2012 MLB Draft Notes

It wasn't that long ago when you couldn't find much coverage of the MLB Draft. I remember a few years ago how easy it was to navigate through Google to find exactly the information you're trying to find. It's not like that anymore. Everybody covers the draft. Searching Google for specific info results in far too many hits to be of much use. I'm not the biggest fan of the way MLB has changed their draft. I much preferred the old style rapid fire days, but it's quite obvious that the changes made have created tremendous interest in the draft and that's good for baseball. I don't give Bud Selig props for too many things as I don't think he deserves many, but the changes he has helped ring to the draft has created tons of interest in it that otherwise did not exist.

The MLB Draft begins tomorrow night. MLB Network has a preview show beginning at 5 pm Central and the selections begin an hour later. Bud Selig announces the picks for the first round (31 picks) and a representative of the team announces its selections in the supplemental round (32-60). The selections will last about 3 hours so you'll have 4 hours to watch tomorrow night. Rounds 2 through 15 will be on Tuesday while rounds 16 through 40 will be completed on Wednesday.

Berselius already published an article with a few interesting tidbits from Kevin Goldstein and Jim Callis. We'll be covering the draft rumors tomorrow and the draft itself tomorrow night. Everybody is doing it now so you can pick your blog to follow along, but we hope you stick around here.

I've copied the draft order for tomorrow night and pasted it below.

1    Astros
2    Twins
3    Mariners
4    Orioles
5    Royals
6    Cubs
7    Padres
8    Pirates
9    Marlins
10    Rockies
11    Athletics
12    Mets
13    White Sox
14    Reds
15    Indians
16    Nationals
17    Blue Jays
18    Dodgers
19    Cardinals (from Angels for Albert Pujols, Type A)
20    Giants
21    Braves
22    Blue Jays (for failure to sign 2011 first-rounder Tyler Beede)
23    Cardinals
24    Red Sox
25    Rays
26    Diamondbacks
27    Brewers (from Tigers for Prince Fielder, Type A)
28    Brewers
29    Rangers
30    Yankees
31    Red Sox (from Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon, Type A)
32    Twins (for Michael Cuddyer, modified Type A, to Rockies)
33    Padres (for Heath Bell, modified Type A, to Marlins)
34    Athletics (for Josh Willingham, modified Type A, to Twins)
35    Mets (for Jose Reyes, Type A, to Marlins)
36    Cardinals (for Pujols)
37    Red Sox (for Papelbon)
38    Brewers (for Fielder)
39    Rangers (for C.J. Wilson, Type A, to Angels)
40    Phillies (for Ryan Madson, modified Type A, to Reds)
41    Astros (for Clint Barmes, Type B, to Pirates)
42    Twins (for Jason Kubel, Type B, to Diamondbacks)
43    Cubs (for Aramis Ramirez, Type B, to Brewers)
44    Padres (for Aaron Harang, Type B, to Dodgers)
45    Pirates (for Ryan Doumit, Type B, to Twins)
46    Rockies (for Mark Ellis, Type B, to Dodgers)
47    Athletics (for David DeJesus, Type B, to Cubs)
48    White Sox (for Mark Buehrle, Type B, to Marlins)
49    Reds (for Ramon Hernandez, Type B, to Rockies)
50    Blue Jays (for Frank Francisco, Type B, to Mets)
51    Dodgers (for Rod Barajas, Type B, to Pirates)
52    Cardinals (for Octavio Dotel, Type B, to Tigers)
53    Rangers (for Darren Oliver, Type B, to Blue Jays)
54    Phillies (for Raul Ibanez, Type B, to, Yankees)
55    Padres (for failure to sign 2011 sandwich-rounder Brett Austin)
56    Cubs (for Carlos Pena, Type B, to Rays)
57    Reds (for Francisco Cordero, Type B, to Blue Jays)
58    Blue Jays (for Jon Rauch, Type B, to Mets)
59    Cardinals (for Edwin Jackson, Type B, to Nationals)
60    Blue Jays (for Jose Molina, Type B, to Rays)

Jim Callis of Baseball America has posted 3 mock drafts already and will post his final mock draft sometime tomorrow. The third one can be found here and he has the Cubs selecting Albert Almora.

6. CUBS. As much as Chicago would love a shot at one of the top three college pitchers, that probably won't happen. Instead, the Cubs will be choosing from Correa, Fried and Florida high school outfielder Albert Almora. Almora has become the front-runner here.
Projected Pick: ALBERT ALMORA.

The 3 college pitchers Callis is speaking of are all right handers. Kyle Zimmer, Mark Appel and Kevin Gausman are ranked 3, 4 and 5 by Baseball America and each is expected to be picked before the Cubs do at 6th. Callis has the Astros going with Appel as the first overall pick.

Here's some info on Almora (top 500 draft prospects):

Almora is a latter-day A.J. Hinch in that he has become a go-to player for USA Baseball national teams from a young age. Almora was USA Baseball's 2011 athlete of the year after being MVP of the 18-and-under Pan American Championships in Colombia in November 2011. He tied Hinch's USA Baseball record by playing on his sixth national team, and scouts love his grinder approach and in-game savvy. What's more, Almora has outstanding tools. The Miami signee, in one scout's words, "has no issues. He's got above-average tools everywhere, and they all play. He has tools and he uses them." He doesn't turn in blazing times when he runs in showcases (generally he's a 6.8-second runner in the 60), but his game instincts help him steal bases and cover plenty of ground in center field. Scouts consider his defense major league-ready right now, with plus grades for his accurate throwing arm. With natural hitting rhythm and plenty of bat speed, Almora is a line-drive machine with a loose swing who stays inside the ball, relishes velocity and handles spin. He should have 20-homer power down the line, sufficient if he slows down and can't play center, and a definite bonus if (as expected) he stays in the middle garden. He plays the game with both ease and energy and may have some projection left in his athletic 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame. The Miami signee is considered one of the draft's safer picks and could sneak into the first 10 selections.

Almora is ranked 7th by BA.

Jonathon Mayo of mlb.com also predicts the Cubs will go with Almora. Mayo ranks Almora 9th.

Almora has played for USA Baseball as much as any player in history. He's played in big situations and shown natural leadership abilities over the years.

He's also got many tools to get excited about. He should be an above-avearge hitter at the next level, with an ability to drive the ball to all fields. He'll have above-average power as well and shows it in games now, especially to the pull side. He's a solid average runner and knows what to do on the basepaths. Defensively, he's a plus center fielder with excellent arm strength and range.

All of his tools play up because of his plus makeup and work ethic. That combination should have plenty of teams in the first round taking a long look at him.

Callis mentioned that the Cubs may go with Carlos Correa and we've heard that elsewhere too. Baseball America and Mayo each rank Correa 5th. Correia's scouting report is below:

With the record now at 17th overall, Correa should become the highest-drafted player ever to come from Puerto Rico. He already has a big league body at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, yet he's light on his feet and shows fluid actions with a cannon for an arm. For those reasons, the team that drafts him will allow him to stay at shortstop. While he may get a little bigger, his tools would also allow him to be a premium defender at third base. Correa has garnered comparisons to both Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Zimmerman. At the plate, Correa shows excellent balance and rhythm, as well as patience, to go along with exciting bat speed and natural loft. His swing can get a little long at times, leaving him exposed to quality fastballs inside, but he's learning how to make adjustments and projects to hit for average and power. Correa is a plus runner now, but he could lose a step or two as he fills out. He is one of the youngest players in the draft class and shows excellent work ethic, dedication and maturity. Correa is committed to Miami, but it would be a shock if he winds up on campus.

If all the information I had was the scouting reports, I'd go with Correa if he's available. Almora sounds like the typical toolsy high pick to me. I'd rather go with the guy who is patient at the plate and seems more likely to become a big-time power hitter than the toolsy Almora.

The Cubs also have 2 supplemental picks (43rd for Aramis Ramirez and 56th for Carlos Pena). Who the Cubs take with those picks will depend almost entirely on who is still left and that's anybody's guess.

BA's 43rd ranked prospect is Carson Kelly, but that means almost nothing. Freddy Avis is ranked 56th.

Below is what the Cubs slot value is for each pick:

# $
6 $3,250,000
43 $1,196,000
56 $911,700
67 $769,600
101 $471,900
134 $343,200
164 $257,000
194 $192,500
224 $148,600
254 $138,800
284 $129,600
314 $125,000

For these 12 picks through 10 rounds the Cubs can spend $7,933,900. The Cubs can spend that money any way they want. They could give their first pick $1 million and their 2nd pick $3.196 million if they wanted. They just can't pass $7.93 million.

If the Cubs exceed that total by more than 5% they would pay a 75% tax on the overage. This means the Cubs can safely spend on these 12 picks up to $8,330,595 without penalty. For every dollar they spend above that they pay 75 cents in tax. If the Cubs went over between 5 and 10% they'd 75% in tax on the overage and lose their first round pick in next year's draft. If they go over by 10-15% they pay 100% tax and lose a first and second round pick. If they go over by 15% they pay 100% tax and lose their first round picks in each of the next two drafts. That's just not going to happen anymore. If you fail to sign a player you cannot use that money to sign another player.

So look for the Cubs to spend no more than that $8.3 million on their first 12 picks (10 rounds). After that a team can sign as many players as they want and they do not count toward the allowed budget unless the player is signed for $100,000 or more.

Signability becomes an even bigger issue with these changes.

Regardless of the system or the size of bonuses, the concept of "signability" always has been pivotal in the draft. Scouts can salivate over a player's wheels, arm, bat speed and intangibles. But it doesn't matter if his asking price is beyond an organization's comfort zone. Numerous scouting directors and front-office officials say MLB's new system has raised the stakes for teams. In the past, clubs had the option of ponying up an extra $500,000 if an area scout misread a draft pick's price point. No more.

 "I think signability is more critical this year than in any other year I've been involved in the draft," an AL scouting director says. "It's going to require teams and people like me to do things we aren't normally accustomed to doing, and that's getting a bottom line figure by the draft. There will be deals cut because basically it's our jobs at stake now. If we don't sign an individual for the amount that we have to sign them, it could jeopardize our whole draft."

The Cubs have to be sure they can sign the players they draft and they have to be sure they'll sign for an amount that keeps them from incurring a penalty. It's going to be interesting to see how it works out. I expect a lot of deals will be announced sooner than in the past. I wouldn't be surprised to hear a number of announcements the day after tomorrow. The players have little to bargain over at this point. They aren't going to get more money so they can sign for what the team offers them. There may be a little wiggle room, but not much.