PHOENIX - AUGUST 04: (FILE PHOTO) Pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals sits in the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the According to reports August 26 2010 Strasburg has a torn ligament that will require Tommy John elbow surgery. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
While the 2012 MLB Draft may feature a lot of intriguing players for the Rockies to go after, there are some players with red flags regarding injury and mechanics that may LEAD to injury. Only 3 big names are really on that blacklist as far as I see it.
Expect Rockies to Steer Clear From:
Lucas Giolito, RHP, HS:
Giolito might have been the best bet to go first overall as a HS RHP if not for an arm injury that now clouds his draft future. I don't understand some draft reports that downplay his arm injury, a sprained UCL often can lead to future Tommy John surgery, and Giolito's mechanics do place considerable strain on his arm. I think the drafting team likely pays for a year of arm rehabilitation, which isn't always the worst thing with top talent (see Stephen Strasburg), but the question is just how much of an issue will this be long term.
The second issue with Giolito is price tag, which is assumed to be only attainable to budgets in the top five picks, though Kevin Goldstein tweeted this afternoon that the price may be dropping to allow Giolito to start his pro career. At slot, Giolito is a better gamble. Arm injuries notwithstanding, the stuff is incredible. I'm still highly skeptical that $2.7 million would be enough to buy him out of UCLA, and this may be a risk to large to assume.
Lance McCullers Jr., RHP, HS:
McCullers Jr. gets a poor rap as a guy many believe is a high school relief prospect. While there's some violence to his delivery, I think most of it stems from a long arm action that could be quieted down. I have yet to see any video from the spring season, but some scouting reports have suggested that McCullers Jr. has toned down his delivery some and has held his stuff late into starts.
When you read Keith Law and Baseball America, however, they give the impression that most teams still see reliever, making his fit into the draft hard to project. It would not surprise me if some team is sleeping on him as a starter and are ready to take him within the first fifteen picks. Strong Florida commit makes him potentially a tough sign, but should the Rockies take him at ten, I would think slot should be sufficient.
Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke:
Stroman gets the benefit of the doubt more than McCullers Jr. with analysts, but I can't help but see reliever all the way. Stroman is often compared to Sonny Gray, but Gray may have three inches on him and flashed better stuff. Stroman has the strikeout numbers and innings to suggest he could succeed as a starter, but there is no plane on his fastball. Unlike McCullers, I'm not as big a fan of gambling on Stroman's starter potential.