2012 MLB Draft: American League Central Division Commentary
Chicago White Sox: Power is the emphasis with the first two picks: Courtney Hawkins (OF, Texas HS) and Keon Barnum (1B, Florida HS) were two of the most potent, if raw, hitters in the prep ranks. It will take some time for them to develop but they make the basis of a strong potential power core. Second round pick Chris Beck (RHP, Georgia Southern) was a first-round candidate until a drop of velocity this spring, and makes a nice value package there due to his command. Third round pick Joey DeMichele (2B, Arizona State) is a refined hitter who plays above his tools. The Sox mixed college and high school picks the rest of the way. Sleeper to watch: Derek Thompson, LHP, Logan Illinois Junior College.
Detroit Tigers: The Tiger have a bonus pool of just $2,099,300 and their conservative draft reflects this. Second-rounder Jake Thompson (RHP, Texas HS) and third-rounder Austin Schotts (SS, Texas HS) are considered signable. Thompson has average velocity that may improve, while Schotts features speed and decent hitting skills. Conservative college picks fill out the class, with the likes of Drew Verhagen (RHP, Vanderbilt, 4th round), Joe Rogers (LHP, Central Florida, 5th round), and pitchability experts Jordan John (LHP, Oklahoma, 6th round) and Hudson Randall (RHP, Florida, 7th round) projecting as role pitchers in the majors. The best tools belong to Jake Stewart (OF, Stanford, 9th round) who is a good athlete but never lived up to expectations in college. Sleeper if signable: Logan Ehlers, LHP, Howard JC, 20th round. It seems unlikely that they could sign Clate Schmidt (RHP, Georgia HS, 36th round) away from Clemson, given the small bonus pool.
Kansas City Royals: First-round pick Kyle Zimmer (RHP, San Francisco) already signed for $500,000 less than slot and fits the college pitcher-with-upside profile the Royals were looking for. Second-rounder Sam Selman (LHP, Vanderbilt) has first-round stuff but didn't live up to expectations in college; perhaps he'll do better in pro ball. A similar gamble with Chris Dwyer a few years ago hasn't worked out yet. Third round Texas prep Colin Rodgers is a lefty who throws strikes. He already signed, albeit for more than $200,000 over slot. Fourth-round Stanford infielder Kenny Diekroeger is the hitting version of Selman: first-round tools that didn't translate fully into college ball. The rest of the draft focused on high school and junior college guys, with Fred Ford (OF, Jefferson JC, 7th round) and Daniel Stumpf (LHP, San Jacinto JC, 9th round) looking particularly interesting.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins got the toolsiest player in the draft with Georgia HS OF Byron Buxton. He has a cannon arm and lightning speed, but opinions are mixed about his bat: some scouts see tremendous power potential and a good chance to hit for average, others say his swing is very raw and his pure hitting talent untapped. Buxton could be a superstar, a bust, or anything in between. J.O. Berrios (RHP, Puerto Rico HS) is a sharp pick in the supplemental round thanks to a fastball that bumped up to 95 this spring. Luke Bard (RHP, Georgia Tech, 1-S), hard-throwing Mason Melotakis (LHP, Northwestern State, 2nd round), J.T. Chargois (RHP, Rice, 2nd round), Zach Jones (RHP, San Jose State, 4th round), and Tyler Duffey (RHP, Rice, 5th round) could all move through the system quite quickly as relievers, with Bard and perhaps Duffey having shots as starters too. Adam Brett Walker (OF-1B, Jacksonville, 3rd round) runs well and has power but strikes out a lot. L.J. Mazilli (9th round, UConn, 2B) has major league bloodlines as Lee's son, while D.J. Baxendale (10th round, Arkansas, RHP) has a nice curve. After Buxton and Berrios, the Twins draft is college-heavy and provides some live arms on a budget. It will be interesting to see if they use their entire bonus pool.