It’s the 2012 MLB Draft, and though the Toronto Blue Jays don’t pick until number seventeen, there will still be a lot to talk about– most likely a critique of the MLB Network’s coverage, which really kicked off with a shitacular Theory of a NickelCreedback honk of an opening montage– so I’ll be here making pithy remarks all night.
There’s a live chat at Getting Blanked, where Parkes and company will be chatting along with the broadcast, and incorporating tweets from draft gurus like Jim Callis, Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein. After trying it out a bit, I’ve decided to leave it with the link, rather than providing the window for it over here. I’ll be making my comments below the jump, including updating the picks as they happen… because… I’m sure it will be impossible for you to find that information anywhere.
Let me know if you find the formatting irritating and I’ll be happy to change stuff around to make it a better experience for everyone.
7:11 PM: Pretty sure I heard this was going to start at 7. Bring on the Astros!
7:18 PM: The Houston Astros take Carlos Correa, SS from Puerto Rice. (1)
7:19 PM: Welp… so much for, y’know, every fucking mock draft. Now things get interesting…
7:26 PM: The Minnesota Twins take Byron Buxton, HS OF from Georgia. (2)
7:29 PM: Seriously, a half hour in and we’ve heard two picks? That’s it?!? Good lord.
7:31 PM: The Seattle Mariners take Mike Zunino, C from Florida. (3)
7:34 PM: I’m going to add some real content here soon, just trying not to fall into a coma at the rate these picks are moving.
7:38 PM: The Baltimore Orioles take Kevin Gausman, RHP from LSU. (4)
7:40 PM: Holy shit, wither Mark Appel? I don’t know if this slide is worse than the fact that, inevitably, at some point, I’m going to get his name confused with local music scene guy Mikey Apples, but it’s getting real close. Did any team after this point think he was even going to be there? Madness!
7:44 PM: The Kansas City Royals take Kyle Zimmer, RHP from the University of San Francisco. (5)
7:49 PM: The Chicago Cubs take Albert Almora, HS OF from Florida. (6)
7:51 PM: Almora, I should add, is pick number six. I’ll add that into each line on the selections. I’ll also start peppering in some Jays-relevant stuff from Keith Law’s chat earlier today at ESPN.com, like this:
Jason (St Louis)
Didn’t MLB say they didn’t want teams punting picks to game the new system?
Sort of. They said don’t take bogus prospects. I meant take a decent college senior or a JC kid who’ll sign for half or a quarter of slot – but is still more than just a warm body.
7:55 PM: The San Diego Padres take Max Fried, HS LHP from California. (7)
7:57 PM: Asked if Appel’s slide is based on signability, Keith Law tweets, “All I can say is it’s not about ability or injury.” He is a Boras client, it should be pointed out. The Jays are still ten picks away, so it’s a little premature to start fantasizing about a decision between Appel and Giolito just yet– especially because we really don’t know anything about these guys. Also, the odds are they won’t get there anyway, but… we shall see.
7:59 PM: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweets, “Even if Appel gets drafted now, I’d be surprised if he signed. Kid wants his Stanford degree. All slots from No. 8 onward < $3 million.” The Jays could make it happen by shifting their monies around, obviously, but they can’t do it twice. But if there are two high end guys sliding– Appel and Giolito– I suppose it increases the odds that they’ll get aggressive and go after one. We joked on today’s podcast that the Jays probably didn’t even bother having Byron Buxton on their board. I wonder how much they even looked at Appel…
8:00 PM: Aaaaaaand all that is for naught, because…
8:00 PM: The Pittsburgh Pirates take Mark Appel, RHP from Stanford. (8)
8:01 PM: Somewhere @TheScottLewis is a happy man. Nice pickup by the Pirates– now they just gotta sign him.
8:05 PM: In the Getting Blanked Live Chat they’re playing Guess the Comp, based on the ridiculous things being said on the MLB Network. Join the fun!
8:08 PM: The Miami Marlins take Andrew Heaney, LHP from Oklahoma State. (9)
8:12 PM: Back to the KLaw Chat for an interesting tidbit for those of you who are absurdly hooked on thoughts of Giolito, based on what little we know of him… y’know, myself included…
Klaw, as a Reds fan, what do you think the best outcome could be at 14? Was very pleased with Giolito in your latest mock.
Then I’m sorry to report they’re not taking him.
8:14 PM: The Colorado Rockies take David Dahl, HS OF from Alabama. (10)
8:16 PM: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune tweets (kinda) that the Cubs may regret the fact that they were so hard on Almora, given Appel’s slide, “just as they allowed Georgia Tech C Matt Wieters to get past them in 2007, when they took Josh Vitters with the 3rd overall pick.”
8:19 PM: According to Keith Law’s final mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider Only), the Jays were in on Dahl, who was just selected by Colorado.
8:20 PM: The Oakland A’s take Addison Russell, HS SS from Florida. (11)
8:22 PM: The A’s took a Boras client? Did I just hear that right? What is the world coming to?!? (*Oh, but, of course, I don’t mean “client,” I just mean Boras is his “advisor.” Biiiiiiig difference.)
8:24 PM: KLaw tweets that the Mets are on Gavin Cecchini here. That’s who he had the Jays taking in his final mock, so things are getting all mixed up as we start to close in on the Jays’ first pick, which comes at 17, and will probably be made around 9 PM, at this damn rate.
8:26 PM: The New York Mets take Gavin Cecchini, HS SS from Louisiana. (12)
8:28 PM: The White Sox are on the clock, and they were one of the teams that pushed hard for the spending limits in the draft, reportedly, so I think you can give your heart a rest here, if you’re still holding your breath for Giolito to slip to the Jays. Can’t see the Sox going off the board– but, of course, what the fuck do I know?
8:30 PM: More fodder for the Giolito movement, as Jim Callis tweets that “if Giolito doesn’t go 12 to Mets I think he’s out of play until at least Blue Jays at 17. But we’ve already had lot of surprises.” As we now know, the Mets passed.
8:34 PM: The Chicago White Sox take Courtney Hawkins, HS OF from Texas. (13)
8:36 PM: As mentioned above, Law says the Reds aren’t taking Giolito, and Callis doesn’t see anyone from 14 to 16 on him either. The Reds are, indeed, on the clock, as the Jays edge closer. I think my 9 PM call is maybe a bit pessimistic. Still… making it to pick 60 is going to kill me, if only because, if I keep sitting here watching this until pick 60, I’m pretty sure my girlfriend is going to kill me.
8:38 PM: Of course, all this Giolito talk presumes that the Jays are even going to want to take him if he’s there. Wacha, McCullers, and others seem well regarded for them to look for there too. I don’t know… but we’re getting closer to finding out, at least.
8:41 PM: Because his is the name we’re really talking about, another KLaw comment on Giolito:
Where would Giolito be drafted if he didn’t have signability issues?
I think the elbow (even though I think it’s fine) is more of a variable than the signability.
8:43 PM: The Cincinnati Reds take Nick Travieso, HS RHP from Florida. (14)
8:45 PM: According to ESPN’s Top 100 prospects list (Insider Only), Travieso was the 33rd best prospect out there. And according to his embarrassing MLB Network video, Travieso might be a bit of a fucking tool.
8:48 PM: The Clevelands take Tyler Naquin, OF from Texas A&M. (15)
8:50 PM: Getting close now, with only the Nationals left to pick before the Jays. Naquin was even more off the ESPN board, as he came in at 42 on their Top 100.
8:53 PM: The other guru’s seem pretty surprised, for what it’s worth, about Naquin. Moment of truth coming up… looks like things are falling into place for the Jays to get aggressive with someone and start playing the money game.
8:54 PM: The Washington Nationals take Lucas Giolito, HS RHP from California. (16)
8:56 PM: Cue the wailing, as Giolito is snatched from under the Jays’ noses by the Washington Nationals. I think it’s a smart move for them, based on what absolutely little I know about any of these guys– including the exquisite fuck all I know about Giolito’s health– and this will be a player that Jays fans may have their eyes on for years to come. Or… maybe they’re about to pick someone great. Roy Halladay was a 17th overall pick once, don’t forget.
9:00 PM: The Toronto Blue Jays take DJ Davis, HS OF from Mississippi. (17)
9:02 PM: Since I was pointing out such things, I’ll note that Davis was way down at 65 on the ESPN list, which is exactly why I spent the week saying that we shouldn’t get so wrapped up in such things. The lazy comp from the MLB Network was a Juan Pierre with more power, and Keith Law had him going to the Jays (albeit at 22) in his last mock, saying that “everyone says the Blue Jays intend to continue to draft for upside wherever possible,” implying that this is indeed one of those picks.
9:08 PM: The Los Angeles Dodgers take Corey Seager, HS SS from North Carolina. (18)
9:11 PM: The St. Louis Cardinals take Michael Wacha, RHP from Texas A&M. (19)
9:12 PM: In his last mock draft at Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Goldstein calls Davis the fastest player in the draft, while hisESPN scouting report says that “Davis is one of two 80 runners in the draft this year (the other is Byron Buxton) with the athleticism and bat speed to look like a potential star in the big leagues, but bearing big questions about how prepared he is to hit pro pitching with a wood bat.” The ESPN report questions whether he’ll develop the power that the MLB Network folks felt was possible, especially because of his “noisy lower half.” They add that “Davis is a great upside play but will likely require a lot of patience as well as some work to calm down his swing.” Upside and an athlete… should we really be so surprised?
9:15 PM: The San Francisco Giants take Chris Stratton, RHP from Mississippi State. (20)
9:19 PM: Still going with Davis stuff as we get closer again to the Jays next pick– number 22. On Saturday, Lone Star Ball provided a scouting report for Davis as a potential Rangers pick, explaining in it that while “Davis was ranked #66 on Law’s early May top 100 player rankings,” he was at “#20 in Baseball America’s top 500 ranking, and #30 in Kevin Goldstein’s top 30 ranking. While Law has Davis going to Texas in his most recent mock draft, Jim Callis’s most recent mock draft has Davis going to the Toronto Blue Jaysat #17, Jonathan Mayo’s has him going at #26, and Frankie Piliere has Davis going to Toronto, but at #22.”
So… it’s not a completely off-the-board pick, even if it’s maybe a letdown for those of us hopeful that Giolito would fall here. But even if it was crazy off-the board, I’m pretty sure Noah Syndergaard was, too, and that hasn’t worked out nearly so bad, has it?
We’ve only seen one piece of the strategy puzzle unfold here, so it’s hard to get too worked up, I think.
9:22 PM: The Atlanta Braves take Lucas Sims, HS RHP from Georgia. (21).
9:22 PM: The Jays are now on the clock. This pick is compensation for their failure to sign Tyler Beede last year, and as such, they won’t get another pick again next year, should they fail to sign who goes here. In other words, whoever they take, it’s safe to say they intend on signing him. Might be a cheap college guy who allows them to siphon off some money and get more aggressive with their later picks. We’ll see…
9:25 PM: More on Davis, as Coast 2 Coast prospects adds a note that “reports about his bat have been positive this spring and he has risen up draft boards accordingly,” for whatever that’s worth.
9:27 PM: More notes on Davis, which come via MLB Prospect Portal, who say it’s from somewhere at MLB.com:
“Players who make a charge up draft boards are said to have ‘helium.’ Davis was floating up about as quickly as anyone in the class.”
They add that “What’s made him a more complete prospect is how far he’s come with the bat. He’s showing the ability to use a better approach and hit the gaps, developing from a guy who can run to a guy who can hit and run,” and add that “More than anything, Davis plays with high energy and seems to understand his game, profiling as a dynamic leadoff hitter type at the next level.”
9:29 PM: The Toronto Blue Jays take Marcus Stroman, RHP from Duke. (22)
9:30 PM: He may be the steal of this first round, says Jonathan Mayo on the MLB Network broadcast, lauding his athleticism, after spending much of the previous segment talking about how he is so close to the Majors, can help the bullpen this year, and– like Chris Sale– could move to the rotation down the road, as he has started and excelled at Duke. Hard not to like.
“In September, this guy could be, for whoever he’s pitching for, like Francisco Rodriguez in 2002,” we’re told.
9:32 PM: In his final mock, Kevin Goldstein had Stroman going at number 13 to the White Sox, while Keith Law wrote that “I would give Stroman the chance to start in pro ball and prove that he can’t do it rather than simply assuming he’ll fail because of a lack of size. Some team will draft him and have him in a big league bullpen before the end of the season.”
9:33 PM: The St. Louis Cardinals take James Ramsey, OF from Florida St. (23).
9:34 PM: Programming Note: That’s it for listing picks. We’re talking Davis, Stroman, and picks 50, 58 and 60 from here out. Presumably with some kind of a break in there somewhere.
9:35 PM: Stroman’s ESPN.com scouting report explains that he “would go in the top five picks this year if he were only about five or six inches taller, but at 5-9 or so he’s being pegged as a reliever by most scouts.” He has a starter’s repe-twah, they say, and that he “works from 92-95, but has shown 95-97 in relief.” They add that “Stroman’s main issue is a lack of plane or downward life on his fastball, so he gives up more contact than you’d like on the pitch, but that could be alleviated if he tried to throw a two-seamer, or if he goes to the pen and adds a grade of velocity. He’s a certain big leaguer and about as low-risk a player as there is in this draft.”
If the Jays were going to go low-risk, it sounds like a tremendous way to have done so, with Stroman being able to replace some traded bullpen pieces later this season, or– if the Jays hang around in it– to give a boost to the ‘pen for a stretch run.
9:40 PM ET: Holy shitballs: Stroman tweets a pic of him with his parents. Um… can his dad swing a bat? I think we could use him…
9:46 PM: Back to DJ Davis, Kevin Goldstein tweets that he’s got “absolutely CRAZY speed, and he’s not just a slap hitter.” He scoffs at the Juan Pierre comp, saying that he’s got “at least gap power,” and was the fastest player in the draft. ”
9:53 PM: Break time for me! But I’ll be back, just need to stand up a little while. Talk amongst yourselves…
11:30 PM: The Toronto Blue Jays take Matt Smoral, HS LHP from Ohio, Mitch Nay, HS 3B from Arizona, and Tyler Gonzalez, HS RHP from Texas. (50, 58, 60)
11:34 PM: Smoral is the big one at 50– or as Kevin Goldstein tweets, “There’s your aggressive punch of a pick we’ve been waiting for from the Jays.” He was at 29 on Keith Law’s final mock draft, at 30 on the ESPN ranking of draft prospects, and also to Texas at 29 in Goldstein’s final mock. Smoral missed nearly the entire year with a broken bone in his foot, Goldstein explains at Baseball Prospectus, so “nobody has gotten a good look at him this year, which has scared many teams off, but six-foot-seven lefties who can touch 95 mph don’t exactly grow on trees.”
11:38 PM: More glowing reports on Smoral from his ESPN.com scouting report, which explains that, prior to breaking his foot, “Smoral had pitched like a potential top-10 overall pick, touching 95, sitting 89-93 with plus life and a hard out-pitch slider, even showing the ability to pitch to his glove side with the fastball.”
11:48 PM: Coast 2 Coast Prospects, whatever that is, compares Mitch Nay to a Michael Cuddyer type, projected to go somewhere in the round two to four range, with “outstanding raw power and very good bat speed,” however, “he has a very aggressive approach and attacks the ball, and thus may be susceptible to higher level pitching, where he will see more breaking balls and better location of the fastball on the inner half, where he may get tied up.”
It’d be easy to look at this as an over-draft pick to help save some money to pay Smoral, but ESPN’s rankings had him at number 42.
11:54 PM: “A rough spring and questions about his hit tool and position have hurt his stock slightly,” says ESPN, while still calling him “one of the better pure power bats in the draft this year.” In his chat today, Keith Law said that he’s a “power bat at 3b but will move to RF/LF in pro ball,” adding that his grandfather was a big leaguer.
“He added muscle this spring but ended up a little stiffer as a result,” says his profile at ESPN.com, who add that compounding the red flags is the fact that “he developed his power tool before his hit tool, and most scouts prefer players who show they can hit and will likely develop power.”
“He made some adjustments to his mechanics at the plate, going from being bent over at the waist early in the year to standing up a little taller, and it paid dividends,” explains the scouting report on Nay at MLB.com.
12:01 AM: On the Jays’ last pick (of the first supplemental round), Tyler Gonzales, MLB.com writes, that he’s “more thrower than pitcher, but guys who can throw as hard as he can will always generate interest. Also a shortstop who could potentially play and pitch at the University of Texas, most think he should pitch as a professional. That might be because he has a potentially plus fastball, one he’s cranked up to 96 mph in the past.”
12:05 AM: More on Smoral from his ESPN.com scouting report (Insider Only), which says that “his trouble staying healthy is a real red flag for teams, perhaps not enough to send him to UNC but enough to push him out of the top half of the first round, even though there are a number of similarities to Bumgarner that would otherwise put him there.” Yes, that’s the young ward of Parkes’s dream, Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, who comes from a similar 3/4 slot as Smoral, according to the report.
12:07 AM: Interesting little notes from PerfectGame.org on each of the players selected by the Jays coming up…
12:14 AM: On DJ Davis (17): A report from the end of April compares the two small town high schoolers from the deep south, who have similar tools, though number two pick Buxton is obviously more highly regarded. There’s a story out there that Davis has only flown on a plane twice, and both those times were to attend scouting conferences in the past two years. “There was a day not too far in the past when small town players such as Davis and Buxton could have slipped through the scouting cracks and not been nationally known players. That day has definitely passed. Scouts from the Assistant GM/Scouting Director level on down have been learning where Wiggins (Mississippi) is located this spring as Davis’ has established himself as one of the two top impact speed players in the draft.”
Howedver, “the biggest excitement from scouts hasn’t come from Davis’ speed, which is a given at this point, but from the improvement he’s shown with the bat, especially with his power. Davis is not a slash-and-run hitter and takes a full, aggressive swing at the ball and is looking to drive pitches. He’s also proven to be a very patient hitter who is willing to wait for his pitch and take a walk, a very valuable skill for a baserunning threat.”
12:29 AM: On Marcus Stroman (22): The report on Stroman is from back in February, though apparently it’s not like he’s done a whole lot this season to change the opinion that “despite his smaller frame, Stroman has electric stuff with a fastball at 95-99 mph and a dynamite slider.” The problem, of course, is the fact that he’s a small right-hander– 5’9 and 185 pounds– which scouts don’t like, and, as a Keith Law comment way the fuck back up in this threat said, which limits downhill plane on his fastball, making it harder to hit. Though, it’s not like the Jays aren’t going to get him straight to work on adding some sink, amiright?
“He had 27 straight scoreless innings in 2010 while pitching for Orleans (in the Cape Cod League), and also saved 10 games while walking just three and striking out 35,” we’re told. He played last summer for USA Baseball’s college national team, the report says, and there he “ratcheted up his dominance to a whole new level,” getting to the point where he “was so close to being unhittable that he created a rare buzz in the atmosphere whenever he was called on to close a game.”
“In one outing for Duke as a sophomore, working as a closer,” they add, “Stroman’s fastball was clocked as high as 100 mph, and it became abundantly clear last summer that his future role will be as a closer. Scouts have routinely compared him to former big leaguer Tom Gordon for his combination of big stuff in a small frame.” Yes, I’m sure that’s the only reason…
12:34 AM: On Matthew Smoral (50): Smoral’s report at Perfect Game is from back in January, and it goes straight for the gut with an impressive opening, admitting that “it’s very trite to compare height-advantaged left-handed pitching prospects to future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson…. That being said, there are some valid comparisons between Johnson and the Ohio high school southpaw Matt Smoral aside from their shared height. The first is that Smoral throws from a mid-to-low three-quarters release point that is going to be absolutely scary to left-handed hitters, especially when he learns not to throw from the far third base side of the rubber and creates better angle to the plate. The second is that Smoral’s best pitch is arguably a hard and sharp 84 mph slider he has developed over the last six months and looks to be a potential plus-plus pitch in the future. The third is that Smoral comes about his velocity very easily; he hit 93-94 mph frequently at the WWBA World Championships in late October and throws with little effort.”
OK, so these reports obviously favour the positives, but that’s what draft day is about, isn’t it? Hope for the future!
“Smoral has shown both the ability to throw a mid-70s curveball with good spin and depth to it along with a 83 mph changeup that he throws with arm speed consistent with his fastball and very good late sinking life. There is a chance that he could have four quality big league pitches in the future should he need or want them,” the report goes on.
It adds that “one of the most attractive aspects of Smoral’s prospect resume is that he has shown so much development across the board over the last 16 months,” and that, at least back in January, he was “increasingly standing out as having perhaps the second highest ceiling of the group behind RHP Lucas Giolito. He doesn’t throw as hard as the bevy of 6-foot-1 right-handers with present plus fastballs, nor does he have the breaking ball of fellow left-hander Max Fried. But all the indicators are there that Smoral has more room to grow before he reaches his peak than any of them.”
12:43 AM: On Mitch Nay (58): In a report from mid-April we’re told that Nay had a short resume for a player being picked so high, and that he “did not participate in any of the national level events where cross checkers would normally see him compete against other top level prospects.” Injuries were the reason, but he was able to make up for a lot of lost ground, with more displays of his trademark power all spring, and improvements to his hit tool of late.
“Nay’s biggest tool and the source of all the excitement is his power potential, which combines both raw power (the scout’s term for how far a player can hit the ball) along with power frequency. Along with having plus bat speed, Nay has a loose swing with excellent extension through contact,” the report explains. “ The ball makes ‘that’ sound according to scouts when Nay squares it up,” they say, “and that’s a sound one doesn’t hear frequently, even on top prospects.”
12:49 AM: On Tyler Gonzales (60): The report on Gonzales is from mid-May, and gives us some history on his time as a shortstop prospect. He moved mostly to the mound over the course of 2010 and 2011, and was drafted by the Jays as a pitcher.
“Gonzales’ arm action is lightning quick coming through, which produced an 89-92 mph fastball for Gonzales as a sophomore and junior. His best pitch, though, was a low-80s slider that he threw approximately half the time that was sharp and big at times. Gonzales was able to take that next step this spring, however,” the report explains. “His fastball, which is fairly straight, suddenly started sitting at 92-93 through entire starts and topping out at 95-96 mph. His slider picked up similar power and is now in the 85-87 mph range with the same huge shape and nasty biting action. What before was very solid raw stuff was now nasty raw stuff and Gonzales has been maintaining it from start to start.”
As with Nay, we’re told Gonzales “is considered to have off the chart make-up and a ‘ballplayer’s’ approach to the game that will make him fit in comfortably at the professional level.” This is another area that the Jays seem to value highly, we’re told. Gonzales is the nephew of Nationals crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales.
1:05 AM: Before finally calling it a night, let’s review one last thing: what Jays-related nuggets Jason Churchill, Kiley McDaniel and Keith Law were saying in their pick-by-pick analysis of both the first round and the supplemental round (Insider Only)…
- On DJ Davis, Jason Churchill notes the tools, the question marks about his ability to get on base, and ultimately says that “the Blue Jays may be setting themselves up to spend well over slot on a few later picks,” a suggestion we would later see play out.
- Churchill calls Marcus Stroman’s raw stuff “top-pick worthy,” and echoes a comment I just made (even though he probably said it first, even though I didn’t see it– also: kinda obvious), saying that “the Jays could attempt to teach Stroman a two-seamer to create more sink on his heater and use him as a starter.” I’m not saying it will work, but bank on them trying.
- Churchill also gets the call for the blurb on Smoral, who he reiterates “has big upside thanks to a mid-90s fastball and plus slider from a low arm slot,” while pointing out that there are most definitely signability issues here, after he fell, due to injury and his commitment to college. On Nay we’re told much of what we already know– the power, the hitting question, the make-up and the future away from third base– and on Gonzales we’re told that “there isn’t a lot of projection in his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame, but certainly enough to deliver a big league starter who fits in the middle of the rotation, perhaps even better.”
Image via the magic of screencaps!