2012 MLB Draft: American League Eastern Division Commentary
Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman (RHP, LSU) is big, throws hard, has a good changeup, and could be a number one starter if he refines his breaking stuff a bit more, which I think he can and will. I think he's a fine choice in the first round. Second-round pick Branden Kline (RHP, Virginia) is another hard-throwing college pitcher with some issues with his secondary pitches. Third-rounder Adrian Marin (SS, Florida HS) runs well, hit well against good competition, and has a chance to stick at shortstop. Fourth-round college star Christian Walker (1B, South Carolina) is an impressive hitter with good power who would have gone higher if he A-were taller than 6-foot and/or B-hit lefthanded. He's still a good value in this spot. Lex Rutledge (LHP, Samford, 6th round) and Matt Price (RHP, South Carolina, 7th round) are a contrast: Rutledge has much better stuff but nowhere near the same performance record. Torsten Boss (8th round, 3B, Michigan State) wins the cool name award and has a solid bat. Keep track of junior college talents Billy Waltrip (12th round, LHP, Seminole State) and Derick Velasquez (15th round, RHP, Merced JC) who have a chance to be very interesting if they sign. Orioles pitching coaches have a lot of material to work with in this class but have some polishing to do.
Boston Red Sox: A college-heavy class that is more conservative than what the Red Sox were doing under the old system, which I suppose is the point of the new one. Deven Marrero (SS, Arizona State) and Brian Johnson (LHP, Florida) are virtually certain to reach the majors, although both could end up as just role players. Marrero's glove is sharp but his bat is questionable, while Johnson doesn't light up radar guns. Supplemental pick Pat Light (RHP, Monmouth) has more upside with a strong fastball and good performance numbers, but nees to refine his secondaries. Jamie Callahan (RHP, South Carolina HS, 2nd round) and Ty Buttrey (RHP, North Carolina HS, 4th round) provide live arms. Buttrey was a first-round candidate and we'll have to see if the money works out. Third-round RHP Austin Maddox (Florida) could reach the majors very quickly in relief. Mike Augliera (RHP, Binghamton, 5th round) and Justin Haley (RHP, Fresno State, 6th round) didn't get a lot of pre-draft headlines but they both did well in college, Augliera due to his stellar command and Haley due to his sinker. Promising high upside talents Carson Fulmer (15th round, RHP, Florida HS) and Alex Bregman (29th round, INF, New Mexico HS) are likely college bound unless something can be shaken loose with bonuses.
New York Yankees: Ty Hensley (RHP, Oklahoma HS) could be a steal at 30th overall; I thought he could go 20 spots higher than that. Second-rounder Austin Aune (OF, Texas HS) has highly impressive raw tools but will have to be bought away from college football at Texas Christian. Nathan Mikolas (1B, Wisconsin HS, 3rd round) is a very promising cold-weather high school hitter. Cheap college picks dominated the rest of the class, with the power bat of Pete O'Brien (C, Miami, 2nd round) and the power arm of Corey Black (RHP, Faulkner, 4th round) standing out the most. Also watch LSU strike-throwing reliever Nick Goody (RHP, 6th round), Auburn inning-chewer Derek Varnadore (RHP, 9th round) and slugger Matt Snyder (1B, Mississippi, 10th round). Outfielder Vince Jackson (Georgia HS, 23rd round) has very impressive upside but big signability issues.
Tampa Bay Rays: Richie Shaffer (3B, Clemson) can hit for power and get on base, and is a good value at 25th overall. Spencer Edwards (OF, Texas HS) and Andrew Toles (OF, Chipola JC) are both speed demons who would look great in the outfield, if they hit enough. High school pitchers Nolan Gannon (RHP, California HS, 4th round) and Damion Carroll (RHP, Virginia HS, 6th round) are raw, but Carroll in particular throws hard and both could thrive in the Rays pitching development program. College picks fill out most of the class, with Luke Maile (C, Kentucky, 8th round) and Marty Gantt (OF, College of Charleston, 7th round) standing out for their power. Gantt was born without fingertips on his right hand but he can hit. Sleeper: Chris Kirsch, LHP, Lackawanna JC, 14th round.
Toronto Blue Jays: Never, ever underestimate the Blue Jays. The new system didn't stop them from drawing in talent, picking up super-speedy D.J. Davis (OF, Mississippi HS) and hard-throwing Marcus Stroman (RHP, Duke) in the first round, followed by a run of excellent high-schoolers in the supplemental, second, and third rounds: Matt Smoral (LHP, Ohio HS), Mitch Nay (3B, Arizona HS), Tyler Gonzales (RHP, Texas HS), Chase DeJong (RHP, California HS), and Anthony Alford (OF, Mississippi HS). The money mathematics to sign all these guys could/should work because they went with college seniors in the middle rounds. Alford has the highest ceiling of all and is likely the least signable, but even without him this is very impressive. If they can keep projectable strike-thrower Ryan Kellogg (LHP, Canada HS, 12th round) away from college at Arizona State, all the better. Having the extra supplemental picks this year gives them a large enough bonus pool to make this work, since they were willing to punt the middle rounds with seniors. If they pull it off you can expect more teams to follow this model in the future.