1. Houston, Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.
The Houston Astros wasted no time in making the draft’s first splash, in going after 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He is the highest draft pick ever to come out of the Puerto Rico Academy since Ramon Castro, who was chosen 17th overall in 1994 MLB draft. Carlos, has verbally committed to play college ball next year at the University of Miami. As the number one pick of the draft, one can assume he will be one step closer to playing in the Majors, rather than opting for college. Correa stands 6’4″, 190 lbs, and draws comparisons to a young Alex Rodriguez and Troy Tulolwitzki. Carlos has good feel for the bat, can hit for power and average. He is an outstanding fielder, and has an above-average arm.
The Houston Astros had a chance to draft a superstar shortstop twenty years ago, instead they chose Phil Nevin. The superstar they missed on, was Derek Jeter. There was no way the Astros were going to make that mistake once again.
2. Minnesota, Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS, Baxley, Ga.
Many scouts say that Buxton, is one of the best athletes in the entire draft. He has a lightning quick bat, great speed, and a howitzer for an arm. He draws comparisons to Eric Davis. Buxton crushed the ball during his senior season (.549/.649/.852), and stole 34 bases while only being caught once. It’ll be a few years before he cracks the Twins Opening Day roster, but once he does he’ll be there for a very long time producing big numbers.
3. Seattle, Mike Zunino, C, Florida.
Mike Zunino is considered by many to be the best available college position player. He may not immediately “wow” you at first sight, but all the tools are there. The third-year college player showed significant growth while at Florida. Coming out of high school, Zunino was a 30th round pick and through maturity and focus, he toned his overall game into a very solid rock behind the plate. The comparisons will be to Jason Varitek as Zunino is very skilled on the defensive end. He will also bring a plus bat to the plate for the catcher’s position which surely adds value. He is batting .316 with 18 homers and 60 RBI this season.
4. Baltimore, Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU.
Gausman is a 6’4″ college sophomore draft eligible right-handed pitcher with a mid-90’s fastball. He has good control and a quality slider and changeup to go along with his plus fastball. Coming in at 185 pounds, his body still has time to fill out with the proper weight training. As the first pitcher taken in this draft, the Orioles look to be building with young and powerful arms. Here’s this year’s college stats as of Draft Day: 11-1, 2.72 ERA, 128 K, 115.2 IP
5. Kansas City, Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco.
The Kansas City Royals organization went the college route in selecting University of San Francisco’s pitcher Kyle Zimmer. He has the prototypical body for a Major League pitcher. The 20-year-old Kyle Zimmer, stands at 6’4″, 220 lbs. So far, he’s amassed a 5-3 record, with a 2.85 ERA, 104 strikeouts, and 17 walks for the San Francisco Dons. His fastball hits between 94 and 99 mph with consistent velocity. He also features a good curveball and change-up. Scouts have compared him to St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. Zimmer may have the best three pitches (fastball, curve, change-up) in the draft. He originally came to San Francisco as a middle infielder before converting to pitching. He has only been pitching for two years, so he is a guy with a very high ceiling.
6. Chicago Cubs, Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy, Hialeah, Fla.
Almora is the first draft pick of the Epstein/Hoyer regime in Chicago and it might prove to be a difficult sign, as Almora is committed to the University of Miami. He has a cannon arm and a strong consistent swing with quick wrists. Translation: He will be hitting for power before long at the Major League level, just not sure he’ll be doing it for the Cubs.
7. San Diego, Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS, Encino, Calif.
Fried is a 6’4″ left-handed hurler, who’s fastball sits at 91 and can get higher at times. The scouts love his downhill motion and athleticism. Most think his curveball is a plus pitch and may be the best in the draft. The names Cole Hamels, C.J. Wilson and Barry Zito have been tossed around as comparisons. The Padres hope to have a number one or two starter in the near future.
8. Pittsburgh, Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford.
In several mock drafts, Appel was shown to be the first player selected by the Houston Astros. However, Mark has hired super agent Scott Boras, to represent him and rumors across the draft believes the agent’s asking price has scared off a few teams. According to Tom Singer of MLB.com, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington spoke on the opportunity drafting Mark Appel, ” We were very pleased that he was still sitting there when it was our selection. We don’t know why [other teams] chose players over him; different teams have different interpretations of players.”
Mark Appel, is 6′-5″ 200 lbs Junior RHP at Stanford, who is currently enjoying a 10-1 record, with a 2.27 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 119 innings. His fastball clocks around 93-95 mph and his strikeout ratio is a batter per inning. Mark was drafted in 2009 by the Detroit Tigers because he reminded them of Justin Verlander. He is currently preparing for the College World Series and was not available for comments. Stanford has now had 12 first round picks since 2000.
This is the fourth straight year that Pittsburgh has drafted a pitcher, and its looking like the future of the Bucs is looking promising.
9. Miami, Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State.
Heaney is a fastball-slider type who won the Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and was named to the Division-1 First-Team All-American. Teams can’t get enough pitching, especially left-handed pitchers. He finished his junior year at Oklahoma State with a 1.60 ERA, while compiling a 8-2 over 15 starts. Scouts say he has good command and is a strike-thrower who pitches to contact. Meanwhile, since he’s had time to develop in college – and excelled – he shouldn’t be too far off from making the big league roster in a season or two.
10. Colorado, David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham, Ala.
Standing at 6’2″ and 185 pounds, Dahl had no problems hitting the ball out of Coors Field in his recent workout for the Rockies and told the people of Denver that he would relish playing in Colorado and loves the park. Now, he may get his wish. This 18 year-old outfielder throws right and bats left. He is equipped with a good throwing arm and will cover good ground both in the field and on the bases. As a high school senior, Dahl batted .417 in 84 at bats, with 11 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 17 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. With a couple of years of strength and conditioning, look for Dahl to be a well-rounded ball player offensively and defensively who will be a physical plus in the Rockies’ lineup.