MLB Draft 2012: 10 Players with Greatest Potential to Be Stars in MLB Soon

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2012

MLB Draft 2012: 10 Players with Greatest Potential to Be Stars in MLB Soon

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    This year's MLB draft did not have the big names like past drafts.

    The Houston Astros shocked everyone by taking shortstop Carlos Correa with the top pick. The 17-year-old shortstop may take longer than some of the other players to adjust to professional pitching. The tools are there for Correa, but it may take time for him to develop.  

    Other players stood out before the draft, and teams were quick to draft them. Some players slid farther than I expected them to. If those players get work on their flaws, they have the potential to be stars in MLB for years to come.

    Which players have the most potential? Which teams may end up with the steals of the draft? 

    These players all have what it takes to produce and excel at the next level.

No. 2 Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS (Ga.)

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    In this year’s pool of players, Byron Buxton may be the most talented player in the 2012 MLB draft.

    After an astounding 18 strikeouts as a pitcher in his high school state title game, Buxton will be used as an outfielder as a professional.

    He is a prototypical five-tool player. He possesses a great arm to go with his fielding ability, speed and can hit for average and power. His speed will be used on the bases and in the outfield.  

    The Twins had to be thrilled when the Astros passed on Buxton. With Target Field being a tough place to hit, he should make an impact in the major leagues in the near future. He will be able to focus on hitting for average with good power. 

    After having a tough couple of seasons, the Twins made a good selection and will have a good future when Buxton arrives in the majors. 

No. 6 Chicago Cubs: Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy (Fla.)

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    The rebuilding process may go quicker for the Cubs if Albert Almora is able to move quickly through the farm system.

    The Cubs appear to have shortstop and first base solidified, but not much else. Almora is a great pick for Chicago at No. 6.

    He lacks elite speed but leaves everything on the field. Wrigley Field allows outfielders to get away with average speed. His arm will prove to be one of the best in this year’s draft class. 

    He will also benefit from playing in Chicago. He hits for average but may add power to his arsenal with half of his games played at Wrigley. 

    With some of the young studs the Cubs have in the majors right now, Almora could help Chicago contend for the N.L. Central crown for years to come.

No. 7 San Diego Padres: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (Calif.)

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    The top high school pitcher in this year’s draft should eventually turn into an ace.

    The Padres need to be careful to not rush Max Fried to the major leagues. He has the talent to be the best pitcher in the draft.

    His fastball reaches the mid-90s, but his command is what makes his fastball so effective. An above-average changeup and curveball allow him to change speeds while controlling his pitches.

    Like Almora, Fried should benefit by his home ballpark. PETCO Park may be the best pitcher’s park in baseball and help Fried develop into a great major league pitcher.

No. 8 Pittsburgh Pirates: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

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    Originally thought to be the top pick in the draft, Mark Appel slid to Pittsburgh at No. 8.

    His fastball hits mid-90s with ease and he can throw harder if necessary. Appel’s changeup and slider are also plus pitches, which makes him a potential ace. He had 116 strikeouts in 110 innings this season at Stanford. 

    This right-hander could turn into a dominant power pitcher and make the big leagues quickly. In a few years, Pittsburgh may look back and find they had the steal of the draft. 

No. 9 Miami Marlins: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State

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    The best southpaw in this year’s draft may be in the big leagues soon.

    Unlike Max Fried, Andrew Heaney played three years in college to refine his skills. He does not have an overpowering fastball like most of the other top pitchers in this draft, but he has a changeup and a good curveball.

    An All-American last year, Heaney led the nation in strikeouts by using his off-speed pitches. He has tremendous control of those pitches to make up for his mediocre fastball.  

    He does not have the highest ceiling of pitchers in this year’s draft, but he will probably be the first to make an impact in the major leagues.

No. 10 Colorado Rockies: David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain HS (Ala.)

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    With one of my favorite picks of the draft, the Rockies managed to haul in a five-tool prospect at No. 10.

    David Dahl is one of the most athletic players in this year’s draft. Playing in a spacious Coors Field should not be a problem for this speedy center fielder. His arm will team up with Carlos Gonzalez’s and make the Rockies one of the toughest teams in baseball to run on. 

    A great contact hitter like Dahl should have no problem playing in Coors Field. If he works on hitting for power in the minors, he has the potential to be another CarGo for Colorado.

    Dahl has great talent but will need to put in the work to reach his full potential in the majors.

No. 13 Chicago White Sox: Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carrol HS (Texas)

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    Perhaps the best power hitter in the draft, Courtney Hawkins could be a steal for the White Sox.

    His big frame will most likely make him move from center field to a corner outfield position. He has a strong arm and average speed. 

    Corner outfielders are expected to hit for power. Hawkins should be able to put up big power numbers by the time he hits the majors. 

    With every power hitter, it is a risk to expect a high average as well. If he can adjust to great pitching, he should be a great offensive player for the White Sox.   

No. 14 Cincinnati Reds: Nick Travieso, RHP, Archbishop McCarthy HS (Fla.)

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    The Reds made a bold move by selecting Nick Travieso out of high school.

    This right-hander has not been a starting pitcher for long but has the potential to be a solid starter.

    His fastball tends to be in the mid-90s but occasionally touches 99 mph. With a nasty slider, he has one of the best combinations of pitches in this year’s draft. He also has a changeup but needs to improve it to be a great pitcher.

    Pitching in spacious Great American Ball Park is no easy task. He will need to adjust to the stadium and keep the ball down.

    With one of the best young rotations in baseball, the Reds were willing to take Travieso knowing that he may need to move slowly through the farm system.

No. 18 Los Angeles Dodgers: Corey Seager, SS/3B, Northwest Cabarrus HS (N.C.)

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    If he decides to sign with the Dodgers instead of going to college, Corey Seager could be a big-league slugger in a few years.

    This left-handed hitter has great power and should give the Dodgers plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future. If Andre Ethier leaves as a free agent this offseason, Seager could eventually fill his spot in the middle of the order.

    He also is a good defender with a strong arm. He may also benefit from having his brother, Kyle, playing in the big leagues. The Mariners like what they see from Kyle this season. Although Kyle hits for average, Corey may end up being a legit power hitter for the Dodgers.

    He may not be a five-tool prospect, but he should be more than capable of displaying big power numbers. 

No. 24 Boston Red Sox: Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State

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    Outside of Dahl at No. 10, Deven Marrero was my favorite pick of this year’s draft.

    His stock dropped after an ankle injury caused his offensive numbers to decline this season. He was never much of a power hitter but his average dropped off.

    Known for his defense, Marrero will make it to the big leagues with his glove. His hitting should improve enough to keep him there. 

    The last time the Red Sox took a shortstop out of Arizona State was in 2004. They selected Dustin Pedroia (who moved to second base) with that pick and hope Marrero will be as good as Pedroia someday.  

    Do I expect Marrero to win A.L. Rookie of the Year and A.L. MVP like Pedroia? No.

    However, I do believe that Marrero will be a good shortstop when he reaches the major leagues. He may struggle at the plate, but I expect him to be one of the best defensive shortstops in the league.