2012 MLB Draft: American League Western Division Analysis
Los Angeles Angels: With no first or second round picks thanks to their free agent spending orgy this past winter, and with a bonus pool of a mere $1,645,700, the Angels needed to be creative if they were to find any players with upside at all. They understandably focused on college players and they found some solid ones, with Florida Atlantic RHP R.J. Alvarez (third round) leading the way with his mid-90s fastball and effective slider. Fourth round pick Alex Yarbrough (2B, Mississippi) is a favorite of scouts due to his polish and work ethic even if his tools are just so-so. Fifth-rounder Mark Sappington (RHP, Rockhurst) is a small college pitcher with a big fastball that can hit 96. Shortstop Eric Stamets (6th round, Evansville) has speed and a sharp glove, while lefty Michael Roth (9th round, South Carolina) is well-known to college baseball fans. He barely hits 86 MPH but he's dominated college hitters when it counts. RHP Reed Scoggins (15th round, Howard JC) wins the cool name sweepstakes in this class and also has a 95 MPH fastball. Overall, Angels scouts did OK considering the tiny amount of money they have to work with.
Oakland Athletics: The Athletics went with high school bats early then filled out with college picks. First-rounder Addison Russell (SS, Florida HS) strikes some as an overdraft, but his stock went up when he convinced many scouts he could handle shortstop. 3B (California HS) also drew some mixed reviews but showed good instincts at third base and should hit for average with at least moderate power. First baseman Matt Olson (Georgia HS) is a Vanderbilt commit but expected to sign for supplemental money. He also projects to hit for average and power. Second rounder Bruce Maxwell (C-1B, Birmingham-Southern) doesn't excite scouts with his tools but was a devastatingly effective hitter in college and has a chance to catch. He seems like an overdraft by a few rounds, but RHP Nolan Sanburn (2nd round, Arkansas) and LHP Kyle Twomey (3rd round, California HS) aren't. Sanburn throws quite hard and has a fresh arm, while Twomey is a classic projection southpaw. Solid college choices fill out the class, with sweet-swinging Max Muncy (1B, Baylor, 5th round) and Kris Hall (RHP, Lee University, 8th round) looking like particular values. Coolest names: Boog Powell (OF, Orange Coast CC, 20th round) and Kayvon Bahramzadeh (RHP, Kansas State, 24th round).
Seattle Mariners: The Mariners have a truckfull of pitching in the system and now they have someone to catch it with Mike Zunino, University of Florida product who is strong on both sides of the ball. He addresses an organization need without being an overdraft. Second round pick Joe DeCarlo (3B, Pennsylvania HS) didn't get as much pre-draft attention as many prep hitters, but has a good glove and power in his bat. Third round choice Edwin Diaz (RHP, Puerto Rico HS) is thin at 6-3, 165, but has a quick arm and a fastball that can hit 95. Tyler Pike (LHP, Florida HS, 3rd round) has a clean delivery, a good breaking ball and changeup, and could throw harder as he matures. Fourth round Pat Kivlehan (3B, Rutgers) dominated the Big East Conference despite spending the last three years playing football, and could be one of the big sleepers in the draft. Keep an eye on undersized-but-impressive 2B Jamodrick McGruder (9th round, Texas Tech) who is just 5-7 but is fast, patient, and strong. Overall I think this is a very solid, diverse class that will add considerable talent to the system.
Texas Rangers: The Rangers went all-upside with their early picks: uber-athlete Lewis Brinson (OF, Florida HS), power masher Joey Gallo (3B, Nevada HS), and surprise choice Collin Wiles (RHP, Kansas HS) were the first three picks. Some clubs didn't even have Wiles on their draft boards, seeing a blah fastball and a Vanderbilt commitment where the Rangers saw physical projectability. Additional upside choices Jamie Jarmon (OF, Delaware HS) and Nick Williams (OF, Texas HS) filled out the second round with athleticism and considerable rawness. The Rangers then switched to college talent, with fourth round RHP Alec Asher (Polk County CC) and fifth round OF Preston Beck (UT-Arlington) looking like solid values in particular. I'm surprised Beck lasted that long given the shortage of college bats; he's a power hitter with a strong arm. No, they aren't going to sign tool-laden quarterback Jameis Winston (15th round, Alabama HS). This is a bold draft that could turn out to be excellent, or it could blow up in their faces. It will most likely be something in between.