In watching the first round of the 2012 MLB draft, there were some picks that made me want to write certain franchises and ask why their respective GMs were still on the payroll. Last I checked, the goal in drafting was to pick the best player available, and tonight, some teams seemed to do the exact opposite of that.
For example, the best men on the big board appeared to be Stanford pitcher Mark Appel and high school outfielder Byron Buxton. The latter ended up going second, while Appel slipped to eighth.
Needless to say, I've taken a look at five prospects taken in Round 1 and have no problem in saying that in a few years from now, those who picked them will wish they had made different choices.
Before I go on, let me just say that Mike Zunino was one of the best hitters in this draft class. Yet, and I know I sound crazy for saying this, I have a major issue with taking catchers in the first round, let alone in the Top Five.
As we all know, it's a very physically demanding position, and given how the Seattle Mariners selected this member of the Florida Gators with the third pick, they're going to expect a lot out of him very quickly. On top of that, their picking Zunino seems obvious that they aren't sold on Jesus Montero as their catcher of the future.
As a result, they'll probably rush Zunino through the minors and not give him the proper time to develop as a general behind the plate. If you ask me, this sounds like a career-threatening injury waiting to happen.
Zimmer was a star right-hander at the University of San Francisco, and based on his pitching repertoire, he seems to have a bright future. His arsenal features a fastball that has been clocked as high as 97 mph, and he has a powerful curveball to go with a decent slider and an ever-developing changeup.
Yet, the biggest issue with Zimmer is that he appears to rely on his fastball a bit much. The guys at MLB Network compared him to Jarrod Parker (a bit odd, considering how Parker doesn't even have a year's experience), but I see him more as Joba Chamberlain before he became a reliever. The fastball and slider are great, but everything else is hit or miss.
As a result, with the plan being for him to be a starter, Zimmer pitches to contact way too much. On the major league level, that's going to give his coaches and the men who drafted him a lot of unnecessary agita.
When the Oakland A's are on the clock, chances are their pick will be surprising. This time, GM Billy Beane chose high school shortstop Addison Russell, who looks good on paper given how he can play third base as well as shortstop and seems to have a decent power bat.
Yet, my interest waned once MLB Network draft guru Jonathan Mayo compared Russell to current Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Nothing against Peralta, but he isn't exactly the guy around whom I would want to build a franchise, let alone name as one of my star players. He's talented, but not exactly the best at his position.
That said, given how Oakland refuses to let the concept of Moneyball go, I can't help but think that the front office set itself up for disappointment here.
Like Russell, Gausman looked good on paper. He's a pitcher out of the fine baseball program at Louisiana State University, so that alone gives him a tremendous upside.
Then, Mayo compared him to Kevin Brown and I lost all interest. To me, that translates to, "He'll have a few good years, but spend most of his time on the disabled list."
I know that Correa was the first overall pick tonight and people are very excited about him, but I'm not sold on him. Sure, he has talent, but he doesn't seem to be the superstar MLB Network made him out to be.
One of their talking heads compared him to Troy Tulowitzki, while others said his 6'4" frame made him comparable to Alex Rodriguez, as he too would be a veritable power threat.
What these people seem to forget is that, in general, Alex Rodriguez is an incredible athlete. He played high school football as well as baseball and was recruited to play quarterback for the University of Miami.
That said, combined with his below-average speed, Correa seems to be one of the most overhyped prospects in the draft pool. Hopefully, he and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow will prove me wrong.