The rules dictating how teams can go about signing Draft picks may be much different thanks to the most recent collective bargaining agreement, but how things will operate during the 2012 First-Year Player Draft remains largely the same.
Major League Baseball released the Draft order for the event on Tuesday, officially putting the Astros on the clock with the first pick. It is the third time Houston has had the No. 1 overall selection, having done so in 1976 and '92. Floyd Bannister and Phil Nevin went on to be quality Major Leaguers, so the Astros will hope history can repeat itself in June.
Some of the names being mentioned as potential top picks are such college pitchers as Stanford's Mark Appel, LSU's Kevin Gausman, the University of San Francisco's Kyle Zimmer and Texas A&M's Michael Wacha; Florida catcher Mike Zunino; and Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton. Read about all of them on MLB.com's 2012 Draft Top 50 list.
The Twins pick second, with the Mariners, Orioles and Royals rounding out the top five.
Day 1 of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft is on Monday, June 4, at MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J. The Draft will air live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 7 p.m. ET. MLB Network will air a preview show, simulcast on MLB.com, at 6 p.m.
2012 Draft order
The order of the first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft:
As in each of the previous three years, the Draft will span three days. For Day 1, MLB Network and MLB.com will provide live coverage during the first round as well as the first compensation round. The intervals between selections will last five minutes during the first round and one minute during the compensation round. The Draft will resume at noon on both Tuesday, June 5, and Wednesday, June 6, via conference call from MLB headquarters in New York.
June 5 will cover rounds two through 15, and June 6 will cover rounds 16 through 40. Rounds two through 10 will have one minute between selections, and the remainder of the selections will be made without delays. As per the new agreement, the Draft is only 40 rounds.
Continuing coverage at the start of Day 2, MLB.com will deliver exclusive live programming of the Draft's final two days, including a pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and DraftCaster, an interactive application that includes a searchable database of every eligible player supplemented by statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.
Each of the 30 Major League clubs will be represented at the Draft by a former player and/or a member of its front office. Last year's representatives included Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Rod Carew, Tommy Lasorda, Gaylord Perry and Jim Rice, along with Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operation, and Padres great Trevor Hoffman. This year's representatives will be announced in the coming weeks.
Four teams have two first-round picks: the Blue Jays (17 and 22), Cardinals (19 and 23), Red Sox (24 and 31) and Brewers (27 and 28). St. Louis has five of the first 59 selections, and Toronto holds five of the first 60.
Being able to sign all of those extra picks will be a bigger challenge given the new agreement, which gave each team a pool of money to use to sign players picked in the first 10 rounds. The Twins, picking No. 2 overall and with two supplemental first-round picks, have the largest. The Astros are second with that top selection. The Cardinals and Blue Jays, largely because of those extra picks, are in the top five. Any team that spends beyond the pool for the first 10 rounds will face stiff penalties, from heavy fines to the loss of future Draft picks.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.