I know most people don't follow the MLB Draft too much, being that there are so many collegiate and high school players in the player pool and they are not the easiest to see actually play, but it is always an intriguing event, more so now that each team has a dollar limit to spend.
The consensus #1 pick is GA's own Bryan Buxton out of Appling County High School. He is viewed as the essential MLB draft guy - tall, cannon for an arm, hits for power/average, runs like the wind. He is being drafted as an outfielder, with lots of comparisons to the Upton brothers.
There is a big difference in some franchises philosophies, with some preferring collegiate players over high school "projects," but in my opinion, you need to draft more on results than projections, for example Tim Beckham over Buster Posey.
Buxton may be the next Justin Upton, but how accurate have the scouts been on the past few HS outfielders taken at the top of the draft?
2011 - #5 Bubba Starling (too early to tell, hasn't appeared in Minor League game)
2010 - #15 Jake Skole - .253/14/100 in 800 career AB's, just got to Advanced A Ball
2009 - #3 Donovan Tate - .248/48 RBI/33 SB in 98 career games, all in low A Ball
2008 - #14 Aaron Hicks - .263/27/170 in 400 career games, in AA
2007 - #14 Jason Heyward - Runner up ROY, every day RF for Braves
2006 - #14 Travis Snider - 28 career HR's for Blue Jays, viewed still as good prospect
2005 - #1 Justin Upton - Exactly what scouts see in Buxton, elite level major leaguer
2004 - #21 Greg Golson - In AAA, career .260 minor league hitter
2003 - #1 Delmon Young - Career .286 hitter with 74 HR's in big leagues
2002 - #2 BJ Upton - Everyday CF on top-tier team
Certainly some really good players here, but also some guys that haven't panned out. Lots of scouts really like Buxton, I see him more of a Dexter Fowler than Justin Upton.
If I am picking #1, these are the guys I would consider...
Mark Appel RHP Stanford - 6'5 starting pitcher that throws 96-98 with good mechanics. He isn't quite as big a prospect as Justin Verlander, but has the size, stuff, and make-up to warrant the #1 pick. Would also be quite a story for the Cardinal to have Andrew Luck, Appel, and Nnemkadi Ogwumike all go #1 in 3 different drafts.
Mike Zunino C Florida - Power hitting catcher that is an above average receiver/thrower and captain of #1 team in Division 1. Projects as a 5-6 hitter and run producer that is certainly All-Star calibur.
Michael Wacha - RHP Texas A&M - Future front-line starter that pounds the strike zone with 3 really good pitches, the best of which is his change-up. Can run the fastball up to 96 when needed, and spots his pitches really well.
As for last years draft, several names have gotten off to pretty good starts in 2012, most notably RHP Dylan Bundy, who since your last update here has been promoted to Advanced A, which may produce less X-Box like results for Dylan. He finally gave up a run in 1st start, but still holds a 0.51 ERA in 10 professional starts.
The 3 collegiate pitchers taken ahead of Bundy, Danny Hultzen/Gerrit Cole/Trevor Bauer all have gotten off to fast starts, with Hultzen (1.59 ERA in 10 starts) and Bauer (1.74 ERA in 9 starts) putting up the best numbers.
Lots of HS players are still in extended spring training, but some of you may remember CF Jackie Bradley, Jr from USC, who dropped to pick #40 after an injury-filled 2011 in Columbia. Well, Jackie is leading the Carolina league in hitting at .358 and is showing why he was a projected top 10 pick before his injuries pushed him down draft boards.
Braves 1st rounder Sean Gilmartin has been very steady at Mississippi (AA), putting up several quality starts. Utah 1B CJ Cron has also been hot, hitting .286/7/38 in advanced A, giving him career minor league totals already through 86 games of .295/20/79.
Some local names to look for in Round 1 Monday after Buxton include Georgia Southern teammates Victor Roache and Chris Beck, Brookwood HS RHP Lucas Sims, UGA LHP Alex Wood, and possibly Parkview 1B Matt Olsen...