left-hander who could become a solid utility player. He can hit for average, is a solid defender and has enough wheels to swipe some bases. He is hitting .320 with four home runs, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases through 58 games this season.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
- #8 Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
- #45 Barrett Barnes, OF, Texas Tech
- #69 Wyatt Mathisen, C, Calallen HS (TX)
- #139 Brandon Thomas, OF, Georgia Tech
With the Pirates, it’s about quality over quantity. When Appel fell to them at number-eight, their farm system improved exponentially. With Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole already considered frontline starters at the next level, they added a third in the 6’-5”, right-hander who most thought would be the first player taken overall. He already owns three plus pitches, with his mid-90s fastball being the best. He is 9-1 with a 2.37 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 116 K/24 BB over 110 innings this season and is a big game pitcher who models his game after Justin Verlander. Barnes is one of the best power/speed players in the draft and some scouts have compared him to Kirby Puckett because of his size, defense and offensive abilities. Through 55 games, the 6’-1”, 210-pound right-hander is hitting .325 with 17 doubles, six triples, nine home runs, 49 RBI and 19 stolen bases. He has also walked 32 times to just 39 strikeouts, showing a very good approach at the plate. Mathisen is a prep catcher who should stick at the position, not a very common thing. He hit .447 this season with 16 doubles, three home runs and 40 RBI for one of the top teams in the country and should be a high-average hitter with pop at the next level. He also starred on the mound, going 11-0 with 86 strikeouts over 65 innings, showing a strong arm that will play well behind the plate. Thomas is a great athlete with plus speed and the ability to hit for a high average. Through 56 games, the switch-hitter is hitting .360 with five home runs, 44 RBI, 12 stolen bases and has drawn 37 walks, showing a good approach at the plate. Not a great defender, but his speed allows him to make up for some of his miscues.
5. Minnesota Twins
- #2 Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS (GA)
- #32 Jose Berrios, RHP, Papa Juan HS (PR)
- #42 Luke Bard, RHP, Georgia Tech
- #63 Mason Melotakis, LHP, Northwestern State
- #72 J.T. Chargois, RHP, Rice
- #97 Adam Brett-Walker, OF, Jacksonville
- #280 L.J. Mazzilli, 2B, Connecticut
- #310 D.J. Baxendale, RHP, Arkansas
The Twins were in the conversation after their first pick. When you get the best player in the draft, the rest is gravy. Buxton has drawn comparisons to everyone from Eric Davis to Justin Upton to even Willie Mays because of his five-tool offensive abilities, as well as his defensive potential. The 6’-1”, 190-pound right-hander uses his ridiculous bat speed to drive the ball all over the field and also has the patience to take what he is given. He has elite speed, a canon arm, raw, developing power and is a high-character kid with an advanced understanding of the game. Berrios opened eyes at summer events by hitting 99 mph on radar guns with his fastball. He also owns a 12-6 hammer curve that sits in the low-80s. At 6’-0” and 190-pounds, he doesn’t have the ideal size to be a front-line starter, but his delivery is effortless and easy. If he can develop his change-up, he could stick in the rotation. Otherwise, he could be a lethal closer at the next level. Bard mixes a mid-90s fastball with a power slider that is untouchable at times. Like Berrios, he needs to develop an off-speed pitch to remain a starter, but could also be a very good reliever with his two-pitch combo. Melotakis is a 6’-3”, left-hander who projects as a reliever with his 96 mph fastball and average curveball. Yet another bullpen-type pitcher, Chargois can dial his fastball up to the mid-90s with movement and also mixes an above average curveball that looks plus at times. Brett-Walker could end up being a steal in the third round. At 6’-5” and 220-pounds, the right-hander has jaw-dropping power to go along with some decent speed. Through 56 games, he is hitting .343 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs, 42 RBI, 19 stolen bases and has drawn 29 walks to 47 strikeouts. Not sure where he will play on defense, but the AL has the DH for a reason. Mazilli, the son of former major leaguer Lee Mazzilli, can do a little bit of everything without standing out in one particular area. Through 58 games this season, he is hitting .339 with 19 doubles, nine home runs, 38 RBI and 16 stolen bases. He shows a good approach at the plate as he has only struck out 30 times this season. He should be able to stick at second base defensively, and his bat will play well there as he makes good, hard contact to all fields and should be able to steal 10-15 bases a year. Baxendale should be able to remain a starter as he has three above-average offerings with his low-90s fastball being his best. He has good command of his pitches and his aggressiveness and poise on the mound should make him a solid three or four starter one day soon. As you can see, Buxton is going to command a lot of money, so the Twins selected a lot of college arms that will come cheap, allowing them to sign a lot of their picks. A very smart approach by the organization.
4. Toronto Blue Jays
- #17 D.J. Davis, Stone County HS (MS)
- #22 Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke
- #50 Matthew Smoral, LHP, Solon HS (OH)
- #58 Mitch Nay, 3B, Hamilton HS (AZ)
- #60 Tyler Gonzales, RHP, James Madison HS (TX)
- #81 Chase DeJong, RHP, Woodrow Wilson HS (FL)
- #112 Anthony Alford, OF, Petal HS (MS)
With a bunch of early-round picks because of players lost to free agency, the Blue jays plan appeared to be to just grab the best players available and figure out how to sign them later on. Davis saw his stock soar more than anyone in high school this season as the speedy left-hander showed a much improved approach at the plate to go along with his elite speed. Over 26 games this season, he hit .373 with seven home runs, 27 RBI, 27 walks and was 24-for-25 in stolen base attempts, showing some sneaky power along the way. Stroman was a steal at number 22 and could help the big league club this season if needed. The 5’9” flamethrower has a mid-90s fastball and his slider is electric, arguably the best in the draft. Despite his size, he has shown the ability to go deep into games, as well as maintaining his velocity. Smoral is a 6’-8” projectable left-hander who missed nearly all of his senior season with a stress fracture in his foot. He has a low-90s fastball with movement, a change-up that projects to plus and a developing slider. An upside pick. Nay is a 6’-3”, 210-pound right-hander with a lot of power in his bat. Has a strong arm, but may end making a move to the outfield as some think he might not have the range to stick at the hot corner. Another high upside pick. Gonzales is raw in a lot of areas but can reach the mid-90s with his fastball and shows a slider that could develop into a plus pitch down the line. He is going to take time, but another high upside pick for the Jays. DeJong is a 6’-4 right-hander with an advanced feel for pitching. He was a member of U18 Team USA and has three above-average offerings already. With his curveball and change-up being slightly better than his low-90s fastball. A kid with a high ceiling who is going to take time to develop. Alford has as much talent as anyone in the draft. At 6’-2 and 210-pounds, the right-hander has plus speed, raw power and a good approach at the plate. That being said, he has a very strong commitment to play quarterback at Southern Mississippi and is considered one of the toughest signs in the draft. With the Twins, it is all about potential, and their ability to sign these guys.
3. Houston Astros
- #1 Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico BB Academy (PR)
- #41 Lance McCullers, RHP, Jesuit HS (FL)
- #61 Nolan Fontana, SS/2B, Florida
- #96 Brady Rodgers, RHP, Arizona State
- #129 Rio Ruiz, 3B, Bishop Amat HS (CA)
- #219 Preston Tucker, OF, Florida
- #339 Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo HS (CA)
By taking Correa first overall, the Astros knew that he would sign for a lot cheaper than Buxton, therefore allowing them to use the leftover money to sign some of their other high picks. While Correa no doubt has superstar potential, this was a very good strategy and could pay huge dividends considering who they drafted. At 6’-4” and 190-pounds, Correa projects to a high-average hitter with a ton of power from the right side thanks to his incredible bat speed. He is already a plus defender with a strong, accurate arm and the range to cover a lot of field. He gets compared to Troy Tulowitzki because of his all around game and is one of the more exciting players to watch from this draft. McCullers was arguably the best prep pitcher in the country this season going 13-0 with a 0.18 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 140 K/30 BB over 77.1 innings. His fastball can reach triple digits, although he command sit better in the 92-94 mph range, and his curveball is a developing plus pitch. Some wonder if he can remain a starter at the next level, but he should be given every opportunity to succeed. He has a bulldog mentality on the mound with a poise beyond his years. Fontana is a player in the mod of a Chase Utley-type in that he does everything well offensively, plays solid defense and is a leader on the field. The right-hander is hitting .290 with nine home runs, 28 RBI and 11 stolen bases through 59 games. He has also drawn 44 walks to just 24 strikeouts, showing an advanced approach at the plate. Rodgers is a supreme control pitcher who is 10-3 on the season, with a 2.27 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 79 K/16 BB over 115 innings. His fastball sits in the low-90s, and his curveball, slider and change-up are all above-average offerings. He is a smart pitcher who locates all of his pitches for strikes and should rise quick to the majors. Ruiz missed almost all of the season due to a blood clot in his shoulder. His quick wrists and bat speed allow him to make great contact from the left side with raw, developing power. His strong arm and footwork will allow him to stick at third and the Astros could end up with quite a steal with Ruiz. Tucker is a 6’-4”, 230-pound left-hander with some of the best power in the draft. Through 63 games, he is hitting .316 with 16 doubles, 15 home runs and 46 RBI. He has drawn 31 walks to just 26 strikeouts, showing a very good approach at the plate. There isn’t a lot of upside with Tucker, but his ability to hit for power from the left side makes him valuable. Virant is a 6’-4” left-hander who was considered a lock for the first round. Whether or not signabilty concerns were a part of his slip is unclear, but he remains a player with a ton of upside if the Astros can somehow convince him to sign and keep him away from UCLA. He has four offerings that all grade out to at least average at the next level and competes as hard as anyone. His fastball tops out at around 90-92 mph right now, but he has the frame to add more velocity as he matures.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
- #19 Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
- #23 James Ramsey, OF, Florida State
- #36 Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford
- #52 Patrick Wisdon, 3B, St. Mary’s
- #59 Steve Bean, C, Rockwall HS (TX)
- #86 Carson Kelly, 3B, Westview HS (OR)
- #210 Kurt Heyer, RHP, Arizona
- #360 Trey Williams, SS, Valencia HS (CA)
- #390 Max Foody, LHP, IMG Academies (FL)
The Cardinals went heavy on college players early, which could allow them to sign some of the very talented prep players they selected in the later rounds. Wacha is one of the more polished pitchers in the draft and could be on the fast track to the major leagues. The 6’-5” right-hander has one of the best change-ups in the draft, and also can dial his fastball up to the high-90s. He has 116 K/20 BB over 113.1 innings this season, showing excellent command of his pitches to go along with the power. Ramsey was one of the best players in college this season, hitting .383 with 10 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs, 49 RBI and nine stolen bases through 58 games. The left-hander has also drawn 58 walks to just 37 strikeouts, showing a great approach at the plate. Piscotty is one of the purest hitters in the draft and is a career .336 hitter with just 66 strikeouts over 167 games at Stanford. His lack of power may force a move to the outfield, but his canon arm would play well there. Bean is a left-handed hitting catcher, a rarity and something teams always covet. He is more offense than defense right now, but has the tools to develop into a solid back stop. This was an upside pick. Kelly is getting drafted on his bat, even though he could develop into a very good pitcher some day. He has a ton of power from the right side, and his arm, which has been clocked at 94 mph, is perfect for third base. Heyer has been one the best college pitchers this season, and while he doesn’t blow hitters away, he has the ability to go deep into games. His slider is a wipe-out pitch, and his aggressiveness and deceptive delivery make him an intriguing prospect with a lot of upside. He has only walked 22 batters over 128.1 innings this season, showing pinpoint control. Williams was considered one of the better bats coming into the season. He is the son of former major leaguer Eddie Williams, and has excellent bat speed to go along with light tower power. The 6’-1”, 210-pound right-hander should be able to stick at third base and has a very high ceiling. He will be a tough sign at this late in the draft. Foody is a 6’-4” left-hander who overcame Tommy John surgery to remain one of the better prep pitchers in the country. He had 37 strikeouts over 39.2 innings this season, allowing just 22 hits. A lot of potential with this kid. If the Cardinals can somehow find a way to sign all of these players, a long shot in most people’s minds, they will no doubt have the best draft class this year.
1. San Diego Padres
- #7 Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
- #33 Zach Efflin, RHP, Hagerty HS (FL)
- #44 Travis Jankowski, OF, Stony Brook
- #55 Walker Weickel, RHP, Olympia HS (FL)
- #68 Jeremy Baltz, OF, St. Johns
- #70 Dane Phillips, C, Oklahoma City College
- #102 Fernando Perez, SS, Central Arizona College, (AZ)
The Padres stockpiled their farm system with some of the best pitching prospects in the draft, while also adding some college bats that fit their ballpark to a tee. Fried was considered the best left-hander in the draft, regardless of class. At 6’-4”, he has the frame to add more velocity to his low-90s fastball. His curveball is maybe the best in the draft, and he modeled it after watching footage of Sandy Koufax as a kid. His change-up projects to plus with deceptive sink, and he has great command of all three. He had 111 strikeouts over 69.2 innings this season. Efflin is a 6’-4” right-hander with an advanced feel for his age. His change-up is already a plus pitch, and his fastball can hit 94 mph with a lot of movement. Looks the part of a veteran major leaguer already. Jankowski was built for PETCO Park. The 6’-3” left-hander can spray the ball to all fields and uses his elite speed to wreak havoc on the base paths. Through 61 games, he is hitting .417 with 17 doubles, 10 triples, five home runs, 46 RBI and 36 stolen bases. He also has a great approach at the plate as he has only struck out 18 times all season. He should be their lead-off hitter of the future while also playing gold glove caliber defense in centerfield. Weickel, a 6’-6” right-hander, was one of the best prep pitchers this season, going 12-1 with a 1.07 ERA and 87 strikeouts. His delivery is downhill and deceptive with his fastball touching 94 mph and his low-70s curveball and low-80s change-up both projecting to plus offerings. Another member of U18 Team USA last fall, he is a big game pitcher with a lot of upside. Baltz ia another guy who will take advantage of the spacious outfield of PETCO with his gap power and speed. The 6’-3” right-hander is one of the purest hitters in the draft, and through 61 games, is hitting .345 with 12 doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 51 RBI and 18 stolen bases. His 33 walks to just 21 strikeouts show his advanced approach at the plate. Phillips is another left-handed catcher who could make the transition to a corner outfield spot where his strong arm and power would play well. He projects to a high-average hitter with a lot of pop but will take time to develop. Perez is a 6’-2”, 210-pound left-hander with excellent bat speed and raw power. He makes great contact and drives the ball to all fields. His defense is a little shaky but the bat is what got him drafted.