2012 MLB Rule 4 Draft Results

Let’s just get right to it (my tally from my mock draft will follow each selection):

1. Houston Astros – Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy – It can’t be understated enough about how much of an upset this was in the scheme of the actual selection process. On talent alone, Correa is said to rival Cleveland’s top prospect Francisco Lindor, who forged a similar path to Correa, but many believed he would go to Pittsburgh at #8. In the end, his selection brought Astros fans back 20 years ago when Phil Nevin was picked #1 overall and the New York Yankees swiped some guy named Derek Jeter at #6. Perhaps new general manager Jeff Luhnow was not going to make the same mistake again by passing up a very talented shortstop. (WRONG: Appel, 0-for-1)

2. Minnesota Twins – Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS (GA) – This was pretty obvious, even with Appel not being taken #1 overall. Buxton had been Minnesota’s guy basically from the get go, as him pairing up with Miguel Sano could form a potent duo, especially if Buxton can stay in center field. He immediately becomes the #1 prospect in the Minnesota system. (CORRECT, 1-for-2)

3. Seattle Mariners – Mike Zunino, C, Florida – This was also obvious, as Seattle was assuming that Buxton would be off the board, and even if Correa was there at #3, the Mariners were so desperate in need of catching depth that Zunino, the leader of the #1 Florida Gators in 2012, was the right choice. With Correa going #1 overall, at least Mariners fans have been spared the “What if?” question much like the selection of Danny Hultzen over Lindor in 2011. (CORRECT, 2-for-3)

4. Baltimore Orioles – Kevin Gausman, RHP, Louisiana State – And now for the first suspenseful moment of the evening: Gausman was Baltimore’s pick before the start of the draft, but all of a sudden, there’s Appel for the taking. But Dan Duquette and his scouting crew went with their Bayou Bengal man. Gausman has polish, but lacks Appel’s ceiling. There’s a chance he could sign quickly, as well. (WRONG: Correa, 2-for-4)

5. Kansas City Royals – Kyle Zimmer, RHP, University of San Francisco – This is a lot like the Baltimore pick in that Kansas City had their man and weren’t going to waver. All of a sudden, Appel continues to plummet, and there are some people who actually like Zimmer more than Appel on a strict ceiling/stuff basis. (CORRECT, 3-for-5)

6. Chicago Cubs – Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy (FL) – Another one of those picks where Theo, Jed, and Co. had their guy and weren’t moving an inch. Some went to say that the Cubs would have selected him #1 overall if they were in that spot. On talent alone, he’s not at Buxton’s level, but still has a chance to be at least average across the board. (CORRECT, 4-for-6)

7. San Diego Padres – Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA) – I was right about San Diego selection a pitcher, but they went with the long-term approach due to my pick, Gausman, being snatched up. At least that’s how I like to see it. Fried, being a local guy, was someone that the Padres really liked, and was definitely someone to keep an eye on, along with teammate Lucas Giolito, who could have been perhaps even a #1 guy had it not been for elbow issues (More on him in a minute). (WRONG: Andrew Heaney, 4-for-7)

8. Pittsburgh Pirates – Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford – How about the stones on the Buccos? So Appel, who was poised to get big money as the #1 overall pick and was Houston’s guy up until probably a couple of weeks ago, falls to #8, where the slot money is lower and, well, he is represented by Scott Boras, who will be looking for #1 pick compensation. Of course, Pirates fans will be quick to point out the Pedro Alvarez fiasco from a couple years back when it comes to Boras and his negotiation practices, but let’s just stop and think about what could be in 2014: Jameson Tallion, Gerrit Cole, James McDonald and Mark Appel as part of the Major League rotation. In THAT ballpark. Pirates fans, be excited about your front office’s commitment to taking chances on top level talent. (WRONG: Michael Wacha, 4-for-8)

9. Miami Marlins – Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State – Miami got themselves a fast riser (or so they hope), and Heaney could be a pretty easy sign. They really did need a pitching talent to step forward at some point in their own minor league system, so it’s no surprise they go with an arm here. (WRONG: Fried, 5-for-9)

10. Colorado Rockies – David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain HS (AL) – Was interested to see if the Rockies would have taken a chance on a shortstop that could be a guy at the keystone down the road (Addison Russel and Gevin Cecchini were there) but they go the safe route with a toolsy outfielder. Dahl won’t be asked to rush with Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler currently playing well and Gonzalez locked up long term. (CORRECT, 6-for-10)

11. Oakland Athletics – Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS (FL) – I thought that the A’s might go with someone who would be closer to development when it comes to the shortstop position considering Grant Green’s move to center field, but Oakland might be looking to bide their time with Russell, who they hope will be able to stick at short over the long run. (WRONG: Deven Marrero, 6-for-11)

12. New York Mets – Gevin Cecchini, SS, Barbe HS (LA) – I thought that Courtney Hawkins would have been the play here, but the Mets went with a shortstop, hoping that Cecchini will see time next to David Wright once he signs his mega-extension this offseason. So for those counting at home, that’s three shorstops taken in the Top 12, with Correa being the only guy guaranteed to stick at shortstop over the long haul (supposedly). (WRONG: Hawkins, 6-for-12)

13. Chicago White Sox – Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll HS (TX) – Good pick here by the White Sox, who were desperate for any kind of help in their farm system in the outfield. Hawkins might be their #1 prospect right now. (WRONG: Marcus Stroman, 6-for-13)

14. Cincinnati Reds – Nick Travieso, RHP, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL) – Travieso was thought as a late-1st to sandwich-round talent, but the Reds liked him enough to take him here. He was a University of Miami signee. I did get that the Reds would go after a Florida prep right-hander, though. (WRONG: Lance McCullers, Jr. 6-for-14)

15. Cleveland Indians – Tyler Naquin, OF, Texas A&M – Cleveland is looking for outfield help at this point and Naquin will get his shot amongst a large group of talented teenagers. He becomes a middle-of-the-road talent in a farm system filled with upside. (WRONG: Heaney, 6-for-15)

16. Washington Nationals – Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA) – I like to stay away from gloating, but I yelled pretty loudly when I saw that the Nats took Giolito. I mentioned in the mock that Giolito was the perfect storm if he was available at #16 for Washington: Having drafted both a once-in-a-generation pitcher and perhaps a once-in-a-LIFETIME player in Bryce Harper, the Nats could gamble on a player with upside, even with injury issues. General manager Mike Rizzo did a similar move with Anthony Rendon last year, and man alive, if the Nats hit on Giolito, Rizzo’s last three drafts might go down as all-timers. (CORRECT: 7-for-16)

17. Toronto Blue Jays – D.J. Davis, OF, Stone County HS (MS) – I thought Cecchini might be here for Double A, but he was gobbled up with the run on shortstops. So they did the next best thing: Pick a toolsy high school outfielder. (WRONG: Cecchini, 7-for-17)

18. Los Angeles Dodgers – Corey Seager, SS, Northwest Cabarrus HS (NC) – Seager was there for the Dodgers, who are in need of help up the middle to match up with Matt Kemp, and with so many shortstops being taken, they jumped right into the fold. (WRONG: Chris Stratton, 7-for-18)

19. St. Louis Cardinals – Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M – Never thought I’d see the day where two Aggies get picked before even one Longhorn, but there you have it. Wacha joins Naquin in the first round as the Cardinals look to put another good arm behind top pick Shelby Miller. (WRONG: Seager, 7-for-19)

20. San Francisco Giants – Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State – An interesting pick for the Giants, who have seen their farm system depleted thanks to graduations to the Major Leagues. Stratton has the ceiling of a #3, but with the Giants current rotation a #3-type being added to it would be even more fantastic than usual, especially with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner locked up long term. (WRONG: Richie Shaeffer, 7-for-20)

21. Atlanta Braves – Lucas Sims, RHP, Brookwood HS (GA) – I was thinking that Davis would have been there for Atlanta at 21, but Sims was a local boy and we all know how much Atlanta loves their local talent (Hi, Jason Heyward!). Another one of those arms that is projectable, but with a ceiling that isn’t quite ace-level, Sims could turn out to be one of those talents that Atlanta’s top flight development team brings along and turns into a quality Major Leaguer. (WRONG: Davis, 7-for-21)

22. Toronto Blue Jays – Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke – The Blue Jays used their second pick on more of a sure thing (as is the norm with picks back-to-back like this) and went with the small-statured but hard throwing Stroman. While he was a starter at Duke, chances are he becomes a reliever in the end, but his ceiling could be that of a shutdown closer. (WRONG: Ty Hensley, 7-for-22)

23. St. Louis Cardinals – James Ramsey, OF, Florida State – I liked another college outfielder in Victor Roache, but Ramsey was a pick that makes sense. Interestingly enough, the Cardinals took two college players here, hoping both would contribute quickly. (WRONG: Roache, 7-for-23)

24. Boston Red Sox – Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State – The Red Sox had to love that Marrero dropped to them, as considering they’re looking at Will Middlebrooks at shortstop (which is pretty crazy), they need all the help they can get at the six hole, even considering Jose Iglesias’ awesome glovework. Hopefully, Marrero brings his toolsy bat with him to Boston. (WRONG: Matt Smoral, 7-for-24)

25. Tampa Bay Rays – Richie Shaffer, 1B/3B, Clemson – I guessed right here, as Shaffer provided positional flexibility (Which the Rays love)  and if Shaffer can stick at 3B, he can give Evan Longoria time off if need be while he regulars at 1B. The Rays aren’t known for taking college position players, but Shaffer could end up being a good one if his power potential reaches even above average at the Major League Level. (CORRECT: 8-for-25)

26. Arizona Diamondbacks – Stryker Trahan, C, Acadiana High School (LA) – The Diamondbacks take their chance on a high school catcher, even with the recent extension to Miguel Montero. If Trahan does the level-per-year approach, then it fits right into Arizona’s plans after Montero’s contract is up. (WRONG: Joey Gallo, 8-for-26)

27 and 28. Milwaukee Brewers – Clint Coulter, C, Union HS (WA) and Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern – I missed on both, thinking that the Brewers would take Stanford’s top offensive player and then build up the middle with a shortstop, but they liked Roache more and Coulter becomes the second straight high school catcher taken in the first round. (WRONG: Stephen Piscotty and Addison Russel, 8-for-28)

29. Texas Rangers – Lewis Brinson, OF, Coral Springs HS (FL) – I really though Sims was the guy here as a projectable high school power arm, but the Rangers go for outfield depth instead since Atlanta poached him, with Brinson’s selection possibly due to the setbacks of some of their high-level outfield prospects. Also, with Ty Hensley on the board, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Rangers went with him considering his proximity to Dallas up in Oklahoma. (WRONG: Sims, 8-for-29)

30. New York Yankees – Ty Hensley, RHP, Santa Fe HS (OK) – Instead, it’s the Yankees who tab the Oklahoman. I had to look this up: The last time the Yankees took a high school pitcher in the first round of the draft was…Gerrit Cole, who went to UCLA instead and was the #1 overall pick last year to the Pirates. Hensley might do the same, but considering the Yankee eye for talent, Hensley just might have some of Cole in him if he decides to sign. (WRONG: Tanner Rahier, 8-for-30)

31. Boston Red Sox – Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida – And I end it on a good note! Boston loves two way players and Johnson ended up getting drafted as a pitcher, meaning they are going to forego letting Johnson at least try and play first base with Adrian Gonzalez waiting in the wings. However, like most two-way players, if pitching doesn’t work, they can always try him with a bat and see what happens. (CORRECT, 9-for-31)

All in all, 9-for-31 is pretty dang good considering how after the first few picks, it was a bit shaky when it came to how some teams would handle their selections. It will be a while before we see just how good the picks are, but right off the bat, you have to love what both Pittsburgh and Washington did by selecting high-upside players regardless of risk, knowing just how important it is to try and get the best possible player available. 

Tim Livingston

About Tim Livingston

Tim is a former communications coordinator, play-by-play announcer and beat writer for the Dunedin Blue Jays, Toronto's High-A minor league team in the Florida State League. He also recently finished his debut season as the announcer for the Sonoma Stompers, an independent baseball team in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. He's currently going to school for a Master's degree in analytics and broadcasts high school sports, fighting game tournaments and anything else where he can talk into a microphone.

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