Very Early 2012 Mock Draft

This is one of the very few times I've done a full scale first round mock draft. If there's any pick that you don't agree with, bear with me, but I'm willing to listen to any criticisms, advice, etc.

1) Houston Astros- Mark Appel RHP- If the Astro's are gonna get out of the cellar any time soon, they need help in the minors and quick too. Appel could become a rotation anchor and could go through the minors quickly.

2) Minnesota Twins- Mike Zuzino- C- The Twins could also use a good- hitting catcher, especially since it's doubtful Mauer would return to being a catcher any time soon. Of course they also need help with pitching and could go with McCullers or Giolito here too.

3) Seattle Mariners- Byron Buxton- OF- The Mariners need bats. Period. They have sufficient pitching and their rotation is top notch with Pineda and Felix, along with Hultzen in the minors, but they just can't hit. Buxton is raw, but he has talent across the board and can provide a good bat to go along with Ackley and Smoak. The Mariners may need more than Buxton to turn the lineup around, but it's a good starting point.

4) Baltimore Orioles- Lucas Giolito-RHP- The best high school pitcher in the the draft, Giolito would provide a nice 1-2 punch along with Bundy a few years down the line. The O's could use some great pitching prospects, especially because the young pitching has been in shambles(although they could all improve).

5) Kansas City Royals- Lance McCullers- RHP- The Royals have shown that they're willing to take high-risk, high- reward players, such as Bubba Starling. Although McCullers has the risk of turning into a relief pitcher with his max-effort delivery, the raw stuff is there, highlighted by a nasty curveball and an upper-90s fastball. If injuries don't strike, he can become a top-notch pitcher.

6) Chicago Cubs- Kevin Gausman- RHP- The Cubs' farm system needs some work, and Gausman could provide a good boost to the system. If they decide to keep Garza, then Gausman can provide a nice 1-2 punch with Garza. If not, then Gausman can turn out to be a good rotation anchor for the club.

7) San Diego Padres- Chris Beck- RHP- The Padres don't have much in terms of top of the rotation starters. Beck provides both polish and stuff, so he can rise through the system quickly AND become a top of the rotation starter. Could fill the void left by Latos in a hurry.

8) Pittsburgh Pirates- Devin Marrero- SS- The Pirates have drafted a quite a few SS before, but not many of them will stick at the position. Marrero, however, will stick at the position and will provide a decent bat with excellent defense.

9) Miami Marlins- Max Fried- LHP- The Marlins love prep arms and Fried is the best left handed prep pitcher in the draft with a fastball that can reach the mid-90s with an excellent curveball.

10) Colorado Rockies- Trey Williams- 3B- Although the Rockies have Nolan Arenado for the future, Williams could only add to the lineup of great hitters in the club.

11) Oakland A's- Kenny Diekroeger- SS- The A's need hitters and because of the ginormous ballpark they play in, home run hitters may not be as effective as many would think. But Diekroeger provides a solid hitting approach and quick bat speed, and does not necessarily rely heavily on home run power to get by. This could bode well for playing in Oakland.

12) New York Mets- Carlos Correa- SS- With the loss of Jose Reyes, the Mets don't really have many players in the majors nor in the minors to fill the void. But Correa could fill that gap with solid defensive tools and outstanding power.

13) Chicago White Sox- Michael Wacha- RHP- The White Sox farm system one of the worst in the majors, but Wacha could turn things around in a hurry and could turn out to be a durable big-league starter. He probably won't be an ace, but he would be a starting point in re-building the system.

14) Cincinnati Reds- Walker Weickel- RHP- The Reds shelled out quite a lot to get Latos, and could use both pitching and hitting to replenish the system, but you can never have too much pitching, and Weickel is one of the best high school pitchers in the draft. He, along with Robert Stephenson, could build a nice, 1-2-3 punch in the Reds' rotation a few years down the line with Matt Latos.

15) Cleveland Indians- Victor Roache- OF- The Indians need some help in the outfield. Choo will need to go through the mandatory military service in Korea and Grady Sizemore isn't a guarantee to stay healthy. Roache could become a very good power hitting outfielder and could provide the talent in the outfield that the Indians need.

16) Washington Nationals- Gavin Cecchini-SS- The Nationals don't have much depth in terms of shortstops, and the ones in the majors aren't doing very well either. Cecchini has great potential with the bat and has decent defense at shortstop. And even if he doesn't stick at shortstop, he may still be good at second, and the Nationals would need middle infielders anyway.

17) Toronto Blue Jays- Lucas Sims- RHP- The Blue Jays love young prep arms as well, and since Giolito, McCullers, Fried, and Weickel are all taken, Sims would be the next best prep arm in the draft. He has a nice fastball that can reach 98 with a curveball that is regarded as one of the best in the draft. Like many prep arms, he still needs to work on his changeup, but it has good potential.

18) Los Angeles Dodgers- Brian Johnson-LHP- The Dodgers do have a plethora of young pitchers, but not left handed pitchers. Johnson could provide them with a workhorse left handers who would fit in nicely in the middle of the rotation.

19) St. Louis Cardinals- Joey Gallo- 1B- The Cardinals are slowly but surely losing sluggers. They lost Pujols to the Angels and Berkman isn't gonna last forever. Gallo has amazing power and despite concerns about whether he'll be able to make enough contact, at worst he can end up as a Carlos Pena- like hitter, but he'll be able to crank out 30 home runs per year if everything goes right.

20) San Francisco Giants- Albert Almora- OF- The Giants still need hitters. They have a great rotation but still need hitters. Almora has solid tools across the board and has good hitting skills too.

21) Atlanta Braves- Stryker Trahan- C- A potential 5- tool catcher! That's something new! And even though Brian McCann's in charge of the backstop, Trahan is athletic enough to make a positional switch. The sky is the limit for him.

22) Toronto Blue Jays- Nick Williams- OF- Williams has some terrific potential with the bat, even though his defense lags behind. If he reaches his full potential with the bat, he can complement a lineup with Bautista even though his defense may end up being below-average.

23) St. Louis Cardinals- Hunter Virant- LHP- Virant is still raw in terms of pitching experience but has tons of potential. Could add to a great stockpile of high-ceiling arms in the farm system. Can never have too many young arms.

24) Boston Red Sox- Taylore Cherry- RHP- The Red Sox farm system needs some work and must start with the pitching(most of the pitching in the system has struggled as well). Cherry is a giant pitcher with equally high potential.

25) Tampa Bay Rays- Matt Smoral- LHP- The Rays like high- ceiling talent, and Smoral is exactly that: a giant left hander with some potential plus pitches. He's going to need some time to develop, but the talent and the ceiling is there.

26) Arizona Diamondbacks- Rio Ruiz- 3B- The D-backs have little depth at third and Ruiz could provide the club with a very good third base prospect. Ruiz has a great bat, instincts, and defense, and although he lacks premium speed, his other skills would be sufficient for him to turn out to be a great 3rd baseman for the club.

27) Detroit Tigers- David Dahl- OF- The Tigers are a little thin on OF depth and its current major league OF roster is decent, but not that great. Dahl could add some OF depth to the system and has solid tools across the board and could turn out to be an above- average outfielder.

28) Milwaukee Brewers- Kyle Zimmer- RHP- The Brewers farm system needs a lot of work, and could use some top of the rotation arms. Zimmer is a big-bodied, hard-throwing pitcher that Bruce Seid loves to draft and has some great stuff, including a fastball that can reach 97 with a nasty curveball. He also has a decent slider and changeup.

29) Texas Rangers- Jesse Winker- OF- Winker provides an excellent bat that could provide a high average and plenty of power and could fit in nicely with Cruz and Hamilton.

30) New York Yankees- Addison Russel- SS- The Yankees are aging and aging fast. Jeter isn't gonna last forever and neither will A-Rod. Addison Russel can provide a good SS for the club and if he doesn't stick at SS, he can always convert to third. He can provide good defense and has a great upside with the bat.

31) Boston Red Sox- Jake Barrett- RHP- Barrett has good stuff highlighted by an above-average fastball. If his mechanics cause him to convert to relief duty, he can be used to strengthen the club's bullpen, so he carries a decent value either way.

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