This post concludes my little venture into draft prospecting. It was fun while it lasted, and if you’d like to take a look at either Part 1 or Part 2, go ahead and click those links. Today, I have three more first-rounders to discuss, but first, a quick recap of where everyone ended up from Parts 1 & 2:
Marcus Stroman (22nd pick – Blue Jays); Richie Schaffer (25th pick – Rays); Kyle Zimmer (5th pick – Royals); Mark Appel (8th pick – Pirates); Mike Zunino (3rd pick – Mariners); Andrew Heaney (9th pick – Marlins)
Now, these three:
Over the past decade, the Giants have been pretty successful in turning first-round arms into fantasy baseball gold. Matt Cain (2002), Tim Lincecum (2006), and Madison Bumgarner (2007) were each drafted within the first 25 picks, and each developed into a big league pitcher relatively quickly. Lincecum, the lone college arm in the group, was helping fantasy owners a little more than a year after signing. On Monday, San Francisco used the 20th overall pick to select Chris Stratton out of Mississippi State. Should things go as planned, he’ll be in the bigs as early as 2013. Stratton lacks a true plus offering, but his secondary stuff is advanced and it compliments his low-90’s fastball nicely. His well-rounded repertoire should allow him to push through the system quickly. I don’t see the same upside here that Cain, Lincecum, or MadBum were drafted with, but I do think Stratton will make for a nice #3-type starter in the bigs.
There’s an immediate delay in Roache’s development, as the slugging outfielder out of Georgia Southern recovers from a severely broken wrist. The Brewers weren’t deterred, however, and drafted him 28th overall on Monday. Roache missed most of the 2012 collegiate season because of the injury, but when healthy in 2011, he blasted 30 homers, leading the NCAA. He brings tremendous power potential to the Milwaukee farm system, and his average defensive tools shouldn’t hold him back as long as he’s providing pop. Roache’s future, though, will ultimately be determined by his health. If he’s healthy and the wrist is strong, his bat will carry him through the system quickly.
At 6-6, 200, Michael Wacha has a frame familiar to St. Louis. The Cards are loaded with big-bodied starters like Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Lance Lynn, and they added one more on Monday, selecting Wacha out of Texas A&M with the 19th overall pick. The righty features a low-to-mid-90’s fastball, which he locates effectively. He counters with a filthy changeup — perhaps the best change in the draft. His breaking ball, however, is extremely fringy, and some doubt it’ll ever develop into a plus offering. Still, Wacha projects like a #3 or #4 starter at the major league level, and he’s a safe bet to reach that projection. Plus command and two advanced offerings should facilitate a short road through the minors and a big league arrival by 2014.