By James Nahikian
The first round of the 2012 MLB Draft is in the books, and although there were not many selections that seemed to be out of the ordinary, there were a few surprises at the top of the board. Many expected the Houston Astros, who had the number one overall selection, to pick the University of Stanford’s stand out pitcher, Mark Appel. However, they decided to go with Carlos Correa. A seventeen year old shortstop from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. Correa made history when he was selected, as he is now the highest pick in MLB history to come from Puerto Rico. The record was previously held by Ramon Castro, who was the No. 17 pick in the 1994 MLB Draft. The Minnesota Twins then selected Byron Buxton, a high school outfielder from the state of Georgia. This pick was no surprise, as the Twins were expected to take Buxton from the start. He was thought of as the best overall prospect in the draft by many scouts. Mark Appel then dropped all the way to the Pittsburgh Pirates and their No. 8 overall selection. Appel now joins fellow PAC 12 pitcher Gerrit Cole, who was the number one overall selection in last year’s draft.
The rest of the first round looks like this: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/eye-on-baseball/19259118/2012-mlb-draft-first-round-pick-profiles
Rounds 2-15 will be on Tuesday, and rounds 16-40 will be on Wednesday. Both days will start at noon and can be viewed on MLB.com.
So why is the draft so important for major league teams? The answer is simple, one pick can completely turn around the fate and outlook of your entire organization. The most recent example would be the Washington Nationals, who had the No. 1 overall pick in both the 2009 and 2010 drafts. In 2009, they selected their now ace pitcher, Stephen Strasburg and in 2010, they selected Bryce Harper. Harper is now 19 years old and is batting a cool .288 in the big leagues. The Nationals went from being the laughing stock of the league, having finished dead last two years in a row, to a team that is now at the top of the National League East so far with 30 wins.
In 1992, five teams decided to take a pass on future hall of famer, Derek Jeter. Since that draft, those five teams have never won a World Series. While Jeter’s Yankees, have since won five.
Well, both of those examples are from high picks. Of course those guys will go on and help their teams. There has never been a player picked late in the draft who has gone on to do amazing things for his franchise, right?
The St. Louis Cardinals selected baseball’s most feared hitter in 1999, when they picked up a kid named Albert Pujols in the 13th round. Two World Championships later, I think the Cardinals would say that their 402nd overall pick was the main reason for their success.
The fact is, these examples are only a few of the many that are out there. There have been hundreds of players, not only in baseball, who have been selected and gone on to be franchise players. What happens if a team misses on a few players? Well, just ask the Detroit Lions. They were made famous when they drafted guys like Joey Harrington, Mike Williams and Charles Rogers. All three of these guys were very high first round picks, and all three of them were busts. The Lions then went on to have the only winless season in NFL history.
All drafts are basically like the lottery. You never know if you have picked the right ticket, but if you do, it can change everything. If a team drafts the right guy, they can be destined for glory. However, if they miss, it can delay the process for years. Now there is no way in really telling if a guy is going to pan out or not, but there is no denying that a single player can change the entire franchise. That is the pressure that each organization faces when their team is on the clock.
James Nahikian blogs about the industry of sports. And specializes in articles about the Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball and Bowling Green State University Athletics. Email him at email@example.com And follow him on twitter @KingNahikian or facebook where you can find links to his articles and updates about future posts.