With the first pick in the Major League Baseball first year player draft the Houston Astros select…
Most of us expected Stanford ace right-hander Mark Appel to be the name called here by commissioner Bud Selig and if it was not Appel it was surely going to be prep star Byron Buxton. In our open thread yesterday I wrote “After watching more video of Carlos Correa I think I would take him first overall if I were the Astros. Just me, though.” I then went on to tweet about how the Astros should blow up all of our mocks:
— Jonathan C. Mitchell (@FigureFilbert) June 4, 2012
Obviously, the Astros were listening to me (sarcasm) as they went on to select the 17 year old Carlos Correa with the first overall pick and make him the first player to go 1.1 out of Puerto Rico. Correa has a plus hit tool and potentially plus power with some of the best bat speed in the draft and a lot of projection left in his frame. I may be in the minority but I think he can stick at shortstop but if he has to move as he fills out he is still a projected All-Star at the hot corner where his arm and defense will be well above-average.
Taking Correa 1.1 not only landed the Astros one of the top, if not the top, talents in the draft but may have saved them some money to use in other slots. This allowed the Astros to select Tampa high school prep right-hander Lance McCuller, Jr. at number 41.
McCullers is the son of former Big Leaguer Lance McCullers and was named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year after posting a 0.18 ERA and striking out 140 batters in only 77.1 innings. He has a mid-to-upper 90s fastball that has reportedly hit triple-digits and a plus breaking ball. There were concerns over his commitment to Florida and that he could hold up as a starter long term but the Astros did the bold thing here and hopefully they saved enough money to sign McCullers at pick 41. Adding McCullers and Correa to this system is the correct way for Jeff Lunhow to rebuild this system and I approve.
The San Diego Padres already have the top farm system in the game thanks to successful trades and drafts that have the farm system loaded with talent. And with four picks in the first 60 selections the Padres front office added even more firepower to their loaded system.
Left-handed prep pitcher Max Fried was their first selection at seven and some had him as the best arm in the draft. Period. He has a smooth, repeatable delivery that leads to above-average command and control to go with a plus fastball, plus change-up, and above-average curveball. He has projection left in his frame and is one of the few arms that could be a #1 starter. He could be a quick mover since his feel for pitching is advanced.
With the Padres second selection at pick 33 they took prep right-hander Zach Eflin who has good control and command for a kid his age. He also has a low-to-mid 90s fastball and room in his frame for some projection. His changeup also has the makings to be a plus pitch and has shown great improvements this year. The curve needs work and could be an average to above average pitch but Eflin has the potential to be a number two or three starter.
The Padres then took college center fielder Travis Jankowski at pick 44. Jankowski is a plus defender in center field and there is no doubt he can play the position in pro ball. But there is doubt about his ability to hit for any power and it is limited enough that it is hard to even project 8-10 homeruns in his prime so he will rely on getting on base and using his speed but he has the ability to be an above-average regular and potential table-setter due to his on-base skills. Jankowski is a good, safe pick here that has a low floor.
With their last selection the Padres may have to go over slot to keep Walker Weickel from heading to Miami but there is a lot of projection here thanks to a 6’6″ frame with room to add muscle and velocity. He currently sits 89-92 with a curveball and change-up that both project to be above-average and already flash it. At one point this spring Keith Law had Weickel in his top 10 on his big board. That shows you the type of arm the Padres stole here at pick number 55.
Other picks I loved were Lucas Giolito (16 – Nationals), Richie Shaffer (25 – Rays), Michael Wacha (19 – Cardinals), Mark Appel (8 – Pirates), and Lewis Brinson (29 – Rangers) to name a few.
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: Draft Coverage, On the Farm - Prospects Tagged: | Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, Houston Astros, Jeff Lunhow, Lance McCullers, Lance McCullers Jr., Lewis Brinson, Lucas Giolito, Mark Appel, Max Fried, Michael Wacha, MLB Draft, Prospects, Richie Shaffer, San Diego Padres, Travis Jankowski, Walker Weickel, Zach Eflin