Six Sleepers from the 2012 Draft: 16th Round
Here are some sleepers from the 2012 draft, six players from the 16th round who have a chance to exceed expectations.
Ian Gardeck, RHP, San Francisco Giants: Drafted by the Giants from the University of Alabama, Gardeck was supposed to be one of the top junior college transfers of 2012 but struggled with his command all spring and lost at least 10 rounds off his draft stock. The Giants feel they can help him regain command of his mid-90s fastball and hard slider. So far, he has a 4.01 ERA for Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League and has walked 16 in 25 innings, but he's also fanned 38, allowed just 19 hits, and posted a 2.00 GO/AO. (HT: Fla-Giant)
Adam Giacalone, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers: Selected by the Brewers from Neosho County Community College in Kansas, where he was a successful pitcher as well as a power-mashing first baseman. He's hit just two homers in the Pioneer League, but has otherwise stung the ball with a .361/.424/.472 mark for Helena. He has a good arm and enough athleticism that teams have considered him behind the plate or at third base.
Melvin Mercedes, SS, Oakland Athletics: Drafted from the Junior College of Central Florida, Mercedes is a 5-8, 170 pound switch-hitter from the Bronx. It's a small sample, but his career is off to a good start in the Arizona Rookie League: .371/.443/.484 with seven walks and six strikeouts in 62 at-bats. He's shown some feel for the zone and contact ability, and he has enough athleticism to stick in the middle infield. A speculative property, but interesting.
Jeff Popick, OF, Colorado Rockies: Popick is a local guy for the Rockies, drafted out of Colorado Mesa University as a senior with an excellent performance record (.424/.526/.663), good size (6-4, 220), and athleticism. He's continued raking in pro ball, hitting .353/.432/.580 with 15 walks and 28 strikeouts in 119 at-bats for Grand Junction in the Pioneer League. Caveat: he's already 23 years old and it remains to be seen how this will hold up at higher levels.
Luc Rennie, RHP, Baltimore Orioles: Rennie is an 18-year-old 6-2, 200 pound right-hander from high school in San Diego, signed for a regular $100,000 slot bonus. He's performed well in rookie ball, 2.42 ERA with a 24/7 K/BB in 22 innings with 18 hits allowed, featuring a low-90s fastball and a splitter.
Josh Turley, LHP, Detroit Tigers: Turley was a big winner in college for Baylor University, going 9-1 with a 1.96 ERA this spring, with a 79/21 K/BB in 110 innings. He lasted until the 16th round due to a mediocre fastball that often sits in the mid-80s, but his curveball, changeup, and cutter are all solid offerings and he knows how to pitch. He has a 0.84 ERA with a 14/4 K/BB in 21 innings for Connecticut in the New York-Penn League, and could move through the system more rapidly than expected.
Turley starts pitching at 1:37.