Grading Every MLB Team's 2012 Draft Haul 9 Years Later

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2021

Grading Every MLB Team's 2012 Draft Haul 9 Years Later

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    The Houston Astros held the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft after a 106-loss season in 2011.

    Florida catcher Mike Zunino, prep outfielder Byron Buxton and college pitchers Mark Appel, Kyle Zimmer and Kevin Gausman were the headliners of the class, but the Astros opted instead for high school shortstop Carlos Correa with the first pick.

    That proved to be one of the best decisions in franchise history and helped save some money to sign Lance McCullers Jr. to an above-slot bonus. They weren't the only team to add impact talent in that year's draft.

    With nine-plus years to digest how things have played out, we've gone back through the draft haul of all 30 MLB teams and slapped a letter grade on the talent they acquired.

    We went with A, B, C, D or F as the possible grades based on the amount of MLB talent a team's draft class produced, how it did with its first-round pick and how it used prospects to improve the roster in other ways, such as trades.


    Previous draft grade articles: 2013, 2014, 2015

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Jake Lamb
    Jake LambNorm Hall/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: C Stryker Trahan (1-26)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Jake Barrett (3-120), 3B Jake Lamb (6-213), SS Andrew Velazquez (7-243)

    Another in a long line of examples highlighting the risky nature of selecting a high school catcher in the first round, Stryker Trahan failed to advance above High-A and ended his pro career after the 2016 season.

    However, the Arizona Diamondbacks found an All-Star in the sixth round when they selected Jake Lamb out of the University of Washington. He had a 114 OPS+ with 29 home runs and 91 RBI during a breakout 2016 season and earned an All-Star nod the following year with a 30-homer, 105-RBI performance.

    His production cratered from there, and over the last four seasons he has a .203 average and 77 OPS+ with minus-0.1 WAR in 220 games.

    Grade: C

Atlanta Braves

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    Alex Wood
    Alex WoodKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: RHP Lucas Sims (1-21)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Alex Wood (2-85), RHP Shae Simmons (22-689)

    The Atlanta Braves plucked right-hander Lucas Sims from their own backyard, as he starred at Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia, less than an hour east of Turner Field, where they were playing at the time.

    Things never clicked for him in Atlanta, and he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds at the 2018 deadline as part of a package for Adam Duvall. Over the past three seasons, he has a 4.05 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 13.0 K/9 with seven saves and 17 holds in 91 appearances.

    Another local product, Alex Wood pitched at the University of Georgia, and he was one of the first players from the 2012 draft to reach the majors when he made his MLB debut on May 30, 2013. The left-hander spent two-and-a-half seasons in the Atlanta rotation before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he has a 3.50 ERA in 990.1 career innings as one of the most successful pitchers in this class.

    Grade: B

Baltimore Orioles

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    Kevin Gausman
    Kevin GausmanRob Carr/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-4)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Branden Kline (2-65), 1B Christian Walker (4-132), LHP Josh Hader (19-582)

    Right-hander Kevin Gausman was the first pitcher selected in 2012 after going 12-2 with a 2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 135 strikeouts in 123.2 innings as a draft-eligible sophomore at LSU.

    He debuted in 2013 and logged a 4.22 ERA in 763.2 innings with the Baltimore Orioles before he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. A solid starter early in his career, he has taken his game to another level the past two seasons thanks to the development of his splitter into a dominant go-to pitch.

    As the ace of the NL West champion San Francisco Giants rotation in 2021, he went 14-6 with a 2.81 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 192 innings to finish sixth in NL Cy Young balloting.

    The black eye here is obviously the club's decision to trade a young Josh Hader to the Houston Astros along with outfielder L.J. Hoes and a competitive-balance pick for right-hander Bud Norris at the 2013 deadline.

    Grade: B

Boston Red Sox

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    Deven Marrero
    Deven MarreroAdam Glanzman/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Deven Marrero (1-24), LHP Brian Johnson (1-31), RHP Pat Light (1-37)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Jamie Callahan (2-87), RHP Austin Maddox (3-118), RHP Ty Buttrey (4-151), RHP Justin Haley (6-211), SS Mike Miller (9-301), RHP J.B. Wendelken (13-421)

    The Boston Red Sox received the Nos. 31 and 37 picks as compensation for losing Type A free agent Jonathan Papelbon to the Philadelphia Phillies in free agency. This was the final year before the qualifying offer system was adopted, and there were a whopping 60 first-round picks.

    Props to the Red Sox for selecting and signing nine players who eventually reached the majors, but none of them have developed into impact players. Reliever J.B. Wendelken leads the way with 1.6 WAR for his career, all of which has come with other teams.

    Alex Bregman was selected in the 29th round out of Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico, but he honored his commitment to LSU and developed into a first-round pick three years later.

    Grade: D

Chicago Cubs

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    Albert Almora Jr.
    Albert Almora Jr.Icon Sports Wire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Albert Almora Jr. (1-6), RHP Pierce Johnson (1-43), RHP Paul Blackburn (1-56)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Duane Underwood Jr. (2-67), 3B David Bote (18-554)

    With his significant experience playing for the U.S. national team and off-the-charts intangibles, the Chicago Cubs viewed Albert Almora Jr. as a building block both in center field and in the clubhouse when he was selected sixth overall.

    But his offensive game never developed as hoped, and his biggest contributions came as a defensive replacement during the team's 2016 World Series run. He had an 84 OPS+ and 3.5 WAR in five seasons with the team.

    Right-hander Paul Blackburn was part of the trade to acquire Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners at the 2016 deadline, while 18th-round pick David Bote showed enough versatility early in his big league career to land a five-year, $15 million extension that could stretch through 2026 with a pair of club options.

    Grade: C

Chicago White Sox

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    Courtney Hawkins
    Courtney HawkinsRich Pilling/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Courtney Hawkins (1-13), 1B Keon Barnum (1-48)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Chris Beck (2-76), 2B Micah Johnson (9-291), OF Jason Coats (29-891)

    "He'll need to tame his maximum-effort swing, stop sitting on fastballs and improve his pitch recognition. He'll rack up some strikeouts, though they'll be a worthwhile trade-off for his home runs," Baseball America wrote in Courtney Hawkins' predraft profile.

    The 6'3" slugger was never able to overcome those swing-and-miss issues in affiliated ball, hitting .226 with a 29.9 percent strikeout rate in eight seasons. Still just 28 years old, he spent 2021 playing for the Lexington Legends in indy ball and hit .326/.423/.680 with 32 home runs in 91 games.

    Keon Barnum was another prep slugger with a ton of raw power, but he never advanced beyond Double-A. He actually played alongside Hawkins in Lexington last year, posting a .973 OPS with 24 home runs in 76 games.

    Speedy Micah Johnson had an 84-steal season in the minors in 2013 and briefly looked like the second baseman of the future for the Chicago White Sox, but he failed to adjust to MLB pitching.

    Grade: F

Cincinnati Reds

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    Jesse Winker
    Jesse WinkerChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Nick Travieso (1-14), OF Jesse Winker (1-49), OF Jeff Gelalich (1-57)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Jon Moscot (4-142), C Joe Hudson (6-202), 3B Seth Mejias-Brean (8-262), RHP Jackson Stephens (18-562), SS Zach Vincej (37-1,132)

    The Cincinnati Reds had a pair of supplemental first-round picks in 2012 as a result of losing catcher Ramon Hernandez and closer Francisco Cordero in free agency, and they nailed one of them with the selection of Florida prep outfielder Jesse Winker.

    By the start of 2015, he had climbed onto the Baseball America top-100 prospect list. He made his MLB debut in 2017 and enjoyed a breakout season in 2021, hitting .305/.394/.556 with 57 extra-base hits in 110 games to earn his first All-Star nod.

    Whiffing on hard-throwing right-hander Nick Travieso and No. 57 pick Jeff Gelalich keeps this class from receiving an A, but Winker has developed into one of the year's best picks.

    A tip of the cap to Zach Vincej as the lowest-drafted player in the 2012 class to reach the majors.

    Grade: C

Cleveland Guardians

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    Tyler Naquin
    Tyler NaquinGregg Forwerck/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: OF Tyler Naquin (1-15)

    Other MLB Players: IF Joey Wendle (6-203), RHP Louis Head (18-563)

    Tyler Naquin hit .380/.458/.541 with 27 extra-base hits and 21 steals during his junior season at Texas A&M while also boasting one of the strongest throwing arms in college baseball.

    "Naquin is the best pure hitter in the entire 2012 draft," wrote Baseball America.

    He hit .296/.372/.514 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI to finish third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2016 but was demoted to the minors the following year. He flamed out in Cleveland but resurfaced with the Reds in 2021, posting a 105 OPS+ with 19 home runs and 70 RBI in 127 games.

    Joey Wendle was traded to Oakland for slugger Brandon Moss before the 2015 season, while Louis Head was released in 2018 before bouncing around and finally making his MLB debut for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.

    Grade: C

Colorado Rockies

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    David Dahl
    David DahlDylan Buell/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF David Dahl (1-10), RHP Eddie Butler (1-46)

    Other MLB Players: C Tom Murphy (3-105), RHP Matt Carasiti (6-198), RHP Scott Oberg (15-468)

    Outfielder David Dahl had a terrific debut in 2016 and was an All-Star in 2019, but he wrapped up his Colorado Rockies tenure with just 1.5 WAR in 264 games.

    Tom Murphy enjoyed a breakout 18-homer, 2.6-WAR season with the Seattle Mariners in 2019, shortly after Colorado waived him. It has been a revolving door at catcher for most of the Rockies' existence as a franchise.

    Reliever Scott Oberg had terrific seasons in 2018 (56 G, 14 HLD, 2.45 ERA) and 2019 (49 G, 5 SV, 8 HLD, 2.25 ERA), and he signed a three-year, $13 million extension after the 2019 season ended. However, a lower back injury and a procedure to remove blood clots from his elbow have kept him sidelined the last two years.

    Grade: C

Detroit Tigers

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    Devon Travis
    Devon TravisMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: None

    Other MLB Players: RHP Jake Thompson (2-91), RHP Drew VerHagen (4-154), 2B Devon Travis (13-424)

    The Detroit Tigers sacrificed the No. 27 pick when they signed Prince Fielder to a massive nine-year, $214 million contract in free agency.

    Their top picksecond-rounder Jake Thompsonquickly emerged as one of the top arms in the Detroit farm system before he was traded to the Texas Rangers along with Corey Knebel at the 2014 deadline for closer Joakim Soria.

    Devon Travis looked like one of the steals of the draft when he hit .351/.418/.518 with 48 extra-base hits and 22 steals in 2013, vaulting him to No. 84 on Baseball America's top-100 prospect list the following year.

    The Tigers traded him to Toronto for fellow top prospect Anthony Gose on Nov. 13, 2014, and he took over as the Blue Jays' starting second baseman in 2015. He began his career with back-to-back 2-WAR seasons, but injuries derailed his development.

    Grade: C

Houston Astros

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    Carlos Correa
    Carlos CorreaIcon Sports Wire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Carlos Correa (1-1), RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (1-41)

    Other MLB Players: SS Nolan Fontana (2-61), RHP Brady Rodgers (3-96), 3B Rio Ruiz (4-129), OF Brett Phillips (6-189), OF Preston Tucker (7-219), C Tyler Heineman (8-249), RHP Mike Hauschild (33-999), RHP Jordan Jankowski (34-1,029)

    With toolsy prep outfielder Byron Buxton, Florida catcher Mike Zunino and college right-handers Mark Appel, Kevin Gausman and Kyle Zimmer penciled in atop most predraft rankings, it was a bit of a surprise when the Houston Astros chose shortstop Carlos Correa with the No. 1 pick.

    He signed for $4.8 million, far less than Buxton ($6 million) received at No. 2 overall, and the Astros used those savings to ink Lance McCullers Jr. to an above-slot $2.5 million bonus in the supplemental round.

    Those two have combined for 44.2 WAR during their time in Houston while helping deliver a World Series title in 2017.

    That strategy still stands as one of the best utilizations of draft capital in the bonus pool era, and the fact that they also selected MLB contributors Rio Ruiz, Brett Phillips and Preston Tucker in the later rounds only makes this a more impressive haul.

    Grade: A

Kansas City Royals

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    Kyle Zimmer
    Kyle ZimmerChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: RHP Kyle Zimmer (1-5)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Sam Selman (2-66), LHP Daniel Stumpf (9-283), RHP Andrew Triggs (19-583), LHP Matt Strahm (21-643), RHP Alec Mills (22-673), RHP Ashton Goudeau (27-823), RHP Jake Newberry (37-1,123)

    Kyle Zimmer put himself on the pro radar when he outdueled Gerrit Cole and beat UCLA as a sophomore. He then continued his ascent up draft boards as a junior at the University of San Francisco when he posted a 2.86 ERA and a 104-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 88 innings. With a fastball that touched 99 mph, a devastating curveball and a strong 6'3" frame, he had top-of-the-rotation upside.

    Instead, he was saddled by injuries throughout his time in the minors, and the bulk of his MLB action has come out of the bullpen and resulted in a 5.19 ERA over 83 appearances.

    While several other players from this draft class reached the majors, none have made a major impact for the Kansas City Royals.

    Grade: C

Los Angeles Angels

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    Michael Roth
    Michael RothJeff Gross/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: None

    Other MLB Players: RHP R.J. Alvarez (3-114), SS Eric Stamets (6-207), RHP Austin Adams (8-267), LHP Michael Roth (9-297), LHP Chris O'Grady (10-327), RHP Mike Morin (13-417), 2B Sherman Johnson (14-447), RHP Yency Almonte (17-537), C Anthony Bemboom (22-687)

    The Los Angeles Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson during the 2011-12 offseason, leaving the team without a first- or second-round pick.

    Florida Atlantic closer R.J. Alvarez was the team's first selection in the third round. The hard-throwing right-hander logged a 0.72 ERA with five wins and eight saves in 22 appearances as a junior, and he was expected to move quickly through the minors. The Angels traded him to San Diego at the 2014 deadline in a package for All-Star closer Huston Street.

    The fact that the Angels front office found nine MLB players despite not having a selection inside the first 100 picks is impressive, but this draft haul doesn't move the needle much overall.

    Grade: C

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Corey Seager
    Corey SeagerMark Sullivan/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Corey Seager (1-18), SS Jesmuel Valentin (1-51)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Paco Rodriguez (2-82), LHP Onelki Garcia (3-113), RHP Ross Stripling (5-176), SS Darnell Sweeney (13-416), RHP Jharel Cotton (20-626), LHP Danny Coulombe (25-776)

    A career .297/.367/.504 hitter with a 131 OPS+ and 21.3 WAR in seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, shortstop Corey Seager has a legitimate case for being the best player selected in the 2012 draft. He won NLCS and World Series MVP in 2020, helping deliver a title to the team that selected him out of high school.

    Ross Stripling (143 G, 59 GS, 3.68 ERA, 1x All-Star) and Paco Rodriguez (124 G, 2.53 ERA) also made an impact in Los Angeles, while Darnell Sweeney (to Philadelphia for Chase Utley) and Jharel Cotton (to Oakland for Josh Reddick and Rich Hill) were used in major trades.

    They missed on their other first-round pick, Jesmuel Valentin, but that doesn't stop this from ranking as one of the top 2012 draft hauls.

    Grade: A

Miami Marlins

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    Andrew Heaney
    Andrew HeaneyIcon Sports Wire/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: LHP Andrew Heaney (1-9)

    Other MLB Players: OF Austin Dean (4-137), C Austin Nola (5-167), RHP Drew Steckenrider (8-257), RHP Nick Wittgren (9-287), RHP Brian Ellington (16-497)

    Left-hander Andrew Heaney went 8-2 with a 1.60 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 118 innings while tossing three shutouts during his junior season at Oklahoma State. He began the 2013 season as the No. 43 prospect in the minors, per Baseball America, and he was the No. 1 prospect in the Marlins system in 2014.

    On Dec. 11, 2014, the Miami Marlins traded him to the Dodgers in a seven-player deal that brought Dee Strange-Gordon to Miami and sent Austin Barnes and Enrique Hernandez the other way. The Dodgers then flipped him to the Angels in a one-for-one swap for second baseman Howie Kendrick.

    Austin Nola—drafted as a shortstop—has since developed into an everyday catcher, while Drew Steckenrider (185 G, 20 SV, 3.08 ERA), Nick Wittgren (258 G, 5 SV, 3.75 ERA) and Brian Ellington (97 G, 4.65 ERA) have all seen regular bullpen action in the big leagues.

    Grade: B

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Brent Suter
    Brent SuterJohn Fisher/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: C Clint Coulter (1-27), OF Victor Roache (1-28), OF Mitch Haniger (1-38)

    Other MLB Players: OF Tyrone Taylor (2-92), RHP Tyler Wagner (4-155), RHP Damien Magnifico (5-185), LHP Anthony Banda (10-335), LHP Brent Suter (31-965)

    The Milwaukee Brewers had back-to-back picks at the end of the first round, with the No. 27 selection coming as compensation for losing Prince Fielder in free agency.

    Neither of those players reached the majors, and both are no longer with the organization.

    They did hit on No. 38 pick Mitch Haniger, but they gave up on him too quickly, trading him to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with 10th-round pick Anthony Banda at the 2014 deadline for Gerardo Parra.

    One of the best late-round steals in the 2012 draft is left-hander Brent Suter, who has filled a variety of roles on the Milwaukee staff. The Harvard alum has a 3.46 ERA in 328 career innings, and he won 12 games out of the Brewers bullpen in 2021.

    Grade: C

Minnesota Twins

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    Byron Buxton
    Byron BuxtonBruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Byron Buxton (1-2), RHP Jose Berrios (1-32), RHP Luke Bard (1-42)

    Other MLB Players: RHP JT Chargois (2-72), RHP Tyler Duffey (5-160), LHP Taylor Rogers (11-340)

    Despite injury issues that have plagued him throughout his career, Byron Buxton still ranks sixth among 2012 first-round picks with 16.2 career WAR.

    The five-tool standout was the No. 1 prospect in baseball at the start of 2014, per Baseball America, and was No. 2 on that same list in 2015 and 2016. After tallying 4.5 WAR in just 61 games in 2021, he inked a seven-year, $100 million extension in November.

    The Minnesota Twins also grabbed arguably the best pitcher in this draft class when they selected Jose Berrios with the No. 32 pick. He is the highest-drafted pitcher ever out of Puerto Rico, and he had a 4.08 ERA in 781.1 innings with a pair of All-Star selections before he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson in July.

    Beyond those two first-round hits, Taylor Rogers (319 G, 50 SV, 77 HLD, 3.15 ERA, 10.3 K/9) has also developed into one of baseball's best late-inning lefty relievers, while Tyler Duffey (255 G, 64 HLD, 4.53 ERA, 8.9 K/9) has been a staple in the Minnesota bullpen.

    If we were ranking these draft hauls rather than grading them, this would be No. 1 on the list.

    Grade: A

New York Mets

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    Gavin Cecchini
    Gavin CecchiniMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Gavin Cecchini (1-12), C Kevin Plawecki (1-35)

    Other MLB Players: 3B Matt Reynolds (2-71), RHP Matt Koch (3-107), RHP Corey Oswalt (7-230), C Tomas Nido (8-260), RHP Paul Sewald (10-320), RHP Rob Whalen (12-380), RHP Matt Bowman (13-410), RHP Chris Flexen (14-440), RHP Tim Peterson (20-620)

    This was a great draft class...for the 2021 Seattle Mariners.

    Paul Sewald left the New York Mets in free agency after the 2020 season and then promptly emerged as a bullpen ace, going 10-3 with a 3.06 ERA and 14.5 K/9 in 62 appearances in his first season in Seattle.

    Chris Flexen was released after the 2019 season, spent 2020 pitching in the KBO and then returned stateside on a two-year, $4.75 million deal with the Mariners. The 27-year-old went 14-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 179.2 innings in 2021.

    Unfortunately for the Mets, this class didn't result in much.

    Catcher Kevin Plawecki had 2.8 WAR in four seasons before they traded him in January 2019, while No. 12 pick Gavin Cecchini hit .217/.270/.301 for a 54 OPS+ and minus-0.5 WAR in 36 career big league games.

    Grade: C

New York Yankees

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    Rob Refsnyder
    Rob RefsnyderRich Schultz/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: RHP Ty Hensley (1-30)

    Other MLB Players: C Peter O'Brien (2-94), 2B Rob Refsnyder (5-187), RHP Nick Goody (6-217), LHP Caleb Frare (11-367), LHP James Pazos (13-427), RHP Brady Lail (18-577), LHP Dietrich Enns (19-607)

    After initially offering first-round pick Ty Hensley a $1.6 million signing bonus, the New York Yankees cut their offer to $1.2 million after a shoulder issue was discovered in his post-draft physical. He agreed to the new terms, but a long series of injuries kept his pro career from ever getting off the ground.

    He pitched just 42.2 innings of affiliated ball, with his last appearance in the Yankees organization coming in 2014. The 28-year-old resurfaced with the Utica Unicorns in the United Shore League (USBL) in 2020.

    Slugger Peter O'Brien flashed huge raw power in the minors, including a 34-homer season in 2014, but he couldn't overcome his lack of a position and significant swing-and-miss at the MLB level.

    Grade: D

Oakland Athletics

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    Matt Olson
    Matt OlsonMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Addison Russell (1-11), SS Daniel Robertson (1-34), 1B Matt Olson (1-47)

    Other MLB Players: C Bruce Maxwell (2-62), 1B Max Muncy (5-169), RHP Dakota Bacus (9-289), OF Boog Powell (20-619), RHP Ryan Dull (32-979)

    Matt Olson is one of baseball's elite first basemen and a cornerstone for the Oakland Athletics. He posted a 153 OPS+ with 39 home runs, 111 RBI and 5.8 WAR to finish eighth in AL MVP voting in 2021, and he trails only Joey Gallo for most home runs among 2012 draft picks.

    Fellow first-round picks Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson also developed into productive MLB players, though both were traded. Russell was sent to the Chicago Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, while Robertson was part of the package to acquire Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Not to be lost in the shuffle, first baseman Max Muncy was a fifth-round pick out of Baylor University. He hit .195/.290/.321 with five home runs in 245 plate appearances in Oakland before he was released early in 2017. A month later, he caught on with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the rest is history.

    Grade: A

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Dylan Cozens
    Dylan CozensJoel Auerbach/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Shane Watson (1-40), RHP Mitch Gueller (1-54)

    Other MLB Players: OF Dylan Cozens (2-77), 3B Cameron Perkins (6-218), LHP Hoby Milner (7-248), RHP Drew Anderson (21-668)

    By the start of the 2018 season, both Shane Watson and Mitch Gueller were no longer with the Philadelphia Phillies organization.

    Watson had a 4.10 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 320.1 pro innings while maxing out at Double-A, while Gueller spent three years at Low-A Williamsport before getting shelled to the tune of an 8.10 ERA in 13.1 innings in his final pro season in 2016.

    Outfielder Dylan Cozens had a huge 2016 season, posting a .941 OPS with 38 doubles, 40 home runs and 125 RBI. However, those gaudy power numbers helped mask his 186 strikeouts and 31.7 percent strikeout rate, and he also benefited from a hitter-friendly environment at Double-A Reading. He went on to hit just .154 with 24 strikeouts in 45 plate appearances in the majors before retiring in June to pursue an NFL career.

    Grade: F

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Mark Appel
    Mark AppelPhil Sears/Associated Press

    First-Round Picks: RHP Mark Appel (1-8), OF Barrett Barnes (1-45)

    Other MLB Players: C Wyatt Mathisen (2-69), RHP Adrian Sampson (5-166), C Jacob Stallings (7-226), SS Max Moroff (16-496), LHP Josh D. Smith (25-766)

    "Selecting Mark [Appel] was a calculated risk, as we knew he would be a difficult sign," Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told reporters after the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 draft turned down a $3.8 million bonus offer and opted to return to Stanford for his senior year.

    The Scott Boras client went No. 1 overall in the 2013 draft and landed a $6.35 million bonus, but he never reached the majors.

    The Pirates did give well-above-slot bonuses to 16th-round pick Max Moroff ($300,000) and 17th-round pick Hayden Hurst ($400,000), and they found a steal in seventh-round pick Jacob Stallings, who had 3.0 WAR in 2021.

    If only they could have signed 14th-round pick and strong Vanderbilt commit Walker Buehler.

    Grade: F

San Diego Padres

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: LHP Max Fried (1-7), RHP Zach Eflin (1-33), OF Travis Jankowski (1-44), RHP Walker Weickel (1-55)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Walker Lockett (4-135), OF Mallex Smith (5-165)

    The San Diego Padres had four of the first 55 picks in the 2012 draft, with the No. 33 pick as compensation for losing Heath Bell in free agency, the No. 44 pick for losing Aaron Harang and the No. 55 pick for failing to sign Brett Austin in 2011.

    Left-hander Max Fried was the first high school pitcher selected after starting the spring as the No. 2 starter on his own high school staff behind Lucas Giolito. The Padres then went way above slot to sign Walker Weickel to a $2 million bonus at No. 55 overall.

    Fried and fifth-round pick Mallex Smith were traded to the Atlanta Braves during the 2014-15 offseason in the deal that brought Justin Upton to San Diego, while Zach Eflin was also traded during that same offseason in the Matt Kemp blockbuster. A day later, the Dodgers flipped him to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jimmy Rollins.

    Weickel never reached the majors, while Fried and Eflin have gone on to develop into quality MLB starters post-trade. It was a good draft from a talent haul standpoint, but the Padres' all-in move under A.J. Preller effectively erased any potential impact in San Diego.

    Grade: B

San Francisco Giants

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    Chris Stratton
    Chris StrattonRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    First-Round Pick: RHP Chris Stratton (1-20)

    Other MLB Players: OF Mac Williamson (3-115), LHP Steven Okert (4-148), LHP Ty Blach (5-178), C Trevor Brown (10-328), SS Matt Duffy (18-568)

    The San Francisco Giants selected Mississippi State ace Chris Stratton with the No. 20 pick after he went 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 127 strikeouts in 109.2 innings as a junior.

    He had a 4.63 ERA in 213.2 innings with the Giants, including a career-high 145 innings and 26 starts in 2018, before he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels. He has since transitioned to the bullpen and found a home with the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he's posted a 3.69 ERA and eight saves in 123 appearances.

    Mac Williams, Trevor Brown and Ty Blach all showed potential as top prospects in the San Francisco system, but it was Matt Duffy who wound up making the largest impact in the big leagues. The 18th-round pick had a 3.9-WAR season to finish runner-up in 2015 NL Rookie of the Year voting before he was traded to Tampa Bay in the Matt Moore deal.

    Grade: C

Seattle Mariners

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    Mike Zunino
    Mike ZuninoOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: C Mike Zunino (1-3)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Edwin Diaz (3-98), 3B Patrick Kivlehan (4-131), SS Chris Taylor (5-161), SS Tim Lopes (6-191), RHP Dominic Leone (16-491)

    One of the most productive collegiate catchers of all time, Mike Zunino won Golden Spikes honors in 2012 when he hit .322/.394/.669 with 28 doubles, 19 home runs and 67 RBI in 66 games. He reached Double-A later that year after going No. 3 overall in the 2012 draft and made his MLB debut on June 12, 2013.

    His offensive game never quite developed as hoped, but he provided a solid mix of power and defense during his time with the Seattle Mariners. The 30-year-old was traded to Tampa Bay after the 2018 season, and he enjoyed a breakout season this past year with a 138 OPS+, 33 home runs and 3.8 WAR.

    Flame-thrower Edwin Diaz developed into an All-Star closer with a 57-save season in 2018 before he was traded to the New York Mets in the blockbuster deal that brought back Jarred Kelenic.

    The big regret here is giving up on Chris Taylor, who was traded to the Dodgers for first-round bust Zach Lee in 2016. The following year, he broke out with a 4.4-WAR season and is now widely regarded as baseball's best utility player.

    Grade: B

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Michael Wacha
    Michael WachaIcon Sports Wire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Michael Wacha (1-19), OF James Ramsey (1-23), OF Stephen Piscotty (1-36), 3B Patrick Wisdom (1-52), C Steve Bean (1-59)

    Other MLB Players: C Carson Kelly (2-86), LHP Tim Cooney (3-117), RHP Alex Mejia (4-150), RHP Kyle Barraclough (7-240), RHP Rowan Wick (9-300), 2B Jacob Wilson (10-330)

    The St. Louis Cardinals received the No. 19 and No. 36 picks in the 2012 draft as compensation for superstar Albert Pujols signing with the Los Angeles Angels in free agency.

    They used those picks to grab Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha and Stanford third baseman Stephen Piscotty, and both players developed into key contributors in St. Louis.

    Catcher Carson Kelly developed into a top prospect before he was used as part of the package to acquire Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks, while James Ramsey (to Cleveland for Justin Masterson) and Kyle Barraclough (to Miami for Steve Cishek) were both traded in deadline deals.

    Patrick Wisdom and Rowan Wick have both found success as late-bloomers with the Chicago Cubs.

    Grade: A

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Richie Shaffer
    Richie ShafferTom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    First-Round Pick: 3B Richie Shaffer (1-25)

    Other MLB Players: OF Andrew Toles (3-119), C Luke Maile (8-272), OF Joey Rickard (9-302), RHP Dylan Floro (13-422), RHP Ryan Garton (34-1,052)

    One of the top college bats in the draft, Richie Shaffer hit .336/.480/.573 with 33 extra-base hits and more walks than strikeouts during his junior season at Clemson, and the Tampa Bay Rays made him the fifth college hitter off the board at No. 25 overall.

    He flashed some decent power in the minors but never got an extended look in the majors. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2016 in the five-player deal that brought 2021 All-Star reliever Andrew Kittredge to Tampa Bay, and his last affiliated-ball action came in 2018.

    The Rays managed to find a handful of other MLB-level contributors in this class, but all things considered, this was one of their weaker draft classes in recent years, and whiffing on their first-round pick is a major blow for a small-market team.

    Grade: D

Texas Rangers

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    Joey Gallo
    Joey GalloElsa/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Lewis Brinson (1-29), 3B Joey Gallo (1-39), RHP Collin Wiles (1-53)

    Other MLB Players: OF Nick Williams (2-93), RHP Alec Asher (4-156), RHP Keone Kela (12-396)

    While Lewis Brinson was the Texas Rangers' top pick, it was Joey Gallo who received the largest signing bonus at $2.25 million as a supplemental round pick.

    He strikes out a ton and is never going to contend for a batting title, but he's more than just an all-or-nothing slugger thanks to his on-base ability and elite defense. That said, he does sit atop the 2012 draft picks home run leaderboard:

    • Joey Gallo: 158
    • Matt Olson: 142
    • Mike Zunino: 141
    • Carlos Correa: 133
    • Max Muncy: 123

    Brinson was the centerpiece of the Jonathan Lucroy trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, while Nick Williams and Alec Asher were part of the six-player package used to acquire Cole Hamels from the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2015 deadline.

    Fun fact: A high school player named Jameis Winston was the team's 15th-round pick. He went on to star on the gridiron at Florida State, but he also had a 1.94 ERA with nine saves in 41 appearances for the baseball team.

    Grade: B

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Marcus Stroman
    Marcus StromanJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF D.J. Davis (1-17), RHP Marcus Stroman (1-22), LHP Matt Smoral (1-50), 3B Mitch Nay (1-58), RHP Tyler Gonzales (1-60)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Chase De Jong (2-81), OF Anthony Alford (3-112), OF Ian Parmley (7-235), LHP Ryan Borucki (15-475)

    After failing to sign No. 21 overall pick Tyler Beede in 2011, the Toronto Blue Jays drafted undersized Duke right-hander Marcus Stroman with the compensatory pick they received the following year.

    Had it not been for lingering questions about his ability to handle a starter's workload, the 5'7" Stroman might have been a top-10 pick after he posted a 2.39 ERA with 136 strikeouts in 98 innings as a junior. By the 2014 season, he was a staple in the Toronto rotation, and a 204-inning workload in 2016 erased questions about his size once and for all.

    Left-hander Matt Smoral was given a team-high $2 million signing bonus, but he failed to reach the majors, as did D.J. Davis, Mitch Nay and Tyler Gonzales. That drags down the overall grade, despite landing one of the draft's best pitchers.

    Grade: C

Washington Nationals

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    Lucas Giolito
    Lucas GiolitoAlex Brandon/Associated Press

    First-Round Pick: RHP Lucas Giolito (1-16)

    Other MLB Players: 2B Tony Renda (2-80), C Spencer Kieboom (5-174)

    The consensus top high school pitcher and a candidate to go No. 1 overall when the spring high school season began, Lucas Giolito suffered a sprained UCL in early March, and he became the biggest wild card in the 2012 draft.

    The Washington Nationals took him with the No. 16 pick and gave him a $2.93 million bonusthe eighth-highest bonus in the class—and after ultimately undergoing Tommy John surgery he emerged as one of baseball's top pitching prospects.

    After Giolito struggled in his MLB debut, his stock took a bit of a hit, and the Nationals sent him to the Chicago White Sox in the deal to acquire Adam Eaton at the 2016 winter meetings. That now stands as one of the biggest trade mistakes in franchise history.

    The draft didn't produce much else to speak of, with Spencer Kieboom serving as useful catching depth for a few years.

    Grade: B


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.