MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo says that this year’s draft does not have a consensus number one pick. In other words there is no one stand-out talent like in year’s past when you had Gerrit Cole, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg.
He believes that the Houston Astros are considering as many as seven or eight different players as they decide who they will take with their first overall pick.
In a way it plays into the Mets hands in that whomever we select at No. 12 could essentially be as good as any player who is selected with the top five picks.
This is not to say that we are seeing a weak draft class in 2012, only that there’s a deeper talent pool at the top that has no clear cut player leading the pack.
Here are six players he expects to see up top in no particular order:
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Some see him as this year’s Cole, a college ace with outstanding stuff who hasn’t always had the results you’d expect.
Why he should go No. 1: Three future above-average to plus pitches. Prototypical pitcher’s body. Pitching for major college program as its ace. Looks and sometimes pitches as future top-of-the-rotation type. Should be relatively quick to the big leagues.
Why he shouldn’t go No. 1: Results have been inconsistent. Stuff has been inconsistent, with his velocity sometimes fluctuating from inning to inning. That’s led some to small whispers about his toughness on the mound.
Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS, Ga.
A toolsy outfielder who’s drawn comparisons to the likes of Justin Upton, he is the clear consensus pick as the most talented player in the class.
Why he should go No. 1: One scout called him a “six-tool player.” Ability to do everything on a baseball diamond, with plus tools across the board. One scouting report labeled him a future MVP type.
Why he shouldn’t go No. 1: From a small town in Georgia, he hasn’t been tested by top competition during his regular season. As a high schooler, it might take him longer to get to the Majors than some others on this list.
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Louisiana State
This Draft-eligible sophomore has progressed from being a pure thrower, when he was coming out of a Colorado high school two years ago, to being a much more complete starting pitcher.
Why he should go No. 1: Big, projectable right-hander with two potential plus pitches in his fastball and changeup. Mental toughness, goes right after hitters with the potential to be a front-line starter.
Why he shouldn’t go No. 1: His breaking ball isn’t as good as his other two pitches, making it difficult to see him as a future No. 1 starter, which is what you want with the top pick. If breaking ball and overall command don’t come, could be a future reliever as opposed to top-of-the-rotation starter.
Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
Why he should go No. 1: Big (6-foot-6) with four-pitch mix. Two are potential plus in fastball and changeup. Consistent performer who really knows how to pitch.
Why he shouldn’t go No. 1: Inconsistent breaking ball. Fastball has been plus in terms of velocity, but it’s been flat this spring. Hasn’t been as dominant this year as he was first two years of college.
Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco
Why he should go No. 1: A future front-end anchor, top-of-the-rotation type. A power pitcher with future plus fastball and breaking ball. Has a fresher arm because he was converted to pitching, so he hasn’t thrown as much as others.
Why he shouldn’t go No. 1: He might have a fresher arm, but it’s also less tested. Not having pitched as much gives him less of a track record to go on.
Mike Zunino, C, Florida
Why he should go No. 1: Has the chance to be a top-notch everyday catcher with power. One scout said he has tools comparable to Matt Wieters.
Why he shouldn’t go No. 1: He’s not No. 1 on most teams’ boards in terms of talent. It would be more of a draft out of need than taking best available player.
I’m somewhat shocked not to see right-hander Lucas Giolito in his top five. Yes, there’s that concern over his elbow, but he’s throwing again and is simply so good you just have to roll the dice on him if he’s there.
If I had to make my own six-pack, it would go like this:
- Mike Zunino, C, University of Florida
- Byron Buxton, CF, Appling County HS, GA
- Kyle Zimmer, RHP, University of San Francisco
- Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake High School, CA
- Matt Smoral, LHP, Solon High School, OH
- Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico
Yes, that’s right, no Mark Appel on my list. I just have a hunch these six will go right before he does.