Trying to predict the draft a few days before draft day is an incredibly difficult task to do; trying to do so a month in advance is like throwing darts blindfolded. This mock is not in the order of best player available, but rather on team need/team draft style.
1. Houston Astros (56-106)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake High School, CA
Rationale: The Astros minor league system is one of the worst in baseball and they are desperate for pitching not only at the major league level, but in the minors as well. Appel would quickly become their number one prospect, and give the Astros a much needed All-Star potential player. The Astros could also used improved pitching as they will be transitioning an American League West that boasts scary line-ups in the form the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels.
2. Minnesota Twins (63-99)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford University
Updated Pick: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, University of San Francisco
Rationale: The Twins love pitching prospects who have a good command and are safe bets. Zimmer doesn’t fit that mold exactly, but he does bring the potential to be a 1/2 starter at the major league level. He hasn’t been a serious pitcher for long, moving full time to the position just over 3 years ago as a freshman at USF. There is still lots of room for Zimmer to grow as a pitcher and the Twins have no promising pitching prospects in their minor league system.
3. Seattle Mariners (67-95)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Byron Buxton, CF, Appling County HS, GA
Rationale: I’ve heard from a source who is friends with Zunino that he will not get past the Mariners. The upper levels of the Mariners Baseball Operations saw Zunino earlier this season on one of his most impressive weekends of the season. He also impressed them in a private workout according to the same source. The Mariners are in need of good hitting talent as well.
4. Baltimore Orioles (69-93)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU
Updated Pick: Byron Buxton, CF, Appling County HS, GA
Rationale: The Orioles may be the happiest team in the draft if Buxton falls all the way to them at #4. Buxton has the chance to become the best player in the draft if he develops perfectly. He is already an 80 runner, with an 80 arm, and projectable above average power. Buxton doesnt play against elite competition in Georgia and he has a lot of risk associated with him.
5. Kansas City Royals (71-91)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Mike Zunino, C, University of Florida
Updated Pick: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake High School, CA
Rationale: The Royals have made it a point to take the best player available in the Dayton Moore era and 2012 will be no different. Giolito was one of the top two talents coming into 2012 before his elbow injury earlier this spring. Giolito’s dad took to twitter and said his son would begin a throwing program this week and he was back to “better than 100%”. If he is proven healthy he won’t get past the Royals.
6. Chicago Cubs (71-91)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Stryker Trahan, C, Acadiana High School, LA
Updated Pick: Matt Smoral, LHP, Solon High School, OH
Rationale: The Cubs need arms and Smoral gives them a lefty with an above average fastball and slider combo. Smoral is another injured top-1o talent as he is out for the season after having a surgery to repair a stress fracture in his plant foot. Smoral, standing at 6’8” 225 lbs, has had a stress fracture in the same foot before the 2012 season. Despite the injury risk associated with him, the talent is just too much to pass up for a system with little promise at the pitching position.
7. San Diego Padres (71-91)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State University
Updated Pick: Kevin Gausman, RHP, Louisiana State University
Rationale: Gausman is simply the top talent remaining on the board when it comes to the Padres turn. They have one of the best systems in minor league baseball and Gausman would add to their upper level talent. Gausman has a plus fastball and an above-average change-up. He throws a curveball presently that is average at best, and that could change to a slider as he switches from college to professional baseball.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates (72-90)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe High School, Lake Charles, LA
Updated Pick: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico
Rationale: The Pirates have a bevy of pitching prospects in their minor leagues led by Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. Correa gives them a player with potential to fill a much needed void at shortstop, but also with the power potential to shift to third base if he outgrows the position. Correa is one of the youngest premium prospects, as he is just 17 years old.
9. Miami Marlins (72-90)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Chris Beck, RHP, Georgia Southern University
Updated Pick: 3B Richie Shaffer, Clemson University
(Image: Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE)
Rationale: The Marlins have gone all in to win now and Shaffer would be a potential quick mover through their system. Shaffer’s stock has risen a lot this spring as his overall play has improved drastically. His best tool is his power, but he plays above average defense as well.
10. Colorado Rockies (73-89)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain High School, Alabama
Updated Pick: Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State University
(Image: Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE)
Rationale: Marrero is an odd case as he seemed like a no doubt top-5 talent coming into the 2012 season. But thanks to a .280/.343/.422 slash line and an effort that has been lacking at times this season Marrero’s stock has dropped. He still carries the ability to be an above-average shortstop at the major-league level. He could be a serious steal at #10 if he can recapture the success he had in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
11. Oakland Athletics (74-88)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford University
Updated Pick: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake High School, CA
Rationale: Pitching is the currency of baseball and no team knows that better than the Oakland Athletics who have traded away the likes of Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Dan Haren, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson over the past decade. Fried would bolster an already pitching deep system, but if there is one thing a team can never have enough of, left handed pitching would be it.
12. New York Mets (77-85)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Updated Pick: Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty High School, FL
Rationale: Eflin is a breaking ball away from being one of the better pitchers in this entire draft. Eflin already has good feel for a change-up, which is rare to see for a high school talent. The Mets need just about everything in their minor leagues and having a potential #2 starter would help them start their rebuilding process.
13. Chicago White Sox (79-83)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Walker Weickel, RHP, Olympia High School, FL
Updated Pick: Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy, FL
Rationale: The White Sox easily have the worst minor league system, and even worse don’t have an impact bat any where in there system. The Sox can’t go wrong if they take the best player available, but fulfilling the need for an impact bat seems most likely. Almora brings a high batting average with plus speed and defense to the table and easily moves into the spot of #1 prospect in the White Sox organization.
14. Cincinnati Reds (79-83)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy, FL
Updated Pick: 3B Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford University
(Image: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE)
Rationale: Piscotty brings above average hitting and power ability to the table. He is not as good of defender as Rickie Shaffer, but he is suitable for the position. The Reds window to compete is now, so they will look in the direction of a college player who could join the team in a quick manner. Piscotty fills the need perfectly for the Reds.
15. Cleveland Indians (80-82)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Jake Barrett, RHP, Arizona State University
Updated Pick: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State University
Rationale: The Indians blew up their minor league pitching depth to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez in 2011. Heaney presently has a good three pitch mix and will give the Indians a potential front line starter. Heaney is the best left-handed college pitcher available in 2012.
16. Washington Nationals (80-81)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Kenny Diekroeger, SS, Stanford University
Updated Pick: Brian Johnson, LHP, University of Florida
(Image: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE)
Rationale: Like the Reds the Nationals feel like their time to compete is right now. With the Braves and Phillies aging, the Mets rebuilding, and the Marlins trying to mount their competitive peak as well the Nationals look for a safe, close to the majors player. Johnson gives them exactly what they are looking for. Johnson has advanced off-speed offerings and could reach the major league level in short order.
17. Toronto Blue Jays (81-81)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Lance McCullers Jr., RHP, Tampa Jesuit High School, FL
Updated Pick: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe High School, LA
Rationale: Cecchini is one of my big question marks going into the draft. He has value due to his ability to stick at shortstop defensively, and hit for an average or higher batting average. Outside of those two things though, I don’t see much value. The Blue Jays loaded up on young talent last year, and they continue that trend in 2012 by selecting the unexciting Cecchini.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers (82-79)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Joey Gallo, 3B/1B/RHP, Bishop Gorman High School, NV
Updated Pick: Walker Weickel, RHP, Olympia High School, FL
Rationale: The Dodgers, now free from MLB ownership, take a major chance on Weickel as a high risk/high reward pick at #18. Weickel has struggled this year and may feel that he could go higher if he plays three seasons at University of Miami (FL). Weickel has a big, durable frame that gives him the chance to be a #2 starter in the future.
19. St. Louis Cardinals (from LAA for Albert Pujols)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Trey Williams, 3B, Valencia High School, CA
Updated Pick: Courtney Hawkins, OF, Mary Carroll High School, TX
Rationale: Hawkins is a powerhouse standing at 6’3” 215 lbs, bringing plus power, plus arm, and average or better speed to the table. Hawkins projects to play right field, and his arm will be a weapon from that position as well. The Cardinals have talent at the major league level to give Hawkins the appropriate time to develop as a hitter. He will strikeout a lot, but the power potential is to enticing to pass up at the #19 spot.
20. San Francisco Giants (86-76)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake High School, CA
Updated: Joey Gallo, 1B/3B, Bishop Gorman High School, NV
Rationale: Gallo could go in the draft as a power hitting corner infielder or as a power pitcher. He looks like more of a hitter than a pitcher to me. Gallo has plus power and even more raw power. His swing is long, but if the power is present, no one will complain too much. He has the arm, but not the range, to play at third base. One of the best prospects to watch during batting practice as he can put on a show.
21. Atlanta Braves (89-73)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Travis Jankowski, OF, Stony Brook University
Rationale: What do the Braves want? Pitching. And when do they want it in the major leagues? Now. The Braves have a well documented history of taking very polished arms in early rounds of the draft. The trend continues in 2012 when Wacha falls to them at the 21st overall pick. Wacha’s best pitch scouting wise is his change-up, but his fastball is above-average as well. Could find a role in the bullpen early in his career while his breaking pitches are still developing.
22. Toronto Blue Jays (Compensation for failure to sign Tyler Beede)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke University
Updated Pick: Nolan Fontana, SS, University of Florida
(Image: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE)
Rationale: The Blue Jays have to grab someone they can sign with this pick as they lose it if they don’t use it, and by use it I mean sign the player they draft. Fontana is a safe pick due to his compact, line drive heavy swing. He has a fringy arm
from shortstop, but could stick at the position. He has potential to be an OBP monster. A similar player to Fontana hitting wise would be Kolten Wong, who was taken 22nd overall in 2011 by the Cardinals.
23. St. Louis Cardinals (90-72)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Tom Murphy, C, University of Buffalo
Updated Pick: Stryker Trahan, C, Acadina High School, LA
Rationale: With Yadier Molina locked up to a long term contract, and another impact bat selected just 4 picks earlier the Cardinals return to the high school ranks to grab another long range prospect. Trahan is a great athlete who has flashed above average defensive ability. Hitting can be taught to some extent and Trahan could become a serious value pick if he can play to the level he sometimes shows consistently.
24. Boston Red Sox (90-72)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Luke Sims, RHP, Brookwood High School, GA
Updated Pick: Addison Russell, SS, Pace High School, FL
Rationale: Russell is big for the shortstop position and at 6’1′ 210 lbs some question whether or not he would be better suited at third base. The only problem with that is the fact that his actions at shortstop are smooth despite his size. His bat can play at either position, it obviously carries a lot more value from the shortstop position.
25. Tampa Bay Rays (91-71)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: C.J. Hinojosa, SS, Klein Collins HIgh School, TX
Updated Pick: Wyatt Mathisen, C/SS, Calallen High School, TX
Rationale: Mathisen has all of the tools necessary to stick behind the plate, but has seen a significant amount of time at shortstop this season. He has a strong arm and a large 6’2” 215 lb frame that leads me to believe teams will want to at least try him behind the plate. Mathisen has a quick swing and is an above average hitter, his true value rests with him playing behind the plate.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Fernando Perez, 3B, Central Arizona JC
Updated Pick: Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo High School, CA
Rationale: The D’backs have a trio of elite pitching prospects in Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley, and Tyler Skaggs. The simple fact of the matter is you can never have enough pitching and Virant is a steal at 26th overall in the draft. So much so that he may believe he can go higher by foregoing signing with a team and spending three years at college baseball powerhouse UCLA instead.
27. Milwaukee Brewers (from Detroit for Prince Fielder)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Rio Ruiz, 3B/RHP, Bishop Amat High School, CA
Updated Pick: Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Saint Mary’s College of California
Rationale: Wisdom suffered from poor performance this spring hitting just .240/.375/.433. Wisdom’s plus power potential remains, as does his above average defense, making him the perfect option for the Brewers to take him with their first of back to back picks. Wisdom could opt to return to St. Mary’s hoping for a better outcome in his senior season, but I would say he more than likely takes whatever offer the Brewers give him.
28. Milwaukee Brewers (96-66)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Brian Johnson, RHP/1B, University of Florida
Updated Pick: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke University
Rationale: Stroman has one fatal flaw that affects his draft stock more than any of his baseball talents do. That flaw: his height. Standing at a listed 5’8” 185 lbs everyone in the baseball world questions whether or not his stuff can make up for the lack of plane on his pitches. Stroman features a low to mid-90s fastball, an above average change-up, and a slider that needs some cleaning up if he does want to stick as a starter. At worst he is a bullpen arm and advances quickly enough to help the Brewers out in late 2012 or to start the year in 2013. Stroman leads NCAA Div-I in both strikeouts and K/9 ratio
29. Texas Rangers (96-66)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Tanner Rahier, SS, Palm Deset High School, CA
Updated Pick: Alex Wood, LHP, University of Georgia
Rationale: Wood had Tommy John surgery after his freshman season in 2010, and has returned to his pre-injury form in 2012. His fastball sits in the low 90s, his change-up is advanced for his age/experience level, but he lacks a true swing and miss out pitch. The Rangers already have one of the better minor league systems in the game which allows them to take a high risk/high reward player late in the first round.
30. New York Yankees (97-65)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Duane Underwood, RHP, Pope High School, Georgia
Rationale: Stratton has been a bat missing monster this spring, registering 95 strikeouts in his 75 innings of work, good enough for fifth on the NCAA Div-I list for strikeout totals. Stratton has had his best season this year, but his wipe out slider has scouts raving about him. The Yankees could use an advance pitcher with his kind of upside as their “Killer-Bs” Betances and Banuelos have struggled mightily at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.
31. Boston Red Sox (from Philadelphia for Jonathan Papelbon)
Pick in Mock v 1.0: Nick Williams, OF, Ball High School, TX
Updated Pick: Ty Buttrey, RHP, Providence High School, NC
Rationale: Buttrey has registered his fastball in the mid-90s this spring; combined with his above average change-up, developing curve, and large 6’6” 210 lb frame he could sneak into the end of the first round. Buttrey is very projectable and the Sox could use a high ceiling pitcher in their system. If nothing more Buttrey provides a formidable trade chip in the future.
That is it for the mock of the draft one month out from the actual date. The 2012 draft is weak compared to the average, and incredibly weak compared to 2011, and there is still no consensus number one pick. You could see a lot of teams fail to sign their first round pick in hopes that the 2013 compensation pick brings them a player of higher value.
One, if not two, more mock draft(s) can be expected before the actual draft happens.