At least one sort-of staffer for the Houston Astros is professing that the club's choice for the top overall pick in Monday night's MLB Draft is still completely unknown:
Just spoke to a source in #Astros FO. Selection is on lockdown like he's never seen before. No idea who #1 is— Evan Valenti (@EvanValenti) June 4, 2012
According to his Twitter bio, Valenti is the play-by-play man for the Astros' minor league affiliate the Tri-City ValleyCats (Short-season A). While the news might be buttoned up around the office, the overwhelming majority of predictions have the Astros taking Stanford pitcher Mark Appel.
However, Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe writes that "there's no quick fix" for the Astros with Appel, and their struggling farm system after years of bust picks and mismanagement:
Any payoff, either on the field or off, won’t come immediately, however. Unlike the pitchers taken at 1-1 in the past half-dozen drafts — Luke Hochevar (Royals, 2006), David Price (Devil Rays, 2007), Stephen Strasburg (Nationals, 2009) and Gerrit Cole (Pirates, 2011) — Appel is expected to need two or three seasons in the minors before he’s big-league ready. By comparison, Hochevar, Price and Strasburg all debuted in the majors the season after they were drafted, and Cole could be up by next year.
Jaffe also says that unlike seasons past, Appel and the rest of his draft class don't feature a game-changing pick.