MLB draft: Winners and questions

Astros and Pirates ace Day 1, plus best players left on the draft board

Originally Published: June 5, 2012
By Keith Law | ESPN Insider
Carlos CorreaGDA via AP ImagesCarlos Correa going No. 1 could be good for the Astros, and baseball in Puerto Rico.

More MLB draft content:

Pick-by-Pick Analysis | Top 100 Prospects | MLB Draft Blog

Day 1 is in the books and we saw one huge surprise in the top 10, a few surprises in the teens, and then all kinds of wackiness from the 20th pick on. Here's a quick look at my favorite picks and drafts from the first day, and a few picks that didn't make sense from where I sit.

Picks I really liked

Houston Astros
The picks: Carlos Correa at No. 1, Lance McCullers Jr. at No. 41
Summary: Pre-draft deals are illegal in baseball under Rule 3 -- the team could lose not just the player but the pick, as well as the bonus pool money assigned to it -- but if Correa were to agree now to a deal below the assigned value for the first overall pick ($7.2 million), the Astros could spread the savings over subsequent selections, possibly giving most or all of that to sandwich-round pick Lance McCullers, Jr., a first-round talent with a strong commitment to Florida. It's a risk for Houston, but the payoff could be huge; if you believe McCullers, a 6-foot right-hander who reworked his delivery last winter so he could throw strikes, can be a starter, you could make a credible argument two of the top 10-15 players in this draft are now under the Astros' control.

I'm also hopeful that Correa becoming the highest-drafted player in Puerto Rican history, whether you're counting players born there or just those who went to high school there, will help provide a boost to the sport on an island that was once a fountain of baseball talent but has dried up over the past 20 years. This will be big news in Puerto Rico, and MLB should encourage it.

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