2012 MLB Mock Draft: V 2.0

04/23/2012

Almost two months ago I tossed version 1.0 of our Mock Draft out there, and things seem to be coming together as we are even less time than that away from the Draft now. While there isn’t a surefire, clear number one candidate, Byron Buxton is the popular choice for good reason. There are certainly others that you can make a case for as well, although they are either too risky (Correa?), or aiming a little too low/safe for #1 overall (Appel). Even now, things are still plenty early, and lots still has yet to take place for those in the prep and college ranks.

  1. Astros - Byron Buxton, OF (Georgia HS): The best combination of tools and polish in this draft. There’s way more of the former, but not to the point of him being a big risk at #1. He started off the spring right near the top, and looks to have solidified his value over all but 2 or 3 others.
  2. Twins - Mike Zunino, C (Florida): He seems to be doing more or less what most expected him to do. The power is there, and the questions about his defense no longer appear to be as present as they once were.
  3. Mariners - Carlos Correa, SS (Puerto Rico): With loud tools, it only seems a matter of projecting his ultimate position. Most think a move to third is inevitable. Though Correa’s a raw hitter, his tools at the plate would make him a fantastic value at either position if everything works out. Plenty of risk, but plenty of upside too.
  4. Orioles - Kyle Zimmer, RHP (San Francisco): Zimmer has one of the best two-pitch mixes in the draft. The righty did quite well against quality hitting in the Cape Cod league in 2011, and is still showing off plus plus stuff.
  5. Royals - Kevin Gausman, RHP (LSU): He’s shown some of the best velocity among college pitchers in this class. Though his change-up is coming along, he still has yet to really show a consistently useful breaking ball.
  6. Cubs - Mark Appel, RHP (Stanford): He’s both projectable, and should end up with a decently high floor. Some concerns about his ability to be a true #1 starter do exist. Either way, a lot of value can be had in signing the righty.
  7. Padres - Albert Almora, OF (Florida HS): He’s been around the game for a while now, playing for a number of different teams at a high level. As such, he’s as mature a high school bat as you’ll find in this class. Almora doesn’t blow you away with one single tool, but he does a lot of things much better than most his age. A pretty safe pick as prep bats go, especially considering he should be at least a solid center fielder, if not much better.
  8. Pirates - Max Fried, LHP (California HS): Projectable, and already touching the mid-90s occasionally with his fastball, the left-hander is one of a trio of strong prep lefties. Fried seems to have shown himself to be the best of them through the spring.
  9. Rockies - Andrew Heaney, LHP (Oklahoma State): Aside from Kyle Zimmer, not many other pitchers have flown up the charts like Heaney. Above-average velocity and command from the left side, and he has two impressive (although still evolving) off-speed pitches.
  10. Athletics - Marcus Stroman, RHP (Duke): It’s hard to look past his velocity, breaking ball, and impressive command. As long as he can prove to withstand the rigors of starting in pro ball, Stroman could settle in at the top of a rotation. He was one of the few bright spots on Team USA this summer. 
  11. Mets - Zach Eflin, RHP (Florida HS): Continues to be one of the more major names among prep righties. His mix of polish and potential might just end up with him off the board before any other.
  12. White Sox - David Dahl, OF (Alabama HS): The reviews have been mixed, but it appears that the tools are definitely still there. Dahl’s left-handed swing is compact and his bat speed is great; he certainly never gets cheated at the plate. What’s most interesting is that he very well may end up in center. He would be well above-average there offensively.
  13. Reds - Richie Shaffer, INF (Clemson): In a year of weak bats, the plate discipline and power he’s shown could land him anywhere after the top 10. Maybe even in the back half of it. Especially if a team is convinced he can be a decent enough third basemen.
  14. Indians - Michael Wacha, RHP (Texas A&M): Wacha’s showed scouts a quality change-up and the projectable frame at 6-foot-6 prior to this year. He’s continued to do much of the same this year. A safe pick, but not quite as much upside as you like around the top 10.
  15. Nationals - Luc Giolito, RHP (California HS): Once thought to be a lock for pick 2 or 3. With the injury not quite sounding as severe as originally thought, this could be a great place for him to come off the board. An over-slot signing may be necessary though, his UCLA commitment may be strong.
  16. Marlins - Gavin Cecchini, SS (Louisiana HS): Even with his older brother already being an above-average bat in the Red Sox organization, Cecchini could possibly surpass him with an improved power display in his final year of high school. He’s already the stronger defensive player, so even more upside at the plate could make him a fantastic selection.
  17. Blue Jays - Walker Weikel, RHP (Florida HS): He’s one of the bigger projection-based prep arms in this class. Others might have more present stuff, polish, and/or consistency, but Weikel has shown flashes of big talent.
  18. Dodgers -  Matt Smoral, LHP (Ohio HS): He’s already much more physically developed than fellow prep lefties Fried and Virant, and his stuff seems to be improving again this spring. The fact that he’s closer to being maxed-out physically may leave some teams wanting more, but he’s shown much better body control and command than most other 6-foot-8 prep pitchers. His foot injury does push him down, but it should hurt him at all in the long run.
  19. Cardinals - Deven Marrero, SS (ASU): Still one of the safer players available. With more value on defense than at the plate, all signs point to him staying at shortstop throughout his playing career. He’s a solid hitter, but just doesn’t project for tons of power, nor is he patient. Nevertheless, he has the tools to be a useful regular at the plate.
  20. Giants - Hunter Virant, LHP (California HS): The least experienced of the lefty trio, I’m very curious how he develops in 2012. Still lots of projection left here as he’s newer to baseball than other prep arms, and his frame has lots of room. An already solid change-up is definitely a plus.
  21. Braves - Brian Johnson LHP (Florida): He could still easily go higher with three solid offerings and polish on the mound. Add that to the fact that he has a frame ready for pro ball and Johnson is plenty athletic for his build.
  22. Blue Jays - Stephen Piscotty, 3rd (Stanford): Not your traditional third baseman, he’s more about high average and big arm strength than big power. Even so, he should develop into a quality pro hitter if his most recent Cape Cod-leading display was any indication of his future talent level. The fact that he might not stick at third is a little disappointing.
  23. Cardinals - Chris Beck, RHP (Georgia Southern): After Appel, he’s one of the safer college arms available. He has both the frame and stuff to quickly adapt to the transition out of college ball. His velocity has wavered a bit though. Beck could be a quality pick for the Cards second in the top 25, both in terms of staying within the CBA limits and in the overall lack of risk with him.
  24. Red Sox - Lucas Sims, RHP (Georgia HS): Boston would be more than pleased to have the righty here (as one of 2 first-round picks- keep CBA in mind). He has consistently good velocity for a prep arm, and Sims’ mechanics are already looking simple. More ready for professional baseball than other prep arms.
  25. Rays - Joey Gallo, 1st/RHP (Nevada HS): It’s still uncertain if his future is on the mound or at the plate. He boasts big velocity and big power, but the latter may very well win out, mainly because  his raw power could challenge anyone else’s in this draft class. That says something, especially in a class without stand-out bats. Even still, a stronger hit tool will make teams much more comfortable in selecting him.
  26. Diamondbacks - Addison Russell, SS (HS ): One of 3 or 4 prep bats that are knocking at the first-round door. Russell has already broken through, it seems. The fact that he might stick at shortstop is big. His bat would be well above-average there. If not, it would play up at a corner with interesting defensive upside.
  27. Brewers - Nolan Fontana, SS (Florida): With a lack of bats, he could go higher. Especially considering his improvements on both sides of the ball. He looks like a lock to stick at shortstop, and Fontana is even showing more power than in the past. Add that to a good work ethic and great plate discipline, and you have a great late 1st-round pick.
  28. Brewers - Lance McCullers, RHP (California HS): If he was more of a guarantee to stick as a starter, he would probably project to go higher. His pure stuff has matched Giolito’s at many different times in the showcase circuit. Concerns about his mechanics may be what ultimately hold him back.
  29. Rangers - Brett Mooneyham, LHP (Stanford): Teams were already eyeing him before the spring, and he’s lived up to expectations. He’s shown great stuff this year, and has posted one of the better K rates in all of Division I, even while battling inconsistency.
  30. Yankees - Stryker Trahan, C (Louisiana HS): His stock has fallen a bit this spring. The big tools and all-around production he once displayed have not been as present in 2012. Though raw, he has a lot of the tools you want in a catcher, defensively-speaking. On top of the traditional skills, he also displays surprising speed for the position. Most importantly, he’s a patient, powerful left-handed hitter, giving him a number of above-average tools, position considered.
  31. Red Sox - Courtney Hawkins, OF (Texas HS): One of the more high-upside bats in this class. Lots of power, lots of arm strength. Boston should be able to sign him away from college.