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Earlier, I posted my early 2012 MLB mock draft.The thing about a mock draft is it doesn't accurately portray the author's ranking of draft-eligible talent. My mock draft was no different, as I tried mto predict how the draft would actually pan out based on several factors, including organizational philosophies and consensus talent perception. To explain that last bit, I offer an example involving ASU SS Deven Marrero. MLB.com has him as their #3 draft prospect and for me he barely fits inside my top 10. Speaking of top 10, that's what I'll be posting including brief reasoning of 'why' for each player.
1. Lucas Giolito
Five words. Jameson Taillon, Dylan Bundy, changeup. Giolito will be compared to Taillon and Bundy, the top prep pitcher in each of the last two drafts. However, Giolito has shown something so far that puts him ahead of both Taillon and Bundy, a changeup. Neither of Giolito's 'predecessors' had that third pitch in their arsenal to go along with an elite fastball and breaking ball. Giolito has all three. Considering I had Bundy #1 on my list last year, Giolito is my no-brainer, #1 guy this year.
2. Mike Zunino
I like this theme. Two words. Buster Posey. I'm in no way saying that Zunino will end up as good as Posey has look so far when healthy (fingers crossed), but four teams passed on Posey, probably because of a perceived lack of potential, at least compared to other guys drafted ahead of him. The same thing could happen to Zunino this year, but in my opinion it shouldn't.
3. Mark Appel
Let's keep this up. Uh, one word..stuff? Appel's pure stuff may not be matched by anyone in this draft class, similar to Gerrit Cole last year. His fastball can touch triple digits and sits in the mid-to-high 90's. He also has a plus or better slider and a changeup that doesn't lag far behind. However, also similar to Cole, Appel has looked raw and has command issues due to some mechanical flaws. He probably gets too much hate, and is certainly a top 5 talent, which is nothing to sneeze at.
4. Kevin Gausman
Gausman doesn't get the press Appel does, but some lists will have Gausman ahead of his fellow college pitcher. I'm not willing to go quite that far, but Gausman also has very good stuff and arguably more projection and less mechanical concerns than Appel.
5. Byron Buxton
Two words. Bubba Starling. Buxton compares to the #5 overall pick last year with a similar 5-tool toolset. The issue with Buxton is gauging how raw he really is, and some people like him #1 overall. I'm unsure of that, but his incredible tools make it impossible for me to keep it out of my top 10.
6. Carlos Correa
Four words. Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado. This is where I like to buck the consensus a bit. People like to draw comparisons between Correa and Lindor, but I think the Puerto Rican high school shortstop is closer to Machado than Lindor. Incredibly young, Correa won't turn 18 until after he's drafted and signed. He's a fairly big kid who could turn into a monster with the bat and I believe he can stick at short. He could end up with the Astros and I honestly wouldn't be surprised.
7. Trey Williams
I'll keep the player comparisons. Two words this time. Brett Lawrie. I'll also do a check list. Plus defender at the hot corner, check. Raw power, check. Unlimited potential as a two-way third baseman, check. Right now, I think Brett Lawrie will end up as the best player in the 2008 draft class. Maybe Williams will follow those footsteps for the 2012 draft class. Right now he's definitely in the top 10.
8. Deven Marrero
Two words. Upside whore. That's about me, not Marrero. I try and balance and I think I generally do a good job, but it could explain why I'm not in love with Marrero. His floor is incredible, probably the best in the draft class, but I need more ceiling to be a top 3 or top 5 pick and I don't see that in Marrero. I will offer this caveat. While I see Marrero as this year's Christian Colon, what I wrote above may have been similar to something wrote about Dustin Pedroia as he worked his way up the Red Sox farm system.
9. Lance McCullers
One word. Fastball. McCullers brings the heat. It easily touches the upper 90's and it has better than average movement. McCullers also has a slider, but it's only a bit above-average and his changeup lags behind. He also has command and mechanical issues, and it that regard he's similar to Stetson Allie, who was Baseball America's 8th ranked draft prospect back in 2010. Still, McCullers probably isn't as raw as Allie, and has an unfathomable ceiling. Based on talent alone, he shouldn't drop out of the top 10.
10. Kenny Diekroeger
Four words. Out of the box. That's what I'm doing by putting Diekroeger here. I love the elite athleticism and the elite bat speed and believe one day he'll put it together. If Diekroeger does, watch out because he still has the tools to be special.