The first round of the annual MLB Amateur Draft kicks off Monday night, June 4, at 7 pm eastern. Below, you’ll find a recap of each National League club’s first round picks from the past four years, as well as an overall grade and comments on noticeable trends. I’ve also included some notes and thoughts on the names being linked to each club for the 2012 draft. I looked at the American League teams on Friday.
Atlanta has gone for college arms in the first round recently and could look at college righty Pierce Johnson. College third baseman Stephen Piscotty is another name I’ve heard. There are rumblings that they could be looking at Georgia natives Victor Roache, a college outfielder who would go much higher if he had not been hurt, and Lucas Sims, a prep right-hander. College outfielder Mitch Haniger keeps popping up for Atlanta too but would be an over-draft.
It’s all high school players all the time for the Marlins in the first round. If he’s available for the Marlins at No. 9 then all indications point to the organization being all over Florida prep outfielder Albert Almora, a premium defender with offensive potential.
The Mets went with a prep player last year after focusing on college prospects in recent seasons. I’m hearing mostly prep players with New York, including shortstops Gavin Cecchini and Addison Russell, as well as outfielder David Dahl.
2008: Aaron Crow, RHP, College (Did Not Sign)
2009: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, College
2009: Drew Storen, RHP, College
2010: Bryce Harper, OF, Prep
2011: Anthony Rendon, 3B, College
2011: Alex Meyer, RHP, College
Washington pretty much focuses on college arms in the first round and this will be the organization’s lowest first pick in the draft in quite some time. Look for them to consider right-handers Michael Wacha, Chris Stratton, and Marcus Stroman, as well as lefty Andrew Heaney. Prep 6’7” left-hander Matt Smoral was also linked to the club.
2008: Aaron Hewitt, OF, Prep
2010: Jesse Biddle, LHP, Prep
For the third time in four years Philly will sit out the first round. Chances are they’ll look for an athletic prep player once they join the fun.
St. Louis has two first round picks (19th, 23rd) and typically favor college bats. Expect them to grab one such player (perhaps Stephen Piscotty, Richie Schaffer, or Tyler Naquin) and then roll the dice on a prep hitter (Stryker Trahan, David Dahl, Joey Gallo).
The Reds pick 14th overall and rumors persist that the organization is looking for a fast-moving college starter – similar to Mike Leake from ’09. The organization would likely be ecstatic to get right-hander Michael Wacha and a good consolation prize would be fellow righty Chris Stratton or lefty Andrew Heaney.
2008: Brett Lawrie, 3B/C, Prep
2009: Eric Arnett, RHP, College
2010: Dylan Covey, RHP, Prep (Did Not Sign)
2011: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, College
2011: Jed Bradley, LHP, College
The organization’s best first-round pick from the past four years is now playing a very good third base for the Toronto Blue Jays. Like 2011, though, the organization has two first round picks this year and they’ll come back-to-back at 27 and 28. After taking two college starters last season, the organization may look to take some high-ceiling prep players such as starter Lucas Sims, or catcher Stryker Trahan (if available).
Pittsburgh has selected a number of college players in recent years although the organization has been committed to taking the best available player as witnessed by the selection of the high-risk, high-reward Jameson Taillon in 2010. The Pirates’ eighth overall selection in 2012 could cause havoc with the teams picking directly behind them if they don’t take college shortstop Deven Marrero as expected. Recent rumors have them looking at prep left-hander Max Fried.
I am really excited to see what Houston will do with their first overall selection in 2012 now that the organization has some outstanding leadership and a clear direction. They’re said to be undecided but really can’t go wrong with college starter Mark Appel, prep outfielder Byron Buxton or Puerto Rican high schooler Carlos Correa. For what it’s worth, I would definitely take Correa.
Speaking of organizations under strong leadership, the Cubs pick sixth overall and stand to acquire a very talented prospect. They may have the opportunity to acquire either Carlos Correa or prep outfielder Albert Almora. If either player gets to them, Chicago fans should dance in the streets. Prep pitcher Max Fried would be another great pick here.
2008: Daniel Schlereth, LHP, College
2009: Bobby Borchering, 3B/OF, Prep
2009: A.J. Pollock, OF, College
2010: Barret Loux, RHP, College (Did Not Sign)
2011: Trevor Bauer, RHP, College
2011: Archie Bradley, RHP, Prep
Arizona scored huge with the acquisitions of both Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley in 2011 – but the organization had two high picks. The club only has one pick in the first round this year and it comes with the 26th overall selection so it’s hard to know what will be available late in the round. Because the organization has so much pitching depth a bat would make sense here if they like the pool of players available. Athletic outfielder Lewis Brinson could be an interesting option, if available.
San Diego Padres
2008: Allan Dykstra, 1B, College
2009: Donavan Tate, OF, Prep
2010: Karsten Whitson, RHP, Prep (Did Not Sign)
2011: Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Junior College
2011: Joe Ross, RHP, Prep
San Diego has had a lot of bad luck with first round selections in recent years but their luck has to turn around at some point, right? Picking seventh overall the organization will likely have a shot at high-ceiling prep players such as Carlos Correa, Albert Amora, or Max Fried, and possibly a college arm like Michael Wacha, or Kyle Zimmer. Maybe they’ll jump at injured prep right-hander Lucas Giolito who has first-overall-type talent if healthy.
The Giants have favored college hitters in recent years when it comes to their first selection but they’ve also had some well-documented successes with prep pitchers. After a couple of “meh” selections in the past two years perhaps they’ll look to make a big splash with a high-ceiling arm. Names being tossed around with this pick include prep pitchers Nick Travieso, Lucas Sims, Ty Hensley, and Zach Eflin.
Colorado will be picking 10th overall and they’ve stuck to the college route in recent years but rumors have them looking at some prep players in 2012, such as outfielders Courtney Hawkins and David Dahl. It doesn’t sound like the club is focused on pitching in the first round.
The Dodgers tend to go for pitching in the first round. Everyone is predicting prep hurler Ty Hensley. I heard a juicy tidbit suggesting the club could be looking at Joey Gallo as a hard-throwing pitcher; he’s a two-way prep player favored as a hitter by most clubs due to his plus raw power.