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2012 MLB Draft Signing Deadline: Day One

While the Signing Deadline is still more than a month away we’re going to be keeping tabs on the draft and the players turning pro. This year its happening and happening with a bang on day one. The #1 overall pick has inked and some possible tough signs are already pro. It’s an exciting turn of events because we’ll get to see these kids start their journey earlier than normal and it could be huge for their development long term. It will change ETA’s across the board and where some of these kids will slot into the 360°. We’ll be updating this all night as the news comes in. So stay tuned and refresh once in awhile. While you’re at it head over to Facebook and join the Instinct page.

Houston AstrosThe #1 overall pick in the draft, Carlos Correa, has signed with the Astros. It’s a touch under $5mm and leaves the Astros with $2.4mm left to play with from the #1 slot. That means a run at Lance McCullers is underway with a fallback of signing Hunter Virant. Either one is a coup. Both? Wow… here’s a look at our thoughts on Correa from our Pre Draft where he came in as our #12:

12. 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.

Kansas City RoyalsThe Kansas City Royals have to be giddy at this point. Not only did they get a steal at #5 taking who we considered the #2 overall and the best college starter, but they also got him for $500k under slot. They inked Kyle Zimmer to a $3mm deal. Zimmer will probably head to Arizona for a few weeks before heading to the Midwest League and Kane County before the season is over. Remember he’s just 19 years old this entire year. Here’s our pre-draft on Zimmer:

2. 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.

Milwaukee BrewersThe Brewers wasted no time with getting Roache inked and he’s not far off from being ready to hit the field after missing a huge part of the college season with a wrist injury. He sign for about $1.525mm which was a little under slot saving the Brewers a little rest of the draft class. Roache was high on our list but the uncertainty about his wrist injury dropped him to the beck end of the first round for us as well. He could be a huge steal if healthy because the power is plus to plus plus. Here’s the pre-draft outlook:

29. 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.

Atlanta Braves

This was a great pick by the Braves, unlike their drafts the past couple of years they went with upside. Sims was considered a difficult sign. But the Braves just inked him. The slot was $1.825mm but the total was not yet disclosed. I was very surprised he signed so quickly. I really look forward to see what the Braves try to develop him as. Here’s what we though pre-draft:

30. 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.

New York MetsThe Mets have inked Cecchini which he confirmed on his twitter feed. It was pretty clear on draft day that Cecchini was smitten with the pick and gushed over David Wright and being future team mates. The dollar amount isn’t yet known but the slot was $2.55mm. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Mets got him under slot. He was an overdraft at #12 and we actually had him at #31 which would have put at the caboose of the 1st round. We like Cecchini but the chance that he doesn’t stick at SS is pretty high. He’ll probably start his career in Brooklyn.

31. 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.

This is a coup of major sorts. The Blue Jays went right at Smoral and landed him for a reported $2mm. The Coup? Well Smoral was selected at #50. In the Comp round. Which made it almost a certainty that he was going to honor his commitment to North Carolina. The Blue Jays got a top half of the first round talent 40 picks later. Granted they went double the slot. Which will have repercussions. But a 1st round talent is worth it. Add Smoral to the very talented stock of Jays farm pitchers. Here’s the pre-draft take on Smoral. We loved him going in at #11:

11. 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.

Stick with Baseball Instinct and we’ll keep you a step ahead of the game. Check back soon for more Prospect coverage. While you’re here, check out our Baseball Instinct 360° – it’s our top 360 prospects for 2012. Also check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be, so don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at mailbag@baseballinstinct.com.


I was born and raised in NYC. My father was a diehard Yankees fan but not biased and raised me to love the game more than any one team. For that I'm truly thankful to him. My love for the game runs deep, and after crunching numbers all day long, I tend to spend my nights at the FSL ballparks.

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