NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
1-2) Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
2-41) Rob Zastryzny, LHP, Missouri
3-75) Jacob Hannemann, OF, BYU
4-108) Tyler Skulina, RHP, Kent State
5-138) Trey Masek, RHP, Texas Tech
Others of note: 6) Scott Frazier, RHP, Pepperdine; 7) David Garner, RHP, Michigan State; 8)Sam Wilson, LHP, Lamar CC; 10) Zack Godley, RHP; Tennessee; 15) Michael Wagner, RHP, San Diego; 17) Kelvin Freeman, 1B, North Carolina A&T; 37) Jeremy Martinez, C, California HS
COMMENT: Kris Bryant can make this a successful draft all by himself if he comes close to living up to his potential as a power masher. 3rd rounder Hannemann has a good tool set but is behind the curve developmentally due to a two-year Mormon mission. Pitching was the main theme otherwise, with a mixture of polished finesse guys like RZY and Garner with harder-throwers like Skulina and Masek. (NOTE: A reader points out that Garner has been clocked as high as 95 and Z as high as 94, so the original comment may not be fair) Some of these arms will need development but there's good potential in the group. Freeman is limited to first base but performed well in college and is worth tracking as an interesting org type. Martinez was expected to go in the third round but his bonus demands drove him down once he didn't go early enough.
1-27) Phillip Ervin, OF, Samford
1S-38) Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
2-67) Kevin Franklin, 3B, Gahr HS, Cerritos, CA
3-104) Mark Armstrong, RHP, Clarence HS, NY
4-135) Ben Lively, RHP, Central Florida
5-165) Cory Thompson, SS, Maudlin HS, SC
Others of interest: 8) Scott Brattvet, RHP, Cal State Bakersfield; 9) Chad Jones, LHP, No School (Louisiana); 14) Willie Abreu, OF, Florida HS; 22) Layne Somsen, RHP, South Dakota State; 24) Brett Morales, RHP, Florida HS; 27) Zack Collins, C, Florida HS
COMMENT: I like Ervin a lot as an across-the-board talent who does a lot of things well. Lorenzen is a great athlete and was mostly an outfielder in college, but his bat is problematic and he has a better shot at making the majors with his arm. Franklin is a power hitter with a questionable future position. Armstrong is a classic cold-weather prep pitcher with upside who will need patient development. Ben Lively doesn't burn radar but throws four pitches for quality strikes and projects as an inning-eater type. Pitching was the main focus outside of Ervin and Franklin. Finding some way to sign Morales and Collins would have been possible under the old draft rules, but they're certain to attend college under the new bonus pool set-up.
2-54) Devin Williams, RHP, Hazelwood West HS, Hazelwood, MO
2S-72) Tucker Neuhaus, SS, Wharton HS, Tampa, FL
3-90) Barrett Astin, RHP, Arkansas
4-122) Taylor Williams, RHP, Kent State
5-152) Josh Uhen, RHP, Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Others of note: 6) Garrett Cooper, 1B, Auburn; 7) , OF, Miami Dade JC; 8) Brandon Diaz, OF, Florida HS; 11) Andy Hillis, RHP, Lee University; 21) Tristan Archer, RHP, Tennessee Tech
COMMENT: The Brewers still brought in some top talent early despite lacking a first round pick, picking up super-projectable Devin Williams. Neuhaus might have been a first-rounder if he hadn't been injured all spring, so he's a good find in that spot as well. Astin, Williams, and Uhen all project as relief pitchers, although good ones if everything works out. Hillis can hit 98-99 MPH but fell to the 11th round due to command and lack of secondary pitches. The rest of the class looks like organization guys, although there are always some Mike Fiers-ish possibilities in that category, including strike-throwing Tristan Archer. Garcia and Diaz are very fast.
1-9) Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS, Loganville, GA
1-14) Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS, Covington, WA
2-51) Blake Taylor, LHP, Dana Hills HS, Dana Point, CA
3-87) JaCoby Jones, 2B, Louisiana State
4-119) Cody Dickson, LHP, Sam Houston State
5-149) Trae Arbet, SS, Great Oak HS, Temecula, CA
Others of interest: 7) Buddy Borden, RHP, UNLV; 8) Neil Kozikowski, RHP, Connecticut HS; 14) Nick Buckner, OF, Texas HS; 15) Max Rossiter, C, Arizona State; 16) Billy Roth, RHP, California HS.
COMMENT: You start off strong up the middle here with excellent high school picks Meadows and McGuire. Taylor is a project but could become a number three starter in time, and the Pirates like molding young prep arms. Jones has first round tools but didn't hit very well in college: is he fixable? I don't know. Dickson throws in the 90s and might have gone higher if he'd pitched for a more prominent program; he's a fine choice in the fourth round. It is mostly organization college guys after the middle rounds, but Kozikowski, Buckner, and Roth are all promising if they are signable. Overall, if you told the Pirates nine months ago that they would have both Meadows and McGuire, I think they would have been thrilled.
St. Louis Cardinals
1-19) Marco Gonzales. LHP, Gonzaga
1-28) Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph Regional HS, Montvale, NJ
2-57) Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS, Tampa, FL
3-93) Mike Mayers, RHP, Mississippi
4-125) Mason Katz, INF, Louisiana State
5-155) Ian McKinney, LHP, Boone HS, Orlando, FL
Others of interest: 7) Chris Rivera, SS, California HS; 9) Nick Petree, RHP, Missouri State; 10) Malik Collymore, SS, Canada HS
COMMENT: The Cardinals generally identify a good mix of upside and polish early in drafts, then supplement with organization players in later rounds. . .the thing is, the "organization players" they pick have a knack of exceeding expectations and becoming better than other teams expect. Gonzales will get to the majors very quickly due to his polish. Kaminsky will take longer but maybe not that much longer; he is very advanced for a cold-weather pitcher. Mercado and Rivera are prep infielders who didn't live up to offensive expectations this spring but are still intriguing investments due to the lack of useful middle infielders in the '12 class. Katz is interesting: he has a great track record, but scouts worry about his defense and wonder if the bat will hold up at the highest levels. They said the same things about Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig, so cutting the Cardinals some slack with guys like that seem wise to me. Petree doesn't burn radar but has superb pitching instincts.