MLB Draft 2012: Each Team's Top Unsigned Pick

Zachary PeterselFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2012

MLB Draft 2012: Each Team's Top Unsigned Pick

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    The deadline to sign players selected in the 2012 MLB draft is 5 p.m. on July 13, and this season there is a new twist to the signing system

    Each MLB team is allotted the same budget for the first 10 rounds of the draft. This is meant to balance out the spending and take away the advantage of the bigger markets such as the Yankees and, more recently, the Texas Rangers.

    After the 10th round, teams do not lose money from their pool. So there are a lot of talented players who fall into the 11th round and beyond because teams can spend more to try to sign them.

    At this juncture, there are 11 first-round picks (including supplemental picks) who remain unsigned, headlined by the Pirates' Mark Appel. A great majority of these players will be signed. But for teams like the Pirates with Appel, the Chicago Cubs with Albert Almora and the Washington Nationals with Lucas Giolito, the negotiations will likely continue until the final hour.


Arizona Diamondbacks 16th-Round Pick: SS Landon Lassiter

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    The Arizona Diamondbacks first pick on Day 3 of the 2012 MLB draft was Landon Lassiter, a shortstop out of high school committed to the University of North Carolina.

    ESPN.com lists Lassiter at a solid 6'1", 175 pounds. Scout.com raves about him as a ''dynamic athlete that projects well up the middle, with some pop in his bat to go along with excellent speed.''

    Lassiter's brother Garrison signed straight out of high school in 2008, so the precedent is there. But Landon appears focused on UNC. However, as a potential shortstop who can play great defense and hit, he would be a great get if the Diamondbacks could sign him.

Atlanta Braves 7th-Round Pick: LHP David Starn

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    As a senior at Kent State, David Starn is out of options and is expected to sign with the Atlanta Braves.

    The left-hander was recently named the MAC Pitcher of the Year and a Louisville Slugger second-team All-American. He set Kent State records in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched.

    While he does not light up the radar gun (reportedly topping out at 88 mph), in an article for kent.ohio.com, Kent State coach Scott Stricklin compared him to Jamie Moyer.

    Unlike others on this list, Starn's signing is only a matter of time.

Baltimore Orioles 1st-Round Pick: RHP Kevin Gausman

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    With the fourth overall pick in this summer's draft, the Baltimore Orioles took LSU's Kevin Gausman. 

    The 21-year-old stands 6'4'' and uses that frame to consistently pound the zone with a mid-to-upper 90s fastball. Outside of his dominance on the mound, Gausman is one of the most superstitious players you will find. Here is a quote from LSU's website that the Baltimore Sun wrote about:

    He eats one powdered donut before taking the mound, something that he's done since the 7th grade. He also eats four donuts in between every inning.

    When he runs out to the field, he always hops the line, because growing up, his dad always told him it was bad luck to step on it.  Before every inning, his first warm-up pitch is preceded by a crow hop over the mound, throwing the ball as hard as he can. 

    Then, the game begins.

    He does this same process every time.  Nothing changes.

    'It sounds stupid, but I could never do anything without doing it all,' said Gausman.

     

    Full scouting report on Kevin Gausman

Boston Red Sox 11th-Round Pick: CF Jamal Martin

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    The Red Sox took a risk drafting Jamal Martin. He has a strong commitment to Florida State, but he could be well worth it. 

    According to ESPN.com, Martin is an ''athletic, ultra-fast player.'' This past season he batted .386 with 11 steals, so while his game is not fully there, the upside most certainly is. 

Chicago Cubs 1st-Round Pick: Outfielder Albert Almora

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    For the first pick in the Theo Epstein era, this was not the reaction Cubs fans wanted to hear: "My main priority now is college."

    Albert Almora is a Scott Boras client who has a strong commitment to the University of Miami, better known as ''The U.''

    According to BR prospect analyst Mike Rosenbaum, Almora has drawn comparisons to Carlos Beltran for his all-around athleticism and skill set. He has been high on MLB draft boards for the last two seasons.

    This will be a tough get for the Cubbies. But even though Boras will make them go higher than the $3.25M slot for the pick, Chicago will not let him fall through their hands.

    Full Albert Almora scouting report

Chicago White Sox 11th-Round Pick: RHP Eric Jaffe

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    According to Baseball Prospect Nation, Eric Jaffe is a draft-eligible sophomore who could require a little extra cash to pull him away from UCLA.

    As I mentioned in the intro, after the 10th round, teams can open up their budget without incurring a penalty. So while it make cost a little more to secure Jaffe, it should not be a problem for the Sox if they are so inclined. 

Cincinnati Reds Supplemental 1st-Round Pick: Outfielder Jeff Gelalich

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    In the supplemental first round, 57th overall, the Cincinnati Reds selected outfielder Jeff Galalich. 

    The UCLA product hit .376 this season, with an even more impressive .460 OBP showing off his patience at the plate. Coast2coastprospects compared him to Bobby Abreu. Based on his OBP and potential to steal 15-20 bags a year, I think it is an accurate comparison.

    Full Jeff Galalich scouting report

Cleveland Indians 4th-Round Pick: CF D’vone McClure

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    ESPN.com listed D’vone McClure as a 4-star prospect and the 41st-best high school senior heading into the 2012 draft. 

    He is listed at 6'3'', 200 pounds, and has a strong commitment to the University of Arkansas, where he may also play football

    On MLB.com's scouting report, McClure is listed as an outstanding athlete with excellent bat speed who should develop plenty of power.  He hit .412 with 26 steals and 28 runs scored during his senior season. He would be a strong get for the Indians if he signs.

Colorado Rockies 18th-Round Pick: C/OF Aaron Jones

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    Incredibly, the only unsigned draft pick remaining of the Colorado Rockies top 26 selections is 18th-round pick Aaron Jones. 

    Jones has some decent pop, evidenced by his .473 slugging percentage last season. He was an honorable-mention selection on the Pac-10 all-conference team this past season.

Detroit Tigers 18th-Round Pick: SS Dylan Lavelle

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    When the Detroit Tigers drafted Dylan Lavelle in the 18th round, they were not sure if they would be able to sign him. And to this point, there are no further indications about whether he will join the organization.

    After being named to 2012 Rawlings All-American West third team, the Washington native earned a scholarship to Oregon State.

    According to Perfectgame.org, he is a high level prospect with a line-drive swing. He can also play third base, the outfield and has gotten it up to 86 mph on a radar gun on the mound. 

Houston Astros 7th-Round Pick: Outfielder Preston Tucker

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    After being drafted in the 16th round last year, the University of Florida's Preston Tucker passed on joining the Colorado Rockies. His decision paid off, as he moved up nine rounds in this year's draft.

    As a junior, he was a second team All-American. As a senior, he was a first-team All-SEC performer as his power continued to shine. But Coast2coastprospects lists power as his only above-average tool.

    With a BB-K ratio of 28-25, Tucker has a good eye at the plate and could be a quick riser in the system if he signs.

Kansas City Royals 12th-Round Pick: 2B Jackson Willeford

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    Coming into the draft, Baseball America ranked Jackson Willeford as the 162nd-best prospect.

    The Royals drafted him at 373.

    However, according to nctimes.com, there were a lot of scouts who believed that the only chance a team had of signing this top talent would be if he was selected in the top 100 picks.

    Willeford, who has signed to play at the University of Arizona, is ranked 162 by Baseball America.

    It's believed Willeford will sign a pro contract if he goes in the top 100 picks, making him a third-rounder.

    Should he go after the top 100, college could be his option.

    The Royals are a team that builds through the draft. Since he was drafted after the 10th round, KC can overspend on him without incurring a penalty to take him away from his commitment to Arizona.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 9th-Round Pick: LHP Michael Roth

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    Last Friday, Michael Roth tossed a two-hitter to prevent his team from getting eliminated from the College World Series, retiring the final 22 batters he faced. 

    This type of performance was nothing out of the ordinary for Roth in his college career, as he went 23-6 at South Carolina. As a senior left-hander, signing with the Angels appears to be only a matter of time.

Los Angeles Dodgers 1st -Round Pick: SS Corey Seager

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    With the selection of Corey Seager, the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted their first position player in the first round since James Loney in 2002.

    Seager was rated as Baseball America's top third baseman coming into the draft, and with the combination of Jerry Hairston and Elian Herrera starting at third for the Dodgers these days, it was definitely a position of need for the organization. 

    Seager hit .519 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI this season on his way to becoming the Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year. With the new ownership group in town, this is another draft pick who's signing seems inevitable. 

    Full Corey Seager scouting report

     

    UPDATE: The Dodgers have reached an agreement with Corey Seager for $2.35M. The recommended slot for the 18th pick is $1.95M so Los Angeles had to slightly overpay, but it will be well worth it.

    The Dodgers have now signed 15 of their top 16 selections. 

Miami Marlins 1st-Round Pick: LHP Andrew Heaney

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    Once Andrew Heaney signs, and as a senior heading into the draft he has nowhere else to go, he will be one of the quickest movers in the entire draft

    He already owns a plus fastball that sits between 90 and 95 mph, so as long as he can refine his secondary offerings, the unanimous 2012 All-American selection should make his debut in Miami sooner rather than later.

    Full Andrew Heaney scouting report

Milwaukee Brewers 5th-Round Pick: RHP Damien Magnifico

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    The Brewers landed a ''magnificant'' arm (get it) in the fifth round of this year draft in Damien Magnifico.

    The 6'1'' right-hander has a 'Tyler Thornburg-like build, according to BrewersRumors.com, with a similar fastball as well. With the ability to run his heater upwards of 100 mph, Magnifico has the potential to become a shut-down reliever if he can polish his secondary offerings. 

    The reason this type of arm fell to the fifth round is his medical history. He had screws inserted in his elbow while he was in junior college.

Minnesota Twins 6th-Round Pick: LHP Andre Martinez

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    The top remaining unsigned pick for the Minnesota Twins is the tall, lanky left-hander Andre Martinez. 

    Martinez has a strong commitment to Florida Statel. He was one of the few high school picks the Twins made in the middle rounds, so I believe they will have the budget to get him under contract. 

New York Mets 2nd-Round Pick: RHP Theodore Stankiewicz

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    New York Mets right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz checked in at No. 59 in ESPN's 2012 class. But with a commitment to Arkansas, he could be a tough sign for the Mets.

    The Mets are making a habit of signing Arkansas commits. Last year, they drafted Brandon Nimmo and Michael Fulmer with their first two picks, and both signed with the Mets.

    This season, the folks in Flushing are hoping for a similar outcome in their pursuit of the 6'4'' Stankiewicz. While he can pump it up to 94 mph on the gun, he normally sits within the 88-91 range and has more polish than your everyday high school pitcher.

    He has a simple delivery that he repeats. If he refines his secondary pitches, he would be a great addition to the Mets' farm system.

New York Yankees 1st-Round Pick: RHP Ty Hensley

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    The Yankees have grown accustomed to drafting at the end of the first round. This summer was no different. 

    Ty Hensley has drawn some favorable comparisons, including a current Yankee rival. Coming out of high school with his 6'5'', 220-pound frame means that he is going to be an intimidating presence on the mound and that his current low-90s fastball will continue to gain power. 

    His secondary offerings are not yet plus pitches, but the potential is there, The Yankees will not miss out on bringing him into their organization.

    Full Ty Hensley scouting report

Oakland Athletics 2nd-Round Pick: RHP Nolan Sanburn

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    In a draft in which teams are supposed to have one out of every 30 picks, the Athletics had five of the first 74 selections.

    Nolan Sanburn was selected with the 74th overall pick, and his fastball is nothing to scoff at. In his college career at Arkansas, it consistently was clocked between 92 and 96 mph, but he could get it up to 98 when needed.

    He served as a late-inning reliever and closer. But if he develops his curveball and change-up, he could turn into a capable starter.

    Full Nolan Sanburn scouting report

Philadelphia Phillies 2nd-Round Pick: RHP Alec Rash

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    According to ESPN's Keith Law, the Phillies landed themselves an upside arm. "Alec Rash is up to 95 with a good body and delivery, and a very fresh arm as an Iowa kid without many innings behind him.''

    Coming out of high school and already hitting 95 mph is a great sign for his future. If he can build off that fastball and develop secondary pitches, his potential is as high as any pitcher the Phillies drafted. 

    His commitment to Missouri should not stand in the way of the Phillies signing him.

Pittsburgh Pirates 1st-Round Pick: RHP Mark Appel

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    From projected first overall pick to the slide that landed him in Pittsburgh with the eighth pick, Mark Appel is the player with the biggest sign-ability questions as we head toward the July 13 deadline.

    Scouts everywhere rave about his above-average repertoire. With a 94-97 mph fastball and a plus curve/slider, he should be able to reach the big leagues quickly.

    The problems start rearing their ugly head when we start talking about his contract demands and his ultra-agent Scott Boras. Projected to be the No. 1 selection, Appel is looking to be paid as such, and with the new rules regarding the slotting system and each team's budget, these negotiations will assuredly go down to the wire. 

    Full Mark Appel scouting report

San Diego Padres Supplemental 1st-Round Pick: RHP Walker Weickel

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    Already standing 6'6", the 18-year-old Walker Weickel is going to develop into a big right handed pitcher.

    However, there is a reason there are not that many successful tall starting pitchers. The problem with that type of height is that it becomes a lot more difficult to repeat your delivery. 

    Weickel has a nice low-90s fastball that should add a couple of ticks as he gets older and refines that delivery. He has a strong commitment to the University of Miami, and since he is a Florida native, it could be difficult to get him away from there.

    However, at the end of the day, I do believe he will sign in San Diego.

    Full Walker Weickel scouting report

San Francisco Giants 2nd-Round Pick: RHP Martin Agosta

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    The Giants have the most unsigned players of any MLB team, having signed only three of their top-10 draft picks.

    In the second round, San Francisco selected a local kid in Martin Agosta from St. Mary's. As a junior last season, the 6'1'' right-hander posted a 2.18 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 103 innings.

    The Giants have always been able to develop arms with relative ease. Agosta should be no different.

Seattle Mariners 8th-Round Pick: 1B Nick Halamandaris

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    After the Mariners signed top pick Mike Zunnino on Thursday, their top remaining unsigned selection became Nick Halamandaris. 

    Halamandaris has a commitment to the University of California and ProspectInsider.com reports that he will not sign and will attend school to try to raise his stock in advance of the 2015 draft.

St. Louis Cardinals 4th-Round Pick: SS Alejandro Mejia

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    Despite being picked in the fourth round, Alejandro Mejia appears to be a college, depth-type signing rather than an upside pick you normally would see in the fourth round before the new draft rules that capped spending. 

    According to futureredbirds.net, Mejia is a player who will sign below slot. While he is not the next Troy Tulowitzki who will dominate the shortstop position with his bat, he is reportedly a slick-fielding defender who will add depth to the system and allow the Cards to spend their money elsewhere.

Tampa Bay Rays 1st-Round Pick: 3B Richie Shaffer

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    After a draft for the ages in which the Rays had 10 of the first 60 picks in the 2011 draft, things were back to normal this summer with just one pick in each round.

    With their first selection, they drafted Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer. No, Evan Longoria is not leaving Tampa anytime soon, but Shaffer's ability to hit should still have in the bigs rather quickly, The Rays raved about his makeup and versatility.

    The Rays are too smart an organization to make a selection in the first round and not sign him. I expect this to happen way before the July 13 deadline.

    Full Richie Shaffer scouting report

Texas Rangers 14th-Round Pick: Outfielder Kwinton Smith

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    Kwinton Smith might be too talented an athlete to play baseball.

    The only reason he lasted until the 14th round is that he was widely recruited to play college football for some of the best programs in the country.

    Ultimately, he chose to play for Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, but he also had offers from the last two national champions in Alabama and Auburn, not to mention Florida, LSU and Notre Dame.

    As a junior, Smith hit .475 with six home runs, but it is highly unlikely the Rangers will be able to persuade him to leave South Carolina. 

    Here are some of his football highlights.

Toronto Blue Jays 1st-Round Pick: RHP Marcus Stroman

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    With five out of the first 60 picks in the 2012 draft, the Blue Jays were able to re-stock their farm system. Marcus Stroman will be a big part of that.

    At just 5'9'', Stroman is smaller than your average pitcher, but that should not stop him from succeeding at the big league level. With his limited size, his draft stock could not get much higher, so I would expect him to sign before the deadline, giving the Jays 13 of their first 14 draft picks in the organization.

    Full scouting report on Marcus Stroman

Washington Nationals 1st-Round Pick: RHP Lucas Giolito

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    In what should be the biggest story on July 13 besides Mark Appel, I have a feeling Lucas Giolito will be the only first-round pick to not sign with the team that drafted him, and it has nothing to do with talent.

    Giolito is one of, if not the most talented pitcher in this draft when everything is clicking. The problem is his health and the questions that surround his elbow. He originally hurt it in March, which is the reason he fell from a potential No. 1 pick all the way down to the Nats at 16. He has since claimed the injury is behind him.

    The Nationals remain hopeful they can get a deal done, but they reportedly will go above and beyond the allotted slot number Giolito is going to command. In the new rules, if a team exceeds the budget, they have to forfeit next year's first-round pick. So it is safe to say things will get very interesting between these two parties from now until the signing deadline.

    Lucas Giolito full scouting report