The Orioles, owner of the fourth overall pick, selected college right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman from Louisiana State University. Yes, Mark Appel is still on the board, probably due to signability issues. Gausman pitches with a solid downhill delivery and should be a solid big-league pitcher. I see him as more of a number two or three starter down the road and isn't my top choice to develop into an ace, but he's advanced and ready to contribute in the very near future.
With the fifth overall choice, the Royals have taken Kyle Zimmer, right-handed pitcher, from the University of San Francisco. Another pass on Appel, but Zimmer very well may be the best pitching prospect in the draft. He's not pitched for a long time, having committed to the Dons as a position player, but Kyle's picked it up quickly. He's got a fantastic pitcher's frame (6'2", 220) and has four polished pitches right now. His fastball sits in the mid to upper 90's with a chance to hit triple digits at times. The Royals got a very good one here.
As expected, the Cubs took right-handed outfielder Albert Almora from Mater Academy of Florida in one of the worst-kept secrets of the draft. They have been enamored with the Florida prep all along and for good reason. He's expected to a 4 or 5-tool guy with a fantastic work ethic and solid leadership skills. He isn't as athletic as the other prep bats that have been drafted thus far, but he's no slouch either. He may or may not stick in centerfield long term, but I see him as a solid choice that should pay major league dividends.
The Padres took Max Fried, left-handed pitcher from Harvard-Westlake High School with the seventh pick. The Mark Appel free-fall continues, but the Padres weren't likely a fit for him due to the cash needed to sign him. Fried sports both a solid fastball and curve, a la Hamels and Kershaw. I think he's quite a ways away yet, so San Diego will have to wait quite while to see this selection pay off. Best-case scenario, he's an ace for the Friars in three to four years. Worst-case scenario: he's a number three or four starter that is durable and productive in four to five years. Good, traditional pick for the Padres.
The eighth pick of the draft belonged to the Pirates and they chose Mark Appel, right-handed pitcher from Stanford University. This is a surprise pick as the Pirates weren't thought to be willing to spend the cash to land the future ace. Adding Appel to Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole is brilliant as Mark was clearly the best player available. He's polished and ready to contribute. Cole and Appel could be Opening Day contributors in 2013, if not sooner while Taillon continues to develop positively. Great choice for a budding franchise.