Before we revisit the top 10 picks of the 2012 Major League Baseball amateur draft, let’s begin with a reminder of a few notable players who fell just outside of it. Right-hander Lucas Giolito (No. 16), shortstop Corey Seager (18) and Marcus Stroman (22) weren’t deemed worthy of the top 10 at the time, but all three now look like above-average major leaguers. That’s more than can be said for some of those who were among the first 10 selections that year…
1.) Carlos Correa, SS, Astros:
- Health has been the main issue so far for Correa, who has performed extremely well when he has been able to take the field. Since debuting in 2015, Correa has only appeared in more than 110 games in a season once (he missed 87 last year), but he has slashed .277/.356/.489 with 102 home runs and 18.5 fWAR. Correa also helped the Astros to a World Series championship in 2017, though that title has been sullied by a sign-stealing scandal.
2.) Byron Buxton, OF, Twins:
- Buxton’s another player whom injuries have troubled to this point, and he also hasn’t been consistently productive. When Buxton’s right, though, he’s electrifying to watch. Buxton’s an elite defender in center field, where he has posted 42 DRS and a 25.8 UZR in his career, but his offense hasn’t come close to that level. He’s just a .237/.292/.414 hitter with 38 homers and 60 steals to date, but he may have turned the corner last year with a .262/.314/.513 line during a 295-PA campaign.
3.) Mike Zunino, C, Mariners:
- Like Buxton, Zunino also hasn’t been able to put it together on a regular basis. Owing to a combination of defense and power, he was roughly a 4.0-fWAR player in two seasons (2014 and ’17) and a 2.0-fWAR contributor in another (’18), but he wasn’t very productive in his other campaigns. The 29-year-old is now a member of the Rays, who acquired him in November 2018 as part of a trade that brought outfielder Mallex Smith to Seattle, but his first season in Tampa Bay didn’t go well. Zunino ventured to the Rays as a .207/.276/.406 hitter. That’s not especially impressive, yet it trumps the .165/.232/312 line he put up a season ago.
4.) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles:
- Gausman has not evolved into a major league ace, but he has recorded a handful of respectable seasons. He managed a 4.22 ERA/4.16 FIP with 8.21 K/9 and 2.71 BB/9 in 763 2/3 innings with Baltimore from 2013-18 before the team traded him to Atlanta. Gausman was effective with the Braves then, but things went south last year, which led the club to cut ties with him in August. He finished the season on a solid run as a Reds reliever and then inked a one-year, $9MM deal with the Giants this past offseason. Not long ago, MLBTR’s Anthony Franco looked into Gausman’s chances of a full-blown bounce-back effort in San Francisco.
5.) Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals:
- Injuries have played a significant role in torpedoing the once-promising Zimmer’s career. He finally made his MLB debut last season at the age of 27, but across 18 1/3 innings, he yielded 22 earned runs on 18 hits and totaled more walks (19) than strikeouts (18).
6.) Albert Almora, OF, Cubs:
- Almora is coming off his third straight season of regular playing time, but he hasn’t made much of an impact in the majors yet. The 26-year-old has amassed 1,282 PA as a Cub and hit .274/.311/.403 with 2.1 fWAR dating back to his 2016 debut.
7.) Max Fried, LHP, Padres:
- Fried didn’t pitch in the majors for the Padres, who sent him to Atlanta in 2014 as part of a blockbuster to acquire Justin Upton. But Fried now looks like a keeper for the Braves, as he gave the team 165 2/3 innings of 4.02 ERA/3.72 FIP ball with 9.4 K/9, 2.55 BB/9 and a 53.6 percent groundball rate in his first full season last year. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently explained, the 26-year-old Fried may have even more to offer going forward.
8.) Mark Appel, RHP, Pirates:
- The Pirates didn’t sign Appel, which entitled them a compensatory pick (No. 9) in the 2013 draft. They used that selection on outfielder Austin Meadows, who broke out last season with a .291/.364/.558 line, 33 homers, 12 steals and 4.0 fWAR. The problem for Pittsburgh is that Meadows’ success came in a Tampa Bay uniform. In what looks like one of the most regrettable trades in franchise history, the Pirates sent Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz to the Rays for Chris Archer in July 2018.
9.) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins:
- Heaney only pitched 29 1/3 innings for the Marlins, who traded him to the Dodgers in a huge deal in 2014. And Heaney didn’t pitch at all for the Dodgers, as the club quickly flipped him to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. Since that chaotic sequence, Heaney has gone on to an up-and-down, injury-limited tenure as a member of the Angels, with whom he has totaled 408 2/3 innings of 4.34 ERA/4.36 FIP ball with 9.03 K/9 and 2.47 BB/9.
10.) David Dahl, OF, Rockies:
- Yet another player whom injuries have haunted over the years, Dahl hasn’t yet appeared in more than 100 games in a single season. That said, at least the 26-year-old has been an above-average hitter when healthy. Even taking into account that he calls hitter-friendly Coors Field his home, he has logged a wRC+ of 111 thus far, having slashed .297/.346/.521 with 38 HRs in 921 trips to the plate.