Heading into previously undisturbed ground, we continue our S2S 2012 MLB Mock Draft with the second round. Things get a little less clear-cut now, but I wouldn’t be doing this if I thought it was pure guess-work. Let’s get this started.
61st Overall: Houston Astros
The Astros have a lot of work to do to get to where they want to be as a franchise. They need more players with superstar upside to help them escape baseball’s depths and eventually contend as they move to the AL West. The Astros have several outfielders with upside in their system, but you never know how many of them will pan out and it’s always nice to have multiple options. It’s never a bad thing to have several quality players at a position instead of just one or two. D.J. Davis is raw, but he has a lot of potential and he’s the type of player Houston needs to draft.
Davis is an athletic prep centerfielder at 6’0″, 170 with breathtaking speed. Davis runs a 6.38 in the 60 yard dash, which amounts to a staggering 4.2 in the 40. He has true plus-plus speed and although he needs work on reading pitchers, with time he’s a 50 or 60 stolen base threat and presently he has unbelievable range in centerfield and takes extra-bases routinely and effortlessly. At the plate, Davis has nice patience that will help him take advantage of his speed, and he has shown flashes of nice bat speed. With his speed, he could be a .280 hitter with some pop. Davis has a long way to go, but with his speed and combination of tools, he has sky-high upside and could be an excellent major league player someday.
The Pick: D.J. Davis, OF, Stone High School, MS
62nd Overall: Oakland A’s (Compensation for Josh Willingham)
The A’s are rebuilding, but they really have no need for pitching with the foursome of Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, Brad Peacock, and Tom Milone in the upper levels of their system and A.J. Cole and Raul Alcantara at A-ball. But you can never have too much pitching, and the A’s should be drafting for the best available player anyway right now. That player is Arkansas right-hander Nolan Sanburn, who we discussed last week.
Sanburn, who is 6’0″ and 185 pounds, has shown excellent present ability with his fastball, hitting the mid to high-90′s with nice movement and locating the pitch to both sides of the plate. However, his secondary pitches are questionable at this point, one of the reasons that he has patrolled the bullpen for Arkansas despite his possible future as a starter. Sanburn’s slider has flash plus with tight brake, although his changeup is something he’s just beginning to get comfortable with, having not used it much as a reliever. Sanburn could have number two starter upside, but where he actually ends up is a very good question and will depend on how his secondary pitches develop.
The Pick: Nolan Sanburn, RHP, University of Arkansas
63rd Overall: Minnesota Twins
Even after drafting Mark Appel and Matt Smoral in this mock draft, the Twins have a lot of questions regarding their starting pitchers, both in the majors and amongst their prospects, and a third pitcher in their first four draft picks makes sense.
Nick Travieso is a 6’3″, 210, right-hander who isn’t projectable, but who has nice stuff. His fastball ranges from 92-95 MPH with excellent movement down and away from right-handed batters. He also throws a slider that has flashed plus along with a changeup. Travieso lacks athleticism along with projection, but with improved secondary pitches, he could be a 2nd or 3rd starter, something the Twins have a severe dearth of.
The Pick: Nick Travieso, RHP, Archbishop McCarthy High School, FL
64th Overall: Seattle Mariners
Simply put, the Mariners need bats if they ever hope to hang with the Rangers and Angels in the AL West. Adam Brett Walker is a bat, and a good one.
A physical monster at 6’5″, 225, Walker has as much power as any player in this draft class and puts on quite a spectacle a batting practice with his outstanding raw power that he has been able to tap into at times in games, but not as consistency as everyone (other than opposing teams) would like. He has a compact swing but has struggled with patience and pitch recognition thus far as a collegiate athlete. Defensively, Walker, whose father of the same name was a running back for the Minnesota Vikings for a time, is an excellent athlete for his size, and despite just an average arm he has the ability to stay in left field. Walker may be a college pick, but he has huge power upside, something the Mariners desperately desire.
The Pick: Adam Brett Walker, 1B, University of Jacksonville
65th Overall: Baltimore Orioles
It tells you something when the Orioles drafted Dylan Bundy in 2011 and drafted LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman in the first round of this mock draft but still have a need at starting pitcher. The Orioles have a need at outfield (like we said back in the first round), but with no player worthy of consideration available at this spot, they’ll go for pitching yet again, this time returning to the high school ranks. A player with upside they like is Hagerty High School right-hander Zach Eflin.
Eflin is a projectable 6’5″, 200 and he currently throws in the low-90′s with his fastball with a nice downward plane thanks to his height and also some natural sink and movement away from right-handed batters. He throws a good changeup for a high school pitcher with a 10 MPH difference from his fastball. Eflin’s third pitch may turn out to be his best one as it’s a 12 to 6 curveball with sharp break, but he struggles to control it. Eflin pounds the lower half of the zone with his pitches and although at this point, only his curveball is a true swing and miss pitch, he could be a nice starter because of his control and ability to force groundballs. Eflin has number two starter upside if he can gain velocity on his fastball and get more consistency with his curveball.
The Pick: Zach Eflin, Hagerty High School, FL
66th Overall: Kansas City Royals
The Royals have an excellent farm system and are trying to put the pieces together to contend within a couple of seasons. But they’re not about to draft for need with this pick. The Royals have goten their top prospects by drafting for upside, and that’s what they’ll go for here. Even though they have quite a few starting pitching prospects, the best available upside players are starters and that’s the direction in which they’ll go.
Poteet has a small build at 6’1″, 180, but his impressive repertoire fends off most of the concerns about his height. He sits primarily with the low 90′s with his fastball and touches 94 with some nice late sink at times, but his money pitch is a mid-70′s curveball with devastating break, although he sometimes has trouble locating it. Poteet has also shown a fringy slider, although his changeup has showed a lot of promise, showing nice late sink. Poteet’s biggest problem right now is that when his fastball doesn’t have the sharp late movement, it’s hittable. Poteet has a polished arsenal and if he makes all the necessary adjustments, he could be a number two starter in the big leagues. Poteet comes with risk, but he has the excellent upside that the Royals live for and he’s a nice value at 66th overall.
The Pick: Cody Poteet, RHP, Christian High School, CA
67th Overall: Chicago Cubs
Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs are starting a rebuilding process that could be somewhat lengthy. One of the areas they need to address is their starting rotation. After a tumultuous season on their major league staff and a disastrous season for their top pitching prospects where nearly every single one fell apart, the Cubs have a clear need at starting pitcher as they look to overcome all the adversity they’ve been through and put their best foot forward as a franchise. At 43rd overall in this mock draft, the Cubs went with Virginia right-hander Branden Kline to try to deal with that problem. However, Kline himself isn’t enough. It makes sense for the Cubs to go for pitching once again with this pick.
Since Kline is a college arm, it would make sense for the Cubs for the Cubs to select a high school pitcher here. But with Poteet off the board, there is no high school pitcher with the type of upside that the Cubs want here. The top two available prep pitchers at this point are Mitchell Traver and Taylore Cherry, neither of which has any sort of projectability. So the Cubs will go college once again here, but they won’t go with your average college hurler.
Georgia redshirt-sophomore Alex Wood has persevered through more setbacks that your average college pitching prospect. After suffering an elbow injury that led to Tommy John Surgery, Wood pitched in just 1 game as he redshirted his freshman season at Georgia. But he was healthy enough that summer to impress in the New England Collegiate League and was able to stay healthy enough to toss over 100 innings in 2011. This past season, Wood still was inconsistent, stemming from his surgery. But he has shown flashes of being one of the best pitchers in this year’s collegiate class. Wood, a 6’4″, 215 lefty, showed flashes of a fastball in the mid-90′s with plus vertical and horizontal movement, and his mid-80′s changeup has also shown inklings of being a plus pitch. Wood’s most consistent secondary pitch is a plus high-70′s curveball with sharp break. Wood has often been able to get by even when he hasn’t had his best stuff thanks to an exceptionally deceptive delivery, albeit one that may have a little too much effort for teams’ liking, and exemplary control. If Wood can keep himself and his arsenal of pitches together, he could have ace upside. Alex Wood’s injury history and inconsistency scare teams away. But he has outstanding upside and he’s worth a shot at this point in the draft. The Cubs won’t be afraid to pull the trigger.
The Pick: Alex Wood, LHP, University of Georgia
68th Overall: San Diego Padres
The Padres filled their need with their first couple of picks in this mock draft and are going for pure upside at this point. A player who fits that criteria is Alex Bregman (who I’ve talked about previously here).
Bregman, who attends Albuquerque Academy, a high school in New Mexico, was born to play baseball. He’s undersized at 5’11″, 185, but he has an excellent package of tools. He has a short swing that he uses to hit line drives to all fields, and he excels at working the count. When he’s ahead in the count, a common occurrence, he likes to lengthen his swing and hit for more power. Bregman could be a .300 hitter with a nice OBP in the big leagues, and he also could have 15-20 homer power.
You’ve probably noticed by now that I still haven’t listed a position for Bregman. That’s because he plays two positions in high school thsat are rarely associated with one another: shortstop and catcher. Bregman has solid speed, above-average for a catcher but well below-average for a shortstop, and although he does have quick reflexes, there’s no way he’ll stick at short. He may be an option to play second base, however. Bregman moves very well behind the plate, but his arm is much more like a second baseman’s arm than a catcher’s and he’ll never be a player who can throw out more than an average rate of attempted basestealers. A positive for Bregman is that all of his tools play up because of his leadership and enthusiasm. Bregman profiles best as a second baseman, but his bat would be something special for a catcher if he can stick there and I would expect whichever team drafts him to give him a shot at the catcher position. Bregman has nice overall upside and he’s a very intriguing prospect moving forward.
The Pick: Alex Bregman, C/MI, Albuquerque Academy, NM
69th Overall: Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates have never been a very aggressive team in the draft, but in the mock they’ve already taken two high-upside prep infielders in Gavin Cecchini and Daniel Robertson. A third prep infielder makes no sense, but they could go high school once again with a catcher, a position that they have gone for in recent drafts and failed. They hope their next catching selection won’t be as bad. Two players for the Pirates to consider here are Clint Coulter and Wyatt Mathisen.
Coulter is a powerful 6’3″ and 200 pounds, and he takes advantage of his strength in the batter’s box, hitting for nice power including some to the opposite field. Coulter’s bat speed isn’t elite and he gets most of his power from his strength. He swings and misses quite often, although his power offsets that somewhat. Coulter does have nice patience at the plate and waits for good pitches for him to drive. Coulter projects to hit for a decent average with 20-25 homer power and a solid OBP. That’s still impressive for a catcher. Defensively, Coulter has a very strong arm and he moves well behind the plate, but he needs more reps to be more fluid in his motions, especially in his transfers from glove to hand on stolen base attempts. Nevertheless, he could be at least a solid defensive catcher in time, possibly better. Coulter is a nice all-around catching prospect with power potential and an enticing player for teams to select at this point in the draft.
Mathisen is another big guy at 6’2″, 215, although he’s a completely different player than Coulter other than the fact that they both play catcher. Mathisen generates nice bat speed with a compact swing and excels at making contact. He almost makes too much contact at this point, leading to too many pop-ups and only flashes of his nice raw power. Mathisen does have an excellent knowledge of the strike zone, but he needs to understand that it’s worth it to take pitches that are strikes sometimes if you can’t do anything with them. Mathisen has shown nice tools at the plate, but he needs to more consistently showcase them. Defensively, Mathisen has shown nice ability defensively, but he hasn’t been playing the catcher position very often because his high school team has needed him elsewhere (including at starting pitcher). Mathisen has shown rust when he’s been behind the plate recently, but at his best he’s fluid in his actions behind the plate with a strong and accurate arm. When he gets more time at the catcher position, he could be a plus defender. Mathisen is somewhat raw on both sides of the plate, but his package of tools both offensively and defensively makes him an intriguing prospect.
I think that Mathisen is really the better prospect, but he just hasn’t gotten enough time at catcher to be higher on the draft boards. Playing other positions has also affected Mathisen at the plate. Coulter’s power potential is nice, but Mathisen’s power is not that far behind and he is a lucidly better pure hitter. Coulter is a very nice prospect who we will see selected later in this mock draft, but Mathisen is the better player and he has the clear ability to be a plus catcher on both sides of the ball.
The Pick: Wyatt Mathisen, C/SP, Callalen High School, Texas
70th Overall: San Diego Padres (Compensation for Heath Bell)
With their 6th and final pick before the third round, the Padres get to continue bolstering their farm system. The Padres like drafting college players in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and although their last two picks in this mock were prep prospects, they’ll get back to the normal strategy here by selecting a college player but one beaming with upside in St. Mary’s (California) third baseman Patrick Wisdom.
Wisdom, 6’2″ and 210 pounds, has excellent bat speed and hits to all fields with nice power that he’s just beginning to harness. He swings and misses too much and he struggles sometimes at making the type of hard contact he should be making with his swing, but he has really improved his patience and could be a good OBP guy. Defensively, Wisdom has a plus-plus arm at third base and the athleticism needed to stay there. Wisdom doesn’t have any projection left, but as he takes control of his power tool and keeps improving his pitch recognition so he can consistently hit the ball harder, he could turn into an awfully good player. Even though the Padres have a couple of quality third basemen in Chase Headley in the majors and Jedd Gyorko heading to Triple-A in 2012, Wisdom is too good for them to pass up.
The Pick: Patrick Wisdom, 3B, St. Mary’s College of California
The Mets are rebuilding. But with this pick they’re getting as compensation for Reyes, they want to make a statement. A player who could do that is big 6’7″, 245 prep right-hander Mitchell Traver.
Traver’s enormous frame both makes him a great prospect but is also to his detriment. Traver is a poor athlete and he almost has negative projection as he’ll have to work hard to keep his weight under control. Traver’s height helps him get a tremendous downward plane on his pitches, which are a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a curveball, and a changeup. Traver’s fastball ranges from 88-94 MPH, and he settles in primarily in the low-90′s with little chance to get much higher. Traver gets nice late movement down and away from right-handed batters when he takes a little off his fastball to turn it into his sinker. Traver’s curveball has flashed plus with 11 to 5 break, but it also gets loopy at times. His changueup is decent at this point. Traver is a wild card in that his size and his best stuff have the ability to make him a topflight pitcher but his weight issues and inconsistency in his pitches put everything in question for him. Those questions are what dropped him to this point in this mock draft. But he has incredible upside and the Mets are the type of team that would give him a shot with their third selection in the draft.
The Pick: Mitchell Traver, RHP, Houston Christian High School, TX
72nd Overall: Minnesota Twins (Compensation for Michael Cuddyer)
The Twins have some nice upside in their system, with the big exception entering the draft being pitching. But after selecting the trio of Mark Appel, Matt Smoral, and Nick Travieso earlier in this mock draft and then filling a more minor need with high-upside prep outfielder Rhett Wiseman the Twins have some leeway here and just need players with the upside to turn their team around. A player who fits that profile is Austin Dean.
Dean is probably best known for being C.J. Hinojosa’s teammate at Klein Collins High School in Texas, but he’s an excellent prospect in his own right. Dean, 6’1″ and 185 pounds, hasn’t found a defensive home yet, but he has shown tons of potential offensively. He shows nice bat speed with a swing that he uses to hit hard line drives to all fields. Although he hits mostly from gap to gap at this point, he has above-average raw power and could be a 20 homer threat eventually. Dean isn’t fast, but like Hinojosa, he hustles out every play and he also has good instincts on the basepaths. Dean has solid arm strength and good reflexes, and he could profile at second base, third base, and left field. We’ll have to see where he ends of defensively, or he could end up as a Ben Zobrist or Mark DeRosa-type utility guy (if a team like the Rays drafted him, that’s definitely what they would do). Dean has good offensive upside and a good attitude, and he’s a worthwhile player for the Twins to draft.
The Pick: Austin Dean, UTIL, Klein Collins High School, TX
73rd Overall: Colorado Rockies
The Rockies made the big Ubaldo Jimenez trade at the 2011 Trade Deadline, acquiring a package headlined by topflight pitching prospects Alex White and Drew Pomeranz. But you can never have too many pitching prospects and it makes sense for the Rockies to go for a pitcher with upside here.
Ty Buttrey is a projectable 6’5″, 205 prep right-hander who has shown flashes of greatness but also a ton of inconsistency. Buttrey gets a nice downward plane on his pitches thanks to his height, and he has started to harness his fastball’s velocity at it sits in the low-90′s and touches as high as 96. He has shown flashes of great movement, but it he has also flattened out at times. His curveball has shown sharp 12-to-6 break at times, but at other times it’s more slurvy and ineffective. He has also started throwing a low-80′s changeup, but that remains a considerably below-average pitch at this point . Buttrey has significant projection and has shown flashes with his fastball and curveball, and he although he has significant risk, the potential return is worth it. (Buttrey is a player whose velocity recently jumped and really improved his curveball, and if he can sustain that, he’ll be a significant riser in this year’s draft. I’m not ready to count him as a known quantity yet, which is why I have him selected here, but if he keeps this going it will be interesting to see where he goes.)
The Pick: Ty Buttrey, RHP, Providence High School, NC
74th Overall: Oakland Athletics
The A’s will select college players all day if they can and that’s what they’ll do here. After going with three college infielders with their first three picks and then college pitcher Nolan Sanburn earlier in the second round, it makes sense for them to draft an outfielder here.
St. John’s outfielder Jeremy Baltz is a very polished hitter. 6’3″ and 205 pounds, Baltz has a compact stroke with above-average power to all fields. He makes a nice amount of contact and also features nice plate discipline and pitch recognition. Baltz could be the type of player who could post a .280/.360/.430 line with 15 home runs and a lot of doubles. However, Baltz lacks athleticism and is limited to left field or first base. His bat will have to carry him as a prospect, but it’s good enough to do so. In an organization that needs bats, Baltz can help matters.
The Pick: Jeremy Baltz, OF, St. John’s University
75th Overall: New York Mets
After selecting three high school players so far in this mock draft, the Mets will finally go with a college player here, albeit one with upside in Georgia Tech outfielder Brandon Thomas. Thomas, 6’3″ and 205 pounds, flashes 5-tool potential but not nearly enough consistency. Thomas has elite speed and also generates outstanding bat speed with some power from sides of the plate as a switch-hitter, but he struggles with plate discipline and at making contact. In centerfield, he glides smoothly and has an average arm. If Thomas can figure out how to make contact and improve his pitch recognition, he could be a special player, but he’s a long way from that. Nevertheless, he’s a project worth taking for a team like the Mets.
The Pick: Brandon Thomas, OF, Georgia Tech University
76th Overall: Chicago White Sox
The White Sox going for upside? Unheard of. The White Sox have always been a very conservative team in the draft. But if they want to get back to contending, that’s going to have to change. Anticipating that, I had the White Sox selecting high school right-hander Walker Weickel in the first round of the draft, although with their supplemental first round pick, they would likely select one of their usual types of picks, and I had them selecting Andrew Hearney, a lefty starter who will zoom through the minors. Here, it makes sense for the White Sox to go for upside again. They have little upside at the positions of shortstop, second base, and third base in their system at this point (although it remains to be seen whether Gordon Beckham can turn things around in the big leagues and what kind of player Brent Morel will be), and it makes sense for them to get an upside infielder here.
Jesmuel Valentin Diaz is an undersized player at 5’11″, 180 coming out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. But he compensates for his size with his impressive package of tools. A switch-hitter, Valentin is slightly better from his natural right side, but he shows a nice compact swing from both sides with some power. He needs work on his patience and pitch recognition, but he could be a .280 hitter with 10-15 home runs. Defensively, Valentin Diaz has primarily played second base in deference to first round pick Carlos Correa, and he may be a better fit there than at shortstop. Valentin Diaz has just average speed, well below-average at shortstop, although he has nice quick-twitch reflexes and a strong arm, making him possibly an above-average defensive second baseman and also an option for third base. Valentin Diaz’s combination of a small stature and a lack of speed dropped him to this point in the draft, but he has nice ability and could be a vital part of the White Sox’ rebuilding process.
The Pick: Jesmuel Valentin Diaz, MI, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
77th Overall: Cincinnati Reds
The Reds are heading into win-now mode and although they’re going to still draft the players they deem the best available, they won’t scoff at drafting a player with a little less upside who could help their major league team soon. The clear best player left on the board is Costal Carolina right-hander Josh Conway, and he’s a player who could help out in Cincy by 2014.
Conway is a projectable 6’1″, 175 right-hander who has the repertoire and the polish to zoom through the minors. His fastball ranges from 88-93 MPH at this point, and it should be consistently in the 90′s once he bulks up, and it has some nice late movement down and away from right-handed batters. His best secondary pitch is a mid-80′s slider that flashes plus and is consistency at least slightly above-average, and he also throws a mid-80′s changeup with nice movement, although it would be more effective if he could get more of a velocity separation between his changeup and fastball. Conway locates all three of his pitches extremely well on both sides of the plate and isn’t afraid to challenge hitters. Conway needs to fill out his frame and has other minor issues to deal with, but he’s an extremely polished pitcher who could a number three starter in the big leagues very soon and possibly a number two if he can improve his secondary pitches.
The Pick: Josh Conway, RHP, Coastal Carolina University
78th Overall: Cleveland Indians
The Indians have experienced fits with their outfielders going down specifically Grady Sizemore and this past season Shin-Soo Choo, and they really need some outfield depth in the minors. A player who fits and has the upside of an above-average outfield starter is Texas Tech outfielder Barrett Barnes.
Barnes, an athletic 6’2″, 210, has a nice combination of great bat speed and strength at the plate, and he hits for above-average power to all fields, although he has has experienced some problems making contact, especially against breaking balls. Barnes is a patient hitter at the plate with an excellent eye that helps offset some of his contact problems. Barnes has slightly above-average speed, which could give him enough range to stay centerfield, and he also has a nice arm, but he may best suited in a corner outfield spot. Barnes has work to do in terms of making contact and his lack of blazing speed could limit him to an outfield corner and make him a bit of a tweener because his power is good but not elite and he won’t hit for a high average. Nevertheless, he has a nice package of ability and if he can recognize breaking balls better and fix his contact problems, he could be a nice major league player.
The Pick: Barrett Barnes, OF, Texas Tech University
79th Overall: Washington Nationals
The Nationals have seemingly been rebuilding forever, but the wait is over. They have a nice team for the 2012 season, and they could be legitimate contenders in the NL East in 2013. With that in mind, it makes sense for them to go with players who could help their big league club soon. One area where the Nationals could improve is in their bullpen, and a late-innings relief prospect is a worthwhile pick here.
Lex Rutledge, a 6’2″, 205 lefty reliever out of Samford, features a deceptive delivery but stands out much more for his stuff. His fastball in the low-90′s features nice down and in movement to right-handed batters and he compliments it with a sharp, late-breaking slider. Hitters have not figured out how to hit Rutledge at all, but he needs to work on his control. Part of his control problems step from the great movement on his pitches, and also inconsistent release points are a trade-off for the deception his delivery creates. If Rutledge can his control right, he could definitely be a high-leverage late-inning reliever in the big leagues. Placing him together with Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard at the back end of the Nats bullpen would be scary.
The Pick: Lex Rutledge, LHP, Samford University
80th Overall: Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays will continue drafting for upside. We saw them go a little more conservative with two of their five picks among the draft’s first 60, but they’ll get back to pure upside here. A player who fits that profile well is prep first baseman Keon Barnum.
Barnum is a physical specimen at 6’4″ and 225 pounds, and he has big-time raw power. He generates great bat speed and absolutely murders pitches on the inner half of the strike zone, but he tends to swing and miss way too much when pitches aren’t in his wheel house. Barnum has incredible power, but the question will be whether he can make enough contact to hit for a solid average and be an above-average big league first baseman. Barnum has an excellent arm that is completely inconsequential at first base, and he moves well enough to be a solid defender at first. Barnum may be a project, but his power makes him worth it.
The Pick: Keon Barnum, 1B, King High School, FL
81st Overall: Los Angeles Dodgers
It took a while, but we finally arrived at a team with a need at the catcher position that will select the aforementioned Clint Coulter. To paraphrase what I said back at the 69th Overall Pick (check back there), Coulter is a nice all-around catching prospect who especially stands out for his raw power. In a Dodgers system where they have depth but negligible upside at the catcher position, Coulter would be a huge lift.
The Pick: Clint Coulter, C, Union High School, WA
The Rangers like going for high school players in the early round of the draft, but make exceptions for exceptional college players. Pat Light would be an interesting player for them to select.
Light, a 6’5″, 210 right-hander out of Monmouth University, ranges in the low-90′s and hits 97 MPH with his fastball with a nice downward angle, which features run away from righty batters. He mixes in a sinker right around 90 MPH with more movement. Light has occasionally flashed plus with a slider, but the pitch has remained extremely inconsistent, and it’s the same story with his changeup. Light’s control and command are solid overall, but he occasionally faces bouts of wildness. If Light can get more all-around consistency with his arsenal, he has excellent upside, but he’s very raw for a college pitcher. Despite his college pedigree, he has the upside the Rangers like and he has number two starter or even ace ability if everything pans out.
The Pick: Pat Light, RHP, Monmouth University
83rd Overall: San Francisco Giants
Drafting for purely need is an idiotic proposition. At this point in the draft, the best available players are pitches. We know that the Giants have no need at the pitcher position, especially after taking Max Fried at 20th overall in this mock draft. But it makes no sense for them to overdraft a position player when pitching prospects always carry considerable risk and if you have too much pitching, you can always make trades. But what defines an overdraft? For this pick, the Giants will have to make a decision between two completely different players. This is going to be a fun comparison.
The Giants love taking polished college pitchers but ones who carry upside as well early in the draft, with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain immediately coming to mind. At 84th Overall, you’re not going to find a pitcher with that combination this late in the draft. But there are still players with considerable upside available, even from the college ranks. Martin Agosta is one of those players. Agosta, a 6’1″, 185 right-hander, has really had an uptick in velocity as he has filled out his frame. Agosta’s fastball topped out at 88 MPH coming out of high school when he was 6’1″, 170, but since filling out his fastball has jumped to 95 MPH with nice late life, and he has also really improved his slider, with features sharp spike break and has flashed plus when he has been able to locate it. Agosta has also begun to throw a changeup. Agosta has excellent control of his fastball and his future upside depends on whether he can get his breaking ball to be consistently plus and develop his changeup. Agosta has considerable risk but also topflight starter upside if he can make the adjustments he needs to make.
Kolby Copeland is a prep outfielder and another player with nice upside. 6’2″ and 195 pounds, Copeland has a smooth line drive swing that he will use to hit for a high average, and he also has slighlty above-average raw power. He has a lot of moving parts in his swing, but he hasn’t encountered any problems as of yet and he looks to be an above-average hitter with 15 homer power. Defensively, Copeland lacks speed, but his excellent arm makes him profile best in right field, where he could be an above-average defender. Copeland has nice all-around upside and he has the advantage of being at a position of need for the Giants.
I can’t see the Giants passing on Agosta. He could be their next great starter, and since the Giants have the pitching depth they could give him all the time he needs to develop.
The Pick: Martin Agosta, RHP, St. Mary’s College of California
84th Overall: Atlanta Braves
The Braves have gone pitching-heavy in recent drafts, selecting a pitcher with their first pick 3 of the past 4 years, and their upper-level pitching depth is rivaled by only the Rays. That doesn’t mean they’ll stop selecting pitchers early in the draft, especially after getting outfielder Travis Jankowski in the first round of this mock draft. A pitcher who encapsulates everything the Braves are looking for in a pitching prospect is Florida right-hander Hudson Randall.
Randall’s coach at Florida compared him to former Braves great Greg Maddox. Maybe that’s a little too kind of a comparison- after all, Maddox did win 354 games and four consecutive NL Cy Young and is a slam-dunk first ballot Hall of Famer in 2013. But one of the reasons that Maddux stood out was for his scintillating command and control including a 1.8 career BB/9 (walk per 9 innings ratio) and a 1.4 BB/9 in the final 16 seasons of his career. Randall has the same type of gift. This past season at Florida, his BB/9 was a ludicrous 0.9, a mark bettered in the major leagues by just 9 pitchers since 1950 (Maddux and Cliff Lee among them). However, he only struck out 5.3 batters per 9 innings as well, although Maddux struck out just 6.1 per 9 during his MLB career. Granted, comparing college numbers to MLB numbers is worthless. But Hudson Randall is definitely worth a look.
Randall comes in at a projectable 6’3″ and 185 pounds but dominates the competition with his unparalleled polish. Randall’s fastball primarily sits in the high-80′s, but it has excellent sink and some late movement away from righty batters, and he has perfected locating it down in the zone. He complements it with a nice high-70′s 11-to-5 curveball and a slider in the low-80′s with sharp late downward break, and he also throws a solid change. Randall could locate his pitches in his sleep and he commands his pitches down in the zone nearly flawlessly, inducing tons of groundballs and preventing home runs despite not such overpowering stuff. His best strikeout pitch at this point is probably his slider, although it will be interesting to see whether he can get his fastball into at least the low-90′s when he fills out. Randall is probably a third or fourth starter candidate unless he gains velocity on his fastball, but he will need very little time in the minors. In all probability, Randall is not the next Greg Maddox. But I don’t think the Braves will risk passing him over with this pick.
The Pick: Hudson Randall, RHP, University of Florida
85th Overall: St. Louis Cardinals
Between compensation for Albert Pujols, Edwin Jackson, and Octavio Dotel, the Cardinals had 5 picks between the first round and the supplemental round. They’ll use those picks both to restock their already good system and to get some players to help soon in the major leagues as they look to contend in life A.P.- after Pujols.
R.J. Alvarez has nasty stuff, and he doesn’t make it any easier for hitters with a deceptive crossfire delivery. Alvarez, 6’1″ and 180 pounds, hits the low to mid-90′s with his fastball in relief with some nice late bite, and he also mixes in a low-80′s breaking ball that has flashed plus. His breaking ball is a true slurve, coming in with slider velocity but at its best, sharp 11-to-5 break like a curveball. His third pitch is a changeup that has shown some promise. Alvarez needs work on control, but hitters can’t figure out his pitches and he has definite late-inning potential. Alvarez could make an already stacked Cards bullpen even better.
The Pick: R.J. Alvarez, RHP, Florida Atlantic University
86th Overall: Boston Red Sox
I will not get enough of the fact that the Red Sox have the 86th overall pick in the draft, just the second time that has happened in their history. Karma much after their 2011 collapse? That aside, the Red Sox will draft for upside with pick and will have to deem which high-upside high schooler is the best available.
I had the Red Sox taking Nick Williams at 31st Overall in this mock draft, but Copeland, who we mentioned above, is an interesting option because of his offensive upside and arm, although he doesn’t profile too well in centerfield. But the Red Sox have a more glaring need at shortstop, a prototypical upside position in and of itself, and two players they’ll consider are prep shortstops Mikey White and Joe Munoz.
White, 6’1″ and 190 pounds, isn’t as athletic as your typical shortstop prospect, but boy can he hit. White has a compact stroke with above-average pull power, which he has utilized to put on some staggering displays of power. White needs work on his patience, but he’s good at making contact and hard contact and looks to be an above-average hitter with 20 homer power. While White has below-average speed and just a tick above-average arm, he has a very quick first step and has very smooth actions, making him a threat to stay at short. More likely though, he’ll have to move to second base, where his defensive tools could make him a nice defender and his offensive ability could make him shine. White is a nice prospect even at second base, but the Red Sox have Dustin Pedroia entrenched there and another good prospect in Sean Coyle coming up, so White has no real advantage over Copeland.
Munoz, a more projectable talent at 6’3″ and 185 pounds, worries scouts with a high leg kick in his swing despite just gap power at this point, although the power may have yet to come. He makes contact consistently and has a good eye at the plate, but doesn’t square up pitches as much as he would like. Munoz needs to learn which pitches to drive and that it’s OK to take a strike if it’s he can’t do anything with. Defensively, Munoz has slightly above-average speed but excellent quickness, which should allow him to stay at shortstop, and although his actions need improvement, he has a very strong arm. Munoz hasn’t really put it together yet as a prospect but he has nice tools and he’s an interesting player moving forward.
I think the Red Sox go with Munoz for the simple reason that he has the best all-around upside of the three, and it’s a bonus that he does that at a position of need for them.
The Pick: Joe Munoz, SS, Los Altos High School, CA
87th Overall: Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are another one of these pure upside teams, and they’ll give a long look to Copeland along with White, but they really have to draft a catcher here. While free-falling Josh Elander of TCU and Peter O’Brien of Miami remain on the board, the Rays would rather go for a high-upside high school talent than a college player here even though they have no clear option at catcher for the next couple of years. A player that’s a very interesting fit for the Rays is C.J. Saylor.
Saylor, just 5’10″ and 180 pounds, is an absolute natural defensively at catcher. He has superlatively smooth actions, even at doing some of the intricate things at the catcher position like blocking balls in the dirt, and he has an extremely quick transfer from glove to hand along with an excellent arm, which will torment potential basestealers. Saylor is easily the best defensive catching prospect in this high school class. At the plate, Saylor has considerably more work to do. He has a solid line drive swing and makes a lot of contact, but that contact isn’t always as good as he would like and he has just gap power. Saylor also doesn’t have very good plate discipline. I think a team on the Rays would bet on Saylor because his glove is just so excellent and he shows some promise offensively. If everything pans out, Saylor is a .300 hitter with a little pop who wins multiple Gold Gloves. The Rays would give a lot for a player like that.
The Pick: C.J. Saylor, C, West Covina High School, CA
88th Overall: Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are a very conservative team in the draft…except for when they have two of the first 7 picks and can get two premium talents. In this case though, the Diamondbacks are picking at the back end of each round and at least in the early-going want to fill their needs with safer picks. One area where they could improve is in the bullpen, and a player that could help in that regard is Louisville right-hander Matt Koch (not to be confused with the catcher of the same name drafted and signed by the Twins in the 11th round of the 2011 draft).
Koch, 6’3″ and 205 pounds, has been able to overpower hitters in a relief role with his low to mid-90′s fastball with some movement down and away and a mid-80′s slider from basically the same arm slot that features a 10 MPH difference with his fastball and sharp late movement. Koch’s changeup has gone nowhere, impeding his development as a starter, but he has excellent control and solid of his top two pitches and those should be enough for him to succeed as a power reliever moving forward.
The Pick: Matt Koch, RHP, Louisville University
89th Overall: New York Yankees (Compensation for unsigned 2011 second rounder Sam Stafford)
The Yankees love going for upside, and this pick will be no exception. A good fit is a player we keep mentioning, prep outfielder Kolby Copeland (look back to 83rd Overall). The Yankees are loaded in the outfield, but they’ll disregard that because of his nice hitting ability and astounding arm strength and because they know that there’s a good chance several of their other top low-minors outfield prospects won’t pan out.
The Pick: Kolby Kopeland, OF, Parkway High School, LA
90th Overall: Detroit Tigers
Thanks to the Prince Fielder signing, the Tigers first pick in the 2012 MLB Draft is all the way down at 90th Overall (granted, the Angels’ first selection isn’t until 113th ). The Tigers will look to get a good value at this point in the draft, and the best player at that point might be another player we already discussed, Mikey White (see 86th Overall). White may not be able to stick at shortstop, but the Tigers have needs at both middle infield spots and White can fill that hole with his nice combination of above-average hitting ability and nice defensive motions. He could immediately slot as the Tigers’ second baseman of the future.
The Pick: Mikey White, MI, Spain Park High School, AL
91st Overall: Milwaukee Brewers
After three picks in a 12-pick span in the late first round and early supplemental round, this is the Brewers’ first pick since 38th overall. Two of those first three pick by the Brewers were high school products, but the Brewers haven’t yet gone for a prep pitcher, and that’s what they’ll do with this pick.
Teddy Stankiewicz is a projectable right-hander at 6’4″, 200 and has already shown some impressive stuff. He works primarily in the 88 to 91 MPH range with his fastball, but at its best the pitch has natural late cutting action which induces tons of swings and misses. In an anomaly for a high school pitcher, Stankiewicz best secondary pitch is a mid-80′s changeup with more horizontal movement away from righties than his fastball along with good sink, and he also mixes in a spike breaking ball that he’ll look to improve. Stankiewicz’s arsenal plays up thanks to deceptive delivery but one he repeats consistently to give him nice control and command. As an added bonus, Stankiewicz has seen time at the corner infield positions for his high school team because he has a smooth line drive swing with some power, and he could be an excellent hitting pitcher. Stankiewicz has shown some nice upside but has a lot of room to mature as a pitcher, and with the Brewers possessing excellent upper-levels pitching depth, they’ll be able to give Stankiewicz all the time he needs to develop into the outstanding pitcher he has the potential to be.
The Pick: Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP, Southwest Christian High School, TX
92nd Overall: Texas Rangers
There’s no way the Rangers could pass up Fernelys Sanchez. Sanchez, a projectable power bat at 6’4″, 200, can do it all. A switch-hitter, Sanchez has made such huge strides left-handed that he could end up hitting that way full-time. His swing gets somewhat long at times and he’s prone to swing and miss, but when he connects he hits line drives to all fields with outstanding pull power. He doesn’t have the same type of lift in his swing from the right side. Sanchez, despite his big frame is a burner, having run a 6.27 in the 60 yard dash in the past (think a 4.15 in the 40), and even though he’s slowed down quite a bit (6.59 in the 60) as he has grown into his frame, he still has nice speed with excellent instincts on the basepaths. In centerfield, Sanchez glides thanks to his speed and he has an above-average arm for a centerfielder. If Sanchez can finish refining his left-handed stroke, even if he continues losing speed he could be a special player. He’s exactly the type of upside pick the Rangers will look for every pick.
The Pick: Fernelys Sanchez, OF, Washington High School, NY
93rd Overall: New York Yankees
Stephen Johnson is a very interesting upside player for teams like the Yankees to consider. 6’4″ and 205 pounds, Johnson has flashed dominating stuff in a relief role. His fastball has hit the high-90′s and at its best has dynamic late cut, and he compliments it with a high-70′s slurve that has shown sharp late break. However, Johnson’s fastball has ranged from 91-97 and at times straightens out, his slurve’s movement has been all over the place, and he’s unable to repeat his delivery, leading to control problems. Johnson has closer stuff and it will be up to whichever team drafts him to help him reach his high ceiling. The Yankees are a team that can afford to take on the risk Johnson comes with.
The Pick: Stephen Johnson, RHP, St. Edward’s University (Division II)
94th Overall: Philadelphia Phillies
We close out the second round with the Phillies’ third selection. The Phillies have one of the most variable systems in all of baseball, featuring just about as much upside as anybody but also just as much risk. Sometimes they need to balance out their system with safer players. Or at least go with a hybrid pick. Florida outfielder Preston Tucker qualifies as a hybrid pick.
Tucker, 6’0″ and 215 pounds, is a player whose stock is carried by his bat. Tucker has a high leg kick in his left-handed swing that makes him somewhat inconsistent, but at his best he’s a disciplined line drive hitter with above-average power. He’s good at making contact, although sometimes his timing trails off, leading to weaker contact than he would like, but he is willing to take walks. Defensively, Tucker has below-average speed and just an average arm, making him able to profile only in left field and first base, and the question is whether he’ll hit well enough to be a regular at either position. Tucker’s floor is probably a power-hitting bench bat, certainly better than most of the Phillies’ prospects, and if the team that drafts him can fine-tune his swing he could be a good major league player.
The Pick: Preston Tucker, OF/1B, University of Florida
That finally concludes the second round of our S2S 2012 MLB Mock Draft. A lot is already changing, specifically with Lucas Giolito, the first overall pick in this mock draft, going down with an elbow injury, albeit one that won’t require surgery, but we’re getting an idea of how this draft will play out. I’ll try to finish this mock draft off with the 3rd round next week.
Topics: 2012 Draft, Adam Brett Walker, Alex Bregman, Alex Wood, Austin Dean, Barrett Barnes, Brandon Thomas, C.J. Saylor, Clint Coulter, Cody Poteet, D.J. Davis, Fernelys Sanchez, Hudson Randall, Jeremy Baltz, Jesmuel Valentin Diaz, Joe Munoz, Josh Conway, Keon Barnum, Kolby Copeland, Lex Rutledge, Martin Agosta, Matt Koch, Mikey White, Mitchell Traver, Nick Travieso, Nolan Sanburn, Pat Light, Patrick Wisdom, Preston Tucker, R.J. Alvarez, Stephen Johnson, Teddy Stankiewicz, Ty Buttrey, Wyatt Mathisen, Zach Eflin