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2012 MLB Draft Revisited

Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros, 2012 MLB Draft Revisited

Carlos Correa lived up to the hype as a No. 1 overall draft pick, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2015 and then helping the Astros win the World Series in '17

It would be unfair to look at the 2012 MLB Draft and consider it subpar when compared to its predecessors. It certainly produced its share of All-Star Game participants and contains some players who are true standouts, like Carlos Correa, Max Fried, Corey Seager and Marcus Stroman.

But if we are being honest, this group isn’t filled with the kind of superior talent that the 2009 (Mike Trout, Zack Wheeler), 2010 (Bryce Harper, Manny Machado) or 2011 (Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon) classes boasted. In 2012, some teams filled needs. Others made some bad decisions.

Here’s how it shook out.

(Note: Team affiliation is through the 2021 season.)

1. Astros: Carlos Correa, SS
Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School • ’15-21, Houston

During his seven years with the Astros, Correa has established himself as one of MLB’s most productive shortstops and has shown that he can hit for power and field his position well. Although Correa played only 99 games in 2015, he was voted the AL Rookie of the Year, thanks to 22 homers and 68 RBIs. Correa has hit 20 or more homers five times, including a career-best 26 in 2021, and was a key part of Houston’s 2017 World Series title team. Ather the lockout ended, Correa surprised many when he signed a three-year, $105.3 million contract to join the Minnesota Twins.
All-Star Games: 2

2. Twins: Byron Buxton, OF
Appling County (GA) HS • ’15-21, Minnesota

Twins fans have been pointing to Buxton as a centerpiece of their future since he was drafted, but the outfielder has never completely delivered. Sure, he won a Gold Glove in 2017. And in ’21, he hit .306 and had a robust 1.005 OPS. But Buxton has played only one full season and has a lifetime on-base percentage of .299. That didn’t stop the Twins from signing him to a seven-year, $100 million contract extension in November.
All-Star Games: 0

3. Mariners: Mike Zunino, C
Florida • ’13-18, Seattle; ’19-21, Tampa Bay

Zunino may not offer much when it comes to hitting for average, but there’s no denying his power, especially in 2021. Despite playing in just 109 games for the Rays, Zunino slammed a career-best 33 homers, on the way to his first-ever All-Star berth. Zunino has hit at least 20 homers in three other seasons.
All-Star Games: 1

4. Orioles: Kevin Gausman, RHP
LSU • ’13-18, Baltimore; ’18-19, Atlanta; ’19, Cincinnati; ’20-21, San Francisco

After not posting a winning record in eight seasons primarily as a starter, Gausman broke through in 2021 with a 14–6 record, 2.81 ERA and 227 strikeouts to play a big role in the Giants’ NL West title. He parlayed that success into a five-year, $110 million contract to sign in free agency with the Toronto Blue Jays. 

All-Star Games: 1

5. Royals: Kyle Zimmer, RHP
San Francisco • ’19-21, Kansas City

Zimmer never was able to gain much momentum in the minors, thanks to problems with his biceps and shoulder, the latter of which forced him to undergo surgery. He has served primarily as a reliever over the past three seasons in KC with a career ERA of 5.19 over 95.1 innings. Last year, he appeared in 52 games.
All-Star Games: 0

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6. Cubs: Albert Almora, OF
Mater (FL) Academy • ’16-20, Chicago Cubs; ’21, New York Mets

Almora’s career peaked between 2017-19, when he was a full-time outfielder — primarily in center — with the Cubs. He hit .298 in ’17 and .286 the following year. However, his production dropped considerably over the past two seasons, when he was a part-timer with the Cubs and Mets and hit well below .200 each year.
All-Star Games: 0

7. Padres: Max Fried, LHP
Harvard-Westlake (CA) HS • ’17-22, Atlanta

San Diego traded Fried to the Braves in late 2014 in the Justin Upton deal, and after spending the ’17 and ’18 seasons as a part-time member of the big club, Fried became a stalwart as a starter. He went 17–6 in 2019 and a perfect 7–0 with a 2.25 ERA during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, a performance that earned him a fifth-place showing in the NL Cy Young voting. Last season, he went 14–7, with a career-low 1.087 WHIP.
All-Star Games: 0

8. Pirates: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

Because Appel was considered a signing risk, he fell to eighth in the ’12 draft and refused to sign with Pittsburgh, choosing instead to return to Stanford. Houston took him first overall in 2013 but traded him to Philadelphia two years later. He never escaped the minors and stepped away from the game in 2017. He returned in 2021 and posted a 3–6 record in the minors for the Phillies organization.
All-Star Games: 0

9. Marlins: Andrew Heaney, LHP
Oklahoma State • ’14, Miami; ’15-21, Los Angeles Angels; ’21 New York Yankees

If Heaney had been able to stay healthy, he could have been pretty successful. He began the 2016 season as the Angels’ No. 1 starter, but elbow problems led to Tommy John surgery. He experienced elbow troubles again in 2019. Heaney went 6–4 with a 3.49 ERA in 2015 and 9–10 in 2018. Heaney signed with the Dodgers in November.
All-Star Games: 0

10. Rockies: David Dahl, OF
Oak Mountain (AL) HS • ’16, ’18-20, Colorado; ’21, Texas

Dahl has been a part-time starting outfielder throughout his career and had his best season in 2019, when he hit 15 homers and knocked in 61 runs to earn a berth in the All-Star Game. A versatile outfielder who can play all three positions, Dahl has a career .272 average and has shown that he can hit for power.
All-Star Games: 1

11. A’s: Addison Russell, SS
Pace (FL) HS • ’15-19, Chicago Cubs

Russell was having a solid career until 2019, when acting on what it considered credible evidence that he had abused his wife, MLB suspended him for the first 29 games. After that season, he was released and didn’t play in the majors again. Russell was part of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series team and was an All-Star that year, when he hit 21 homers and knocked in 95. He has spent the past couple of years playing in Korea and Mexico.
All-Star Games: 1

12. Mets: Gavin Cecchini, SS
Barbe (LA) HS • ’16-17, New York Mets

Cecchini has always shown the ability to hit for a good average in the minors, but he has played only 36 MLB games, spread over two seasons. His longest stint in the big leagues came in 2017, when he was with the Mets for 32 games and hit .208. He spent the 2021 season in the Angels system.
All-Star Games: 0

13. White Sox: Courtney Hawkins, OF
Carroll (TX) HS

From 2012-19, Hawkins bounced around the minor leagues for the White Sox, Reds and Giants, reaching the Triple-A level one time, for 16 games in the Reds system in 2019. Hawkins spent the past two seasons playing independent ball and in the Mexican League.
All-Star Games: 0

14. Reds: Nick Travieso, RHP
Archbishop McCarthy (FL) HS

Travieso looked like a pretty solid prospect for the Reds, especially after he won 14 games at the Single-A level in 2014. But a shoulder injury in 2016 required surgery and kept him out of baseball the next two years. The Reds released him in 2019, and he played independent ball after that.
All-Star Games: 0

15. Indians: Tyler Naquin, OF
Texas A&M • ’16-20, Cleveland; ’21, Cincinnati

After hitting .296 and slugging 14 homers in 2016 with Cleveland to finish third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, Naquin appeared to be on the verge of doing big things. But other than a .288 2019 with 10 dingers, he did not approach that level the next four seasons. However, in 2021, he hit 19 home runs and had 70 RBIs for the Reds.
All-Star Games: 0

16. Nationals: Lucas Giolito, RHP
Harvard-Westlake (CA) HS  ’16, Washington; ’17-21, Chicago White Sox

Since 2018, Giolito has been a steady member of the White Sox rotation and has reached double figures in wins on three occasions. In 2019, he went 14–9, with a 3.41 ERA and 228 strikeouts, a performance that earned him a spot on the American League All-Star Team. Last year, Giolito was 11–9, with a 3.53 ERA and 201 Ks.
All-Star Games: 1

17. Blue Jays: D.J. Davis, OF
Stone County (MS) HS

Even though many believed Davis was a reach at the 17th spot in the MLB Draft, the Blue Jays were sold on his speed, strong arm and hands. Early in his career, he was a highly rated prospect in the Gulf Coast and the Appalachian leagues, but his inability to make consistent contact at the plate doomed him, and Toronto released him in 2018, ending his professional career.
All-Star Games: 0

18. Dodgers: Corey Seager, SS
Northwest Cabarrus (NC) HS • ’15-21, Los Angeles Dodgers

After a brief stint in the majors in 2015, Seager had a big year in ’16, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award and earning an All-Star spot while hitting .308 with 26 homers. Seager made another All-Star appearance in 2017 and was LA’s starting shortstop during his time there, registering a .297 career average and topping .900 in OPS the past two campaigns. After the ’21 season, Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract with the Rangers.
All-Star Games: 2

19. Cardinals: Michael Wacha, RHP
Texas A&M • ’13-19, St. Louis; ’20, New York Mets; ’21, Tampa Bay

Wacha has proven to be a reliable starter and has posted a career record of 63–48 with a 4.14 ERA. His finest year came in 2015, when he went 17–7 with a 3.38 ERA and made the National League All-Star team. Wacha went a combined 20–11 in 2017-18, but he has been below .500 in each of the past three campaigns.
All-Star Games: 1

20. Giants: Chris Stratton, RHP
Mississippi State • ’16-18, San Francisco; ’19, Los Angeles Angels; ’19-21, Pittsburgh

Stratton began his big-league career as a starter — and posted a 10–10 record in 2018 — but when San Francisco traded him to the Los Angeles Angels in 2019, he moved to the bullpen. Pittsburgh acquired him in May 2019, and he became a reliable reliever, posting a 3.69 ERA with 172 strikeouts in 156 innings over three seasons.
All-Star Games: 0

21. Braves: Lucas Sims, RHP
Brookwood (GA) HS • ’17-18, Atlanta; ’18-21, Cincinnati

In 2017, his only season as a starter, Sims went 3–6 with a 5.62 ERA in 10 starts for the Braves. He was traded in July 2018 to the Reds, and he has been a bullpen performer ever since, although he has spent some time in the Triple-A ranks over the past few seasons. In 2021, Sims posted a rate of 14.6 K/9 that ranked fourth among all relievers who had at least 40 innings pitched.
All-Star Games: 0

22. Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman, RHP
Duke • ’14-19, Toronto; ’19-21, New York Mets

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Stroman established himself quickly, going 11–6 with a 3.65 ERA during his rookie season. Three years later, he was 13–9 with a 3.09 ERA and a Gold Glove. Stroman made his sole All-Star appearance in 2019, the same year he was traded to the Mets. He opted out of the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic but posted a 3.21 ERA in New York, parlaying that into a three-year, $71 million contract with the Cubs in December.
All-Star Games: 1

23. Cardinals: James Ramsey, OF, Florida State

Although Ramsey demonstrated the ability to hit for average and some power at times during his stints in five different minor league systems, he never generated enough momentum to make it to the big time. He reached the Triple-A ranks and showed some promise, but he couldn’t get beyond the top rung of the minors.
All-Star Games: 0

24. Red Sox: Deven Marrero, SS
Arizona State • ’15-17, Boston; ’18, Arizona; ’19, ’21, Miami

Marrero has bounced between franchises and levels of baseball during his career and has posted an uninspiring career average of .194. He can play second, short and third and played 10 games with the Marlins last year after signing at the beginning of the season with the Mexican League. Marrero became a free agent after the 2021 season.
All-Star Games: 0

25. Rays: Richie Shaffer, 3B
Clemson • ’15-16, Tampa Bay

Shaffer played a total of 51 games with the Rays in 2015 and ’16 as the classic utility man. He hit .213 for his big-league career but did show a bit of pop. After a 2019 stint in the independent Atlantic League, he was out of baseball, but he has found fame as “DickyDanger,” a gamer on Twitch, and had his first sci-fi novel, The Flight of Earth, published in 2020.
All-Star Games: 0

26. Diamondbacks: Stryker Trahan, C
Acadiana (LA) HS

With a name like Stryker, one would imagine Trahan could really hit the ball. And though he showed some promise in rookie ball in ’12, he spent the next four years bouncing around organizations, playing behind the plate and in the outfield and hitting a combined .220, although he did hit 19 homers in Single-A ball in 2014.
All-Star Games: 0

27. Brewers: Clint Coulter, C
Union (WA) HS

You have to give Coulter credit for hanging in professional baseball for so long, especially since he didn’t play in the Triple-A ranks until 2018. Coulter is a career .255 hitter who has shown some power over the years and spent 2021 with Memphis, St. Louis’ Triple-A squad.
All-Star Games: 0

28. Brewers: Victor Roache, OF
Georgia Southern

Roache looked like a great prospect after he hit 30 homers his first year at Georgia Southern, but he floundered in the minors, hitting .232 in six seasons. He spent 2019 and ’20 playing independent ball and didn’t catch on with a club in ’21.
All-Star Games: 0

29. Rangers: Lewis Brinson, OF
Coral Springs (FL) HS  ’17, Milwaukee; ’18-21, Miami

Brinson has not dazzled during his four years with the Marlins, hitting .203, but he has had moments of power. In 2018, he slugged 11 homers in 109 games. Last year, he hit nine dingers and had 14 doubles. Of note, he’s been involved in trades for Jonathan Lucroy and Christian Yelich.
All-Star Games: 0

30. Yankees: Ty Hensley, RHP
Edmond Santa Fe (OK) HS

Hip and elbow problems torpedoed Hensley’s career, forcing him to miss four complete seasons. He spent 2018-21 playing for various independent teams and harbors hopes of catching on with an MLB organization again.
All-Star Games: 0

31. Red Sox: Brian Johnson, LHP
Florida • ’15, ’17-19, Boston

The highlight of Johnson’s MLB tenure came in 2018, when he appeared in 38 games as a swingman between the rotation and the bullpen and went 4–5 with a 4.17 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 99.1 innings. During his four years in the big leagues, he registered a 7–9 record with a 4.74 ERA. The Red Sox released him after 2019, and he played some Triple-A ball for the Angels and some independent ball last year.
All-Star Games: 0

Other Notable Selections

José Berríos, RHP
Twins (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • Papa Juan XXIII (PR) HS

A two-time All-Star, Berríos won 14 games twice with the Twins and has been a sturdy, reliable starter throughout his six MLB seasons. Minnesota traded him to the Blue Jays in 2021, and he compiled a 3.52 ERA and led the AL with 32 starts. After the season, Toronto signed Berrios to a seven-year, $131 million contract extension.

Mitch Haniger, OF
Brewers (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • Cal Poly

After seeing what Haniger did in 2021, the Diamondbacks (who acquired him from Milwaukee in 2014) must have been furious with the decision to trade him to Seattle in 2016. In 2021, Haniger mashed 39 homers, knocked in 100 runs and had 23 doubles. He was an All-Star in 2018, when he hit 26 homers and had 38 doubles.

Joey Gallo, 3B
Rangers (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • Bishop Gorman (NV) HS

During his seven-year big-league career, the two-time All-Star has proven himself to be one of baseball’s top power hitters. He has surpassed 40 homers twice, and he hit 38 in ’21, while somehow leading MLB hitters in both walks and strikeouts. Last year, Texas dealt him to the Yankees at the trade deadline.

Lance McCullers Jr., RHP
Astros (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • Jesuit (FL) HS

McCullers has been a stalwart in the Astros rotation since 2015. He was an All-Star in 2017, when he went 7–4. McCullers was 10–6 the next year but underwent Tommy John surgery after the season and missed all of 2019. Last year, he was 13–5 with a 3.16 ERA and 185 strikeouts.

Matt Olson, 1B
A’s (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • Parkview (GA) HS

Olson has been a reliable power source for Oakland and clubbed a total of 89 homers between 2017-19. He had his best season last year, when he slugged 39 dingers, knocked in 111 and had a .911 OPS, earning him his first All-Star nod. He also owns two Gold Glove awards. He was traded to his hometown Braves shortly after the lockout ended and then agreed to an eight-year, $162 million contract extension.

Jesse Winker, OF
Reds (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) • Olympia (FL) HS

After showing some promise over the first four years of his MLB career, Winker broke through last year with a performance that earned him his inaugural All-Star berth. He hit .305, with 24 homers, 71 RBIs and a .949 OPS, all career highs. He was traded to Seattle on March 14 along with Eugenio Suarez for a package of four players.

Alex Wood, LHP
Braves (Rd. 2) • Georgia

Although he has played for four different teams during his nine-year MLB career, Wood has been quite productive, posting double-digit win totals four times. His finest season came in 2017, when he went 16–3 with a 2.72 ERA for the Dodgers to earn his only All-Star nod. Last season, he was 10–4 for San Francisco.

Edwin Díaz, RHP
Mariners (Rd. 3) • Caguas (PR) Military Academy

During six seasons with Seattle and the Mets, Diaz has proven himself to be an overpowering pitcher out of the bullpen. He consistently registers well over a strikeout per inning pitched. In 2018 with Seattle, he had 57 saves and 124 strikeouts in 73.1 innings and became an All-Star. Last season, he saved 32 games for the Mets.

Chris Taylor, SS
Mariners (Rd. 5) • Virginia

Taylor made a quick transition to the big leagues, becoming Seattle’s regular shortstop for the last two months of 2014. The Mariners dished him to the Dodgers during the 2016 campaign, and he has become an infield and outfield fixture. Last season, he slugged 20 homers, knocked in 73 and earned his first All-Star berth. Taylor signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Dodgers during the offseason.

Max Muncy, 1B
A’s (Rd. 5) • Baylor

The A’s gave up on Muncy at the end of spring training in 2017, and he signed with the Dodgers. After spending ’17 in the minors, he staged a breakout the next year, hitting 35 homers. He was named to the first of his two All-Star teams in 2019 and hit 35 homers with 98 RBIs. He made another All-Star appearance in ’21 but tore his UCL on the last day of the season.

Ross Stripling, RHP
Dodgers (Rd. 5) • Texas A&M

Throughout his six-year career with the Dodgers and Toronto, Stripling has proven to be a versatile pitcher, bouncing between the bullpen and rotation. A pitcher who strikes out about a hitter an inning, Stripling had his best year in 2018 with L.A., going 8–6 with a 3.02 ERA and earning an NL All-Star spot.

Joey Wendle, 2B
Indians (Rd. 6) • West Chester

Although Wendle has not been an everyday player during all of his six seasons with Oakland and the Rays, he did handle a myriad of infield positions as a regular last year for Tampa Bay and was rewarded with an All-Star berth. He hit .265 with a career-best 11 homers. He was traded to the Miami Marlins during the offseason.

Jake Lamb, 3B
Diamondbacks (Rd. 6) • Washington

When Lamb hit 29 home runs in 2016 and followed that up with a 30-homer, 105-RBI All-Star performance the following season, it appeared as if the Diamondbacks had a big-time slugger on their roster. But the last four seasons haven’t been as good to Lamb, who has struggled to find traction with four different organizations.

Taylor Rogers, LHP
Twins (Rd. 11) • Kentucky

Rogers has spent six years with Minnesota as a valuable bullpen component and has posted a sturdy career ERA of 3.15 and a 1.15 WHIP. He appeared in 72 games in 2018, and last year, he was named to his first AL All-Star Team. He finished 2021 with 59 strikeouts in 40.1 innings pitched. On Opening Day, Rogers was traded along with outfielder Brent Rooker to San Diego for pitchers Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan, along with a player to be named later.

Josh Hader, LHP
Orioles (Rd. 19) • Old Mill (MD) HS

A three-time All-Star, Hader has become one of baseball’s most dominant bullpen arms, with a career ERA of 2.26 and a microscopic 0.85 WHIP. Hader posted 37 saves for the Brewers in 2019 and had 34 last season. An imposing power pitcher, Hader struck out 102 batters in 58.2 innings pitched during the ’21 campaign.

— Written by Michael Bradley for the Athlon Sports 2022 Baseball Annual. At 224 pages, it's the largest on the newsstand and the most complete preview available today. Click here to get your copy or purchase the digital edition for instant access.