MLB Draft 2012: Predicting When Each First-Round Pick Will Make the Majors

Doug MeadCorrespondent IJune 6, 2012

MLB Draft 2012: Predicting When Each First-Round Pick Will Make the Majors

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    Draft picks in baseball are always somewhat of a crapshoot, with each team implementing different philosophies as to the development of their prized young stars.

    Some players rise through their team's systems rapidly—Bryce Harper and Jarrod Parker immediately come to mind. Others take as long as seven or eight years, and some simply never make it at all.

    This year's crop of first-round players drafted on Monday night will take different paths to the majors, some quickly, some at a more leisurely pace.

    Here is a prediction of when each first-round pick will make his way to the majors.

1. Carlos Correa: Houston Astros

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    Shortstop Carlos Correa was a surprise as the first overall pick for the Houston Astros, but there's no denying the kid's talent and abilities.

    The Astros will take their time in cultivating that talent and bringing out the best in Correa.

    ETA to Majors: 2016

2. Byron Buxton: Minnesota Twins

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    High school outfielder Byron Buxton has all the tools needed to carve out an excellent career with the Minnesota Twins, and it will likely be up to him to determine exactly when.

    Considering Buxton's work ethic and drive to succeed, it will likely be sooner rather than later.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2014

3. Mike Zunino: Seattle Mariners

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    By all accounts, new Seattle Mariners catching prospect Mike Zunino is already a savvy veteran behind the plate—he just needs seasoning at the major league level.

    Zunino was praised for his handling of the University of Florida pitching staff, and he could very well be leading a staff in Seattle that includes Felix Hernandez, Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton. Much will depend on his development as a hitter at the professional level.

    ETA to Majors: Mid-2014

4. Kevin Gausman: Baltimore Orioles

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    With the LSU Tigers, pitcher Kevin Gausman was highly effective, posting an 11-1 record with a 2.72 ERA in his junior year, with 128 strikeouts in 115.2 innings.

    However, he was essentially a two-trick pony, with an excellent fastball and outstanding changeup. That's not enough at the major league level, where Gausman will need add a breaking ball.

    He needs a few years in the minors to develop that all-essential third pitch.

    ETA to Majors: 2015

5. Kyle Zimmer: Kansas City Royals

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    With a 5-3 record with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts, striking out 104 and walking just 17 in 88.1 innings, Kyle Zimmer put together an outstanding season in his junior year at the University of San Francisco.

    Zimmer did it with an outstanding fastball/curveball combination that many scouts called the best tandem in the entire draft. With the help of a developing changeup, Zimmer could very well move through the Royals' system rapidly.

    ETA to Majors: Mid-2014

6. Albert Almora: Chicago Cubs

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    The new Chicago Cubs management team of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and company started out their very first draft with a bang, selecting outfielder Albert Almora of Mater Academy (Fla.).

    Almora has all the tools, combined with a great work ethic and an insatiable desire to succeed.

    ETA to Majors: Mid-to-late 2015

7. Max Fried: San Diego Padres

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    When the San Diego Padres selected southpaw pitcher Max Fried from Harvard-Westlake High School (Calif.), they knew they were getting a pitcher with unlimited potential.

    Fried still has some mechanical issues to deal with and will work to refine his delivery.

    The Padres will no doubt take their time with Fried, ensuring that durability won't be an issue later in his career.

    ETA to Majors: 2016

8. Mark Appel: Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Stanford University pitcher Mark Appel fell all the way down to the Pittsburgh Pirates at No. 8 overall after being considered by most to be the top pick overall. 

    Not sure exactly what scared away teams like the Houston and Baltimore Orioles, who were both thought to be very interested. Maybe his signing cost?

    Either way, 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.

    There is obviously talent there, it's just a matter now of how quickly he can proceed through the Pirates system.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2015/Early 2016

9. Andrew Heaney: Miami Marlins

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    With Andrew Heaney, the Miami Marlins got a pitcher who will likely move through their system very quickly, already having the ability to establish command early and pound away at the strike zone.

    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.

    ETA to Majors: Mid-2014

10. David Dahl: Colorado Rockies

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    David Dahl, a high school player from Birmingham, Ala., comes with as much risk as he does upside for the Colorado Rockies. 

    It's hard to say exactly where in the outfield Dahl will end up. Not blessed with a strong throwing arm and with limited range, left field may be his eventual landing spot, but he will need some time to figure things out.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2016/Early 2017

11. Addison Russell: Oakland Athletics

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    When the Oakland Athletics chose Pace High School (Fla.) shortstop Addison Russell, they chose a youngster with tremendous potential, but he is still raw in many respects, especially as a hitter.

    Russell may not even stay at short, so the A's will have to figure out where to position him within the next couple of years as well.

    ETA to Majors: I'm going to go out on a limb and say never. Russell for me was a very curious pick, and I'm not sure that his potential can be tapped successfully. 

12. Gavin Cecchini: New York Mets

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    The New York Mets might want to consider bringing new shortstop prospect Gavin Cecchini up as quickly as possible, considering what happened on his first visit to Citi Field.

    That same night, Johan Santana threw a no-hitter, breaking a streak of 8,019 consecutive games without a hitless outing by any Met.

    Cecchini's skills could get him to the Big Apple fairly quickly as well.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2015

13. Courtney Hawkins: Chicago White Sox

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    When Courtney Hawkins was selected by the Chicago White Sox, he pulled off the surprise of the night, pulling off a backflip live on the MLB Network.

    The move might not have been the smartest move Hawkins ever made, earning a call from GM Kenny Williams as a result.

    While Hawkins won't be displaying acrobatics on live TV anytime soon, he could be somersaulting over other prospects on his way up the ladder.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2014/Early 2015

14. Nick Travieso: Cincinnati Reds

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    There is no questioning the body of work of high school starting pitcher Nick Travieso, who helped his Archbishop McCarthy team win their third straight Florida state high school championship this spring.

    Travieso can bring the heat with a mid-90s fastball that often hits 97-98 MPH. However, his release point is very inconsistent and the mechanics of his delivery can fluctuate.

    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.

    ETA to Majors: 2017

15. Tyler Naquin: Cleveland Indians

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    The Cleveland Indians would love to find a center fielder who can roam the outfield with grace and the ball to all fields. 

    They thought they had that in Grady Sizemore, but his knees took care of that.

    Tyler Naquin could be that man.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2014

16. Lucas Giolito: Washington Nationals

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    There is absolutely no questioning the incredible talents of Harvard-Westlake High School pitcher Lucas Giolito, taken by the Washington Nationals with the 16th overall pick on Monday night.

    What is in question is his health.

    During a conference call with Washington reporters, Giolito tried to put those fears to rest.

    “I’m confident that this issue is behind me,” Giolito said. “I’ve been tackling it with a lot of confidence, and I’m feeling really good about it."

    Giolito sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow this spring, cutting short his senior season. When healthy, Giolito sports a near-100 mph fastball and a terrific 12-to-6 curveball. 

    ETA to Majors: 2015, unless Tommy John surgery is needed in future.

17. D.J. Davis: Toronto Blue Jays

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    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.

    Speed is the major draw for Davis, while hitting is a work in progress—a progression that could take quite a while.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2016/Early 2017

18. Corey Seager: Los Angeles Dodgers

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    High school shortstop Corey Seager hit above .500 in his senior season at Northwest Cabarrus High School in North Carolina. Anyone who can hit above .500 has a good idea of what they are doing at the plate.

    The younger brother of Seattle Mariners infielder Kyle Seager, Corey may be an even better hitter than his older brother when all is said and done. Seager could eventually become a third baseman in the future, but his bat is what the Dodgers covet. 

    ETA to Majors: 2015

19. Michael Wacha: St. Louis Cardinals

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    Texas A&M starting pitcher Michael Wacha has plenty of firepower, and used it to his advantage with the Aggies. Wacha was 9-1 with a 2.06 ERA this season, striking out 116 batters in 113.1 innings.

    However, Wacha doesn't have much else to go with his blazing fastball, and he will need to develop adequate secondary pitches in order to be effective at the next level.

    ETA to Majors: Mid-to-late 2016

20. Chris Stratton: San Francisco Giants

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    With a solid three-pitch repertoire already, Mississippi State right-hander Chris Stratton could eventually be a great complement to current San Francisco Giants starters Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. The question is when.

    With a plus-fastball that sits in the mid-90s, a slider that many scouts believed to be the best in the draft class and a solid curveball, my guess is that Stratton will be seen at AT&T Park sooner rather than later. 

    ETA to Majors: Late 2013/Early 2014

21. Lucas Sims: Atlanta Braves

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    The Atlanta Braves stayed in their own backyard to select their first-round pick, Brookwood High School right-hander Lucas Sims.

    Maybe they should have strayed a little farther.

    Sims is good, no question, posting an 8-1 record with a 1.19 ERA, helping lead Brookwood High to a state championship game this season. He has a nice low-90s fastball and developing curve, but will need work to refine his delivery and tighten up his mechanics.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2015

22. Marcus Stroman: Toronto Blue Jays

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    If there is any one pitcher who has the ability to be fast-tracked to the majors, it's new Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman.

    The Duke University product proved his worth with the Blue Devils both in relief and as a starter, and with a three-pitch repertoire—96-97 mph fastball, hard slider and sharp-breaking curveball—Stroman may not have to wait long to get his chance.

    ETA to Majors: Early-to-mid 2013

23. James Ramsey: St. Louis Cardinals

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    As a senior with Florida State University, James Ramsey hit .365 with 13 HR and 55 RBI for the Seminoles, who are still involved in NCAA tourney play. He will likely go down as one of the greats in FSU history. 

    However, Ramsey projects more as a spray-type hitter in the majors—a man with great fire but not blessed with great tools.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2015

24. Deven Marrero: Boston Red Sox

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    Shortstop Deven Marrero is a whiz with the glove, but not so much with the bat.

    As the bat restrictions tightened up in college baseball, Marrero's average took a serious dip. While he hit .397 as a freshman, Marrero hit just .284 this year, a precipitous drop to be sure.

    Marrero told Comcast SportsNet New England that he thought his hitting woes were fixable, saying:

    My offensive game is, I'm a gap-to-gap guy. And I felt like this year -- compared to my last two years -- balls just weren't getting through the infield. There were guys standing where my ball was landing. It's just one of those things. All I can control is hitting the ball. And from there on, the ball controls where it lands.

    Guys standing where my ball was landing? Okay, then.

    ETA to Majors: Never, especially if he continues hitting the ball where guys are standing.

25. Richie Shaffer: Tampa Bay Rays

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    As the third baseman for Clemson University, Richie Shaffer hit .315 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI in his junior year, decent numbers in the always-tough ACC.

    With Evan Longoria standing in his way at the hot corner, Shaffer will be looking at a position change with Tampa Bay. First base or left field are the likely options, and he will need time to adapt. His swing will need to be shortened as well.

    ETA to Majors: Mid-to-late 2016

26. Stryker Trahan: Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Catcher Stryker Trahan from Acadiana High School in Lafayette, La., was a terrific pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 26th overall pick.

    The D-Backs now have a backstop they can look forward to in the future, and with the relative dearth of good-hitting catchers in baseball, they will take their time to cultivate Trahan's hitting skills.

    ETA to Majors: 2016

27. Clint Coulter: Milwaukee Brewers

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    In Clint Coulter, the Milwaukee Brewers drafted a catcher who is a huge presence behind the plate, but also one who is flexible.

    A state champion wrestler as well, Coulter is surprisingly agile for his size, with great footwork and a cannon for an arm. He can hit a bit as well, but the Brewers will take their time with Coulter in hopes that he improves his stroke and develops some power. 

    ETA to Majors: Mid-2016

28. Victor Roache: Milwaukee Brewers

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    Right after selecting Clint Coulter, the Brewers went with another potential power bat, adding Georgia Southern outfielder Victor Roache to the mix.

    At 6'1" and 230 lbs., Roache is a powerhouse, and he showed that off in his sophomore year, belting 30 home runs. However, a broken wrist that required surgery cut his junior year short.

    While the Brewers received positive feedback on his recovery, they will have to wait a bit to see if Roache's power returns without issue. 

    ETA to Majors: Late 2016/Early 2017

29. Lewis Brinson: Texas Rangers

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    The Texas Rangers changed up their usual tactics on the first day of the draft, opting to go with a potential power bat rather than a potential power pitcher with the selection of Coral Springs High (Fla.) outfielder Lewis Brinson.

    In his senior season, Brinson hit .394 with four HR and 21 RBI. At 6'4" and 190 pounds, the Rangers believe that Brinson will be a mainstay in center field with solid speed and an above-average throwing arm.

    ETA to Majors: Late 2016

30. Ty Hensley: New York Yankees

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    The New York Yankees must be thinking that they got the real deal in Santa Fe High School (Okla.) star pitcher Ty Hensley. For his part, Hensley agrees with them.

    "My goal is definitely to be there by the time I'm 21 years old," Hensley said in a conference call with reporters. "I think it's realistic."

    Lofty goals, but not unattainable. Hensley is armed with a mid-90s fastball that could see increased velocity in the future, a hammer curveball and a changeup. 

    ETA to Majors: Mid-to-late 2015

31. Brian Johnson: Boston Red Sox

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    I'm not exactly overwhelmed by this pick for the Boston Red Sox. Florida pitcher Brian Johnson is good, but does not boast an arsenal that's overwhelming: average fastball (88-92 MPH), plus slider and an adequate breaking ball and changeup. It's nice to have a four-pitch arsenal, but not any of them are awe-inspiring at this point.

    Johnson does have a good sense of what to throw and when to throw it, keeping hitters off-balance and out of sorts in the batter's box. However, will his stuff be ready for the big leagues?

    ETA to Majors: Early 2016 as a reliever