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2012 MLB Draft: Round 1

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


11. Oakland Athletics - Addison Russell SS Pace HS, Fla.

It's the first time the A's have used their first-round pick on a prep talent since 2001. A stocky 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Russell shed over 20 pounds as a senior in an effort to prove he could stick at shortstop. He's still viewed in some circles as a future third baseman, however. Wherever he plays, he'll boast impressive raw power, but still has a lot of developing to do as a hitter. "Advised" by Scott Boras, it's possible Russell will take his talents to the University of Auburn if he doesn't like the money the A's are offering.

12. New York Mets - Gavin Cecchini SS Barbe HS, La.

Cecchini's brother, Garin, was picked in the 2010 draft and is in the Red Sox organization. Gavin is a heady player whose instincts have made him a solid fielder. Scouts, however, believe his long-term position may be second base. The younger Cecchini has a smooth, quick stroke. As long as he sticks in the middle of the infield, his bat will prove to be an asset. Described as "scrappy," a "hard-worker," and a "smart player," the thinking is that Gavin, who has been speaking to his brother about pro baseball for two years, is about as low risk a high-school pick as you can make at No. 12.

13. Chicago White Sox - Courtney Hawkins OF Carroll HS, Texas

Raw in the "art" of hitting, Hawkins nevertheless possesses explosive bat speed and power to spare. Hawkins' speed is only average, but he profiles as an asset on defense. Still only 18, however, Hawkins will likely spend many years on the farm before arriving in "The Show."

14. Cincinnati Reds - Nick Travieso RHP Archbishop McCarthy HS, Fla.

Some might consider this a reach, but the Reds clearly love talented, power arms and that's precisely what Travieso is. The prep from Florida's favorite player is Roger Clemens and the youngster flings heat like his idol. Travieso can reach the high-90's and has the potential to develop two plus secondary pitches. But therein lies the rub: Travieso will have to develop a pair of complements to his nasty fastball or iron out his control, or he'll be destined for the bullpen. If he can't do either, he's going to wash out.

15. Cleveland Indians - Tyler Naquin OF Texas A&M

Naquin can hit (.385 this season), but his No. 1 tool is his throwing arm, which is elite. He's also a plus defender and runner, and is surely being drafted with an eye toward manning center field in Cleveland. Naquin's power may never develop, but already 21, he shouldn't be terribly far from the big leagues.

16. Washington Nationals - Luc Giolito RHP Harvard-Westlake HS, Calif.

By all accounts, this is a fascinating pick. The Nationals have never been afraid of taking risks, whether on talent or medical history. In recent history, that ideology has worked. Giolito was a potential No. 1 talent before a tender elbow shut down his prep career in March. Tests revealed no ligament or tendon damage, so this seems like a wise gamble by Mike Rizzo. Giolito, a 6-6, 230-pound monster, has hit 100 mph on the gun and has ace potential. Of course, Washington has plenty of stud starters on the roster, a group Giolito hopes to join in the next four years, even if he has to sit out the rest of the 2012 season.

17. Toronto Blue Jays - D.J. Davis OF Stone County HS, Miss.

An elite runner and athlete, Davis is nevertheless extremely raw as a hitter. Three weeks shy of his 18th birthday, he's also one of the youngest players in this year's draft class. He has monster upside, however, and will be one of the Jays' corner outfielders for years to come if everything breaks right. He'll obviously need years on the farm.

18. Los Angeles Dodgers - Corey Seager 3B Northwest Cabarrus HS, N.C.

Seager's brother, Kyle, plays for the majors and was shown watching his little bro being selected on an iPad in the dugout. Corey has tremendous bat speed and very good power potential. He played short in high school, but the youngster, already 6'3'', 190 pounds, is going to outgrow the position. He's expected to move to the hot corner. The Dodgers have competition for his services, as Seager is firmly committed to South Carolina. If he decides to go the college route, Seager is expected to be picked even higher in three years.

19. St. Louis Cardinals (Albert Pujols-LAA) - Michael Wacha RHP Texas A&M

A towering 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Wacha has spent the past three years dominating for the Aggies. He boasts a formidable changeup to go along with a mid-90s heater, but has yet to develop a consistent breaking pitch. Wacha doesn't boast as high of a ceiling as some of the other arms taken this evening, and may never turn into a No. 1 or 2 starter. He's a strong bet to reach the big leagues, however.

20. San Francisco Giants - Chris Stratton RHP Mississippi State

San Francisco practically sprinted to the podium to get this pick in, as they probably didn't believe they'd have a shot at Stratton when the evening began. Stratton began the season in the bullpen, but quickly became the Bulldogs' ace and led the SEC in strikeouts. He has an ideal frame and a four-pitch arsenal. All of his tools are projected to be between average and above-average at the major league level. Assuming the late-bloomer fulfills that prophecy, the Giants just snagged no worse than a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

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