MLB Draft 2012 Prospects: Comparing Each 1st-Round Pick to a Current MLB Player

BR StudiosFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2012

MLB Draft 2012 Prospects: Comparing Each 1st-Round Pick to a Current MLB Player

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    There is considerable excitement surrounding the top players likely to be selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball Entry Draft on June 4-6.

    Just like any draft, the top of baseball's annual selection show promises to feature several players who can offer immediate boosts to the teams that pick them. Many, though, will take several years or longer to make it to The Show.

    For those draft picks who aren't likely to make a difference right off the bat for their new clubs, fans will rightly ask the all-important question: Just how good is this guy really gonna be?

    Of course, we don't know for sure. 

    But in scouting many of these top prospects, Bleacher Report lead blogger Mike Rosenbaum has a pretty good guess as to who these players could project out to be, provided they reach their potential or ceiling. 

    Take a look at these top picks and who our expert thinks they could turn into at the Major League level.

Carlos Correa to Houston Astros

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    From Correa’s B/R player profile:

    Correa has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez given his background, frame and tools, which, for the most part, is fairly accurate. A-Rod was more polished at the time he was drafted, but Correa doesn’t lag too far behind. If his development goes as expected, he could be ready to make an impact in the Major Leagues by 2016.

Byron Buxton to Minnesota Twins

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    From Buxton's B/R player profile:

    Having drawn comparisons to the likes of B.J. Upton and Eric Davis, Byron Buxton is without a doubt the most toolsy and projectable player in the entire 2012 draft class. Also a standout pitcher for his high school, the right-hander originally warranted some draft consideration on the mound, but it’s very clear that his future is in center field.

Mike Zunino to Seattle Mariners

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    Zunino's B/R player profile.

    Zunino is a powerful and athletic catcher with a solid overall skillset. His excellent blocking skills have drawn comparisons to Yankees catcher Russell Martin. 

Kevin Gausman to Baltimore Orioles

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    From Gausman's B/R player profile:

    Given his similar size and arsenal, Gausman has been compared to Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer, but he already has far more repeatable mechanics. He's been dominant this season against top-notch SEC hitters, and is perhaps the most big league ready of all collegiate arms. Gausman could be in the major leagues by early 2015.

Kyle Zimmer to Kansas City Royals

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    Zimmer's B/R player profile.

    Zimmer burst onto the scene once he beat last year’s top pick Gerrit Cole. He is an athletic pitcher who has a dynamic fastball that has been clocked up to 98 mph, and has the ability to control all four of his pitches. His size and arm has led him to draw comparisons to Adam Wainwright. 

Albert Almora to Chicago Cubs

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    From Almora's B/R player profile:

    A veteran of the showcase circuit, Almora has drawn comparisons to Carlos Beltran for his all-around athleticism and skill set. Considered as a high first-round draft pick for the last two years, Almora is more advanced than most of the prep players in the 2012 draft class, and therefore has a shot to reach the major leagues by 2015.

Max Fried to San Diego Padres

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    From Fried’s B/R player profile

    Fried has received comparisons ranging from Barry Zito (A’s-era Barry Zito, that is) and Clayton Kershaw due to both his command and pure stuff. He’ll need some time to develop, but it’s possible that Fried is one of the first prep pitchers in the 2012 draft class to reach the major leagues, possibly by late 2015.

Mark Appel to Pittsburgh Pirates

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    From Appel’s B/R player profile:

    Appel has drawn comparisons to Mark Prior during his time at USC, although his secondary offerings are far less polished. Still, he has the ideal pitcher’s frame and the strong, durable arm to go along with it.

Andrew Heaney to Miami Marlins

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    From Heaney's B/R player profile:

    His arm angle and ability to manipulate both pitches have drawn comparisons to C.J. Wilson, though it’ll be interesting to see how he handles a heavy workload in the major leagues. He won’t be a fast riser like Hultzen, but Heaney could reach the major leagues by late 2014.

David Dahl to Colorado Rockies

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    From Dahl's B/R player profile

    Given his Alabama roots, Dahl is most often compared to Blue Jays’ center fielder Colby Rasmus. With such a high ceiling, expect Dahl to receive more than enough time to develop in the minors, and therefore debut no earlier than late 2016 or early 2017.

Addison Russell to Oakland A's

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    From Russell’s B/R player profile:

    Given his size, athleticism and present raw power, Russell is best compared to Hanley Ramirez, who possessed a similar profile at the beginning of his professional career. He’ll likely need some extended time in the minor leagues, so don’t expect to see him before late-2016.

Gavin Cecchini to New York Mets

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    From Cecchini’s B/R player profile:

    Cecchini is more polished than the typical prep shortstop and has drawn comparisons to the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy due to his upside on offense. He may not need as much seasoning in the minors compared to some other prospects and could conceivably reach the majors by late 2015.

Courtney Hawkins to Chicago White Sox

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    From Hawkins' B/R player profile:

    An excellent athlete given his size, Hawkins has surprising plus speed as well as a low-90s arm from the outfield. He’ll likely move from center field to a corner spot given his power potential, but that’s far from a knock on his abilities. He compares favorably to Corey Hart from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Tyler Naquin to Cleveland Indians

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    From Naquin’s B/R player profile:

    Given his advanced hit tool and cannon from the outfield, Naquin has been compared to the likes of David DeJesus and Melky Cabrera. His ultimate ceiling will be determined once his power is given adequate time to develop, but he could reach the major leagues by late-2014.

Lucas Giolito to Washington Nationals

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    From Giolito's B/R player profile:

    Due to his blazing fastball and wipeout breaking ball, Giolito has drawn comparisons to Kerry Wood—though he has the chance to be ultimately far more polished by the time he reaches the major league level. Provided that there are no ongoing issues with his elbow, Giolito could debut by the 2015 or 2016 season.

D.J. Davis to Toronto Blue Jays

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    Davis’ B/R player profile.

    Davis is an excellent athlete who may be the fastest player in the draft. His speed enables him to run down just about every ball in the outfield. His fielding ability has caused him to draw comparisons to Ben Revere.

Corey Seager to Los Angeles Dodgers

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    From Seager’s B/R player profile:

    Committed to South Carolina, Seager’s game strongly parallels his brother’s (Kyle Seager), and he may be a player who benefits from honoring his college commitment. Although he’s advanced for a prep player, it’s doubtful that Seager makes his big league debut before the 2017 season.

Michael Wacha to St. Louis Cardinals

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    From Wacha’s B/R player profile:

    Due to his fastball/changeup combination, Wacha has been compared to Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard. However, the Aggies right-hander is far more projectable and should never be relegated to a bullpen role.

Chris Stratton to San Francisco Giants

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    Stratton’s B/R player profile. 

    Because of his above-average fastball, which has been clocked between the mid-to-high 90s, and his ability to get hitters out with his hard slider Stratton has been drawing comparisons to Daniel Hudson. 

Lucas Sims to Atlanta Braves

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    From Sims' B/R player profile:

    He’s highly polished for his age with at least average command of each of his pitches, and has been compared to the Royals’ Luke Hochevar. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sims reaches the Show faster than his first-round peers, making his debut at some point after the All-Star break in 2015.

Marcus Stroman to Toronto Blue Jays

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    From Stroman's B/R player profile:

    Given his plus fastball, there’s a strong chance that the right-hander will be transitioned to the bullpen. Much like retired MLB veteran reliever Tom “Flash” Gordon, he has an arsenal that profiles as a high-leverage relief pitcher or closer down the road.

Deven Marrero to Boston Red Sox

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    From Marrero’s B/R player profile:

    Due to his ceiling on both offense and defense, Marrero has received comparisons to Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart. If he makes progress at the plate over his first two minor league seasons, Marrero could be good-to-go by the start of the 2015 season.


Richie Shaffer to Tampa Bay Rays

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    From Shaffer’s B/R player profile:

    His overall package has provoked comparisons to Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, though he may not have as high a ceiling. Still, he’s extremely projectable at the major league level and could be ready to contribute by late 2014.

Stryker Trahan to Arizona Diamondbacks

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    From Trahan’s B/R player profile:

    Given his overall athleticism and trio of plus tools, Trahan is best compared to the Giants’ Buster Posey. If he’s able to stick at catcher, the Louisiana native may not arrive until 2017. However, if he’s converted to a different position, Trahan has the potential to bump up his ETA.

Victor Roache to Milwaukee Brewers

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    From Roache's B/R player profile:

    Roache has enough speed and arm strength to stick in left field, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he ultimately moves to first base. His size and power warrants a strong comparison to the Phillies’ John Mayberry, Jr., and if Roache can stay healthy, he has the potential to reach the majors by late-2015.

Ty Hensley to New York Yankees

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    From Hensley’s B/R player profile:

    Hensley’s father, Michael, was a third-round draft pick by the Astros out of high school in 1985, so the right-hander has favorable bloodlines on his side. Given his size, arm angle and plus-breaking ball, he’s been compared to Josh Beckett, though his ceiling isn’t nearly as high. Once he adopts at least one fastball variation, Hensley could be in the majors by mid-to-late 2016 or early 2017.

Brian Johnson to Red Sox

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    From Johnson's B/R player profile:

    His size, repeatable mechanics and pitchability are comparable to C.J. Wilson’s, although I’m not entirely convinced he has as much upside. Still, Johnson is both left-handed and one of the more polished pitchers in the 2012 draft class. Look for him to reach the majors as early as late-2013 or early-2014.