I am sure I will get the comment, “we won’t know if these guys are any good for 4 and 5 years” and that is probably true. However, in true National media style, I like to react to perceived talent levels and value just as much as the next guy. This draft is interesting because of the bonus pools, and the strategy employed by some teams. It made the 11th round interesting in that the first 100,000 dollars of the bonus don’t affect the draft pool, so many teams went cheap for 5 or 6 rounds only to take an upside guy in the 11th.
Anyway, some initial reactions on who did well, and who didn’t.
I don’t see how Houston can’t be considered a winner. They got Correa with the 1st pick, who is close to signing already. In the supplemental, they got one of the best arms in the draft in Lance McCullers Jr. Nelson Fontana and Brady Rogers should be relatively easy college signs that could move quickly. Rio Ruiz is a talented player at 3rd base, and could be a power hitting RF down the road. Brett Phillips is a potential lead off hitter down the road. Preston Tucker has a potential plus power bat. Then the Astros went and drafted lefty high school pitcher Hunter Virant in the 11th, maybe as insurance, but if they can add him into the fold with some creative accounting, they just added a bunch of talent.
The Twins arguably got the player with most upside in the draft with Byron Buxton at #2, and continued a strong draft from there. Jose Berrios is a high school right hander that offers a little more velocity than the Twins usually go for. They added two arms that could potentially help in the bullpen soon in J.T. Chargois and Luke Bard. Mason Melotakis has starting potential as a lefty, though if he fails at that, he fits nicely as a high leverage guy in the pen as well. Adam Walker and his power potential is a great value in the third. Twins also got some guys in the middle rounds, L.J. Mazzilli and D.J. Baxendale that could’ve gone a bit a higher. Nice value picks.
I’m not sure many people other than me will have the Rangers in their draft winners. But I think they got the spirit of the draft for 2012, and gambled on a few of the guys that offer the most upside, despite needing a lot of work. In a draft that is a little bereft of talent overall, I felt like it’s a good strategy. 1st rounder Lewis Brinson is being compared to Dexter Fowler and Cameron Maybin physically and athletically, and while he has a way to go, his athleticism and potential are high. Supplemental guy Joey Gallo has tremendous power potential. Collin Wiles is a projectable high school righty that the Rangers seem to do well with. Jamie Jarmon was the Delaware football player of the year, but can play baseball well too. OF Nick Williams from Texas high school has tremendous upside as well. Alec Asher is one of the better JUCO pitching prospects around. Preston Beck, an OF from Texas Arlington was good value in the 5th round. Texas also took the flyer on Florida State QB recruit Jameis Winston in the 15th round.
Don’t know if it is just a function of not having the money, but their picks were pretty uninspiring. Their first two picks were a couple of high school kids with upside, but after that, really pedestrian to just not very good. The Angels were in much the same boat as the Tigers, though I would probably take their draft over them. That’s okay Tigers fans, it’s just one man’s opinion that doesn’t really count.
I don’t know if it’s the new system or what, but there is an expectation that comes with Red Sox drafting, and that is they get better talent than almost everyone else. Well, usually. This year, I was completely uninspired by the Red Sox first two selections in SS Devin Marrero and LHP Brian Johnson. Neither has a ceiling that excites. Pat Light and Jamie Callahan have some potential as pitchers, but also not a huge fan of Austin Maddox in the third round. Ty Buttrey has quite a bit of potential as well. I don’t know, I do like the trio of pitchers in Light, Callahan, and Buttrey, but turned off by the other top picks.
In recent years, I have like most of what Kansas City has done when it comes to the draft. This year, I can’t see I love what they are doing past their first round pick in Kyle Zimmer. I think they reached in the 2nd round for Vanderbilt lefty Sam Selman. Selman has a good arm but is inconsistent, and hasn’t completely stuck as a starter or reliever. Plus, they may have to overpay to get him away from school. Third rounder Colin Rodgers out of high school doesn’t wow with current stuff and I wouldn’t say he is projectable. Kenny Diekroeger hasn’t gotten near what he should of his talent and has had plenty of time to do so. Really luke warm on these picks. Zimmer is what raises the quality on his own.