The 2012 MLB draft has really snuck up on us. The regular season is starting to hit its peak, the College World Series is starting to get underway, yet teams have been traveling the country for months in order to prepare for this moment.
Everything starts with the Houston Astros, who hold the No. 1 pick for the first time since 1992, and that pick will create a ripple effect, depending on what direction the franchise decides to go.
The talent in this year's class, while not nearly as strong as last year, does feature a number of intriguing high-upside players who could make a big impact in the future.
Here is all the pertinent information that you need to know for the 2012 MLB draft.
Who will the Astros take with the No. 1 pick?
Where: First- and supplemental first-round in Studio 42 at MLB Network; Rounds 2-50 via conference call.
When: June 4-6, 2012
Watch: First- and supplemental first-round on MLB Network starting at 6 p.m. ET (June 4); Rounds 2-25 streaming online, starting at 10 a.m. ET (June 5); Rounds 26-50 streaming online, starting at 10 a.m. ET (June 6).
Live Stream: All rounds on MLB.com.
|2012 MLB DRAFT FIRST-ROUND ORDER|
|1. Houston Astros|
|2. Minnesota Twins|
|3. Seattle Mariners|
|4. Baltimore Orioles|
|5. Kansas City Royals|
|6. Chicago Cubs|
|7. San Diego Padres|
|8. Pittsburgh Pirates|
|9. Miami Marlins|
|10. Colorado Rockies|
|11. Oakland A's|
|12. New York Mets|
|13. Chicago White Sox|
|14. Cincinnati Reds|
|15. Cleveland Indians|
|16. Washington Nationals|
|17. Toronto Blue Jays|
|18. Los Angeles Dodgers|
|19. St. Louis Cardinals*|
|20. San Francisco Giants|
|21. Atlanta Braves|
|22. Toronto Blue Jays#|
|23. St. Louis Cardinals|
|24. Boston Red Sox|
|25. Tampa Bay Rays|
|26. Arizona Diamondbacks|
|27. Milwaukee Brewers**|
|28. Milwaukee Brewers|
|29. Texas Rangers|
|30. New York Yankees|
|31. Boston Red Sox***|
*From Los Angeles Angels for Albert Pujols
#Compensation for failing to sign 2011 first-round pick Tyler Beede.
**From Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder.
***From Philadelphia Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon.
Top Players Available
Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS (Ga.)
The general consensus is that Buxton is the best player in this draft, but the Astros are looking for a player who will be able to move through the system relatively fast and make an impact right away.
Hopefully, that isn't the case because Buxton is the kind of high-upside prospect this dormant franchise needs to get back to the postseason in the future. He is going to take at least four years to develop because he is raw and has never faced good competition in high school, but the sky is the limit for him.
Buxton has the upside of a five-tool superstar, with speed and his arm being his greatest assets right now.
Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
If you are just looking strictly for high-upside hitters, Correa could be the best player available. He doesn't have quite as much raw potential as Buxton, but he is more advanced at this point and more likely to hit his ceiling.
Correa has such great control of the strike zone and will hit for average and power. He could sneak into the top three, but it is more likely he ends up going in the five to 10 range.
Defensively, Correa is going to play third base, where he should be above-average with a plus arm, range and good footwork.
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Appel is the most likely candidate to knock Buxton out of the No. 1 spot. He has had mixed results throughout his college career, but his stuff is good and with some slight mechanical tweaks he could turn into a No. 2 starter.
The biggest knocks on Appel are the lack of deception in his delivery, and his inability to get on top of his fastball to throw it down in the zone.
Since the Astros are itching for a quick fix to their problems, Appel is probably the player they will grab with the top pick.
For all the latest news, notes and information on the 2012 MLB draft and a lot of random stuff about the movie "Major League," be sure to follow me on Twitter.