We’re here LIVE at Baseball Instinct as the draft is just about to start. We’re going to be here from pick to pick to give you our opinion on the selections and the talents. Last year we would have selected a kid named Dylan Bundy. A pick that would be working out nicely at this point of the season. We’re still on the Giolito train. This draft is uncharted territory for everyone and we’re looking forward to seeing actually play out. With the first selection in the 2012 MLB Draft the Houston Astros are on the board!!!
2012 MLB Draft – The 1st Round
1. Houston Astros - Carlos Correa SS Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R. - Correa is a big 6’4″ and 190 at 17 years old. He’s going to fill out more and as he does his current above average speed will wane. Reports of plus speed aren’t accurate unless he was hurt at the WWBA. He has a long swing but keeps the barrel through the zone a long time. Whether he can stick at SS will determine his upside. Committed to Miami.
Our Instinct - While he looked average defensively when we saw him at the WWBA, he’s almost certainly going to outgrow the position. His arm will play at 3B but I don’t think he’s going to develop into a 20+ HR type. He’s so young and raw at this point that its hard to project him out, but we’ve seen other High School SS that have translated to pro ball and Correa doesn’t look like it’s going to translate. He could turn into a .280 hitter with 10-15 HR power. He’s the one first round type that could make me look very wrong though.
The Pick – We had Correa outside the top 10 at number 12. He’s really raced up the draft boards since the showcase in PR. He was showing plus power and it didn’t look like the same player we saw at the WWBA. I’m still not sold. But he could be the player that makes us look back at what we might have missed. Congratulations to Carlos Correa. Forever the #1 draft pick of the Houston Astros 2012. We don’t see him sticking at SS, we’ve seen him play and he’ll eventually move to 3B. Regardless of what the TV people say.
2. Minnesota Twins - Byron Buxton OF Appling County HS, Baxley, Ga. - Buxton has plus speed and the arm to handle CF or RF. He shows batting practice power and as he fills out his frame its starting to translate more into game power. With his premium bat speed and an ability to center the ball he could be an above average hitter with premium defense. He’s committed to Georgia.
Our Instinct - Buxton is thought of as an Upton clone. Which Upton and if that’s really a great thing can be debated. But he has 5 tool potential which is always highly valued coming into the draft. Comparison to a young Matt Kemp are negligent at best. But Buxton has the speed and defense ability of a future star. How much he translates his offensive production against weak high school competition will determine if he’s an actual future star. With that said, he has tools that you don’t pass up in the single digit selections of the first round.
The Pick – Nice pick for the Twins. He was our #3. We don’t see the Kemp or Griffey comparisons, but Bucks could very well be a player like Torii Hunter. An elite defender with a pro bat and average power and speed. We knew Giolito wouldn’t be in the top 2 so this pick is no surprise. I can’t wait to see him in the FSL.
3. Seattle Mariners - Mike Zunino C Florida - Zunino is the top ranked catcher heading into the draft. He’s the squad leader for the Florida Gators and has hit better this season than he has in the past and he was already considered a 1st round talent. He has above average power and has hit for average despite a long swing. Defensively he’s a plus with the glove and has caught north of 30% of runners looking to steal a base.
Our Instinct - A team with a glaring need at catcher within the organization will reach for Zunino and they’ll get what they’re looking for. His ability to hit for a high average will be a stretch at the higher levels, but if his power translates to average or better he’ll be a valuable commodity based on his defense and make up. Almost a sure-fire full-time professional catcher. His power will define his upside.
The Pick – With the pitchers dropping the M’s could have changed course and allowed Jesus Montero to continue to develop. But this is an obvious selection as their catcher of the future. But Zimmer, Appel, Gausman… tough to pass up despite the M’s glut of pitching. We had Zunino at #5.
4. Baltimore Orioles - Kevin Gausman RHP Louisiana State - Gausman is a big righty with a mid 90s fastball and a potential plus changeup. He throws a curveball and slider but hasn’t mastered either offering. He’s pushed his fastball to 99 this spring and despite not having a plus breaking ball he has made it to the top of the draft charts.
Our Instinct - Gausman’s mechanics aren’t traditional but are the reason his fastball and changeup work so well together. But the lack of a true breaking pitch makes his high-ranking questionable. He has the upside but will need time to develop and refine his delivery. He has mid rotation upside.
The Pick – We would have loved to have seen Giolito paired with Bundy, but this is also a great pick for the O’s. Bundy is going to be ready soon and Gausman is going to the #2 to Bundy’s Ace workhorse. Gausman isn’t an Ace but he’s borderline and should work really well in the #2 slot or fallback to the #3. Nice pick and he was our #7.
5. Kansas City Royals- Kyle Zimmer RHP San Francisco - Zimmer has a mid 90s fastball that works in the 94-96 range consistently and a hammer curveball that is in the low 80s. Excellent separation of the pitches. Both grade out at near plus and he pairs them with a slider around 90 and a changeup that varies from the low to mid 80s. Both could be average or better. He has a solid 6’4″, 220lbs frame and consistent smooth mechanics.
Our Instinct - He hadn’t been the talk of the draft but has made noise as a potential top of the draft name this season. I think ultimately the Astros will go with the home-grown Appel, but if they decide against him they will almost certainly be looking for a soon to be ready college starter and Zimmer fits that mold. Of the college starters being mentioned as potential first round talents, in my opinion, it’s Zimmer that looks to be the one that will translate into professional success.
The Pick – The best pick of the draft so far for us here at Instinct. This is a kid who can do it across the board. He has the full arsenal and he’s still learning. He could be a dangerous, dangerous pro. He was our #2 overall. The boys over at www.pinetarpress.com should be happy campers.
6. Chicago Cubs - Albert Almora OF Mater Academy, Hialeah Gardens, Fla. - A Miami commit, Almora has one of the purest swings from the right side in the draft class. His defense is CF is outstanding and his arm will play there as he matures. Almora has solid average tools across the board and should add weight to his 6’2″ frame in time to add some average power.
Our Instinct - Almora is the easiest of the HS position crop to project with a solid overall game. His swing is conducive to contact and he already has the ability to work counts. As he adds power he should develop into an all around above average hitter with plus defense in CF despite not being a plus runner.
The Pick – This was a pick that had been talked about and worked out as planned for the Cubs. He’s got the tools across the board to be a better than average 5 tool CF. His makeup will be what makes him a potential all-star in the future. He plays above his tools and that is saying something because we’re talking a pure all fields hitter here.
7. San Diego Padres - Max Fried LHP Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif. - The lefty Co-Ace of the Harvard-Westlake staff is still healthy while his Co, Giolito is out for the year. Fried is 6’4″ and room to fill out his frame from the current 175 lbs. He doesn’t have premium velocity yet, but works 89-90 and can run it to 92 with a high 3/4 arm slot unlike most left-handers. The arm slot allows for arm-side run and bodes well for him in the future. It’s Fried’s curveball that makes him standout among the talented HS crop of pitchers this year.
Our Instinct - Fried is also a UCLA hopeful like Giolito, but unlike Giolito, Fried is healthy with little left to prove of his ability to pitch professionally. UCLA has a way of drawing their top recruits away from pro ball, but Fried figures to go high within the first round and is even less likely to attend UCLA than Giolito is. Once Fried fills out and refines his changeup he has #2 upside. Adding a cutter to his fastball mix would allow him to use multiple direction movement with his fastball and allow less need for his little used changeup to become an above average offering and still hit his ceiling.
The Pick – You can’t fault this selection, our #6 going 7th overall. Fried goes before Giolito and the Padres have a big projectable lefty with the fastball and curveball plus combo. He’s a long way off but could be a very good pitcher with #2 starter upside.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates - Mark Appel RHP Stanford - Appel is an established college arm with Stanford and stints on Team USA. He was drafted in 2009 by the Tigers in the 15th round before choosing college, which has proven a wise choice. His fastball sits in the 93-95 range and he can get it to 96-98 although it tends to flatten out when he over-throws it. His slider is a strikeout pitch with excellent tilt. His changeup is currently average at best, but is a pitch he can upgrade.
Our Instinct - When his mechanics are in sync his fastball has tailing movement that will handcuff right-handers and move away from lefties. His slider compliments it well, but when the fastball starts to flatten out he loses the zone up and can be more hittable. If he can refine the change-up into a plus offering he has front of the rotation upside but currently may top out as a potential #2 with a back end of the rotation floor if healthy. He’s really been worked deep into games and moving into an every 5th day workload after logging a ton of college innings is sometimes a red flag. But he has high upside and is an advanced arm.
The Pick – Taillon, Cole, Appel… Not really much more to say. If they all pan out this is going to be one of the best 1,2,3 in the National League.
9. Miami Marlins - Andrew Heaney LHP Oklahoma State - Heaney is a smaller lefty at 6’2″ 175 lbs and as a college pitcher there probably isn’t much more growth there. But his high 80s fastball has become a solid low 90s mph pitch and his slider has become his best secondary pitch. He also commands an average changeup well and despite not having elite stuff he gets strikeouts.
Our Instinct – Because he’s able to get the most out his stuff and has a very deceptive ability to change arm angles, he gets a lot of swings and misses. He’s very tough on lefties and if he can’t hold up as a back-end starter he could be a situational lefty. He’s probably not far off from being major league ready.
The Pick – A signability pick. He’s a mid rotation starter and should move fast. But with Giolito, Wacha and McCullers on the board this is a head scratcher. I get to see a lot of Marlins High-A games and look forward to seeing Heaney soon. He’s been compared to Chris Sale which is ridiculous. Yard Sale, maybe if they sign him cheap and have money for later.
10. Colorado Rockies - David Dahl OF Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham - The Auburn commit is a solid hitter from the left side with a compact swing that keeps the bat in the zone a long time. He uses the whole field to his advantage showing power from left-center to right currently. His arm will play in RF if he’s forced to move from CF.
Our Instinct - The rare pro ready swing path is on Dahl’s side as he enters the draft. His power could become above average and have him a 20+ HR threat. His speed is average and doesn’t project out as more than that. He’s going to hit a lot of doubles as he’s coming up through a system but eventually he’ll come into his power and should be a solid all around hitter and defender.
The Pick – We love Dahl. He has a pro ready swing. You don’t teach this type of swing, it’s natural. He’ll need to grow into his man power before we know what type of player he really is. But he’s on of the top talents in the high school ranks and very clear future major leaguer. We think a .300 bat. That’s a premium level. We’ll see what kind of power he develops before we make him an All-Star. But he evokes Johnny Damon comps in our view.
11. Oakland Athletics - Addison Russell SS Pace (Fla.) HS – Stocky SS, has made a case for him being able to stick at SS this spring. He has plus bat speed and an ability to hit for power when he’s locked in. His game is still immature and his plate approach at times makes it very evident that he is just a high school kid.
Our Instinct – The Auburn commit will continue to fill out his frame despite leaning out this spring. Once he’s fully mature it’s doubtful he’ll have the range to stick at SS. His power is there but his approach at the plate is far from professional caliber. He often changes his stance and arm position leading to more swings and misses than his ability should lead to. He has the arm to stick in the infield and if he can refine his plate approach should hit enough for a 3B.
The Pick – Russell was our #40, but this isn’t a bad pick. He has a high upside and could be a stud in time. There were a lot of player to select in this spot and despite that fact we aren’t going to fault the A’s. He moved way up or board and given a few more days of tweaking he would have continued up that list.
12. New York Mets - Gavin Cecchini SS Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La. – Committed to Mississippi, Cecchini is a premium athlete with good instincts at SS and an above average arm. His defense overall grades near average and a move to 2B is probably in his future. He still has some room to grow and could add to his current power which is a tick below average but should advance to near average in time. What he does well is make hard contact and get the most out of his tools, especially on the base paths where he’s an above average runner.
Our Instinct – Cecchini is going to have a tough time sticking at SS long-term and with the shift to 2B he’ll need to uptick the power output as he fills out that frame. While he’s a top SS coming out of High School in 2012, there is a large unknown factor about the type of player he’ll ultimately develop into. Anyone who takes him will need to give him time to mature as a hitter and learn 2B. The latter should be the easier of the transitions. His bat is not the same caliber that his brother Garin has. So he’ll need to stick in the MI to be a premium pick.
The Pick – Cecchini goes right were he’s been predicted to go, but this isn’t the pick I saw the Mets making here. There are some monster pitchers still on the board and the Mets have a stock pile of Arms right now. So the looked up the middle. Again, I see Cecchini moving to 2B eventually meaning that the Mets still don’t have their SS of the future yet.
13. Chicago White Sox - Courtney Hawkins OF/RHP Carroll HS, Corpus Christi, Texas - Hawkins is committed to Texas, but with some of the best game ready power in the high school class this year he may go high enough to sway his commitment. He has a solid 6’3″, 215 lbs frame and is an above average runner with a plus arm for RF.
Our Instinct - Hawkins bat is ready for the move to the pro stage. He’s not a power only hitter, willing to take a walk and work the count. With instruction he’ll be able to further employ his game power in better hitters counts. He makes consistent hard contact and uses the whole field with plus plus power to the pull side. He has the arm to stick in the more premium RF corner. But CF won’t be a play for him in pro ball.
The Pick – Draft Helium and Hawkins deserved it. He projects to have plus power and this is a big strong kid. Inside the bulky frame is a lot of athleticism. Very much a South side type of player. He should fit in well with the White Sox.
14. Cincinnati Reds - Nick Travieso RHP Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla. – Travieso’s 2012 surge doesn’t come as a huge surprise to us. He had the stuff to work innings with a low to mid 90s fastball that has been
more consistent in the 93-95 range this season and touching 98. His slider has hard bite and comes in mid 80s. While his changeup is just in its infancy, he can fade the pitch and just needs to learn to control it.
Our Instinct – He’s now a 1st round probable and rightfully so. His mechanics are clean and his frame says he can hold up under high innings totals. His stuff is upper level and once he really starts to build innings he should just continue to get better. Fall back as a power bullpen arm.
The Pick – A little high, but we really liked Travieso. We had him at #26. He’s got a power fastball and in time he has very high upside. But he’s going to be a project.
15. Cleveland Indians - Tyler Naquin OF Texas A&M - Naquin has grown as a hitter year over year, hitting .403 thus far in 2012. He’s a RF for the Aggies, but profiles better in CF as a pro. His lone plus tool is a plus-plus arm which easily handles RF and will handle CF as well. His speed is above average and he’s a threat to steal when on. His power is still lacking though he uses the gaps to get the best of his speed.
Our Instinct - He’s just 175 lbs and could add weight as he matures. If that happens and he adds the power that has been missing he could have the overall 5 tool package that scouts look for. Right now, he has the contact ability to be successful and defensively will make an easy transition to the pros despite questions to the contrary.
The Pick – After going raw High School SS in 2011, the Indians take a polished college bat. And chances are he’s inking the contract with them right now for under slot and they have some additional funds for the 2nd round for a player that is dropping. We liked Naquin at #19 so this is a pick we like regardless.
16. Washington Nationals - Lucas Giolito RHP Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif. - Giolito sprained his elbow early in the season making his draft position a question mark. But he has a big frame at 6’6″ and 230 lbs, with a fastball that works 93-96 and touched 100 before he got hurt. His secondaries are both average and project to be above or better with his curve a probable plus offering. Mechanically it’s obvious his coaches were just riding his talent and not trying to correct him. But there are issues that are in need of correction, including tempo and timing. He’s a UCLA commit and if he falls in the draft there’s a good chance he honors that commitment.
Our Instinct - Before spraining his elbow early this season, Giolito was my #1 draft pick and although he won’t go #1 overall in this draft due to the uncertainty of the injury I’m going on record as stating he is still my top HS talent choice and I wouldn’t hesitate to draft him inside the 1st round with or without the need for Tommy John surgery. He’s a player that if he comes back healthy, can be molded into a front of the rotation Ace. Reports are coming back clean on his elbow, but there is no 100% certainty that he won’t require surgery. I would venture that surgery based on his age and upside. Like Bundy was in 2011, Giolito is our #1 selection.
The Pick – We’re pretty sure that the draft is fixed in favor of the Nationals. Kidding of course, but this is getting ridiculous for them. They even have the #1 pic or the top players fall to them. If they can get Giolito signed it will be a miracle on many fronts. He may still need the arm surgery. But he’s so young that it won’t even matter. This is the best arm in the draft and the Nationals are an organization that clearly has an understanding of what it takes to put together a winner. That means not worrying about not losing.
17. Toronto Blue Jays - D.J. Davis OF Stone HS, Wiggins, Miss. - When speed comes attached to a tool set that includes contact ability it can make for an exciting player. Davis was a player who had the speed but until the 2011 WWBA hadn’t proven an ability to hit enough to make himself a premium offensive player. With elite 80 speed out a of a high school CF, maturity may finally have met raw skill.
Our Instinct - Davis has elite level speed and is going to cause fireworks on prospect charts once he settles into short season ball with his new team. He has matured as a hitter since the WWBA and with that he’s moving up the draft boards in some circles. He has a short up the middle approach and once he’s able to drive the gaps he could be a very dangerous leadoff hitter. He doesn’t project to hit for much power if any, but he has a solid frame at 6’1″ and 180. He’ll be an above average to plus CF defender despite only having an average arm.
The Pick – The fastest player in the draft and this is a great pick by the Jays. They have two picks in this draft and this is a pic with high high upside and some downside. But this type of speed is premium and could make him a stud leadoff hitter in a few years as long as he keeps progressing as a pro hitter like he has in 2012.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers - Corey Seager 3B Northwest Cabarrus HS, Concord, N.C. – A lefty swinging high school SS, Seager also has major league bloodlines. His brother plays for the Mariners and Corey should be a hitter with more power than his brother Kyle.
Our Instinct – He won’t be drafted as a major league SS. Much like his brother he will be moved to 3B and should be able to handle the hot corner well. He has some range at SS and the arm for 3B, possibly being a solid utility 3B/2B type. He has a smooth swing and already uses the whole field showing opposite field power now that could turn into pull power as he matures into his frame. Already at 205 lbs, his athleticism remains apparent and it will only be a matter of time before his man-power starts to translate. If he develops the power of a pure 3B he should have more than enough defense to stick as a regular.
The Pick – Seager was just outside our 1st round selections, but he’s got a great swing and his brother is proving to be a true major leaguer. Corey projects to be better so that says a lot.
19. St. Louis Cardinals - Michael Wacha RHP Texas A&M - Wacha works in the low to mid 90s, 89-93 range most often with good sink when he’s mechanically in time. The fastball plays up due to a short landing in his delivery. His second best pitch is his changeup which works more based on his arm speed and deception than it does movement. It could become a plus pitch with some work on different grips and finger pressures until he finds controlled movement. He lacks a true breaking pitch and currently uses a slider on occasion.
Our Instinct - Wacha has clean mechanics outside of the short landing. Though the flaw causes him to drag his arm at times which causes command issues. The lack of a true breaking ball puts him in a position of needing time to develop and leaves him open to being rushed through his development. He has mid rotation upside if the breaking pitch becomes average or better.
The Pick – Love this pick of the #15 Instinct prospect going at #19 and just adding to the Cardinals depth at SP. He’ll fall behind a guy like Miller, but he could be a very solid High K rate mid-rotation starter. He has a great frame. Safe pick, but solid here near the bottom third of the 1st round.
20. San Francisco Giants - Chris Stratton RHP Mississippi State – Stratton has grown as a pitcher in 2012 by refining his slider into a plus offering and learning better how to work hitters. So the IQ factor is there for him. His fastball sits low 90s and he can run it 95 in short stints. His best pitch is the slider but he also flashes a curveball.
Our Instinct – He’s going to need to refine a changeup at the next level in order to remain in the rotation. He has a good starters frame (6’2″, 195) so there is a chance that he sticks in the rotation as a mid to back end starter but his tailing fastball and advanced slider combination could eventually find their way into the bullpen where projects well.
The Pick – Safe pick and if given the time to develop he’s should have that 3rd pitch to be a starter long term. Safe pick and there were pitchers with more upside, but Stratton wasn’t that far off for us from here.
21. Atlanta Braves - Lucas Sims RHP Brookwood HS, Snellville, Ga. – Sims has grown this year to 6’3″ and added some weight, getting to 190 lbs. He has a low 90s fastball and an already above average curveball which works well based on his arm angle and speed. He doesn’t throw a changeup yet and will need full development of the pitch.
Our Instinct – Sims has unorthodox mechanics and a high level stress factor in his arm action. His leg lift is similar to that of LSU’s Kevin Gausman, with a leg lift and mechanical drop that triggers his arm action. While he’s producing some premium velocity and the curveball works very well out the arm angle, I see Sims falling out of the SP ranks and ending up in the bullpen in time because of the delivery. If he’s taken and broken down, the delivery could be made fluid. But that’s a lot of work with someone who will need to be a first round pick in order to turn pro in 2012. We like who he could be, less so for the player he currently is. If he ends up in college, don’t expect his mechanics to be corrected. He may be a 2nd round pick of the team that signs a player well below the the slot of their 1st round pick and has the extra allotment of funds to entice him away from Clemson.
The Pick – Sims is a high upside starter and he’s going to be a project to remain a starter in some eyes. But he’s so young that it’s ridiculous to make him a bullpen arm and the Braves clearly see that. Given time he has a high upside as a mid-rotation starter. Lots of development needed though it should be worth it in the long run.
22. Toronto Blue Jays - Marcus Stroman RHP Duke - Stroman is a SP and SS with Duke and throws a low 90s fastball that he can run up into the 93-96 range in shorter stints. He pairs the fastball with a slider that currently grades near a plus pitch. One of the most athletic pitchers with 1st round talent.
Our Instinct - He’s just 5’9″ but has a solid frame and his mechanics are upwards of max effort to get his premium velocity. He looks like he’ll eventually end up in the bullpen due to his size, mechanics and two pitch mix. But a team that thinks he can stay in the rotation will reach for him and he’ll get a shot at the rotation before moving to the bullpen.
The Pick – Is Stroman with the Blue Jays for the stretch run in the AL East in 2012 or are they going to let him remain a starter. I’m going to bet that I see Stroman with the Dunedin Blue Jays in a few weeks. They need to give a chance at being a starter. Let the bullpen be a fall back option.
23. St. Louis Cardinals - James Ramsey OF Florida State - Drafted by the Twins later int he 2011 draft, he returned to school and has put up a .380 season with 10 doubles, 6 triples and 11 HR. He also has 9 steals and is the first captain of the Seminoles in a long time. He’s not going to stick in CF nor have the power to play LF. But he’s been an infielder before and the team that drafts him will certainly try to make him a 2B again.
Our Instinct - He’s going to have enough bat to warrant a roster spot on a big league club and should play above his tools. Whether or not he can stick as a MI or IF/OF super utility player will determine how valuable this draft pick could be. We think he has the chops to make it as a 2B.
The Pick – Ramsey was way down our list at #63. But he’s a hugely respected player. He’s not playing 2B for the Cardinals so they must see him as a CF. I’m not sure he profiles well there though. It’s an odd pick with an arm like McCullers there for the taking. Not to mention Smoral and Hensley. This one is a head scratcher for me. The first real one of the night and it comes from a team I highly respect. Smoral is now clearly going to Carolina. Congrats to the Tarheels.
24. Boston Red Sox - Deven Marrero SS Arizona State - Marerro is a plus defender with a plus arm at SS. His power is just a tick below average and projects more as gap to gap doubles hitter with a possible chance to hit double-digit HR if his power upticks as he gets older. His speed is just average but he’s a good base-runner and the tool plays up because of it.
Our Instinct - Marerro is the best bet of the 1st round talent to stick at SS. While he may not have the projection with the bat of a Carlos Correa, Marerro should hit for average tools across the board and the point is that he isn’t mostly projection. He’ll stay within the top half of the first round because of his ability defensively and how much of star he becomes will then be dependent upon his bats upside.
The Pick – The Red Sox already have a glove first star in Iglesias. This gives them two. So nothing will be getting by SS in the future. Marreo is going to need to really uptick the bat to take over at SS for the Red Sox. this pick makes little sense for Red Sox. Especially when it’s their GM’s first #1 pick on the job.
25. Tampa Bay Rays - Richie Shaffer 3B/1B Clemson - Shaffer is listed at 3B on many scouting reports because he made the switch there in 2012 for Clemson. His current .934 Fielding Percentage and his foot work and agility point to more and more time at 1B in the future. His power is legitimate as a tool and with a draft class thin on corner infielders with power he will still be highly regarded. But a power hitting 1B in the mold of a Paul Konerko, that swings it from the right side, are few and far between in terms of big league success stories.
Our Instinct - His power may very well translate to the big leagues, but at a position that is log-jammed by bat first players. His overall value is diminished by is probable future as a 1B only defender. If he can continue to make the transition to 3B his bat could be premium.
The Pick – Another college bat for the Rays. Not sure he profiles well at 1B or if this a precursor to an eventual departure of Longoria if Schaffer tears it up with the bat. I don’t think Longo has much to worry about. But it makes me wonder where Shaffer is going to be if he gets to Tampa.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks - Stryker Trahan C Acadiana HS, Lafayette, La. - The top High School catcher in the draft class, Trahan has excellent power and speed potential. Posting sub 6.50 time in the 60 and showing above average power at the showcases. Defensively he’s athletic and has an above average arm. Swinging it from the left side, he just has tools that most catchers do not employ.
Our Instinct - When a High School catcher has the tools to be a pro, one thing needs to be at the forefront. He needs to have a clean swing path so the learning curve is shorter. Once you tack on turning pro, traveling and then learning to be a professional catcher, the hitting development can become a secondary and simple raw power is not going to translate. Trahan can hit. His swing path is clean, his power though raw is evident and he’s an athlete that can be molded into a pro catcher. He’s dropping on draft boards because his catching ability is being questioned. He’s a high school senior. Catchers don’t tend to mature at age 17.
The Pick – And here are the questions. “Can he stay behind the plate?” He’s 17. He’s going to have a plus bat with power. There are catchers in the major leagues without a ton of bat that are average defenders. Great pick by the Dbacks who tend to really draft well.
27. Milwaukee Brewers - Clint Coulter C Union HS, Camas, Wash. - Considered one of the top catching prospects in the draft class, Coulter is more of a rough draft than a finished piece. He’s a big kid and has hit .402 this high school season but that’s just 42 AB worth of data. He’s 6’3″ and 200 lbs but athletic for his size. His bat has shown above average power but it hasn’t translated into a lot of production.
Our Instinct - He may be a better overall prospect with a few years of college experience under his belt. I’m not sold on the bat and he’s not a finished product behind the plate. He may go within the first few rounds, but this isn’t the player profile I go for.
The Pick - The first of the double fisted brew picks. Coulter was just outside out top 75 but I knew well enough that a team would reach for him so I had the profile ready to go. I think this is a reach and Brewers backpedaling after losing out on Trahan. But Coulter could be a solid defender. I just think there’s a long way before he’s a polished commodity and by then he may be too big for catcher.
28. Milwaukee Brewers - Victor Roache OF Georgia Southern – Georgia Southern star is 6’1″ and 225 lbs of rock solid OF. Despite the power sapping new BBCOR bats in 2011, Roache hit 30 HR, the most since 2003. He uses a wide stance and excellent bat speed to help generate the power already supplied inside his frame. He’s average defensively and won’t be a liability in RF with his arm as a pro. He broke his wrist and needed 6 screws to put it back together. So there are questions as to if he can rebound.
Our Instinct - A power hitting prospect of this magnitude is normally highly sought after. He will however need time to develop his approach at the plate to get the most out of his power in the future. 30+ HR types are few and far between. Plus power with a chance for a near average hitting ability. But again, with the wrist issues and the power profile, this is a gamble.
The Pick – The elite power bat in the draft from the college ranks. A broken wrist has sapped his outlook, but the Brewers make a great pick. If he’s healthy… wow. An elite power bat to match up with Ryan Braun again.
29. Texas Rangers - Lewis Brinson OF Coral Springs (Fla.) HS - Brinson is a big lean OF at 6’4″ and reports at 185. Having seen him in person I’m not sure the weight is accurate. But he has so much frame to fill out and so many tools to grow into. A team loses out on Byron Buxton may see Brinson as a secondary option. He’s not as polished nor has he been as successful. But the tools are there.
Our Instinct - In 71 AB he’s hit .408 with 4 doubles, triples and HR. So he’s doing a bit of everything. He’s a plus defender with a great arm and could have a chance at plus power in the future. There’s a lot of projection here, but Brinson hits with a lot of leverage and once he packs on the weight and man powers it up he could be a player that teams regret by passing.
The Pick – We had him at 59, but this kid can easily live up to the 1st round pick hype. He has a lot of maturation to go through and will need time to develop, but he oozes tools. As I said, ”he could be a player that teams regret by passing”. Well the Rangers won’t be that team.
30. New York Yankees - Ty Hensley RHP Santa Fe HS, Edmond, Okla. - Hensley is a solid 6’5″ and 220 lbs with a plus fastball that has spiked in 2012 to the mid 90s touching 97. He holds his velocity deep into games and when his mechanics are in tune his curveball is a plus major league pitch. He scrapped his changeup in 2012, which had been a developing offering
Our Instinct - Hensley is a solid framed righty with premium velocity and a power curveball that is already near plus. He has some minor mechanical issues but nothing to hold him back. I don’t see a reason why he can’t pick up where he left off with the changeup and add it back into his arsenal is short order. His arm speed and slot are conducive to a changeup and if it develops as hoped he has mid rotation stuff or better.
The Pick – Well, we had Hensley at #13. So clearly this is a great selection by the Yankees. Big kid, plus fastball and plus curveball. Given time he is a frontline starter. A long way off but he’s going to eventually fit in somewhere between Bundy and Bradley and the back end of top Oklahoma starters in Mason Hope. What a talented crop the past 2 years from OK.
31. Boston Red Sox - Brian Johnson LHP/1B Florida - There’s debate at Baseball Instinct as to whether Johnson profiles better as a hitting 1B or a back end starter. He’s been very durable for the good Gators team and if he focuses on pitching fully he could become a solid major league starter. His fastball sits low 90s and for a lefty is works well based on his command. He also throw a curveball, slider and changeup, all which grade out as average.
Our Instinct - Johnson is a safe pick and may go in the 1st round to a team looking to save on the first round money and split out amongst 2 or more picks. He’s a solid bet to become a back end rotation type with a good pitchers frame for innings. There isn’t a lot of upside here though.
The Pick – It’s clear that the changing of the guard hasn’t left the Sox with the most polished front office. Johnson is a very safe pick, much like Marreo. Neither will make an all star team and this isn’t how you build a championship team. With that said, Johnson has a good chance at being a back end starter at some point. I just liked him further into the 2nd round.
32. Minnesota Twins - J.O. Berrios RHP Papa Juan XXIII HS, Bayamon, P.R. – Few have risen as much as Berrios in 2012. He had the stuff to be a premium draft selection but added 20 lbs in the offseason, silencing concern of his small frame. The better organized showcases in PR also gave scouts a closer look at him in action against some top talent. He has a fastball that now sits in the 92-94 range and some reports have him maxing it out at 98. His secondaries are still a work in progress and he uses a slider and changeup combination.
Our Instinct – Berrios has a premium fastball and locates well bottom half of the strikezone. If his secondaries were more refined he would be a 1st round selection because he is also considered very signable with a commitment to Miami Dade JC as a fall back if he falls in the 2012 draft. He’ll need to develop his changeup and will be a project for a team considering him a mid-rotation starter talent. Eventually he could end up there or using his power stuff in the bullpen.
33. San Diego Padres - Zach Eflin RHP Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla. - Elfin has a commitment to UCF if he’s not draft inside the 1st round. His velocity which sat 90-93 at the WWBA in October has upticked to the mid 90s this spring and raised the outlook on his draft placement. His changeup is another average or better pitch with good sink while his breaking pitch, a curveball, is inconsistent. The curveball shows sharp break when it’s on but mechanical issues prevent him from locating well.
Our Instinct - Despite a large frame, Elfin doesn’t use it to his advantage to its full extent. His landing point is short and he clearly brings the ball through with mostly arm. That’s an issue short-term because it affects his command and long-term because it can lead to shoulder issues. He’s cleaned it up some this spring and when he’s loose and going in the game he can extend the stride which is when he’s at his most effective. Easily corrected, the mechanical issue shouldn’t stop a team looking for upside to take Elfin inside the 1st round.
34. Oakland Athletics - Daniel Robertson 3B Upland (Calif.) HS – A high school SS who’s a bat first prospect. Robertson is a UCLA commit and will probably make it to campus if he’s taken later than the 3rd round. He has a quick bat and could have average power in the future.
Our Instinct – Chances are high that he moves off of SS as a pro and if that happens he’ll need to hit for above average power to be able to stick as the 3B he will probably profile best as. A move to 3B will probably make him a premium defender there and if his arm plays up, his contact bat could be enough to make him a solid average regular. His game play is his one premium tool and not something that can not be taught. So his tools should play up above his natural ability levels.
35. New York Mets - Kevin Plawecki C Purdue – Plawicki is a ready now catcher who is actually more offense than he is defense. Despite being offensive minded, he’s still led the Boilermakers this season and has thrown out 40% of base-stealers while striking out just 28 times in three season.
Our Instinct – His ability to make contact is elite and while he doesn’t have that same type of power he should have more than enough to be an offensive threat. He’ll do enough behind the plate to stick and should hit at every level.
36. St. Louis Cardinals - Stephen Piscotty 3B Stanford – Piscotty plays on a talented Stanford roster that provides plenty or opportunity for run production and Piscotty has a balanced all fields approach that takes advantage of that. His power is slightly below average now though he makes consistent hard contact. Defensively he handles 3B and has the arm for the position, but could also handle the move to an OF corner in time.
Our Instinct – Piscotty registered 93-94 when working in relief, so he has the arm for 3B but will need to work hard to stick there. He can still fill out his frame and add some additional power in time and if he does he’ll have the bat to hit for both average and some power. Right now he profiles as a tweener for 3B and more doubles than HR power. So he’s not a premium college pick, but his bat could blossom and make him a fine value pick in the 2nd round.
37. Boston Red Sox – Pat Light, RHP Monmouth
38. Milwaukee Brewers - Mitch Haniger OF Cal Poly – The OF has plus power and a plus arm suited for RF as a pro. While he isn’t going to hit for .300+ AVG he does have a good approach and knows how to use his power by working into good hitters counts. He plays CF for Cal Poly, but is only average there and his arm should make him at least AVG in RF.
Our Instinct – Haniger will need to hit for the premium power that he projects to in order to make it as a major league regular. But he should move quickly once signed as there isn’t a lot of development to reach his ceiling as an average OF regular.
39. Texas Rangers - Joey Gallo RHP/1B Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas - Plus Plus raw power and a plus arm should lead to a player landing inside the top 5, but Gallo has bouts with strikeout tendencies. He currently plays 3B and his arm is enough to play anywhere, but it will take a lot for him to stick at 3B.
Our Instinct - If he sticks at 3B he’s going to be a steal for whoever takes him away from LSU. Which won’t be easy. He’s a below average runner, so it’s his power bat that will need to get him to the majors and if it translates he’s a 30+ HR power hitter at 1B or 3B. Gallo is a player that could really blossom under the right hitting system. So his development will really be determined by where he ends up. He won’t turn into a major league caliber hitter on his own despite coming with major league ready now power.
40. Philadephia Phillies - Shane Watson RHP Lakewood (Calif.) HS – Watson has a wide range of projection with a fastball that has ranged from 88-96 this spring and a curveball that has flashed plus to below average. He has a solid frame at 6’4″ and 190 lbs and mechanics that could be easily smoothed out. He currently has a leg kick similar to Kevin Gausman and the mechanical nature of it could be the reason Watson has seen so much disparity in the fastball velocity from start to start. He also throws an excellent curve at times but lacks a changeup.
Our Instinct – His frame and flashes of premium stuff will get him drafted high and he seems signable at the first 3 round level or better. It’s a balance between having that 3rd pitch and a lack of consistent premium stuff that has Watson drop to this level, but he could be a steal here.
41. Houston Astros - Lance McCullers Jr. RHP Jesuit HS, Tampa - Bloodlines and premium velocity have had McCullers on the draft charts for a few years. He has mid 90s velocity on his fastball and can touch upper 90s when he’s going all out. A wipe out slider is his out pitch and projects as plus as well and honestly probably already is.
Our Instinct - With a solid frame at 6’2″ 195 lbs, he could stand up as a starter, but his mechanics can become max effort at times. He’s still developing a changeup and if he can master it he’ll be better than his father by far. But the downside is a power RP. Most scouts see him as a RP, but I’ve warmed to the fact that if he’s committed to being a starter then he has the game attitude to make it. That changeup will be the final determining factor. I would take this bet inside the first half of the first round.
42. Minnesota Twins – Luke Bard RHP Georgia Tech
43. Chicago Cubs - Pierce Johnson RHP Missouri State – The Missouri State Friday night starter is one of the NCAA leaders in strikeouts with 11.5 per 9 innings. His frame is 6’3″ and 180 lbs with little left for projection. But his fastball sits low 90s with a slurve and a cutter in the mid 80s.
Our Instinct – Johnson doesn’t have a typical inning eaters frame and his fastball isn’t elite level. He has 2 average pitches which border on above average. But he’s also a proven friday night starter. So he could go just outside the 1st round and live up to that billing. I think he’s more of a back end of the rotation type so he falls some on my draft board.
44. San Diego Padres - Travis Jankowski OF Stony Brook – Most often “elite athlete” tags are put on 5 tool players. But Jankowski is one of the top athlete’s in this draft class and power is not one of his tools. But what he does, is control the bat and make hard contact to all fields. His speed is plus and he uses it on the bases and in CF. He’s hit .397 this year and stolen 34 bags.
Our Instinct – Jankowski’s speed is his one elite tool, but he does a lot of other things very well and should be able to run through the minor leagues. He reminds me of Johnny Damon and I think with time, some additional power will enter into his game. An above average CF with 25+ SB speed and some double digit HR seasons makes him a 1st round talent. He’s an exciting player and may be underestimated because he wasn’t at a college powerhouse the past 4 seasons. The Stony Brook prospect is a professional hitter.
45. Pittsburgh Pirates - Barrett Barnes OF Texas Tech – High level college power hitter with speed. Despite being fast he doesn’t use it as game speed enough and may never be that type of player. But he has a 6’1″ 219 lbs frame geared for pull power.
Our Instinct – He doesn’t have the arm for a premium OF spot but should have enough power to play LF. His ability to hit for AVG is the biggest question and if upper level hitters start working him away how much will his power translate. He’s willing to take walks, but upper level pitchers won’t miss the outside corner if they know they can take away his power.
46. Colorado Rockies – Eddie Butler RHP Radford, Va.
47. Oakland Athletics – Matt Olson 1B Parkview HS, Georgia
48. Chicago White Sox – Keon Barnum 1B King High School, Tampa FL
49. Cincinnati Reds - Jesse Winker OF Olympia HS, Orlando – Winker is one of the most refined hitters in the high school draft class. His left-handed swing produces line drives to all fields and pull power. He’s a CF but will move to a corner spot as a pro.
Our Instinct – Winker is going to hit for average and should have all fields power in the future good for at least 15-20 HR power and possibly more. The bat is what will get him to the show and how much power he develops will determine just how good he can be. We think more of that doubles power will turn into HR power.
50. Toronto Blue Jays - Matt Smoral LHP Solon (Ohio) HS - Smoral is a 6’8″, 225 lb monster lefty. He hurt his foot after his first start of the year so he’s dropping on draft boards everywhere. When healthy he work in the low 90s touching 95 and could have more in the tank once he learns to use his body properly. His secondaries are a slider and changeup in the low 80s. The slider when on is a strikeout pitch.
Our Instinct - Smoral is a good bet to attend UNC if he drops in the draft, but a team with vision will see a big lefty with ace potential. He needs development time for his delivery and body to grow into a single entity but this is a package that isn’t available to teams often. Especially from the left side.
51. Los Angeles Dodgers - Jesmuel Valentin 2B Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R. – Valentin has major league bloodlines and has been around the game his whole life. So transitioning into pro ball shouldn’t be much of an issue. He’s a SS playing mostly 2B so he’s already versatile. He’s going to be a gap to gap hitter with occasional HR power.
Our Instinct – Valentin should get a chance to play SS, unless he’s drafted to the same team as Correa, who he’s played 2B next to at the PR Academy. But in time he probably fits better at 2B anyway. He’ll need time to continue to develop as a switch hitter but should be a solid average across the board with the bat.
52. St. Louis Cardinals – Patrick Wisdom 3B St. Mary’s, CA
53. Texas Rangers – Collin Wiles RHP Blue Valley West HS, KS
54. Philadelphia Phillies – Mitch Gueller RHP WF West HS, Washington
55. San Diego Padres - Walker Weickel RHP Olympia HS, Orlando - At 6’6″ and 220 lbs, Weickel is a big kid and takes to mound with calm and presence. His stuff, while excellent doesn’t translate to his size yet. At least not all the time. He works his fastball in the 92-93 range but at times can push it to the mid 90s. He pairs it with a 12-6 curve and a solid changeup.
Our Instinct - He’s made strides over the past year and is already refining his secondaries. He’ll probably add additional weight to his lower half and tightening his mechanics should add some velocity and get him into the mid 90s regularly. A Miami recruit, he’s going to need to go this high in the draft to sign and has the talent to where he shouldn’t fall out of the 1st round.
56. Chicago Cubs - Paul Blackburn RHP Heritage HS, Brentwood, Calif. - A tall righty with major projection in his frame. He’s just 170 lbs and despite the lack of size generates low 90s fastballs touching 94. There is more velocity there and his mechanics are clean and repeatable. He also throws a curveball and changeup which are game ready and could be above average pitches with a chance at being plus.
Our Instinct - His fastball will reach plus as he matures, his changeup will be pitch in his arsenal that is most determining to his future success. There is a wide range of future outcomes, but with the chance at 3 plus pitches, clean mechanics and loads of projection he’s an easy arm to like high in the 2nd round.
57. Cincinnati Reds – Jeff Gelalich OF UCLA
58. Toronto Blue Jays - Mitch Nay 3B Hamilton HS, AZ
59. St. Louis Cardinals - Steve Bean C Rockwall (Texas) HS – One f the top High School backstops in the nation, Bean has a plus arm ranking out in the top quarter of the scouting scale and he’s growing a receiver. He swings it from the left side and project to have average power.
Our Instinct – Bean is going to need some time to develop but projects well as a catcher long term. He swings it well from the left side making his profile a premium one. If his power develops as projected he could be a full time catcher in the majors some day.
60. Toronto Blue Jays - Tyler Gonzales RHP Madison HS, San Antonio – Gonzalez has one of the best pitch mixes in the entire draft working with a mid 90s fastball that he gets into the 97-98 range with movement. He holds his velocity deep into games and pairs it with a slider that scrapes the upper 80s and can be un-hittable. He has a violent arm whip to get his premium velocity though and that could lead to injury if he’s over worked as a pro.
Our Instinct – The extra arm whip in his delivery is probably an unnecessary addition to his mechanics since it doesn’t add deception and he could get the same arm speed by getting his front leg further extended. The team that selects him would be wise to try and iron out the mechanics and allow him time to develop a 3rd pitch because he could be a #2 starter if it all falls right. The fall back option will be an elite level power arm out of the bullpen.
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