Making A Case For Each Of The 1.1 Candidates

The draft is just in a couple of days, so I thought I'd do a post like this.

I, like everyone else, like one or two players more than the others, so I'll try not to be biased.

Byron Buxton - Buxton has the highest ceiling in the draft, but he's not very polished. Multiple scouts have said that he has legitimate 80 speed, and that his arm is an absolute cannon. He hasn't been hitting a lot of HRs at the high school level which is somewhat concerning, but a lot of people think he'll tap into his power as he grows older, which is debatable. Buxton is a toolbox, but he doesn't have the polish or the skill that past #1 picks have had. There are numerous reasons why not to draft Buxton, but I'm a believer in not drafting scared. It is essentially a gamble to take him with the 1st pick, but I think his immense ceiling outweighs his low floor.

Mark Appel - Appel is somewhat of an underachiever. He has the stuff of an ace, but the results say otherwise. To his credit, he has been missing more bats this year than he did last year, but scouts have still expressed their doubts about him, and say that he's likely to become a good #2, rather than a legitimate #1. Appel has solid mechanics and a great frame, so he projects to throw a good number of innings. He has a much higher floor than Buxton does, but he doesn't have the other-worldly ceiling that Buxton possesses. Overall, I think it's justifiable to be skeptical of Appel, but if he puts it together, he can anchor a rotation for years to come.

Mike Zunino, Carlos Correa and Kevin Gausman after the jump, plus a poll.

Mike Zunino - Zunino has been compared to Buster Posey, but he doesn't quite have the bat that Posey did when he came out of college. Still, Zunino's defense is solid, and even though he doesn't have a great bat like Posey did, he still has a damn good one. He has 20-25 HR potential, and he should hit for a decent average while walking at a respectable rate. Here's the problem, though: He doesn't really have the ceiling of a #1 pick like Buxton and Appel have. Sure, 20-25 HRs per year with a good OBP and good defense from a catcher is a rarity these days, but he doesn't quite have the star power that Buxton and maybe Appel have. Having said that, Zunino is a pretty safe pick, and to get that type of production from a catcher today is a luxury that few teams have.

Carlos Correa - This guy has really jumped up my board over the past few days after doing extensive research on him. He's a physical presence at 6'4" 193, and scouts believe that he's not done growing. He has 20-25 HR potential, above average speed, and a strong arm with a quick release. He has quick hands and pretty good bat speed which should allow him to turn on good fastballs inside the zone. Unfortunately, most of this is projection. He's a very raw hitter with limited experience, and will need quite a bit of time in the minors. Due to his size and some of his attributes, some scouts think he'll need to move to 3B, which would probably decrease his value. Like Buxton, there are plenty of reasons not to draft Correa, but he's just 17, and he has a ton of upside. He's one of my sleepers for the pick, mainly because scouts/officials in the Astros organization were apparently "blown away" by his workout in Florida.

Kevin Gausman - Gausman is kind of in the same category that Appel is in. He's got great stuff and a good frame, but underwhelming results. However, he has had a terrific start to the 2012 season, especially in the strikeout department (62 in 47 2/3 IP). Also like Appel, he has a fastball that sits in the mid 90s and occasionally touches the upper 90s. Gausman's downfall, however, is that his breaking pitches, especially his curveball, have a tendency to hang. While his changeup has plus potential, his curveball does not, and as a result of that, scouts wonder if he'll abandon his curveball and focus more on his slider, which could be a plus pitch for him in the future. His control is pretty good, but when he gets in a funk, he can completely lose the zone. His mechanics are also kind of iffy. Overall, Gausman has some ace potential in him, and if he can work on his slider and command a bit more more, he could become a #1.

My current board has Buxton on top, with Appel, Correa, Zunino, and Gausman behind him in that order.

You guys probably already know the ins and outs of these players, so if you have read this far, thanks. I was bored and just felt like doing a post like this.