MLB Draft 2012: The 8 Biggest Surprises and Risks of the First Round

Dan TylickiAnalyst IJune 5, 2012

MLB Draft 2012: The 8 Biggest Surprises and Risks of the First Round

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    In every MLB draft, there are a slew of surprise picks. Given how different prospects can be, it can be tough to determine reaches and steals, since high school pitchers and college position players bring far different profiles to the table.

    The biggest risks of an MLB draft are high school pitchers in general, since they have the highest bust rate. That doesn't mean that other players are not surprising picks though, as they certainly can be.

    Here are eight of the biggest surprises and risks we have seen in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft. This doesn't mean they were bad picks—simply that there are parts of them that are shocking.

Carlos Correa

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    The Houston Astros seemed to have two options. They could either go with the safe college pitcher in Mark Appel or go with the high school project with the highest ceiling in Byron Buxton.

    Instead, they went with Carlos Correa.

    He's a great high school shortstop who could be a long-term solution for the Astros there. With all the talk about Derek Jeter being passed on 20 years ago by the Astros, it's possible, at least to me, that that played a role in this selection.

Mark Appel

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    Mark Appel seemed such a sure thing with the top pick, or at least that's what we all heard the day before the draft. After the Astros passed on him, suddenly he began to fall.

    Somehow, he was the fourth pitcher drafted, by the Pirates eighth overall. They got a shocking steal, as he is my pick as the most complete pitcher in the draft. Suddenly, the Pirates' pitching in their farm system is looking scarier with each passing season.

Addison Russell

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    After the shock of Carlos Correa, the picks after that were players that were projected to go where they went, even if Mark Appel went a lot later than expected. Still, no one was taken far higher than they were projected.

    Addison Russell, however, was mocked near the end of the first round by nearly everyone, so his selection at 11th overall by the Athletics is a big risk.

    The shortstop has a very good bat, but for an infielder on the left side, you can't have questions about your range; there are enough mediocre third basemen defensively in the league.

Nick Travieso

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    Nick Travieso was the first player in the draft that I wasn't sure who he was at first. Unlike the first 13, I had to figure out just who the 14th overall pick to the Cincinnati Reds was.

    A high school pitcher carries big risk already, and for the most part he was mocked as a sandwich pick rather than a first-rounder. Beyond that, he's projected as a high-caliber reliever rather than a starter; that's not the kind of player I'd use a first-round pick on.

Tyler Naquin

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    Everyone seemed to have the Cleveland Indians and their 15th pick figured out; they would pick a college pitcher that could be ready for the majors quickly, and with many players available there, it made sense.

    They surprised everyone and drafted outfielder Tyler Naquin. He has one of the best arms in the draft and put up big numbers at Texas A&M, though his power isn't all that great.

Lucas Giolito

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    Unlike some of the others on the list so far, which didn't sound like great picks to me, I love the selection of Lucas Giolito 16th for the Washington Nationals, as it's a huge steal.

    It's a surprise that he was there, but there's also some risk, as he's a high school pitcher who fought through a major elbow injury his senior season and he could very well need Tommy John surgery at some point in his career. The Nats are willing to take that chance though.

James Ramsey

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    At first, I could not figure out why the Cardinals picked James Ramsey, since he certainly wasn't projected as a first-rounder. As a senior in college though, the new CBA means that he's an easy signing and could contribute sooner than most.

    He's a solid hitter who shows some good speed, but on the surface he almost feels like a great tweener rather than someone who can play everyday somewhere. Then again, the 23rd overall pick could prove me wrong, since he is well-rounded enough to make an impact.

Ty Hensley

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    The New York Yankees had the 30th overall pick in the draft, but were able to grab someone projected in the middle of the round in high school pitcher Ty Hensley.

    Hensley has solid stuff and should be able to make an impact. Even though he's not projected as a star, he can perform well. Pitching depth is what the Yankees need, even if taking a high school pitcher is always a risk.