These Official MLB Standings that I am using or the 2012 MLB Draft are active MLB Standings as of July 21, 2011 prior to the games on July 21st 2011. Teams with lower winning percentages will pick earlier. It is way too early to make an MLB Mock Draft considering that the top prospects for 2011 have not signed yet. Next update will be on August 23rd a week after the rookie deadline signing.
1. Houston Astros Lance McCullers Jr. P Tampa Jesuit High School Florida I said back in March that the Astros would finish in last place instead of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Looks like I was right on that call while the rest of the country is shocked by the Pirates being in contention this season. To be honest, I’m not that surprised by the Pirates this season. I said back in March that the Pirates would win 70 games and have the division lead at some point in the MLB season. Every other MLB expert, sports personality, or Pirates fan never in their right mind would have picked the Pirates to win 70 games let alone be in contention for first place this late in the season.
The 2012 MLB Draft is more than a year away. The only things that look certain at this point are Lance McCullers Jr. being a clear cut #1 overall pick for the 2012 MLB Draft along with the fact that the Houston Astros will likely pick #1 overall.
Right now Houston is 32-65 while the team with the next worst record is the Chicago Cubs with a 39-60 record.
Houston ranks 10th in stolen bases this season. Houston also ranks 8th out of 30 teams in batting average. Houston is a bottom 5 team in the MLB in Home Runs, team ERA, and fielding percentage.
Based on the numbers the Astros present they have to rely on their bats and base stealers to create scoring opportunities. Lack of home runs, poor defensive fundamentals, and inconsistent pitching is a recipe for disaster in the MLB. That’s why the Astros have to take the best available player
When it comes to Lance McCullers Jr. he has the arm, delivery, an ERA under 3.00, mechanics, control, and pinpoint accuracy on his pitches. McCullers has all the pitching tools that you can’t teach a prospect when it comes to intangibles.
Lance McCullers Jr. could be the best pitcher on the Astros rotation since Roy Oswalt before he got traded to Philadelphia. That’s how high the ceiling is for Lance McCullers Jr.
Lance McCullers Jr. has a 97 mile per hour fast ball, a 85 mile per hour curveball, and a 81 mile per hour change up. Lance McCullers Jr. is 6 foot 1 196 pounds. If McCullers wasn’t so undersized he’d be one of the most complete pitching prospects to come out in a very long time.
It really would not surprise me if Lance McCullers Jr. did better than Stephen Strasburg or Gerrit Cole, but its way too early to crown Lance McCullers Jr. this phenom pitcher when we haven’t even seen him pitch in the bigs yet.
Lance McCullers Jr. has committed to Florida in case a team drafts him and does not sign him to his desired salary. That gives Lance McCullers Jr. a lot of negotiating leverage to work with. He will have even more leverage if Scott Boras ends up becoming the agent who represents Lance McCullers Jr.
2. Chicago Cubs Nick Williams OF Ball High School Texas This is such a tough call between high school outfielder Nick Williams and Stanford righty Mark Appel. You have a special batter with Nick Williams who could bat 3rd in your lineup down the road and then you got a Stanford ace who may be able to anchor your teams rotation.
Chicago has 5 farm pitchers coming up to the majors in 2012 so that may improve their abysmal team ERA this season. The problem is none of those pitchers stand out. At the same time Chicago has the worst fielding percentage in baseball and their thin with depth at outfield and thin on outfield farm prospects. One bright spot for the Cubs is that 2009 first round pick Brett Jackson will likely make the jump to the Chicago Cubs roster in 2012.
Nick Williams is the best player available and some people are comparing him to Ken Griffey Jr. Williams is a complete 5 tool prospect with the batting average, home run ability, base stealing speed/athleticism, rocket arm for quick throws that enable him to throw from the outfield to the infield, and the fielding tools as a defensive player in the outfield. Williams converts RBI’s and home runs on a very consistent basic.
The consensus Cubs pick in the only 2 2012 MLB Mock Drafts that I have read so far is Stanford pitcher Mark Appel. Chicago could develop Mark Appel properly and take their time grooming him since the Cubs have 5 pitching prospects that are coming up to the Cubs roster in 2012. Those 5 pitching prospects make up for half of the Cubs top 10 farm prospects.
The Cubs have 3 areas to improve. Those areas are base stealing, fielding, and pitching. Chicago has 5 pitching prospects along with top 50 outfielder prospect Brett Jackson that are going to get called up in 2012. Chicago should just take the best available prospect here hoping they can improve their team with him.
At the World Wood Baseball Association tournament. Nick Williams defied the odds after going 3/3 with 3 home runs to hit a 4th consecutive home run.
Williams went 12/26 with 6 home runs and 12 RBI’s during the 8 game tournament that his team competed in.
You usually take a college player over a high school player. My problem with that logic is that Nick Williams has immense upside for a high school bat while Mark Appel is a college righty at pitcher. Batters are usually safer picks than pitchers when it comes to drafting prospects. The other issue I have with the pick is that the Cubs have one of the higher payrolls so they have the luxury of drafting Nick Williams in an attempt to sign him.
I’m giving the Cubs Nick Williams because of his upside and because he is my clear cut #2 overall prospect after Lance McCullers Jr.. I really cannot blame a Cubs fan if they told me they would prefer Mark Appel the Stanford righty over a high school bat like Nick Williams despite his major potential. I have Mark Appel going to the Royals so read below if you want more information on Mark Appel Cubs fans.
3. Kansas City Royals Mark Appel P Stanford The Kansas City Royals are in the bottom 5 in only one category. That category is team ERA. The Royals have the lowest payroll in MLB and usually lean towards the best player available.
Mark Appel is a 6 foot 5 190 pound pitcher who pitches for the Stanford Cardinal. Last year Mark Appel was the top starter in the schools rotation.
Appel only surrendered 2 home runs all season. Appel struck out 86 batters and went 6-7 while posting a 3.02 ERA after posting a 5.92 ERA as a freshman. The fact that his ERA was lowered by 2 runs is very impressive. Appel pitched a minimum of 6 innings in all 15 of his starts so consistency is a non issue with Appel. Appel pitched over 100 innings pitching 104.1 innings as a sophomore.
Mark Appel can throw a 4 fastball 97 miles per hour. Appel also throws his 2 seamer 95 miles per hour. Appel has a 92 mile per hour slider, an 85 mile per hour change up, and a 92 mph cutter fastball. Appel has the velocity and the pitching accuracy.
Gerrit Cole had the velocity. Appel has the velocity and the pinpoint accuracy. Plus Appel has top notch arm speed when releasing his pitches. Appel has an arm that makes a fast ball that can deliver supersonic velocity and laser like accuracy.
Even though Lance McCuller’s Jr. is my #1 pick right now I could see Appel jumping him because Appel is a college pitcher at Stanford who gained a lot of experience last season. Both Lance McCullers Jr. and Mark Appel have the pitching ability of a top 5 pick. Lance McCullers lacks the size while the upside is there for Mark Appel to have excellent size for a pitcher if he bulks up. Both pitchers have incredible pitching accuracy and mechanics. McCuller’s is still in high school while Appel has the upside and better velocity as a college pitcher at Stanford.
With the information that I’ve presented one could make the case that Appel should go #1 overall rather than Lance McCullers Jr. I have Mark Appel graded out as my 3rd best overall prospect at this infancy stage in the 2012 MLB Draft process behind Nick Williams and Lance McCullers Jr. at this point. When the 2012 MLB Draft rolls around in June I would not be shocked if Mark Appel ended up being the #1 overall pick jumping both Nick Williams and Lance McCullers Jr. on draft boards.
4. Baltimore Orioles Lucas Giolito P Harvard Westlake High School California Trey Williams is a top 10 prospect in the 2012 MLB Draft who may go in the top 5. Lucas Giolito managed to strike out Trey Williams in a contest between Harvard Westlake ace Lucas Giolito and Valencia third baseman Trey Williams.
Lucas Giolito is bound to go to UCLA unless he goes to the MLB. The Orioles need more pitchers to boost their team ERA and Baltimore is thin on pitching prospects. I’m not sold on Dylan Bundy and I really believe Lucas Giolito could become the ace of the Orioles rotation with the proper development.
There is no top 5 pitching talent after Appel or McCullers Jr. Both Mark Appel and Lance McCuller’s Jr. are two of my top 3 draft picks. After Lance McCuller’s Jr. and Mark Appel I have Lucas Giolito as my top pitching prospect. Giolito is ranked as the 6th best prospect on most draft boards.
Lucas Giolito has pitched no hitters and has a 94 mile per hour 4 seam and 2 seam fast ball.
5. San Diego Padres Kenny Diekroeger SS Stanford The Padres need a shortstop. Diekroger had a breakout freshman campaign, but fell of the map as a sophomore with a batting average that fell from .342 to .292.
Scouts said he would have to move to outfield straight out of high school. Diekroger has mastered his craft at shortstop and should remain a shortstop in the MLB despite his 6 foot 2 200 pound size.
Kenny Diekroeger has the ability to be a complete shortstop prospect with the baseball IQ and high character that former Stanford baseball prospect Sam Fuld had coming out of college.
I don’t see any reason why the Padres should not draft Kenny Diekrogger if he slips to #5 overall.
6. Oakland Athletics Trey Williams 3B Valencia High School California Oakland has a top 5 team ERA. Now the A’s just need to get some bats in their farm system. Oakland needs a long term shortstop and Trey Williams may be the future for the Oakland Athletics at 3rd base.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers Deven Marraro SS Arizona State Marraro batted .315, drove in 20 RBI’s, and stole 10 bases. Marraro only hit 2 home runs last season. Marraro has all the tools to develop into a 5 tool player if he improves his ability to hit home runs.
There is no debating that Deven Marraro is a huge upgrade over Rafael Furcal who is batting .167 in 29 games this season.
8. Seattle Mariners Victor Roach 1B Georgia Southern The Mariners take a versatile fielder who can anchor an outfield at center fielder or an infield at first baseman.
9. Minnesota Twins Jake Barrett P Arizona State Jake Barrett is the best player available. Barrett could go anywhere between picks 4 and 10.
Barrett has the size to be a starting pitcher at 6 foot 3 225 pounds. There are some off the field concerns with Barrett’s character. Barrett posted a winning record, but had a bad ERA. The mechanics and pitching control are two areas he needs to work on.
Barrett recorded 72 strike outs in 76 innings during the 2011 season. Barrett has a 4 seamer that is 94 miles per hour along with a 90 mile per hour 2 seamer. Barrett also has the curveball and splitter that could develop into complimentary pitches.
The problem with Barrett is he has really poor control with his pitches. The mechanics are not there. Barrett’s throwing motion needs a lot of seasoning. His command on the mound is very inconsistent.
Barrett has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in this draft. The problem is Barrett is such a project at this point and he has such a deep learning curve I just cannot see him succeeding at this point.
10. Chicago White Sox Gavin Cecchini SS Barbe High School Louisiana Cecchini will commit to Ole Miss if he doesn’t like the salary he is being offered. The White Sox have a higher payroll then any AL Central team so they should take Cecchini. Cecchini could rival the 2 Pac 10 shortstops that are competing for the top pick.
11. Florida Marlins Kevin Gausman P LSU Gausman led the team innings pitched for LSU last season. Kevin Gausman managed to pitch 89.2 innings for the LSU Tigers in 15 starts. With an improvement of his mechanics and change up pitch Kevin Gausman has the tools to be a top 10 pick now.
12. Colorado Rockies Brian Goodwin OF North Carolina Brian Goodwin is the best player available. The Rockies seem like they need help there. If Matt Purke does not sign he may reenter the MLB Draft and become a first round pick if he can top his freshman season at TCU.
13. Cincinnati Reds Steve Nyisztor 2B Rutgers Nyisztor appeared in all 56 games and started all, but one game at 2nd base. Nyisztor posted a .410 batting average along with 4 home runs, 51 RBI’s, 11 stolen bases, and 17 doubles. Nyisztor is a project, but has the tools to be a 5 tool player if his home run ability improves.
14. Washington Nationals Michael Wacha P Texas A/M Wacha went 9-2 with a 2.90 ERA for Texas A/M as a freshman. Wacha would be another prospect that the Nationals could add to their system. Its scary to think what this Nationals rotation is capable of if Strasburg recovers while their 2011 draft picks like Alex Meyer and Matt Purke pan out. I really don’t think Purke will sign because he wants a major payday. Purke was a frontrunner to go #1 overall in 2011 before a major regression.
15. Toronto Blue Jays Joey Gallo 3B Bishop Gorman High School Nevada Toronto drafts another high school prospect with this pick.
16. New York Mets Lex Rutledge P Samford Lex Rutledge is the top relief pitcher in this draft. The Mets could use another relief pitcher in their system to develop now that K Rod is gone.
17. St. Louis Cardinals Addison Russel SS Pace High School Florida The Cardinals get the best prospect available with this pick.
18. Detroit Tigers Marcus Stroman P Duke Detroit ranks 26th out of 30 in team ERA despite having an ace like Justin Verlander who can anchor a rotation. Marcus Stroman is a very underrated relief pitcher who can boost a bullpen down the road.
19. Los Angeles Angels Cody Peteet 3B Christian High School California The Angels take the best prospect available. Peteet could be a top 15 pick when all is said and done. I have him slipping to 19 where he provides great value for the Los Angels.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks Brian Johnson P Florida When I googled Brian Johnson to get information I got more results for Johnson’s injury where got knocked unconsious by a baseball throw. This is probably the most brutal injury I’ve seen in college baseball.
Arizona has an array of prospects in their farm system so they have the luxury of taking a flyer on Brian Johnson.
21. Pittsburgh Pirates Albert Almora OF Mater Christian High School Florida Albert Almora is a power hitter who can provide some pop. Almora would likely play right field for the Pirates. If the Pirates want to continue to build through the draft then they should draft Albert Almora. He’s the best player available and fills a major hole for the Pittsburgh Pirates because they need a bat who can compliment McCutchen at right field. Almora has 5 tool potential and can jump into right field. Alex Dickerson of Indiana could play left field or center field if Andrew McCutchen opts out of his contract in 2012.
One scout believes Albert Almora will slide up draft boards like Manny Machado and even went as far as stating they would take Almora over Machado if they were a GM.
22. Tampa Bay Rays Walker Weichel OF Olympia High School Florida Walker Weichel is a hometown high school prospect who is 6 foot 6 200 pounds. Has the size. The question is will Weichel develop into a 5 tool player.
23. Cleveland Indians Branden Kline P Virginia Cleveland is posting sup par stats in every major baseball category yet their in first place. Its probably due to the hot start they had at the beginning of the year where they dominated. This is awesome Tribe keep it up the winning.
24. Milwaukee Brewers Austin Maddox C Florida Austin Maddox was the SEC Freshman of the year in 2010. Maddox is the best player available. The Brewers got 2 premium pitching prospects in 2011 and are 4th overall in home runs.
25. Texas Rangers Kayden Porter 1B Spanish Fork Tennessee Kayden Porter is 6 foot 5 240 pounds and has the ability to be a 5 tool player. He is a project player with immense upside. Porter is the poor mans Bryce Harper.
26. San Francisco Giants Jake Stewart OF Stanford Jake Stewart is an outfielder for Stanford. His dad James played baseball at Virginia Tech before being a minor league player for the Minnesota Twins.
His high school team won 3 straight state championships before being drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 14th round following high school. He won state championships in 2007 and 2008 while playing football and basketball in high school. Williams had a .511 batting average during his senior year of high school.
Stewarts batting average peaked from .209 to .287 as a sophomore at Stanford. He should bat over .300 in 2012 possibly eclipsing the .350 batting average mark. Jake Stewart had 16 multi hit games and 5 consecutive multi hit games. Stewart got 3 hits against a Vanderbilt pitching rotation that was extremely deep with MLB talent in 2011.
Stewart has started at center fielder since his freshman year playing in 100 games through 2 years. Jake Stewart was 8/10 when stealing bases last season.
Stewart has an excellent fielding percentage. Stewart has a .981 fielding percentage as a center fielder during his 2 year stint with the Stanford Cardinal.
Jacob Stewart is majoring in psychology. Remember the last Stanford outfield prospect who majored in psychology? That outfielder was Rays outfielder Sam Fuld. I’m not saying Stewart is the next Fuld. I just think its a huge coincidence that both outfielders went to Stanford and majored in psychology.
27. Atlanta Braves Stephen Piscotty 1B Stanford Piscotti batted .364 and ranked 2nd on the Stanford roster with 40 RBI’s in 2011. Piscotti had 3 home runs and 13 doubles at Stanford. The Braves take the best player available here.
28. New York Yankees Rio Ruiz 3B Bishop Amat High School California Rio Ruiz is the best player available. The Yankees have the luxury of taking the best player available due to their high payroll.
29. Boston Red Sox Stephen Perez SS Miami FL Stephen Perez had 8 home runs, 24 stolen bases, the arm, the fielding. Perez can be a 5 tool player if he batting average improves. The Red Sox have the payroll and the patience to develop Perez.
30. Philadelphia Phillies Jeremy Baltz OF St. Johns Baltz managed to hit 24 home runs as a freshman at St. Johns while batting .396 at St. Johns. I get the feeling that Baltz will surge into the top 10 if he matches those numbers from last year.