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2012 MLB Draft: Round 1

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

With the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft over, the Rotoworld staff offers a pick-by-pick breakdown of Monday's events, beginning with the Houston Astros' surprise selection with the first overall pick.


1. Houston Astros - Carlos Correa SS Puerto Rico Baseball Academy

After being connected to Stanford RHP Mark Appel for months, rookie Astros GM Jeff Lunhow has thrown a curveball with his first ever pick. A spindly 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, Correa is still a month shy of his 18th birthday. He's also Rotoworld prospect guru Adam Foster's top rated under-19 player, and boasts incredible bat speed to go along with elite defensive range and athleticism. Billed as a solid baserunner and excellent worker, Correa has the tools to develop into a perennial All Star.

2. Minnesota Twins - Byron Buxton CF Appling County HS, Ga.

Buxton developed into a prep phenom in the barren baseball field of Georgia. The five-tool 18-year-old outfielder was ranked as the draft's top overall prospect by ESPN's Keith Law and's Jon Mayo, amongst many others. All five of Buxton's tools are considered by some to be 70 or above, a grading metric that signifies All-Star level. Twins GM Terry Ryan hopes that Minnesota fans, who have watched its team fall to the depths of the league, will travel a little further, as Buxton will require patience. The hope, of course, is that he could lead the club back to Zihuatanejo: Minnesota's first World Series since 1991.

3. Seattle Mariners - Mike Zunino C Florida

The consensus No. 1 catcher in this year's draft, Zunino is also this year's top college bat. Already 21, he's batting .316/.388/.667 for the Gators this season after receiving All-American and SEC Player of the Year honors in 2011. A true power bat, Zunino likely won't be down on the farm for long, but doesn't have the athleticism to stick anywhere other than catcher or first base.

4. Baltimore Orioles - Kevin Gausman RHP LSU

Most assumed that Baltimore, badly in need of pitching, would grab draft-slider Mark Appel, but they went with Gausman, who was ranked three spots ahead of Appel by ESPN's Keith Law. Goose is still growing into his frame and displays three plus pitches. A ground-ball machine, Gausman excelled as a sophomore in college baseball's toughest conference. He is a potential No. 1 starter, but projects more neatly as a No. 2.

5. Kansas City Royals - Kyle Zimmer RHP University of San Francisco

A power righty out of the University of San Francisco, Zimmer's stock slipped a bit after his velocity dipped as a junior, possibly due to a hamstring injury. A well-built 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he boasts a power curve to go along with a mid-90s fastball and decent changeup. Still just 19, however, Zimmer may need more time in the minors than most high-end college arms.

6. Chicago Cubs - Albert Almora CF Mater Academy Charter School, Fla.

Almora is considered to have great makeup and plenty of tools. While he was not considered in the same class as Byron Buxton or Carlos Correa, Almora, an elite defensive center fielder, has been compared to Orioles superstar Adam Jones. Theo Epstein and company have been linked to Almora throughout the process and their infatuation proved not to be a mirage. Nobody would have thought Mark Appel would be available to the Cubs, but Epstein and Hoyer stuck to their guns anyway.

7. San Diego Padres - Max Fried LHP Harvard-Westlake HS, Calif.

Widely considered the top high-school lefty in this year's draft class, Fried doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but boasts excellent command and secondary pitches. A wiry 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, however, he will need to fill out his frame as he refines his pitches on the farm. Fried has drawn (loose) comparisons to Barry Zito.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates - Mark Appel RHP Stanford

Houston shocked the baseball industry, and drew gasps from MLB Network's draft commentary team, when they passed on Appel, the presumed first pick, and selected Carlos Correa. Teams continued to pass, much to Pittsburgh's delight, even though they needed offense more than pitching. Appel looks like a prototypical ace at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds. He has hit 100 mph on the radar gun and was 9-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 116/24 K/BB rate in 110 innings during Stanford's regular season. He isn't without detractors, however, with some draft experts leaving Appel outside their Top-3 available prospect lists, mostly because scouts feel hitters pick the ball up easily out of his hands due to Appel's effortless delivery which doesn't deceive.

9. Miami Marlins - Andrew Heaney LHP Oklahoma State

The top college lefty in this year's draft class, Heaney led Division I in strikeouts despite a fastball that sits "just" in the high 80s- to lower-90s. Buoyed by excellent command and plus breaking stuff, Heaney will need to refine his changeup on the farm. One day shy of his 21st birthday, Heaney isn't considered a future ace in most circles, but should move quickly through the minor leagues.

10. Colorado Rockies - David Dahl CF Oak Mountain HS, Ala.

Dahl, an Auburn commit, has very good speed for a 6'2'', 185-pound outfielder who should only get bigger. Dahl is another five-tool high-schooler, but none of his tools are considered elite, unlike some of the players picked above him. The left-handed hitting Dahl has drawn comparisons to Johnny Damon and Colby Rasmus, but he likens himself to Jacoby Ellsbury. He's years away from the majors, but Colorado loves his raw tools.

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