MLB Draft 2012: Winners and Losers from Day 2
Photo Credit: Red Reporter
Day 2 of the 2012 MLB draft is in the books, as teams turned their attention to high-risk, high-reward high schoolers as well as sure-sign, high-floor college players.
Signability is a frequently talked-about issue in this part of the draft, as there were a handful of players who were expected to be taken in the first round and fell. Now, given the new CBA, those players won't get the big-time bonuses to convince them to sign, and more of them will likely be heading to college.
With 15 rounds in the books and a total of 488 players selected, there is plenty to sift through. But here is a quick look at my take on some of the biggest winners and losers of Day 2.
Winner: University of Florida
Photo Credit: The News Tribune
After having catcher Mike Zunino (third overall) and left-hander Brian Johnson (31st overall) taken in the first round of the draft, four more Gators heard their names called on Day 2.
Shortstop Nolan Fontana (61st overall, Astros), left-hander Steven Rodriguez (82nd overall, Dodgers), right-hander Austin Maddox (118th overall) and outfielder Preston Tucker (219th overall, Astros) were all selected on Day 2.
That came after the Gators trounced Georgia Tech 15-3 on Sunday in the opening weekend of NCAA tournament play. All in all, a good couple days to be a Florida baseball fan.
Loser: Florida State University
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The No. 3 team in the country, right behind Florida, the Seminoles saw seven players taken on Day 2 alone who are committed to play for the school next season.
That is an issue that all major programs have to face, but for Florida State, this season it is an issue that could have an effect on more than one of their major sports programs.
Jameis Winston was not only one of the top baseball recruits in the nation, but he is also slated to be the Seminoles quarterback of the future.
He was taken by the Rangers with the 486th overall pick, and while his low draft spot may seem like a no-brainer non-sign, the Rangers took a chance on a number of signing risks early. And if guys like Joey Gallo and Nick Williams don't sign, the Rangers could have the money to make a big offer to Winston.
It remains a long shot, but it is at least something that has to be in the minds of Florida State baseball and football fans alike.
Winner: Bruce Maxwell
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Most projected just three catchers to be off the board at the end of Day 1, but when five backstops were taken, it seemingly put the position in demand.
Four more catchers were taken in the second round, and all could be considered reaches given their expected draft position and overall ceiling.
No reach may have been bigger than the A's taking catcher/first baseman Bruce Maxwell with the second pick in the second round, though, as the D-III Birmingham Southern College product went higher than anyone could have guessed.
There is no ignoring his numbers, as he hit .471 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 47 games. If nothing else, he should be an easy sign for the A's, who uncharacteristically went with high school players with their first three picks.
Loser: Nolan Fontana
Not only did he fall out of the first round, but Fontana was also drafted into a tough situation in Houston.
Fontana profiles more as a second baseman than a shortstop at the big-league level, but that position is currently blocked by 22-year-old Jose Altuve, who will likely be one of the players the Astros build around moving forward.
His natural shortstop position is currently being filled by Jed Lowrie, who is enjoying a solid season and will likely stick around until No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa is ready.
That means Fontana is destined for a utility role, despite being a second-round pick on a rebuilding team. Maybe he'll take the second base job from Altuve, but on the surface it looks like a tough landing spot for the Florida middle infielder.
Winner: Adam Brett-Walker
Photo Credit: Jacksonville University
Brett-Walker has drawn comparisons to Fred McGriff, and while he is a right-handed hitter as opposed to the left-handed McGriff, he has similar tools and could enjoy some of the same success.
He is athletic enough to be a solid outfielder, but will likely play first base as a pro. While power is his biggest asset, he is a solid all-around hitter coming off of a sophomore year in which he hit .409 with 13 home runs and 75 RBI.
While he may have fallen a bit to No. 97 after some projected him to be a first-rounder, he ended up in a great situation. He'll move quickly in the Twins organization, and with Justin Morneau on his way out, there will be no one (Chris Parmelee?) blocking him at first base if he proves ready sooner rather than later.
Loser: Hunter Virant
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Viewed by many as a first-round pick and one of the top 20 pitchers in the draft, Virant fell all the way to the 11th round, where the Astros took him 339th overall.
The fact that he only began pitching as a sophomore and is still an incredibly raw talent may be what initially scared some teams off, but there was an awful lot to like.
A 6'3" left-hander, Virant does not light up the radar gun and generally sits in the 88-92 mph range, but he has a smooth delivery and a plus changeup.
With a strong commitment to UCLA, there were also signability issues. Given the fact that he was selected by an Astros team that will need to pony up to sign Carlos Correa, it seems very likely Virant will be headed to campus this fall.
Winner: Chicago White Sox
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The White Sox went heavy on college players on Day 2 of the draft and landed a pair that could wind up providing Day 1 value down the road.
With their second-round pick, they took Georgia Southern right-hander Chris Beck, who was viewed by many as a potential top-10 pick entering the season.
His numbers this spring didn't quite live up to what many projected after a strong showing in the Cape Cod League, but he still posted a 3.91 ERA with 115 strikeouts in 103.2 innings of work.
With a mid-90s fastball, a good cutter and a passable curveball-changeup mix for off-speed stuff, he has the tools. It will be a matter of how the White Sox are able to develop him.
Then, in the ninth round, they selected Indiana second baseman Micah Johnson. A preseason All-American, Johnson was slowed much of the season in his return from shoulder surgery. If he can get back to where he was heading into this year, he may very well turn out to be the best second baseman of the class.
Loser: Milwaukee Brewers
Photo Credit: Crimson and Cream Machine
The Brewers appeared to have a clear goal on Day 1 of the draft, as they took a trio of high-upside power bats to help bolster a barren farm system.
However, Day 2 saw them use their first pick on a signability risk in Tyrone Taylor and then go on to draft 10 pitchers over their next 13 picks.
Among that group of arms, no one really stands out as a steal or a high-upside guy. There are certainly intriguing arms such as Damien Magnifico (100 mph fastball) and Buck Farmer (Georgia Tech Friday starter) but, all in all, I was not impressed with the crop of picks the Brew Crew made.
Winner: Cincinnati Reds
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After reaching a bit for Nick Travieso with the No. 14 pick, the Reds saw one of the top middle infielders in the draft fall to them when they took Tanner Rahier with the 78th overall pick.
An odd case in that he chose against playing for his high school team, Rahier may actually be one of the more advanced high school bats because of that decision.
Instead of playing for his high school team he played on a spring travel team, and as a result he has a good deal of experience hitting with wood bats.
He may wind up at third base where he has the power potential to hold his own, and if the Reds are able to sign him, they got a steal in the middle of the second round.
The team also took UCLA outfielder Beau Amaral, a grinder who has been a staple in the Bruins outfield the past three years, with the 232nd pick. He is a terrific value in the seventh round.
Loser: Cleveland Indians
Photo Credit: College Baseball 360
The Indians pulled off a shocker when they did not go with a college arm in the first round and instead drafted Texas A&M outfielder Tyler Naquin.
One of the better college bats in the class, Naquin was by no means a reach and should wind up being a very good pick for the Indians.
However, for a Cleveland team in need of some organizational depth at pitcher, the team failed to take a major college pitcher among 15 picks.
They did select pitchers at 79th overall (Mitch Brown), 110th overall (Kieran Lovegrove) and 173rd overall (Dylan Baker), but those were far from safe picks.
Brown is undersized and somewhat inexperienced after playing his high school ball in Minnesota. Lovegrove has impressive stuff, but struggled with consistently getting guys out at the high school level. And Baker may have been the best JUCO arm in the draft, but he gets by on a fastball and has very weak secondary stuff.