Mock Draft 4.0 (March 28th, 2012)

Plenty has gone wrong–I mean, happened–since the last mock draft.

For starters, two of the drafts big names have been struck by massive injuries. Prep pitcher Lucas Giolito (Harvard-Westlake HS) sprained a ligament in his elbow and will miss the remainder of the season. Likewise, Georgia Southern slugger Victor Roache, who led all of college baseball with 30 home runs last season, broke his wrist. He too will likely miss the rest of the Eagles 2010 campaign.

Due to their immense talent, however, both players won’t slide too far. Both still garner first-round consideration.

Less than three months from draft day, let’s take a look at who the major players will be.

He may not be the lock that Harper was in 2010, but Appel will likely end up an Astro

1) Houston Astros- Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

The Astros are coming off their worst season ever, and need to make a splash. Appel has frontline potential and a decent bit of projection left.

2) Minnesota Twins- Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francico

The Twins have never been one for the splashy pick. Zimmer is a safe choice, and fits their bill as a control pitcher, but offers significant upside and great velocity.

3) Seattle Mariners- Mike Zunino, C, Florida

Yes, the M’s just dealt for Jesus Montero, but he’s no catcher. Having both their bats in the same lineup makes Seattle very dangerous. Rumor has it they’re also drooling over Buxton.

4) Baltimore Orioles- Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS (GA)

The O’s need position talent more than any other organization, and their last dip into Georgia (Nick Markakis) turned out alright. They recently worked Buxton out.

5) Kansas City Royals- Lance McCullers Jr., RHP, Jesuit Prep (FL)

It’s hard not to love McCullers’ arm. The Royals have shown a knack for developing recently drafted pitchers, and the Florida flamethrower would be a nice catch.

Giolito's injury may cause him to fall on draft day, but Theo Epstein is too savvy to pass him up at pick six

6) Chicago Cubs- Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)

Theo Epstein doesn’t scare easily, so there’s no hesitation regarding Giolito’s elbow injury. Right-handef has the highest ceiling of any 2012 pick, and has drawn comparisons to Jameson Taillon.

7) San Diego Padres- Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU

The Dodgers tried to sign Gausman in 2010. He would be a perfect fit for their division rivals two years later. Potential frontline starter who is really blossoming in 2012.

8) Pittsburgh Pirates- David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain HS (AL)

The Pirates have so dramatically improved their farm system, that they can afford to take a flier on Dahl, who may benefit from a lowel level of competition.

9) Miami Marlins- Walker Weickel, RHP, Olympia HS (FL)

The Marlins went with a hometown kid (Jose Fernandez) last year, and could benefit from playing that card again. Weickel has frontline stuff and a great pitcher’s frame.

10) Colorado Rockies- Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy (FL)

The Rockies have shown their affinity for SS, making Deven Marrero an obvious option, but Almora’s bat is significantly better.

11) Oakland Athletics- Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern

Roache is exactly the kind of player that the A’s covet. Big time power, great on-base abilities, limited defensive ability. A match made in OBP heaven.

The Mets need a polished shortstop badly; Marrero is just that, and there's a realistic possibility that he could slip to them at 12

12) New York Mets- Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State

The Mets have no true successor to Jose Reyes at shortstop. Despite the questions about his bat, Marrero should be quick to the Majors, thanks to his defensive polish.

13) Chicago White Sox- Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M

The White Sox lack any true elite prospect, so it makes sense to go after the only top notch arm left on the board.

14) Cincinnati Reds- Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)

Fried should challenge to be the top lefty off the board. He’ll benefit from the extra attention now that Giolito is on the shelf.

15) Cleveland Indians- Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida

The Indians did pretty well with their last dip into the SEC, although Drew Pomeranz (Ole Miss) is no longer a part of the organization. Johnson has frontline stuff.

16) Washington Nationals- Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS (FL)

Russell isn’t without his holes, but he has arguably the best power of any middle infielder in the draft.

Long considered the top shortstop prospect from the high school class, Cecchini shouldn't last past the first-round

17) Toronto Blue Jays- Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe HS (LA)

Months ago, it would have seemed unfathomable that Cecchini could drop this far, but you can’t blame him. He’s an incredible defensive SS.

18) Los Angeles Dodgers- Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford

LA’s system is weak on corner infielders. Piscotty has a solid balance of hitting ability, power, an dplate discipline.

19) St. Louis Cardinals (for Pujols)- Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke

The Cards have always valued college prospects and have emphasized pitching in the early rounds. Stroman has great velocity and a vast ceiling.
The Cards have alwaya favored

20) San Francisco Giants- Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo HS (CA)

The Giants are familiar with Virant, who plays a few hours south of San Fran. He’s a very projectable lefty who his a considerable ceiling.

21) Atlanta Braves- Travis Jankowski, OF, Stony Brook

The Braves have been searching for a franchise centerfielder for years. The fact that the speedy Jankowski can hit atop the lineup is an added bonus.

22) Toronto Blue Jays (for Beede)- Chris Beck, RHP, Georgia Southern

Once touted as a top-five selection, Beck isn’t having a great season, so the Jays, who have been incredibly savvy drafters the past few years, could get a real steal with their unprotected pick.

23) St. Louis Cardinals- Matt Smoral, LHP, Solon HS (OH)

Aside from Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, the Cards are short on top-notch pitching talent. Smoral has the talent, he’ll just take a few more years in the minors.

Correa would give the Sox a power bat they currently lack on the left-side of the infield.

24) Boston Red Sox- Carlos Correa, SS/3B, Puerto Rican Baseball Academy

Jose Iglesias is a superb defender, but his bat lacks juice. The same can’t be said of Correa, who has drawn comparisons to Manny Machado. He might have to move to third, where he’d be a suitable replacement for Kevin Youkilis.

25) Tampa Bay Rays- Courtney Hawkins, OF/RHP, Carroll HS (TX)

The top player on one of the country’s top teams. A legit first-rounder as a position player and pitcher. Great raw power and incredible arm. The Rays are one of the few teams who can afford to draft him now, decide what to do with him later.

26) Arizona Diamondbacks- Stryker Trahan, C, Acadiana HS (LA)

Few scouts have ever seen a catcher with Trahan’s tools. His speed, combined with his defensive prowess will make him a day-one pick. Toss in the fact that he’s shown a quick bat and he’ll get popped in the first-round.

27) Milwaukee Brewers (for Fielder)- Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Stanford

A senior, Mooneyham has no leverage, which benefits Milwaukee whose pick here is unprotected. After missing all of 2011, the lefty has looked strong early.

28) Milwaukee Brewers- Richie Shaffer, 1B, Clemson

The Brewers have several in-house candidates to replace Prince Fielder, although none have the plate discipline of Shaffer.

29) Texas Rangers- Mitchell Traver, RHP, Houston Christian HS (TX)

Traver is the prototypical Texas fireballer that Nolan Ryan lies awake dreaming of. He might have best velocity in this class, and he’s still pretty raw.

O'Brien has emerged as the top hitting catcher NOT named Mike Zunino.

30) New York Yankees- Peter O’Brien, C, Miami

O’Brien spurned the Rockies in last year’s draft in favor of playing his senior season at UM. He’s been the team’s best hitter and has proven himself against top-notch competition in the ACC.

31) Boston Red Sox (for Papelbon)- C.J. Hinojosa, SS, Klein Collins HS (TX)

Why not load up on two shortstops if you’re Boston? Hinojosa has a bat that produces an ungodly amount of extra-base hits and he’s no slouch in the field either. Between him and Correa the Sox will have a killer left-side of the infield.


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