The Arizona Fall League regular season kicks off today, October 9th, at 12:35 pm. The Seattle…
2012 First Round Picks: Top Performers
The Seattle Mariners signed up for an ultra-polished backstop who would produce immediately when they drafted Mike Zunino. In year one, they got exactly what they expected, as he socked 13 home runs and posted a .447 OBP in 44 games. After reaching Double-A in his first summer as a pro, he'll next be bringing his skills to the Arizona Fall League.
Max Fried - San Diego Padres
There's an added challenge for high school pitchers entering professional baseball. How they perform initially seems to be wildly unpredictable, and to Fried's credit he went out and performed consistently for the Padres' AZL squad. He allowed less than a hit per inning in 10 appearances, walked just six and consistently missed bats. Fried may not have the gaudy numbers that jump off the page, but he came through his first minor league experience better than any other high school arm drafted in the first round.
David Dahl - Colorado Rockies
Being drafted tenth overall out of high school comes with high expectations, but few could have foreseen just how dominant David Dahl was in his first taste of pro ball. Dahl hit a robust .379 with a .423 OBP, racking up 41 extra-base hits, including 9 home runs, in 67 games. And, his 12 stolen bases simply complete the picture of Dahl's toolsy game. You could make the case that no 2012 first round selection came close to what Dahl did in his first season.
Addison Russell - Oakland A's
There's a lot to be said for a player jumping a level in his first season in professional baseball. There's exponentially more to be said for an 18-year-old player playing exceedingly well at three different levels in his first season. That's exactly what Russell did in 2012, following up a spring that saw his stock surge leading up to the draft. It's seemingly been a year long roll for Russell, who hit .369 with 7 home runs and 16 stolen bases over 55 games at his three stops. It appears that Oakland not only has a blue chip prospect on their hands, but a prospect that may have the ability to advance quickly as well.
Courtney Hawkins - Chicago White Sox
Even Courtney Hawkins' biggest believers around draft day typically admitted that he was somewhat raw going into professional baseball. But, just how raw could a player be that just reached High-A in his first summer as a pro, hitting .284 with 8 home runs along the way? Apparently Hawkins was more polished than some believed, and his speed, arm, and plus power potential were consistently on display at three different levels in 2012.
Corey Seager - Los Angeles Dodgers
Whether they are fair or not, there are always lingering questions about players coming out of the draft. Most scouts were confident that Seager would be an elite defensive player and that he had an impressive hit tool. There were some mild questions about just how quickly his power would develop, however. Everyone got their answer pretty quickly, as Seager went out and slugged 8 home runs in 46 games in the Pioneer League this summer. And, if Seager is going to continue to hit and hit with power, there are very few holes to point out in his game at this point.
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