MLB Draft 2012: Predicting Boom, Bust or Blah for First 50 Players Selected
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On Monday night, the MLB draft saw the first round and sandwich pick round take place, and prep and college stars from across the country saw their names come off the board.
Some of those names were expected to be picked while others were surprises. As with every draft, inevitably there are players who are labeled as a franchise savior or a complete bust, or even somewhere in between.
Here at Bleacher Report, we decided to rank the top 50 players based on three criteria—boom, blah or bust. The word "blah" essentially indicates that the prospect could make it to the majors and have a marginal impact. "Boom" and "bust" should both be self-explanatory.
1) Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
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The Houston Astros pulled off a shocker on Monday, selecting 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa with the first overall pick in the draft.
Correa, a product of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, apparently blew away a contingent of Astros' officials at a workout, including new general manager Jeff Luhnow, who admitted that the Astros didn't decide on Correa until the final hour before the draft.
At 6'4" and 190 pounds, Correa projects as a power-hitting middle infielder who could eventually make his way to third base. Correa's character and work ethic were not lost on Luhnow.
"He's an overachiever," Luhnow said, via astros.mlb.com. "He's driven to be successful, and this is the type of guy we need."
Correa's potential is off the charts, with MLB Network analysts on Monday night likening his skills to that of Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Correa could very well be that type of player that the Astros can build around.
2) Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
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One would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would argue against the Minnesota Twins' selection with the second overall pick in the MLB draft on Monday.
Prep outfielder Byron Buxton's potential is literally off the charts; he hit .513 with 17 doubles and 35 RBI in his senior year for Appling County HS in Baxley, GA. Buxton also stole 36 bases in 37 attempts.
With five-tool skills, the Twins weren't about to let Buxton get away.
This kid is the real deal. While he may not make it to the majors as quickly as Bryan Harper, there's no reason to think that Buxton can't develop quickly in the Twins' system.
3) Seattle Mariners, Mike Zunino
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The Seattle Mariners found themselves a great catcher to go along with the great stable of young pitchers already in their farm system.
University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino is hitting .316 with 18 HR, 60 RBI and a .667 slugging percentage in 62 games this year, with 28 walks and 45 strikeouts, working on leading his Gators to a possible NCAA championship.
Zunino has been lauded for his ability to manage a pitching staff with confidence, and with the Mariners he may have the chance to do just that for the likes of Felix Hernandez, Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton.
4) Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles
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The Orioles decided to go after LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman with the fourth pick rather than Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, who many thought would be the No. 1 overall pick.
Gausman was 11-1 with a 2.72 ERA in his junior year, with 128 strikeouts in 115.2 innings. Gausman has a fastball that touches the mid-90s and an excellent changeup, but not a whole lot else.
Gausman currently does not have an effective breaking ball and will absolutely need to work on one before arriving in the majors. A three-pitch repertoire is okay, but nothing else about Gausman makes me think top-of-the-line starter here.
5) Kyle Zimmer, Kansas City Royals
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The Kansas City Royals have done a great job in drafting position players in the first round over the last decade (Alex Gordon, Brett Butler, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer). Now they can say they did good with a pitcher as well.
University of San Francisco product Kyle Zimmer is the real deal. For an under .500 team, Zimmer has a 5-3 record with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts, striking out 104 and walking just 17 in 88.1 innings.
Zimmer has a fastball/curveball combination that several scouts called one of the best two-pitch combinations in baseball, and with the Royals, Zimmer will have a chance to move through the ranks quickly.
6) Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs
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Character, work ethic, family values, attention to detail, multi-tool skills. All are words or phrases used to describe the sixth overall pick for the Chicago Cubs, Albert Almora.
Almora had a season most kids can only dream about, hitting .603 (44-for-73) with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs and 34 RBI in 25 games for Mater Academy (FL). He posted a 1.164 slugging percentage and a .667 on-base percentage, drawing 14 walks compared to only three strikeouts.
Oh, and to boot, he stole 24 bases, getting caught only once.
Almora was also a part of six separate teams for USA baseball—the most in history—so he has already played quite a few times against the best in the world.
Almora for me is much like Byron Buxton—both have a chance to move up quickly and excel quickly at the major league level.
7) Max Fried, San Diego Padres
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With the seventh pick, the San Diego Padres went local, choosing Harvard-Westlake (CA) senior left-hander Max Fried.
Fried was 8-2 with a 2.02 ERA and 105 strikeouts against 29 walks and 43 hits allowed in 66 innings during his senior year.
Fried committed to UCLA, but seemed more than ready to kick off his professional career.
"I have no idea what the timetable is," he said. "Right now, I'm sort of on cloud nine still. Right now, [I'm] still trying to take in the moment."
I like this kid a lot. Obviously, it's hard to project high school talent, especially pitchers. However, Fried has a terrific makeup and a bulldog mentality on the mound, even when not equipped with his best stuff. Solid choice by the Padres.
8) Mark Appel, Pittsburgh Pirates
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After being considered by many to be the top pick on Monday night, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel fell all the way to No. 8 with the selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Appel was the featured Friday night pitcher for the past two seasons in Stanford, pitching in the always-competitive PAC-12 Conference. Appel was 10-1 with a 2.27 ERA for the Cardinal in his junior year, posting 127 strikeouts against just 26 walks in 119 innings.
Pittsburgh obviously felt that Appel could turn into a front of the the rotation guy with the Pirates, joining recent draftees Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole. However, the first seven teams didn't believe that—including the Baltimore Orioles—who opted for LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman ahead of Appel.
For me, Appel reminds me too much of Luke Hochevar rather than Greg Maddux.
9) Andrew Heaney, Miami Marlins
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When it came time for the Miami Marlins to make the ninth overall pick on Monday night, they knew exactly who they wanted—Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Heaney.
Heaney earned Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year honors, posting an 8-2 record and a 1.60 ERA in 15 starts, striking out an NCAA-leading 140 batters in 118.1 innings.
Heaney developed a reputation as a control pitcher, pounding the strike zone with his signature fastball and slider. Throw in a developing changeup and the Marlins have themselves a quality southpaw who could move through the Marlins' organization very quickly.
10) David Dahl, Colorado Rockies
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The Colorado Rockies chose outfielder David Dahl out of Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, AL with their selection in the first round. And while the Rockies have had their eye on Dahl for quite a while, I'm not convinced he's a breakout kind of hitter.
Dahl hit .435 with three HR and 18 stolen bases, and at 6'2" and 185 pounds, the Rockies believe that Dahl can add some bulk and develop a better power-hitting stroke.
However, he may not have the necessary range to play center and isn't blessed with a strong throwing arm, so unless he seriously bulks up and masters a nice home run hitting stroke, I don't see Dahl as a quality major league outfielder.
11) Addison Russell, Oakland Athletics
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High school shortstop Addison Russell of Pace HS in Miami, FL put together an outstanding prep career, topping it off with a .368 batting average and .532 OBP in his senior year.
However, Russell has a very inconsistent approach at the plate, and while he drew 30 walks this spring, he is still considered raw as a hitter.
Russell is currently undecided about following through with his commitment to play at Auburn University.
"I think that's a family decision right now," Russell said immediately after the draft. My brothers and sisters, I really do want to set an example for them and go to school, but then again, the Oakland A's are giving me the opportunity to perform at the Minor League level, and I'm just excited about it all."
Honestly, Russell should go to school—if not as an example to set for his siblings, but so he can continue to refine his game and take it to the next level. Not sure he can do that with the A's.
12) Gavin Cecchini, New York Mets
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The New York Mets liked high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini so much that they invited him to New York this past weekend for a tour of Citi Field. He just happened to watch Johan Santana's no-hitter in the process.
Now, three days later, the Mets have their man.
It was obvious that the Mets were enamored with Cecchini, who had 31 stolen bases and hit .413 with seven HR and 32 RBI, helping Barbe High School (Lake Charles, LA) capture the Class 5A state title.
Cecchini will help the Mets considerably in the middle infield, previously only having three middle infielders ranked in the top 20 of their farm system, and none of them project quite like Cecchini.
13) Courtney Hawkins, Chicago White Sox
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This kid even looks like a power hitter.
Courtney Hawkins is certainly that. In his senior year at Caroll High School in Corpus Christi, TX, Hawkins hit .437 with 11 HR, 39 RBI, 56 runs scored, 17 stolen bases, a .580 OBP and .874 slugging percentage in 36 games, and he's not done yet. Carroll is still in the Texas state playoffs.
Hawkins can pitch a bit as well, but the White Sox clearly covet him as a corner outfielder with plus power. The White Sox hadn't drafted a high school player in the first round since 2001, and with this one, they hit it out of the park.
14) Nick Travieso, Cincinnati Reds
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The Cincinnati Reds chose fireballing right-hander Nick Travieso out of Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL) with the 14th pick, and Travieso certainly knows how to win, as he helped his team win their third straight Florida state high school championship this spring.
Travieso can bring it, with a mid-90s fastball that often hits 97-98 MPH. However, Travieso's release point is very inconsistent and he doesn't possess a repeat delivery. Opinions vary on whether or not Travieso projects better as a starter or reliever, but it could be years before he is seen in Cincinnati.
15) Tyler Naquin, Cleveland Indians
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With just about every analyst on MLB Network predicting that the Cleveland Indians would go after a college arm, the Tribe didn't disappoint with the college part—but they chose an outfielder instead.
Texas A&M product Tyler Naquin was a surprise choice indeed, but a good one nonetheless.
Naquin hit .380 this season for the Aggies, with 3 HR, 49 RBI, 56 runs scored and a whopping 49 doubles. Naquin possesses an above-average arm with great range, so he could very well be patrolling the outfield at Progressive Field sometime in the very near future.
16) Lucas Giolito, Washington Nationals
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In March of this year, after just a couple of starts, standout pitcher Lucas Giolito of Harvard-Westlake HS (CA) sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his golden right elbow.
Giolito's season was done, and he's now throwing off flat ground from 60 feet. Apparently, that was enough to convince Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo to draft him with the 16th overall pick.
Who knows, maybe the Nats want to set the all-time record for number of pitchers who returned from Tommy John surgery?
Giolito of course opted not to have the surgery, but he could very well need it in the future. Giolito has the frame (6'6", 230 pounds) to bring the heat for sure, posting a 9-1 record and 1.00 ERA in his junior season, with 78 strikeouts in 70.1 innings.
But will his elbow hold up?
17) D.J. Davis, Toronto Blue Jays
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Traditionally, the Toronto Blue Jays have favored power pitching with their first pick in the draft. This year, they favored speed with power possibly sprinkled in.
D.J. Davis, an outfielder out of Stone County High School in Mississippi, hit .376 with 11 stolen bases in his senior season, and has no commitment to a major college program.
"We feel like there is strong projection to the body," Blue Jays director of scouting Andrew Tinnish said. "We feel he has a chance to be a top-of-the-order centre fielder, with maybe a little more power than the traditional leadoff hitter."
Judging from what I heard, they acquired the speed, and the Jays are hoping for everything else.
18. Corey Seager: Los Angeles Dodgers
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In his senior season at Northwest Cabarrus High School in North Carolina, senior shortstop Corey Seager hit .519 with 10 homers and 37 RBI, pretty heady numbers indeed.
Combined with the fact that he's the brother of Seattle Mariners star Kyle Seager, and there's obviously some decent bloodlines there.
However, at 6'4" and 205 pounds (and he's probably not quite done filling out), Seager projects more as a third baseman in the future. Dodgers assistant GM Logan White never invited Seager for a workout, but followed his career closely, and likes Seager's overall swing mechanics and power potential.
Time will tell if that talent will develop, but Seager already has terrific mechanics and a very sweet swing.
19) Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals
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A beautiful fastball is all the rage these days, but if you can't back it up with solid secondary pitches, hitters at the major league level will just sit on the heat all day long.
That would best describe Texas A&M starter Michael Wacha. While his fastball is premium, he does not currently have a secondary pitch that's even close to being major league ready.
Wacha was 9-1 with a 2.06 ERA this season, striking out 116 batters in 113.1 innings. But in the majors, Wacha will find life much more difficult if he is just a one-pitch wonder.
20) Chris Stratton, San Francisco Giants
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With an 11-2 record with a 2.38 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 109.2 innings earned, Mississippi State pitcher Chris Stratton received SEC Pitcher of the Year honors this spring. The Giants were duly impressed, selecting him with the 20th overall pick.
Stratton has a plus-fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a slider that many scouts believe to be the best in the draft class. Add in a solid curve and Stratton brings a nice mix, which could have him pitching alongside Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner in the not-so-distant future.
21) Lucas Sims, Atlanta Braves
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The Atlanta Braves certainly do like the local talent. However, was the local talent chosen on Monday night the right talent?
Right-handed pitcher Lucas Sims posted an 8-1 record with a 1.19 ERA, helping lead Brookwood High School to the Georgia state championship game this season.
Sims has a 92-94 MPH fastball with a tight-breaking curve, and although he committed to Clemson University, he seems more than eager to start his professional career with the Braves.
Sims will have time to develop in a system already loaded with terrific pitching talent, so the timetable is hard to predict at this point. Nice to pick the local kid, just not sure if he's front-of-the-rotation stuff at this point in time.
22) Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
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Can I just say that I love, love, love this pick by the Blue Jays?
Duke University pitcher Marcus Stroman is all that and a bag of chips. Showing great versatility as a junior, Stroman worked both as a starter and in relief for the Blue Devils, posting a 2.80 ERA in the always tough ACC Conference.
Stroman has a fastball that averages 95-96 MPH with late movement, along with a plus-slider and solid curveball. The Jays can use him in a variety of ways, much like Alfredo Aceves of the Boston Red Sox over the past one-plus seasons.
23) James Ramsey, St. Louis Cardinals
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James Ramsey is going to go down as one of the greatest baseball players in the history of Florida State University, and one of the most well-liked as well. However, that greatness may not translate well to the major league level.
This seemed like a safe pick to me. With the new CBA limiting bonuses for each team, drafting Ramsey makes sense for the Cards. As a senior, Ramsey is a certainty to sign at a reasonable price.
Ramsey hit .365 with 13 HR and 55 RBI for the Seminoles, who are still involved in NCAA Tourney play. Ramsey projects to be more of a spray hitter moving forward, with some likening his stance to that of Seattle Mariners right-hander Ichiro Suzuki.
But for me, that's where the comparison ends. This was a safe pick for the Cards, not one that screams elite status.
24) Deven Marrero, Boston Red Sox
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This pick may have been the most perplexing of the entire night on Monday.
The Boston Red Sox took Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero with the 24th overall pick, and the selection was indeed puzzling.
Marrero is considered a defensive whiz, but weak with the bat. Indeed, his batting average has dropped each year since his freshman season, hitting just .284 this past spring for the Sun Devils.
The Red Sox already have one of those guys—Jose Iglesias.
Sorry, Boston fans, but new GM Ben Cherington completely swung and missed with his very first pick.
25) Richie Shaffer, Tampa Bay Rays
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With the 25th overall selection in the first round of the MLB draft on Monday night, the Tampa Bay Rays went out and got a bat. Where that bat plays is anyone's guess.
Clemson University third baseman Richie Shaffer hit .315 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI for the Tigers this spring, and clearly projects as a corner infielder with power. Shaffer will likely switch to first or possibly even right field for Tampa, as Evan Longoria will surely be the Rays third baseman for years to come.
The bat is what Tampa Bay acquired, and while that bat has a lot of power, it also has a high swing-and-miss rate as well. I don't think he's a bust by any means, but I'm not yet convinced that Shaffer is a boom either.
26) Stryker Trahan, Arizona Diamondbacks
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The Arizona Diamondbacks only had one pick on Monday night, and it was clear that they got their man—catcher Stryker Trahan from Acadiana High School in Lafayette, LA.
The relative dearth of catchers available in minor league organizations throughout baseball and in the international market forced the D-Backs to sign current catcher Miguel Montero to a five-year, $60 million contract just 10 days ago. Now with Trahan on board they have a man who they believe represents the future.
A left-handed hitter with power, Strahan is big and strong, but surprisingly agile. While work still needs to be done defensively, the D-Backs are certain that Strahan can produce. On Monday night, MLB Network analysts likened Strahan's abilities to that of Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann, who was also considered a defensive liability when drafted.
27) Clint Coulter, Milwaukee Brewers
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Nicknamed by his teammates with the moniker "Country Strong," Union High School (WA) senior catcher Clint Coulter is certainly that.
A champion wrestler as well, Coulter is a huge presence behind the plate at 6'3" and 215 pounds. The Brewers believe that Coulter will indeed stay behind the plate and absolutely love his power potential. Coulter is expected to sign rather than attend Arizona State on a scholarship.
28) Victor Roache, Milwaukee Brewers
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The Brewers went with power potential with two consecutive picks, choosing Georgia Southern University outfielder Victor Roache with the 28th overall pick.
Roache is even more of a beast than Clint Coulter at 6'1" and 230 pounds. As a sophomore, Roache hit a whopping 30 home runs, up from his mark of eight in his freshman season. This year, however, Roache broke his wrist attempting a diving catch in right field in late February, causing him to miss the rest of the season.
Brewers' doctors apparently pronounced Roache's wrist as sound, so obviously Milwaukee brass thought enough of his power potential to draft him anyway despite any thoughts about lingering effects of the injury.
If the power returns, great. But Roache is also capable of swing-and-miss potential as well. Hitting 30 home runs at Georgia Southern is one thing. Doing it on the grand stage consistently is another thing entirely.
29) Lewis Brinson, Texas Rangers
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With a recent draft strategy that was strong on power pitching, the Texas Rangers deviated from that plan on Monday, opting for power-hitting potential with the selection of high school outfielder Lewis Brinson.
In his senior season at Coral Springs High School (FL), Brinson hit .394 with four HR and 21 RBI. At 6'4" and 190 pounds, the Rangers believe that Brinson will stay in center field with solid speed and an above-average throwing arm.
The Rangers also think that Brinson has the ability to be a five-tool player, although that certainly remains to be seen.
30) Ty Hensley, New York Yankees
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This may have been the steal of the entire first round.
The New York Yankees selected Santa Fe High School (OK) pitcher Ty Hensley. Hensley was 10-0 with a 1.52 ERA his senior season, with 111 strikeouts in 55.1 innings.
Hensley is armed with a mid-90s fastball that could see even more velocity in the future, a curveball that's already considered a hammer and a changeup that Hensley recently worked into his arsenal.
One pick for the Yankees on Monday night, and they made it a good one.
31) Brian Johnson, Boston Red Sox
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University of Florida product Brian Johnson doesn't have stuff that's going to wow anyone, and this pick wasn't exactly a wow either.
Johnson has a four-pitch repertoire with none of them being overwhelming. Johnson's array of pitches is made up of a fastball that averages 88-92 MPH, an above-average slider, a decent curve and changeup.
An overreach here by the Red Sox with the 31st pick.
32) J.O. Berrios, Minnesota Twins
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The Minnesota Twins will have their work cut out for them in molding young Puerto Rican pitcher J.O. Berrios.
A talented young man who can throw his fastball in the mid-90s and has a plus curveball, Berrios still without question a project.
Berrios is very raw and his mechanics are sketchy, so he will need to work on not only refining his mechanics, but also molding a repeatable delivery if he's to have any hope of developing sharp command.
33) Zach Eflin, San Diego Padres
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The San Diego Padres dipped into the high school pitching pool to pluck out Hagerty HS (FL) right-hander Zach Eflin. In his senior season, Eflin was 5-2 with a 0.51 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 41 innings, and he possesses a mid-90s fastball and a plus changeup.
Eflin has an easy, smooth delivery and has indicated he will sign rather than honor his commitment to the University of Central Florida.
34) Daniel Robertson, Oakland Athletics
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Curious pick here for the Athletics, who already drafted shortstop Addison Russell in the first round. But it's one I like.
Daniel Robertson, out of Upland High School in California, hit a robust .560 with six HR and 36 RBI, adding playing shortstop for the first time after starring at third base for three seasons.
I actually like Robertson as the shortstop of the future more than Russell. Robertson committed to UCLA, but his lifelong dream of making the majors will likely change that.
35) Kevin Plawecki, New York Mets
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Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki is anxious to get his professional career started, already indicating he's more than ready to sign a contract with the New York Mets.
Already a solid catcher defensively, Plawecki projects to be a decent contact hitter with possible pop, hitting .359 with seven HR and 47 RBI, helping lead Purdue to just its second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.
36) Stephen Piscotty, St. Louis Cardinals
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Early on in the spring, Stephen Piscotty's name was mentioned quite a bit as one of the prized third baseman in this year's draft. However, he fell all the way to the 36th pick.
Piscotty has been compared to Alex Gordon, who transitioned to left field for the Kansas City Royals after being drafted as a third baseman. Piscotty could end up there as well, especially if he doesn't develop more power at the professional level.
Piscotty hit .336 in three seasons at Stanford, and while he's solid defensively, he won't draw comparisons to Brooks Robinson. It's going to be all about the bat development for Piscotty at this point.
37) Pat Light, Boston Red Sox
Photo courtesy Jim Reme, Monmouth University Photography
Finally, a pick from the Boston Red Sox that I actually like.
The third time was the charm—Monmouth University pitcher Pat Light may have pitched for a small school, but there's nothing small about his performance or makeup.
Light was 8-3 in 14 starts this past season and possesses a mid-to-high 90s fastball. While his secondary pitches need refinement, scouts think that Light could move through the Red Sox system quickly as a reliever and possible back-end bullpen option.
38) Mitch Haniger, Milwaukee Brewers
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The Milwaukee Brewers certainly decided to load up with bats on Monday night, using their third selection (38th overall) to pick Cal-Poly outfielder Mitch Haniger.
Haniger was the Big West Conference Player of the Year, hitting .354 with 13 HR and 64 RBI. At 6'2" and 180 pounds, Haninger has a very quick bat that accelerates through the zone with a slight uppercut. Solid choice here, but I don't necessarily see star potential.
39) Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
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At 6'5" and 220 pounds, Joey Gallo is certainly a raw hitter capable of producing prodigious power. But he could also turn into a Sam Horn just as easily.
A third baseman out of Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada, Gallo could have just as easily been drafted as a pitcher as well, as he throws a fastball that hits 97-98 MPH.
If he doesn't develop that raw power in the minors, he could always turn back to the mound.
40) Shane Watson, Philadelphia Phillies
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The Philadelphia Phillies didn't have a first-round pick, waiting until the sandwich round later on Monday night. However, they made the 40th overall selection count.
The Phillies selected Lakewood High School (CA) pitcher Shane Watson. Watson was 4-3 with a 1.19 ERA in his senior season, with 79 strikeouts in 53 innings. Watson has a low-90s fastball and solid 12-6 curveball, and with his frame (6'4", 205 pounds), he projects to have a solid future in the majors.
41) Lance McCullers, Houston Astros
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By the time Lance McCullers' name was finally called on Monday night with the 41st pick, it had been surmised that it was likely a signability issue that caused him to fall so far.
However, the Houston Astros were absolutely delighted.
McCullers was extraordinary in his senior year, posting a 9-0 record with a 0.18 ERA and opponents only hitting .106 against him. With a blazing fastball and smooth delivery, GM Jeff Luhnow will no doubt make every effort to get McCullers signed.
42) Luke Bard, Minnesota Twins
Apparently, the Minnesota Twins wanted to see if the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.
Georgia Tech pitcher Luke Bard, the younger brother of Boston Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard, tore a lat muscle early this spring and hasn't thrown a pitch since.
At best, Bard projects as a reliever, and with a low-to-mid 90s fastball, would definitely be considered "Bard Light" compared to his brother.
43) Pierce Johnson, Chicago Cubs
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Missouri State right-hander Pierce Johnson was only 4-6 this spring, but impressed with a 2.53 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 99.2 innings.
Johnson has a nice three-pitch arsenal which includes a low-90s fastball, a sharp biting curveball and solid changeup. Still, he doesn't feature as much more than a back-end rotation guy.
44) Travis Jankowski, San Diego Padres
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This was a terrific pick by the Padres. Travis Jankowski, a center fielder from SUNY Stony Brook, has great speed, is a solid contact hitter and is already a plus defender.
For Petco Park, they certainly chose the right man for the job.
45) Barrett Barnes, Pittsburgh Pirates
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Three years ago, Barrett Barnes was an undrafted infielder out of high school. Now, he has hopes of patrolling the outfield for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Barnes ended his Texas Tech career with a .319 average, 33 home runs and 140 RBI. With speed and a possible power bat, Barnes could make some hay in the majors, however, his swing is loopy and long, and with a weak arm he will likely have to make the move to left field—especially with Andrew McCutchen currently patrolling that area in PNC Park.
46) Eddie Butler, Colorado Rockies
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With the 46th pick, the Rockies chose right-handed pitcher Eddie Butler out of Radford University. At 6'2" and 180 pounds, Butler is a beanstalk, but a beanstalk who can throw. A mid-90s fastball and command issues may put Butler in the bullpen at the major league level.
Not totally loving this pick. Butler has a nice fastball but not much else.
47) Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics
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At 6'4" and 235 pounds, first baseman Matt Olson out of Parkview High School (GA) was essentially picked for his power potential, but what a potential it could turn out to be. With a rare ability to hit for both power and average, A's scouting director Eric Kubota was grateful that Olson was still available.
"For us, one of the best high school bats in the country—just a very skilled hitter with strength, and the power's going to come as he gets bigger and stronger," Kubota said. "We really feel good about his bat. We saw him hit home runs off two first-round pitchers this year."
48) Keon Barnum, Chicago White Sox
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With the 48th pick, the White Sox selected power-hitting first baseman Keon Barnum out of King High School in Florida. At 6'5" and 225 pounds, Barnum possesses outstanding power, with MLB Network analysts drawing comparisons to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.
However, the potential is raw, and Barnum has a long, loopy swing with holes that will clearly need to be refined in the minors. It could make the difference from turning into a Ryan Howard-type or an unreasonable facsimile.
49) Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds
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Olympia High School (FL) was blessed to have two players who were among the top 100 players on most draft boards—Walter Weickel and Jesse Winker. Winker got the nod first, selected by the Cincinnati Reds with the 49th pick.
At 6'3" and 200 pounds, Winker already has advanced plate discipline with the ability to hit the ball to all fields and the power to jack it as well.
I like this pick here—Winker has skills and great baseball instincts.
50) Matt Smoral, Toronto Blue Jays
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With a stress fracture in his foot that sidelined him for the season in April, Solon High School (OH) pitcher Matthew Smoral didn't get a chance to show what he could to for very long, but the Toronto Blue Jays were impressed nonetheless.
This was a risky pick by the Jays—Smoral could very well elect to honor his commitment to the University of North Carolina, with the goal of raising his stock and value higher in three years.
At 6'8" and 220 pounds, Smoral has drawn comparisons to a former MLB pitcher similar in stature (Randy Johnson). However, right now Smoral is just raw and loaded with potential. A stint in college would likely do him well.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.