The 2012 draft is wide open, and at this point there is little industry consensus about how things will play out. Nevertheless, Matt Garrioch and I will make a valiant effort to do so anyway, with the latest version of our Mock Draft.
This should not be considered a specific prediction. There are still too many things that can change between late April and draft day. This should be considered educated guesswork and a starting point for discussion.
We will revisit this again in May and again before the draft itself. Hopefully things will be clearer by that point. You can find our first version of the draft here.
We originally planned for the April update to include the supplemental round, but it will take a few more days to finish it.
1) Houston Astros (John): One of the few firm rumors (is "firm rumor" a contradiction in terms?) going around currently is that the Astros are leaning in the direction of a college player, since it will take them less time to reach the majors and none of the high schoolers have truly elevated themselves over the college crop. For me this should come down to Michael Zunino of Florida, Kevin Gausman of LSU, or Kyle Zimmer of San Francisco, with Michael Wacha of Texas A&M a darkhorse. Although his command has wobbled a bit, I still love Gausman and he'll be my choice here. Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU (previous mock draft, Gausman).
2) Minnesota Twins (Matt): Living in Minnesota, I have heard about Joe Mauer moving from behind the plate, essentially since he debuted in the majors. This is the first year I actually see a viable talent in which that idea should be looked at as a possibility. While the Twins are in desperate need for pitching talent, this draft is pretty deep in arms and they do have two supplemental picks. Mike Zunino is the top talent in this draft in my opinion so I'd be surprised if they'd pass on him for Appel or Zimmer. Mike Zunino, C, Florida (previous: Giolito)
3) Seattle Mariners (John): Now it gets more complicated. You can come up with about a dozen plausible scenarios for the Mariners to take. The farm system is strong in pitching, but as the cliché goes, you can't have too much pitching. They could also use some help in the outfield, and we know they like tools, and Georgia high school center fielder Byron Buxton has the best toolset in the draft. Possible pitchers would include Zimmer, Lucas Giolito if healthy, and Mark Appel from Stanford, but we'll go with a hitter here. Byron Buxton, OF, Georgia HS. (previous: Zunino)
4) Baltimore Orioles (Matt): The Orioles have had two very good picks in the last two drafts taking high school talent. To me, the best talent on the board here is Lucas Giolito but health is a question. I'm going to think that when a doctor checks Giolito, there won't be any long term damage and this was just a hiccup. Mark Appel and Kyle Zimmer need to be looked at and I would consider Carlos Correa here as well. If the O's go on talent, they could get the top arm in the draft. Lucas Giolito, P, California HS (previous: Buxton)
5) Kansas City Royals (John): Just like last year, rumors persist that the Royals are looking at college pitching. Those rumors didn't come true last spring, but it seems more likely this year with a thinner hitting crop on the table. If current trends hold it will come down to Appel or Zimmer. Zimmer's stock seems slightly higher at this stage. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, University of San Francisco (previous: Appel).
6) Chicago Cubs (Matt): The Cubs have a new regime but I don't think the draft philosophy this season will be substantially different than last year taking high upside toolsy players, while mixing in solid college players later. Courtney Hawkins, Dave Dahl, Max Fried and Carlos Correa all fit in that mold. I see the Cubs picking another Puerto Rican middle infielder with their top pick this June: Carlos Correa, SS, Florida HS. (previous: Fried)
7) San Diego Padres (John): The Padres (like most teams) could go in any number of directions given the way the talent pool is this year, but either a high-ceiling high school bat or a college pitcher would address system needs without resulting in an overdraft. They don't fear "undersized" pitchers and Duke right-hander Marcus Stroman has both the arm strength and the current performance to get into the top ten. Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke. (previous: David Dahl)
8) Pittsburgh Pirates (Matt): Even with a really deep collection of arms in the Pirates farm system, I just can't see any way that the Pirates don't add another one here unless they would take Deven Marrero. Considering recent history a higher ceiling player is more likely. Kyle Zimmer is intriguing but off the board in this scenario. Max Fried is also interesting but Mark Appel was the consensus best arm coming into the season and while he hasn't progressed much, he hasn't regressed either. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford (previous:Correa)
9) Miami Marlins (John): There are a large number of logical picks available, even if we just focus on homestate Florida preps. Walker Weickel (the pick in the first mock) is still a reasonable choice, as is outfielder Albert Almora. I strongly considered fast-rising right-hander Zach Eflin, but a recent triceps strain nicks his stock. The Marlins picked a high school pitcher in 2009, a high school hitter in 2010, and a high school pitcher last year, so we'll continue the pattern with multi-skilled Albert Almora, OF, Florida HS. (previous: Walker Weickel)
10) Colorado Rockies (Matt): As John stated there are a lot of logical picks here. That is what makes this draft very wide open. The Rockies don't really have a type. They have drafted college and high school talents recently and there are about 20 players who could be viable picks here. With that said, the Rockies have very little OF talent in their farm system and while Courtney Hawkins is my personal preference, it is very close between him and David Dahl. Dahl is likely a RF but could play CF for some teams. That would make him an excellent corner OF in the expansive Coors Field. David Dahl, OF, Alabama HS (previous: Marrero)
11) Oakland Athletics (John): Hmmm. Hitting or pitching? Pitching or hitting? Who is Oakland likely to regard as the best-player-available in this slot? I like Max Fried a lot, Oakland could use a lefty, and he's quite polished as high school pitchers go. On the other hand, Texas A&M ace Michael Wacha and Oklahoma State star Andrew Heaney have good combinations of stuff and stats. There is also a pair of college third basemen who can hit with Richie Shaffer and Steve Piscotty. Shaffer is a plate discipline guy, but Piscotty is a local talent from the Bay Area. Any of these picks make sense. I'll go with Heaney. This may seem like a surprise, but he gets grounders and strikeouts, fills a system need, won't need long in the minors, and is the best college southpaw on the market. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State. (previous: Zimmer)
12) New York Mets (Matt): With the turmoil in the Mets system the last few years, they need a lot of help. Going with impact talent has to be the way to go here. Courtney Hawkins and Max Fried are good options. Further down are Gavin Cecchini, Lance McCullers, Stryker Trahan, Joey Gallo and Walker Weickel. Any of these guys could be the pick for the Mets but I think they will add a southpaw arm to their young aces of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Max Fried, LHP, California HS (previous:Cecchini)
13) Chicago White Sox (John): With a near-empty farm system the White Sox could go any direction and help themselves. They love toolsy outfielders, but they also show frequent interest in college pitching. Hawkins, Wacha, Stanford lefty Brett Mooneyham, and Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero are all logical selections given their past patterns. They could also (perhaps) start looking for a replacement for A.J. Pierzynski: Stryker Trahan has an intriguing mix of tools which could attract them. This may be a bit of a longshot in terms of predictions, but it makes logical sense. Stryker Trahan, C, Louisiana HS. (previous: Stroman)
14) Cincinnati Reds (Matt): The Reds have shown this off season that drafting for need isn't the only way to fill holes, trading off several prospects for a top pitcher instead of developing them on their own. I like this approach especially when a top talent falls to you. The best college arm, Michael Wacha, isn't an impact guy and the impact arms on the board are four years away and injury risk cloud their futures. One of the elite level hitters is still on the board, with an impact bat and maybe the best power out of a prep pick this year. Courtney Hawkins, OF, Texas HS (previous:Smoral)
15) Cleveland Indians (John): Matt chose Michael Wacha for the Indians in the last Mock, and I think that still makes a lot of sense. He's a solid mid-first-round talent, and the Indians could use a right-handed starting pitching prospect. Victor Roache would also make some sense if they are comfortable with his medical reports. Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M. (previous: Wacha).
16) Washington Nationals (Matt): The Nationals went big last year with top talents that slid and they overpaid for them. I'm not sure how they will approach this draft but considering they went with big names last year, Lance McCullers, RHP, Florida HS, would fit well with that idea given his bloodlines and top-notch stuff. (previous: Beck)
17) Toronto Blue Jays (John): The Blue Jays system is loaded with prospects, but one of their few weaknesses is a lack of impact bats in the middle infield. This makes Gavin Cecchini a perfect choice for the Jays. He has a chance to stick at shortstop and his bat is advanced for his age. Gavin Cecchini, SS, Louisiana HS. (previous: Nick Williams)
18) Los Angeles Dodgers (Matt): The Dodgers have a lot of work to do in their farm system. Zach Lee is one of the only, if not the only, impact player they have in their system. They could take Deven Marrero and have a solid shortstop in the majors by the end of 2013 or they could take one of a handful of impact prep arms that are still out there. Local kid Hunter Virant, Ty Hensley, Clate Schmidt or Walker Weickel could be interesting here but I think they would take the big lefty that is still out there. I'm assuming medical reports on his foot will be OK. Matt Smoral, LHP, Ohio HS. (previous: McCullers)
19) St. Louis Cardinals (John): I think this is far enough for Deven Marrero to fall. Questions about his bat are significant following his uninspired spring, but he is still highly-regarded defensively and would make an intriguing double play combo with Kolten Wong down the line. Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State (previous: Stephen Piscotty).
20) San Francisco Giants (Matt): The Giants will likely need to start getting younger. One safe way to do this is to take safe college picks that will very likely play in the majors. That isn't a good way to build a winning franchise, though. I'm not sure which direction the team will go but Richie Shaffer, Stephen Piscotty, James Ramsey and Tyler Naquin could be looked at here. Maybe they gamble a little on a health risk and take Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern (previous: T. Williams)
21) Atlanta Braves (John): The Braves are budget-oriented these days and seem likely to go with an affordable college player. Stanford lefty Brett Mooneyham, Florida State senior outfielder James Ramsey, and Texas A&M outfielder Tyler Naquin seem like plausible options, but the best college player still on the board here is impressive Clemson bat Richie Shaffer, 3B. (previous: Pete O'Brien)
22) Toronto Blue Jays (Matt): Looking at the draft board I considered a few different HS hitters that are still on the board but thought several of them will still be available when Toronto picks in the supplemental round. I think if they want a big arm, they need to take one here. As compensation for Tyler Beede, another arm similar to him would be Walker Weickel but he has struggled some this spring. Nick Travieso has been hitting upper 90's lately and has some draft helium. I think they will grab a different guy who is also going up draft boards, Zach Eflin, RHP, Florida HS. (previous: Sims)
23) St. Louis Cardinals (John): I have the Cardinals picking Deven Marrero at 19. I will go with pitching here to provide some balance. The Cardinals haven't been afraid of high school pitching at the top of the draft (Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins), and hard-throwing Oklahoma prep Ty Hensley fits the power right-hander theme very nicely. He has some sock in his bat, too. Ty Hensley, RHP, Oklahoma HS. (previous: Joey Gallo)
24) Boston Red Sox (Matt): The two guys I see that fit here pretty well are Trey Williams and Walker Weickel. They could go for a polished college guy like Ramsey or Naquin but I can't see either of them breaking into the Red Sox starting lineup at any point. A sleeper here could be Anthony Alford who is a football guy but has huge baseball potential. This could be near the end of where he would bypass football and sign. I'll take a safer bet with Trey Williams, 3B, California HS, even with his stock sliding. (previous: Hinojosa)
25) Tampa Bay Rays (John): There are all kinds of scenarios that make sense here. I'll look for a premium tool and pick the fastest man in the draft, prep outfielder D.J. Davis, who has made enough progress with the rest of his game this year to push into first round consideration. D.J. Davis, OF, Mississippi HS. (previous: Trahan)
26) Arizona Diamondbacks (Matt): There is one player that really jumps out at me here. Considering the Diamondbacks seem to be doing their best to corner the market on pitching prospects and with the success they had with Tyler Skaggs, Hunter Virant, LHP, California HS really looks like a good fit here. (previous: Almora)
27) Milwaukee Brewers (John): The Brewers focused on pitching in the draft last year and the farm system could use an influx of hitting. Stanford third baseman Steve Piscotty is the top college hitter left on the board, with Ramsey and Naquin logical alternatives to boost outfield depth. Miami catcher Pete O'Brien would also address a system need, with toolsy prep outfielder Lewis Brinson also an option if they want to gamble on upside. Steve Piscotty, 3B, Stanford. (previous: Clate Schmidt)
28) Milwaukee Brewers (Matt): While Clate Schmidt does seem like a good fit for the Brew Crew, I see them going the college route here. As John said, Ramsey and Naquin are the top college bats still on the list and both look like sure fire MLB players, though not future stars. With that said, James Ramsey, OF, Florida State has the higher ceiling with the bat and plays the more superior defensive position. (previous: Hawkins)
29) Texas Rangers (John): I can see the Rangers picking up a power arm from the high school ranks, and there are few better than Nick Travieso, a Florida high schooler who works in the mid-to-upper 90s and is generating considerable buzz. He was seen as a second round type until his velocity blossomed this spring. Nick Travieso, RHP, Florida HS. (previous: Hunter Virant)
30) New York Yankees (Matt): The Yankees have had a tendency to grab local talent toward the top of the draft. This year Fernelys Sanchez is in their backyard but suffered a broken fibula knocking him out of first round contention, though that may have been a stretch anyway. Nelson Rodriguez, a massive catcher, is also a New York kid. He has a lot of potential but I think they will take the best talent on the board who has fallen due to a mediocre spring, Walker Weickel, RHP, Florida HS. (previous: Cherry)
31) Boston Red Sox (John): Recent drafts have brought both high school and college players into the system, so there's no clear pattern to repeat. O'Brien, Mooneyham, Naquin, Austin Maddox, Chris Beck, and fireballing Arkansas closer Nolan Sanburn are attractive college options, while high school right-handers Ty Buttrey, Luke Sims, and Shane Watson have plenty of upside. Watson's stock has been rising and he could get into the back of the first round on the strength of his projectable 6-4 frame, live arm, and easy delivery. Shane Watson, RHP, California HS. (previous: Rhett Wiseman)