Rendon not the slam dunks originally thought
2011 draft is almost three weeks away, and there still hasn't been
much concrete word about which teams are zeroing in on what players.
Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and UCLA righthander Gerrit Cole,
who entered the year believed as the top two players available, don't
seem to be the clear options for the first and second picks.
other players that entered the year among the candidates for the top
five overall selections, Texas Christian lefthander Matt Purke and
Connecticut outfielder George Springer, also don't carry the same
certainty, for different reasons.
prominent college lefties, Virginia's Danny Hultzen and Georgia
Tech's Jed Bradley, have taken the place of Purke and Springer, and
Hultzen could even be in the mix for the top two picks. UCLA
righthander Trevor Bauer, Kansas prep outfielder Bubba
Starling, Florida prep shortstop Francisco Lindor and Oklahoma prep righty Dylan Bundy have positioned
themselves as premium selections among the top overall picks,
possibly even first overall.
all of those potential maneuverings, I still have Cole and Rendon
going with the top two picks, but certainly would not be surprised if
that doesn't occur when the draft comes to pass on June 6. Here is
how I have the first round shaking out at this point in time:
Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA
Pirates can't get cute with this pick. They've been picking at or
near the top for too many years. When all things are equal I would
go with the bat, but Cole seems to carry less risk given the
uncertainty of Rendon's shoulder.
Seattle Mariners: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
long been speculated that the Mariners would go with whomever
Pirates don't take from among Cole or Rendon. Plus, everyone seems
to think this would be a best-case scenario for the M's, given their
need for bats, although don't be surprised if Francisco Lindor is the pick.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia
has been connected for quite some time to the Diamondbacks, the team
that drafted him out of high school. The D-Backs brass is certainly
doing its homework this spring, and I wouldn't be surprised to see
Bundy taken here.
Baltimore Orioles: Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech
O's are one of the many teams believed to be targeting college
pitching those teams. They also seem to have a thing for lefties in
recent years, making Bradley a natural fit, and would likely jump on
Hultzen should he be available.
Kansas City Royals: Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde Academy, Clermont, Fla.
Royals are also focused on a few college pitchers, but have also set their sights on Lindor. The talented shortstop is a human highlight reel, and has added strength to his frame making his bat just as notable as his glove.
Washington Nationals: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS
the Nationals as one of the teams focused on college pitching, but Bundy might soar just as quickly as any of the college arms available given his combination of his stuff and polish. In any other year he would be considered for the top two picks, and would be a pretty exciting piece to add to the system after taking Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper the last two years.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA
think the D-Backs could end up with one of either Dylan Bundy or
Bubba Starling at this pick. However, I'm sticking with the college
pitching theme, and Arizona could have some reinforcements in their
rotation within a year or two given the polish of Hultzen and Bauer.
Cleveland Indians: Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt
The run on college pitching continues with Gray going to the Indians, who typically stay conservative focusing on college athletes. Gray has enjoyed a successful college career, and while he doesn't have the ideal stature, you can't argue with the results and one-two (fastball-curveball) punch.
Chicago Cubs: Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton HS, Gardner,
Cubs reportedly have set their sights on Starling and Lindor. Lindor isn't expected to make it past the top five to seven picks, but Starling could inject some much-needed athleticism and star power
into their system.
San Diego Padres: C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah
big college bats is commonplace for the Padres, and while this is an
unprotected pick (Karsten Whitson), I think Cron could be a
legitimate selection. He has the bat to hit no matter where he ends
up, including PETCO Park.
Houston Astros: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS, North
Astros have taken a best player available approach the past few
years, and I think Guerrieri fits that description pretty well at
this slot. His live arm and two plus pitches would be a welcome
addition to the Houston organization.
Milwaukee Brewers: Matt Barnes: RHP, UConn
the past couple of years the Brewers have shown a preference for
taller college pitchers with big arms. Barnes fits that description
pretty well, as he quietly is putting together a very good season.
New York Mets: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas
can't think of too many other teams (maybe the Indians) that have
been generally conservative in recent years when it comes to the
draft. Jungmann, whose upside is likely that of a number three
starter, could be one of the first players from this draft to reach
Florida Marlins: Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU
has put his name firmly in the middle of the first round with a big
season at the plate. While the Marlins typically target high school
athletes with their early picks, they certainly will value his
Milwaukee Brewers: Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky
is an unprotected pick, so the Brewers may choose to go with a more
signable option, but Meyer fits the profile of the type of pitcher
they have been targeting recently even more so than Barnes.
Los Angeles Dodgers: George Springer, OF, UConn
like Mahtook, is a very athletic outfielder that is enjoying a good
year at the plate. Also similar to Mahtook, despite the big
offensive numbers, some refinement is still needed with his swing.
Los Angeles Angels: Javier Baez, 3B, Arlington Country Day HS,
is a player that I have heard associated with teams that have picks
in the eight to 15 range. While his future position is still in
question, most seem to think his bat will play just about anywhere.
Oakland Athletics: Corey Spangenberg, 3B, Indian River State
indicates that the A's are targeting a bat with this pick given their
recent ability to procure pitching talent. Spangenberg's name
continues to be associated with teams higher and higher in the draft,
and could move quickly towards the big-leagues with his line drive
approach at the plate.
Boston Red Sox: Josh Bell, OF, Dallas Jesuit HS
affiliation and a strong commitment to Texas means that it may take a
good chunk of change to get Bell in the fold. There's no better team
at overcoming such obstacles than the Red Sox, who would gladly
welcome his impact bat into the system.
Colorado Rockies: Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii
sources have indicated that they don't expect Wong to get past the
Rockies should he make it this far. The Rockies typically prefer
college players, particularly positional prospects, in the early
Toronto Blue Jays: Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS
is a hard player to project where he will go, as his talents are
deserving of a top 10 selection, but his two-sport commitment to
Oklahoma is expected to constitute a large financial investment. The
Blue Jays have re-committed themselves to investing into their
scouting and player development efforts, leading to this pick.
St. Louis Cardinals: John Stilson, RHP, Texas A&M
to teams like the Cubs, Nationals, White Sox, Twins and Brewers, the
Cardinals like to target big-bodied pitchers with big arms,
regardless of their future projected role. Stilson has one of the
bigger arms in this class.
Washington Nationals: Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS, Johnson
it wouldn't be likely that a talent like Norris would last this long,
but it inevitably will happen to some players this year given the
amount of prospects that are expected to go among the top 15-25
picks. Because of that, teams like the Nationals will benefit by
having an extra first-round pick.
Tampa Bay Rays: Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS, Rio Rancho, N.M.
the last pick – it just doesn't seem right that a player with
Swihart's hitting prowess could make it this far. With so many
first-round picks, the Rays likely will be taking some players that
aren't usually mentioned in this range.
San Diego Padres: Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon
two of the most successful college players statistically in this
draft would please both the Padres and their fans. Anderson would be
another live-armed lefty to go in the first round, something we
haven't seen for a few years.
Boston Red Sox: Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS, Tampa
Fernandez, meet Blake Swihart and Daniel Norris, your Aflac
All-American teammates that didn't expect to be available in the 20s.
Fernandez, a big-bodied righty with an equally big arm, will give
the Red Sox two exciting talents in the first round.
Cincinnati Reds: Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina
Reds, like the cross-state Indians, have shown one of the stronger
preferences towards college players in recent years. They also seem
to target players with live arms, and few have a livelier arm than
Atlanta Braves: Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina
Braves typically keep their sights on the Southeast portion of the
country. They also seem to value projectable prep arms, but Levi
Michael brings the type of polish and gamesmanship that the Braves
hold in high esteem.
San Francisco Giants: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra (Calif.) HS
spoke too soon with Fernandez in regards to Swihart and Norris, and
Stephenson is in the same group. I've had the Giants associated with
Stephenson in the past, as he's a popular selection for this pick
given the proximity and the Giants success developing power arms.
Minnesota Twins: Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent State
school hitters and college pitchers. That's the Twins way. They too
like to take power arms, and while Chafin's future role is uncertain,
he is enjoying a big spring as a starter, and would be given the
proper developmental patience from an organization that has enjoyed
success developing pitchers from within.
Tampa Bay Rays: Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers,
Vogelbach here may seem like a stretch, but in a few years from now
we may be looking back and wondering how he made it even this far.
He offers one of the better pure bats, with power, available, despite
the common physical comps to Prince Fielder.
Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland, Calif.
to the Giants, the Rays have done a tremendous job developing power
pitchers, particularly those drafted from the prep ranks. Ross is
known for his polish more than his raw stuff, but he has a live arm
and could be a perfect fit in the Rays system.
Texas Rangers: Andrew Susac, C, Oregon State
when the Rangers had so many young catchers coming up through their
system? That's not a reason to have a team associated with a player
at a certain position, but I do think Susac manages to be taken in
the first round, even if it is the last pick.