2012 MLB Draft: National League Eastern Division Commentary
Atlanta Braves: The Braves returned to their traditional "stay local" idea and picked up Georgia prep RHP Lucas Sims in the first round, then signed him to a below slot deal. He has some consistency issues to work through but a first-round arm that should be moldable. Second-round LHP Alex Wood is also local from the University of Georgia, and his electric arm could move quickly in a relief role with his fastball/changeup combo. Bryan De La Rosa (3rd round, C, Florida HS) is an excellent defender but might not hit. Justin Black (4th round, OF, Montana HS) is a raw athlete with a questionable bat. College picks were the emphasis in subsequent rounds, an exception being 16th round OF Fernelys Sanchez (New York HS) who has blazing speed and would have gone much higher if not for a broken fibula.
Miami Marlins: Oklahoma State lefty Andrew Heaney (9th overall) may have been the most polished pitcher in the draft and was certainly the top southpaw despite a slight 6-2, 175 pound frame. Third-round pick Avery Romero (3B, Florida HS) is a sound hitter that some teams liked as a catcher. Kolby Copeland (OF, 3rd round, Louisiana HS) is an athlete who was getting supplemental round buzz a few weeks ago and could be a bargain. Fourth-rounder Austin Dean (2B, Texas HS) doesn't have a firm defensive position but scouts like his bat. LSU shortstop Austin Nola (5th round) is a sound defensive shortstop who should get to the majors on his grit alone, although his bat is questionable. Anthony Gomez (6th round, SS, Vanderbilt) is similar. This was a college-oriented class after round four and not super-exciting, which doesn't necessarily mean it is bad. Sleeper: Michael Vaughn (14th round, Fresno Pacific, C).
New York Mets: First-rounder Gavin Cecchini (SS, Louisiana HS) has already signed for a below-slot bonus. His glove is sound but opinion about his bat is mixed. Supplemental choice Kevin Plawecki (C, Purdue) is a solid hitter with good plate discipline, some power, and fine defense behind the plate. I like him. Second-round pick (3B, Arkansas) has an impressive glove and a chance to hit enough to play regularly. Second-round choice Teddy Stankiewicz (RHP, Texas HS) has a good fastball, already throws strikes, and is projectable. He could be a bargain. Third-round pick Matt Koch (RHP, Louisville) throws hard but was surprisingly hittable in college. The middle round picks were a mixed lot, then they switched to pitching after the 10th round. The development of preps Cecchini and Stankiewicz is the key here.
Philadelphia Phillies: The headline here: three physical, projectable prep right-handers Shane Watson (California HS, 1-S), Mitch Gueller (Washington HS, 1-S), and Alec Rash (Iowa HS, 2nd) will make or break this group. All three are big, throw in the 90s, and will need development time. Rash may have the highest upside but he's also the rawest. The Phillies also fulfilled their young hitter fetish with Dylan Cozens (OF, Arizona HS) in the second round, who has loads of power but is raw. Hitting was the main focus in the middle rounds, with college picks Chris Serritella (1B, Southern Illinois, 4th round), Cameron Perkins (3B, Purdue, 6th round), and William Carmona (3B, Stony Brook, 11th round) standing out in particular. Also watch college pitchers Hoby Milner (LHP, Texas, 7th round) and Kevin Brady (RHP, Clemson, 10th round).
Washington Nationals: If Lucas Giolito (RHP, California HS) A-signs, B-stays healthy, C-lives up to his potential, the Nationals will fulfill their mission. Anything else the rest of the draft contributes would be gravy. They concentrated on affordable college picks to help free up cash for Giolito, but they picked some solid ones, including Tony Renda (2nd round, 2B, California) and Brett Mooneyham (3rd round, LHP, Stanford). Renda is a favorite of scouts due to his ability to exceed his physical tools, while Mooneyham has one of the livelier lefty arms available but was erratic in college. There won't be enough money to sign Freddy Alvis, Skye Bolt, or Cody Poteet, but Rob Benincasa (RHP, Florida State, 7th round) and sleeper Blake Schwartz (RHP, 17th round, Oklahoma City University) could move quickly through the system.