2012 MLB Draft Update

A lot has happened since my last draft preview. When my article was published, the draft looked like it would favor the Mariners. At the time, the first two picks in the draft were expected to be Stanford pitcher Mark Appel and high school flame thrower, Lucas Giolito. This arrangement would have catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Byron Buxton on the board for the Mariners, both of whom would have been an excellent fit for this organization.

However, since then, Giolito sprained his UCL and Appel has shown inconsistency this spring. As a result, both of their draft stocks have fallen. According to Baseball America, the first two picks of the draft will now be Zunino and Buxton, leaving the Mariners in a tough situation.

Here is what the draft will look like if Zunino and Buxton are taken with the first two picks. The Mariners will be faced with the decision of adding yet another arm to the pitcher-loaded farm system, or reaching a few picks up for a necessary position player.

Between names like, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Forrest Snow, Carter Capps, Erasmo Ramirez, Stephen Pryor, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan, and Chance Ruffin, the Mariners don’t have much of a need for another young pitcher. If they do choose to pick one, there will be many options available. One of these is the previously projected first pick, Mark Appel who brings a plus fastball and two good offspeeds. However, Appel’s fastball has not shown the tail in the spring that it has previously, leading to a slightly disappointing college season thus far.

Other pitching options include Kevin Gausman, Max Fried, Lance Mccullers, and Lucas Giolito. If Giolito can show that he has mostly recovered from his injury, I might like to see the Mariners take him if he is on the board at the third pick. Despite the elbow problems this spring, Giolito’s 6’6” frame, mid-upper 90’s fastball, devastating power curve, and excellent changeup could be worth the risk. Considering the impressive pitching depth in the Mariner organization, this is an ideal year to take a chance on a high risk, high reward type guy like Giolito. The last time the M’s gambled on a pitcher was Taijuan Walker, and it appears that that choice will pay dividends. While you never want to squander a high pick, if there is a year to take a big risk on a big time talent, this is the year. That being said, we saw the Mariners shy away from a big prospect battling the injury bug when they passed on third baseman Anthony Rendon in last year’s draft. Only time will tell if they demonstrate the same type of cautiousness this year.

If the Mariners don’t want a pitcher, there are a limited amount of position players that are worthy of a top 10 pick. Just as luck would have it for the Mariners, a majority of the better position players in the draft after Zunino and Buxton are shortstops. Deven Marrero, Gavin Cecchini, and Puerto Rico native Carlos Correa are all upper first round picks at shortstop. Since the Mariners are loaded at this position with Franklin, Miller, and Trunifel, don’t expect the M’s to take any of these guys.

There are a couple of outfield options as well in David Dahl and Albert Almora. However, both of these guys have hovered in the early teens in draft projections, so the Mariners would need to see something that would justify picking one of them ten spots ahead of their expected value.

If Zunino and Buxton are gone before the Mariners pick, this could be a pretty unproductive draft for Seattle. If nothing else, they can use their draft pick as trade bait down the road. I would encourage all of you to start rooting for Mark Appel, because a good remainder of the season for him would probably result in him being taken in the first two picks which would mean that either Buxton or Zunino would be available when the Mariners take their pick.

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Tags: 2012 MLB Draft Albert Almora Byron Buxton Carlos Correa David Dahl Deven Marrero Gavin Cecchini Kevin Gausman Lance McCullers Lucas Giolito Mark Appel Max Fried Mike Zunino

  • maqman

    Chris Crawford has Buxton-1, Zimmer-2 and Zunino-3 to us.  I hope he’s right as Zunino is looking pretty good and should move up through the system at speed.  His triple slash is at .408/.465/.803 with 10BB and 12SO.  Mark Appel’s last start: 9 IP: 10 H, 1 ER, 2 BB’s, 13 K’s – the trouble is he threw 149 pitches through nine innings.  His arm will be shredded before he hits The Show.  I’d rather take a chance on Lucas Giolito before Appel.

  • JCondreay

     @maqman You can either look at Appel throwing 149 pitches as encouraging because it proves his stamina, or scary because Stanford is burning out his arm. The funny thing is that they lost on 4 unearned runs. The Stanford defense is a joke, even Piscotty made a few errors last nigh. Zimmer has come out of left field (or San Francisco in this case). I’m not sure what to make of him yet. I do know that I would love to have zunino behind the plate with Montero at DH in four years.

  • plowshare123

    Giolito is 17yo and has a slight sprain. He’s still the best talent this draft has to offer.

  • maqman

     @JCondreay I don’t think it will take four years for Zunino to make The Show, more like two.

  • JCondreay

     @maqman Zunino might be able to make it that fast, but I would like to see him take his time. I don’t like rushing catchers because of the physical maturity required to be an everyday catcher. If we spend a first round pick on a catcher, I want to see them handle him pretty delicately since he is going from a 60 game college season to a +100 game minor league season depending on the level

  • Mariner_Melee

    I’m honestly hoping the Mariners take an offensive talent this draft. Joel, who is the biggest power threat in the draft this year?

  • JCondreay

     @Mariner_Melee Off the top of my head, I would say that the biggest raw power source is Victor Voache, a JC outfielder from Georgia. He was a potential top 10 pick until he broke his wrist earlier this spring. Recovery pending, he has fallen to late first round to early second round so it wouldn’t make too much sense to draft him, especially since he is right handed. 
    Also note Joey Gallo, a highschool corner infielder who also has alot of pop from the left side of the plate. He is projected to go in the late teens so he would be a reach for Seattle as well, but you never know. 
    Zunino probably has the best pop in the bottom half of the first round.

  • maqman

     @JCondreay  @Mariner_Melee I think Zunino will be long gone  before the bottom half of the first round.  Baring injury or an unexpected loss of form he’s top 5 material.

  • JCondreay

     @maqman  @Mariner_Melee You are right, I said bottom half of the first round thinking of the first 15 picks since they have the lowest numbers. my bad. Yes, I would be shocked if Zunino gets past the Mariners. His demand has been raised considerably due to the lack of catchers, or even position players, that are top 10 quality.

  • TPC

    I have a feeling that Buxton and Zunino will be 1-1, 1-2 because none of the pitchers are a sure number 1 starter except the injured Giolito was talked about that way before his injury. JZ just has to take who he believes is the next best and if it is a pitcher, so be it. Just have to accept it and move on just like the damn perfect game thrown against us. 

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