National League Amateur Draft Notes

The first round of the annual MLB Amateur Draft kicks off Monday night, June 4, at 7 pm eastern. Below, you’ll find a recap of each National League club’s first round picks from the past four years, as well as an overall grade and comments on noticeable trends. I’ve also included some notes and thoughts on the names being linked to each club for the 2012 draft. I looked at the American League teams on Friday.

Atlanta Braves
2008: DNP
2009: Mike Minor, LHP, College
2010: DNP
2011: Sean Gilmartin, LHP, College
Grade: C-

Atlanta has gone for college arms in the first round recently and could look at college righty Pierce Johnson. College third baseman Stephen Piscotty is another name I’ve heard. There are rumblings that they could be looking at Georgia natives Victor Roache, a college outfielder who would go much higher if he had not been hurt, and Lucas Sims, a prep right-hander. College outfielder Mitch Haniger keeps popping up for Atlanta too but would be an over-draft.

Miami Marlins
2008: Kyle Skipworth, C, Prep
2009: Chad James, LHP, Prep
2010: Christian Yelich, OF, Prep
2011: Jose Fernandez, RHP, Prep
Grade: C+

It’s all high school players all the time for the Marlins in the first round. If he’s available for the Marlins at No. 9 then all indications point to the organization being all over Florida prep outfielder Albert Almora, a premium defender with offensive potential.

New York Mets
2008: Ike Davis, OF, College
2008: Reese Havens, 2B, College
2009: DNP
2010: Matt Harvey, RHP, College
2011: Brandon Nimmo, OF, Prep
Grade: C

The Mets went with a prep player last year after focusing on college prospects in recent seasons. I’m hearing mostly prep players with New York, including shortstops Gavin Cecchini and Addison Russell, as well as outfielder David Dahl.

Washington Nationals
2008: Aaron Crow, RHP, College (Did Not Sign)
2009: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, College
2009: Drew Storen, RHP, College
2010: Bryce Harper, OF, Prep
2011: Anthony Rendon, 3B, College
2011: Alex Meyer, RHP, College
Grade: A

Washington pretty much focuses on college arms in the first round and this will be the organization’s lowest first pick in the draft in quite some time. Look for them to consider right-handers Michael Wacha, Chris Stratton, and Marcus Stroman, as well as lefty Andrew Heaney. Prep 6’7” left-hander Matt Smoral was also linked to the club.

Philadelphia Phillies
2008: Aaron Hewitt, OF, Prep
2009: DNP
2010: Jesse Biddle, LHP, Prep
2011: DNP
Grade: C-

For the third time in four years Philly will sit out the first round. Chances are they’ll look for an athletic prep player once they join the fun.

St. Louis Cardinals
2008: Brett Wallace, 1B, College
2009: Shelby Miller, RHP, Prep
2010: Zack Cox, 3B, College
2011: Kolten Wong, 2B, College
Grade: C+

St. Louis has two first round picks (19th, 23rd) and typically favor college bats. Expect them to grab one such player (perhaps Stephen Piscotty, Richie Schaffer, or Tyler Naquin) and then roll the dice on a prep hitter (Stryker Trahan, David Dahl, Joey Gallo).

Cincinnati Reds
2008: Yonder Alonso, 1B, College
2009: Mike Leake, RHP, College
2010: Yasmani Grandal, C, College
2011: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Prep
Grade: B-

The Reds pick 14th overall and rumors persist that the organization is looking for a fast-moving college starter – similar to Mike Leake from ’09. The organization would likely be ecstatic to get right-hander Michael Wacha and a good consolation prize would be fellow righty Chris Stratton or lefty Andrew Heaney.

Milwaukee Brewers
2008: Brett Lawrie, 3B/C, Prep
2009: Eric Arnett, RHP, College
2010: Dylan Covey, RHP, Prep (Did Not Sign)
2011: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, College
2011: Jed Bradley, LHP, College
Grade: C

The organization’s best first-round pick from the past four years is now playing a very good third base for the Toronto Blue Jays. Like 2011, though, the organization has two first round picks this year and they’ll come back-to-back at 27 and 28. After taking two college starters last season, the organization may look to take some high-ceiling prep players such as starter Lucas Sims, or catcher Stryker Trahan (if available).

Pittsburgh Pirates
2008: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, College
2009: Tony Sanchez, C, College
2010: Jameson Taillon, RHP, Prep
2011: Gerrit Cole, RHP, College
Grade: B-

Pittsburgh has selected a number of college players in recent years although the organization has been committed to taking the best available player as witnessed by the selection of the high-risk, high-reward Jameson Taillon in 2010. The Pirates’ eighth overall selection in 2012 could cause havoc with the teams picking directly behind them if they don’t take college shortstop Deven Marrero as expected. Recent rumors have them looking at prep left-hander Max Fried.

Houston Astros
2008: Jason Castro, C, College
2009: Jiovanni Mier, SS, Prep
2010: Delino DeShields, 2B, Prep
2010: Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Prep
2011: George Springer, OF, College
Grade: C-

I am really excited to see what Houston will do with their first overall selection in 2012 now that the organization has some outstanding leadership and a clear direction. They’re said to be undecided but really can’t go wrong with college starter Mark Appel, prep outfielder Byron Buxton or Puerto Rican high schooler Carlos Correa. For what it’s worth, I would definitely take Correa.

Chicago Cubs
2008: Andrew Cashner, RHP, College
2009: Brett Jackson, OF, College
2010: Hayden Simpson, RHP, Prep
2011: Javier Baez, SS, Prep
Grade: C

Speaking of organizations under strong leadership, the Cubs pick sixth overall and stand to acquire a very talented prospect. They may have the opportunity to acquire either Carlos Correa or prep outfielder Albert Almora. If either player gets to them, Chicago fans should dance in the streets. Prep pitcher Max Fried would be another great pick here.

Arizona Diamondbacks
2008: Daniel Schlereth, LHP, College
2009: Bobby Borchering, 3B/OF, Prep
2009: A.J. Pollock, OF, College
2010: Barret Loux, RHP, College (Did Not Sign)
2011: Trevor Bauer, RHP, College
2011: Archie Bradley, RHP, Prep
Grade: B-

Arizona scored huge with the acquisitions of both Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley in 2011 – but the organization had two high picks. The club only has one pick in the first round this year and it comes with the 26th overall selection so it’s hard to know what will be available late in the round. Because the organization has so much pitching depth a bat would make sense here if they like the pool of players available. Athletic outfielder Lewis Brinson could be an interesting option, if available.

San Diego Padres
2008: Allan Dykstra, 1B, College
2009: Donavan Tate, OF, Prep
2010: Karsten Whitson, RHP, Prep (Did Not Sign)
2011: Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Junior College
2011: Joe Ross, RHP, Prep
Grade: C-

San Diego has had a lot of bad luck with first round selections in recent years but their luck has to turn around at some point, right? Picking seventh overall the organization will likely have a shot at high-ceiling prep players such as Carlos Correa, Albert Amora, or Max Fried, and possibly a college arm like Michael Wacha, or Kyle Zimmer. Maybe they’ll jump at injured prep right-hander Lucas Giolito who has first-overall-type talent if healthy.

San Francisco Giants
2008: Buster Posey, C, College
2009: Zack Wheeler, RHP, Prep
2010: Gary Brown, OF, College
2011: Joe Panik, SS, College
Grade: B

The Giants have favored college hitters in recent years when it comes to their first selection but they’ve also had some well-documented successes with prep pitchers. After a couple of “meh” selections in the past two years perhaps they’ll look to make a big splash with a high-ceiling arm. Names being tossed around with this pick include prep pitchers Nick Travieso, Lucas Sims, Ty Hensley, and Zach Eflin.

Colorado Rockies
2008: Christian Friedrich, LHP, College
2009: Tyler Matzek, LHP, Prep
2009: Tim Wheeler, OF, College
2010: Kyle Parker, OF, College
2011: Tyler Anderson, LHP, College
Grade: C-

Colorado will be picking 10th overall and they’ve stuck to the college route in recent years but rumors have them looking at some prep players in 2012, such as outfielders Courtney Hawkins and David Dahl. It doesn’t sound like the club is focused on pitching in the first round.

Los Angeles Dodgers
2008: Ethan Martin, RHP, Prep
2009: DNP
2010: Zach Lee, RHP, Prep
2011: Chris Reed, LHP, College
Grade: C

The Dodgers tend to go for pitching in the first round. Everyone is predicting prep hurler Ty Hensley. I heard a juicy tidbit suggesting the club could be looking at Joey Gallo as a hard-throwing pitcher; he’s a two-way prep player favored as a hitter by most clubs due to his plus raw power.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Sylvan M
Sylvan M

Interesting look back. Not sure what the grades are supposed to represent, exactly. I mean, obviously the Nats group is a lot more exciting than the Phillies group, but it’s not like the Phillies scouting dept did a bad job with the two late 1st round picks they were given.

Bad Bill
Bad Bill

I was going to make the same point. You can’t fault a team, in your grading system, for not taking a player who isn’t there by the time their slot rolls around. The grades would be much more useful if they assessed how teams did in identifying talent actually available to them.