With the sixth pick in the 2012 amateur draft Monday night (June 4), the Chicago Cubs selected Albert Almora, an 18-year-old outfielder from Mater Academy Charter in Hialeah Gardens, Fla. He is the first pick of the Theo Epstein era with the Cubs.
The question now becomes whether Almora becomes a Hall of Famer — or at least a quality big-league player — or whether he merely becomes the answer to the trivia question: Who was the first player Theo Epstein drafted as president of baseball operations for the Cubs?
The great (OK, not-so-great) thing about the baseball draft is it is an inexact science. Always has been; always will be. No matter how much computer analysis, etc. there is. Especially when it concerns drafting high school players.
“He was the top player on our board,” Cubs vice president of scouting Jason McLeod said. “We feel like he can be a pretty impactful offensive player. He has the ability to drive the ball. We feel he will hit for average and hit for power. Defensively we see a kid who will stay in center fielder and he has the ability to be one of the better center fielders.”
Not that one player is going to change the Cubs. Or even two or three.
The Cubs also picked pitchers Pierce Johnson of Missouri State University with the 43rd pick (compensation for Aramis Ramirez) and Paul Blackburn of Heritage High School in Brentwood, Calif., with the 56th pick (compensation for Carlos Pena). Remember that for trivia contests yet to come.
The reality — as in the game itself — there are hits and misses. With many more misses than hits. The reality also is if you can stockpile enough decent prospects, you can trade for a proven player. Of course, the Cubs won’t be trading for proven players any time soon, unless they are far better far quicker than most rational folks (thereby ruling out a fair number of Cubs fans) are.
Meanwhile, it will take a while to see whether White Sox fans will flip for their team’s No. 1 pick, outfielder Courtney Hawkins, the way he did during an interview on MLB Network in New York.
Fairly impressive considering Hawkins once weighed 270 pounds. Now he is a 6-3, 220-pounder. The 18-year-old outfielder from Corpus Christi, Texas, is the Sox’s first high school player chosen in the first round since 2001 (pitcher Kris Honel, who failed to advance past Class AA). Hawkins also can pitch, but that’s not where his baseball future is.
“I like pitching, but hitting is my thing right now,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy hitting. I’m a power guy who can run and can hit. I can do it all, and I’m excited to go play for the White Sox and develop into a better player.”
The Sox selected high school first baseman Keon Barnum (Tampa, Fla.) with the No. 48 pick as compensation for Mark Buehrle signing with the Miami Marlins. Here;s hoping Barnum makes it to the big leagues and can be part of a hitting tandem with a player named Bailey. Together they could make a circus catch. OK, maybe not.
“I’ve already been to Chicago [2011 Double Duty Classic at U.S. Cellular Field when he was named co-Most Valuable Player],” Hawkins said. “I know the guys and I like them. When the clock hit zero and the commissioner [Bud Selig] said my name, I was like, ‘Wow.’”
OK, but we’ll save the cartwheels for another day. Or season.
No. 1 picks in baseball’s June amateur draft:
2012: Carlos Correa, ss (Houston Astros)
2011: Gerrit Cole, rhp (Pittsburgh Pirates)
2010: Bryce Harper, c-of (Washington Nationals)
2009: Stephen Strasburg, rhp (Washington Nationals)
2008: Tim Beckham, ss (Tampa Bay Rays)
2007: David Price, lhp (Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
2006: Luke Hochevar, rhp (Kansas City Royals)
2005: Justin Upton, ss (Arizona Diamondbacks)
2004: Matt Bush, ss (San Diego Padres)
2003: Delmon Young, of (Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
2002: Bryan Bullington, rhp (Pittsburgh Pirates)
2001: Joe Mauer, c (Minnesota Twins)
2000: Adrian Gonzalez, 1b (Florida Marlins)
1999: Josh Hamilton, rf-lhp (Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
1998: Pat Burrell, 3b (Philadelphia Phillies)
1997: Matt Anderson, rhp (Detroit Tigers)
1996: Kris Benson, rhp (Pittsburgh Pirates)
1995: Darin Erstad, of-1B (California Angels)
1994: Paul Wilson, rhp (N.Y. Mets)
1993: Alex Rodriguez, ss (Seattle Mariners)
1992: Phil Nevin, 3b (Houston Astros)
1991: Brien Taylor, lhp (N.Y. Yankees)
1990: Chipper Jones, ss (Atlanta Braves)
1989: Ben McDonald, rhp (Baltimore Orioles)
1988: Andy Benes, rhp (San Diego Padres)
1987: Ken Griffey Jr., of (Seattle Mariners)
1986: Jeff King, inf (Pittsburgh Pirates)
1985: B.J. Surhoff, c (Milwaukee Brewers)
1984: Shawn Abner, of (N.Y. Mets)
1983: Tim Belcher, rhp (Minnesota Twins)
1982: Shawon Dunston, ss (Chicago Cubs)
1981: Mike Moore, rhp (Seattle Mariners)
1980: Darryl Strawberry, of (N.Y. Mets)
1979: Al Chambers, of (Seattle Mariners)
1978: Bob Horner, 3b (Atlanta Braves)
1977: Harold Baines, of (Chicago White Sox)
1976: Floyd Bannister, lhp (Houston Astros)
1975: Danny Goodwin, c (California Angels)
1974: Bill Almon, inf (San Diego Padres)
1973: David Clyde, lhp (Texas Rangers)
1972: Dave Roberts, inf (San Diego Padres)
1971: Danny Goodwin, c (Chicago White Sox)
1970: Mike Ivie, c (San Diego Padres)
1969: Jeff Burroughs, of (Washington Senators)
1968: Tim Foli, inf (N.Y. Mets)
1967: Ron Blomberg, 1b (N.Y. Yankees)
1966: Steve Chilcott, c (N.Y. Mets)
1965: Rick Monday, of (Kansas City Athletics)
2012 First-round selections
1. Houston: Carlos Correa, ss
2. Minnesota: Byron Buxton, of
3. Seattle: Mike Zunino, c
4. Baltimore: Kevin Gausman, rhp
5. Kansas City: Kyle Zimmer, rhp
6. Chicago Cubs: Albert Almora, of
7. San Diego: Max Fried, lhp
8. Pittsburgh: Mark Appel, rhp
9. Miami: Andrew Heaney, lhp
10. Colorado: David Dahl, of
11. Oakland: Addison Russell, ss
12. New York Mets: Gavin Cecchini, ss
13. Chicago White SoxL Courtney Hawkins, of
14. Cincinnati: Nick Travieso, rhp
15. Cleveland: Tyler Naquin, of
16. Washington: Lucas Giolito, rhp
17. Toronto: D.J. Davis, of
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Corey Seager, ss
19. St. Louis: Michael Wacha, rhp
20. San Francisco: Chris Stratton, rhp
21. Atlanta: Lucas Sims, rhp
22. Toronto: Marcus Stroman, rhp
23. St. Louis: James Ramsey, of
24. Boston: Deven Marrero, ss
25. Tampa Bay: Richie Shaffer, 3b-1b
26. Arizona: Stryker Trahan, c
27. Milwaukee: Clint Coulter, c
28. Milwaukee: Victor Roache, of
29. Texas: Lewis Brinson, of
30. New York Yankees: Ty Hensley, rhp
31. Boston: Brian Johnson, lhp
The Angels and Tigers did not have first-round picks.
Congratulations to Katarina Van Derham on the launch of her Viva Glam Magazine. The Los Angeles-based entrepreneur/model/actress/makeup artist is a woman of many talents. There is more to Katarina — the only person to be a two-time St. Pauli Girl spokesmodel — than her looks, in case there was any question. For those out there in cyberspace who would like to take a glance at Katarina in video, here you go:
For those who would like to see some of Katarina’s makeup skills in action, try this:
Anybody hungry for some vegan coconut curry soup? Here’s a tasteful video:
And how about a little geography lesson? With a teacher like this, some of us might have paid attention:
Katarina also appeared not too long ago on “Sports & Torts” with co-hosts David Spada and Elliott Harris on talkzone.com. Because of the video’s length, your humble correspondent was unable to upload it to YouTube (yes, some of us are more technologically challenged than others). However, we do have the video from the fine folks at talkzone.com. To view it, you can click here.
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