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2012 MLB Mock Draft Update

This will be the last update on my 2012 MLB Mock Draft until October.  In October we will know the draft order for the first 23 picks out of the 31 teams picking in October.

1. Houston Astros Mark Appel Pitcher Stanford At this point Mark Appel looks like a clear cut #1 overall pick to go first overall in the 2012 MLB Draft.  Appel is no stone cold lock to go #1 overall by any means necessary, but Appel has to be the frontrunner to be the first pick in the 2012 MLB Draft just like Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is the frontrunner to be the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft at this point in the draft process even though nothing has been finalized yet.

Mark Appel Summary from 08/18/2011

Last month I thought Lance McCullers Jr. was the clear cut #1 overall pick.  Now it looks like 3 pitchers Lance McCullers Jr, Mark Appel, and Lucas Giolito are all in contention to be the top pick next June.  A dark horse pitcher who may emerge is Michael Wacha out of Texas A&M.

Houston drafted a college player at #11 overall so I think the Astros stick to getting college players.  That would leave Appel and Texas A&M ace Michael Wacha in contention for the top pick.  Wacha was 14th in my first mock draft so it would be foolish to crown him the top pick despite his vast improvement along with his quick surge rising the ranks of 2012 MLB Mock Drafts.

The Astro’s have bottom 5 home run hitting ability, bottom 5 defensive fielding in terms of fielding percentage, and a bottom 5 team ERA.  That is a recipe for defeat in Major League Baseball.  That is why it is so crucial for the Astros to get this pick right.

The Houston Astros took Stanford catcher Jason Castro with a top 10 pick in the 2008 MLB Draft so the Astros do indeed have strong ties to Stanford.  I made a case that Mark Appel may leapfrog Lance McCullers Jr. based on his ability as a pitcher in July and a lot of MLB Mock Drafts changed their draft boards after my argument.

Last month I had Mark Appel as my 3rd best prospect behind Nick Williams and Lance McCuller’s Jr.  I made a very convincing argument about how it would not shock me if Appel jumped both players.  You can read my recap on Appel below.

Mark Appel Summary from 07/21/2011

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.

Some MLB Mock Drafts made significant changes by making Appel the new #1 pick on their draft boards weeks after I posted this argument.

2. Baltimore Orioles Lucas Giolito Pitcher Harvard Westlake High School California This was such a tough pick to make.  I felt like Lance McCuller’s Jr. still deserves to be a top pick, but there are too many numbers working in Lucas Giolito’s favor.

Giolito managed to strikout batting prospect Trey Williams.  Giolito weighs 6 foot 6 220 pounds.  Giolito was 9-1 with an ERA of 1.00 last season during his junior season of high school baseball.  You get a 95 MPH 4 seamer and a 92 MPH 2 seamer with Giolito.  Another plus pitch that Giolito has is his hard breaking curve ball that he manages to deliver into the lower corners of the strike out zone so effectively.

Lucas Giolito is a pitcher who can provide a 3 to 1 strikeout to walks ratio of 78/26 while McCullers Jr provies a 79/32 strike out to walk ratio which averages to a 2.5/1 strike out ratio.

I love Lance McCullers Jr. as a prospect, but he lacks the size of a top notch high school prep arm and Giolito has the better ERA and velocity than McCuller’s Jr at this point.  Giolito also has the size that Lance McCullers Jr. lacks.

Its way too early to dismiss Lance McCuller’s Jr.  from the conversation of being the top pick at this point.  McCuller’s could still reenter the conversation as the top pick in 2012 later this year with another big year.

Right now I am starting to believe that Mark Appel and Lucas Giolito are beginning to slowly separate themselves from Lance McCullers Jr.  How Appel and Giolito separate themselves will determine who goes where.

3. Minnesota Twins Lance McCullers Jr. Pitcher Tampa Jesuit High School Florida Even though were beginning to see pitchers like Mark Appel and Lucas Giolito slowly separate themselves as the #1 and #2 overall prospects at this point, Lance McCullers Jr. is still a top 3 overall talent.  You would be a fool to dismiss what Lance brings to the table in terms of pitching potential down the road.

I know its going to be tempting to pass on a batting prospect like Deven Marrero or Nick Williams who could be the face of the franchise if Joe Mauer’s numbers continue to dip, but Lance McCullers Jr. is too good of a pitcher for the Twins to pass on.

Right now Mark Appel, Lucas Giolito, and Lance McCullers Jr. look like the clear cut #1, #2, and #3 overall prospects and draft picks at this early starting point in the 2012 MLB Draft.  Things may end up changing if any of these pitchers struggle.

4. Seattle Mariners Deven Marrero Short Stop Arizona State You can make the case that Deven Marrero, Michael Wacha, or Nick Williams is worthy of being the #4 overall pick.

Seattle usually takes college players over high school players.  That leaves Devin Marrero and Michael Wacha by process of elimination.  The Mariners are 17th in team ERA so you got to go with Marrero here.

Mariners starting shortstop Brendan Ryan is injury prone and Jack Wilson is overpaid.  Shortstop Nick Franklin is the Mariners top shortstop prospect, but Franklin is currently on a rehab assignment.

The Mariners would be adding a huge long term upgrade by drafting Devin Marrero with this pick.

This is what I stated about Deven Marrero in my previous 2012 MLB Mock Draft.

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.

The Mariners are currently last in batting average.  Marraro would help improve Seattle’s batting average down the road.

5. Kansas City Royals Nick Williams Outfielder Ball High School Texas Williams reminds me of Albert Pujols.  The Royals love high school prospects and have such a deep farm system of prospects that they can practically take the best high school player available.  Right now that would be Nick Williams.

6. Chicago Cubs Michael Wacha Pitcher Texas A&M Wacha is 6 foot 6 220 pounds.  The Cubs have 6 pitching prospects ranked in the top ten of their farm system.  Hayden Simpson has struggled and none of the pitching prospects have made significant progress in AAA to the point where their close to playing in the MLB.

The Cubs may have 5 farm prospects top 10 prospects at pitcher ready to arrive in the Pro’s in 2012. The Cubs have to add Wacha to their farm system.  None of their farm prospects have managed to stand out in development and pitching is a serious issue in Chicago with the teams ERA.

7. San Diego Padres Mike Zunino Catcher Florida The Padres could use a catcher.  Florida catcher Mike Zunino is the best player available.

8. Florida Marlins Trey Williams 3rd Baseman Valencia High School California The Marlins draft the best available high school player.  Right now that is Trey Williams.

9. Oakland Athletics Joey Gallo 3rd Baseman Bishop Gorman High School Nevada The Oakland Athletics get a 3rd baseman.

10. Pittsburgh Pirates Kenny Diekroeger Short Stop Stanford The Pittsburgh Pirates could use a shortstop to solidify the infield.  Pedro Alvarez at 3rd base and Neil Walker at 2nd base makes for a great infield, but adding that shortstop who can provide some pop at shortstop could give the Pirates one of the best infields in the MLB.

Kenny 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.

11. Washington Nationals Victor Roache 1st Baseman Georgia Southern Washington should add Roache.  Doing so would give the Nationals a sick infield featuring Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, and Victor Roache.

12. Colorado Rockies Kevin Gausman Pitcher 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.

13. Los Angeles Dodgers Brian Johnson Pitcher Florida Anyone remember Brian Johnson the Florida pitcher who got hit in the head?  That was a brutal injury that Johnson suffered against Georgia.  True Gator baseball fans will tell you that brutal is not even close to describing what Johnson’s injury was in terms of severity.

Johnson has a 4/1 strike out to walk ratio.

Johnson posted 6 wins during his freshman campaign and posted a 3.62 ERA.

I love Brian Johnson’s potential to become an ace for the Dodgers franchise.  The only concern is can Johnson stay healthy?

14. Cincinnati Reds Byron Buxton Outfielder Appling County High School Georgia Byron Buxton is the best available player at this point.  The Reds should take Buxton with this pick.

15. New York Mets Tayore Cherry Pitcher Vandalia Butler High School Ohio Cherry is 6 foot 9 260 pounds and throws a mid 90′s fastball that can clock up to 98 miles per hour.  Cherry is rising up draft boards as a potential sleeper.  I am beginning to ask myself if this is too high to place Cherry.

16. Toronto Blue Jays Gavin Cecchini Short Stop Barbe High School Louisiana People are saying Cecchini is a top ten pick.  My top baseball source who gives me helpful advice that I apply to future MLB Mock drafts has Cecchini listed as a 2nd to 3rd round pick.

Its too early at this point to downgrade Cecchini to a 2nd to 3rd round pick.  Cecchini may be a major project player, but he has the potential to succeed if he applies himself.

In other words Cecchini is a high risk high reward pick.  The Blue Jays seem like the team that would take a high risk high reward pick.  Toronto took some high risk high reward players in the 2011 MLB Draft.

17. Cleveland Indians Jake Cosart Pitcher Clear Creek High School Texas Cosart has the cannon arm and the deadly velocity.  Cosart’s fastball has clocked in at 98 miles per hour.

18. Chicago White Sox Jake Barrett Pitcher Arizona State The White Sox get the best player available with this pick.

19. San Francisco Giants Jake Stewart Outfielder 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.

20. St. Louis Cardinals Albert Almora Outfielder Marion Christian Academy Florida The Cardinals add an outfielder to their farm system for depth.

21. Los Angeles Angels Walker Weichel Outfielder Olympia High School Florida The Angels draft the best player available with this draft pick.

22. Toronto Blue Jays Compensation Pick Hunter Virant P Camarillo High School California The Blue Jays like prep arm pitchers from high school.  The Blue Jays have to get a player that they know they can sign with this pick.

23. Tampa Bay Rays Brian Goodwin Outfielder North Carolina The Rays should take a flyer on Brian Goodwin as the Rays are in a rebuilding process with revamping their outfielders.

24. Texas Rangers Kayden Porter Pitcher Spanish Fork Tennessee Porter can be a first baseman, outfielder, or pitcher.  Most MLB scouts see Porter having the most success as a pitcher.

25. Detroit Tigers Marcus Stroman Pitcher Duke Detroit ranks 22nd 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.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks Addison Russel Short Stop Pace High School Florida The Diamondbacks have such a deep farm system.  Arizona can afford to go best player available.

27. Atlanta Braves Stephen Piscotty 1st Baseman 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. Milwaukee Brewers Lex Rutledge Pitcher Samford The Brewers add another arm to their rotation by adding a potential relief pitcher down the road with Lex Rutledge.

29. New York Yankees Rio Ruiz 3rd Baseman 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.

30. Boston Red Sox Steve Nyisztor 2nd Baseman 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.

31. Philadelphia Phillies Stephen Perez Short Stop 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.