Daily Archives: June 6, 2011
Monday June 6, 2011
MLB reports: After months of speculation, the 2011 MLB Draft arrived. One of the most debated drafts in years, many of the players were known but where they would be drafted remained a mystery right up until today. After Washington drafted Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper the last two years with the top overall pick, who would go #1 this year was shrouded in secrecy. Rumors had the Pirates grabbing Gerrit Cole going #1 by most outlets. However, Rendon, Hultzen and even Bundy were getting a great deal of hype.
We have prepared below a list of the First Round picks in the 2011 MLB Draft. We have listed the players by position, school, draft position and team. We have also provided our analysis and opinions. Time will tell which players end up justifying their draft positions. Some players got drafted according to talent skills. Others according to team needs and even signability played a large part for many. This was definitely one of the most exciting drafts that I have ever covered. The amount of talent available played a huge part as did the buzz generated before the draft due to the explosion of the internet and social media. Compared to the pre-draft predictions and mock drafts, the final results ended up surprising and shocking many. We definitely look forward to revisiting this draft list over the next few years and analyze which picks worked out and the ones that bombed. Half of the fun is predicting the draft and the rest is second guessing it.
The Results of the First Round of the 2011 MLB Draft are as follows:
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA
The consensus top choice of the draft ended up going in the top spot. The top arm of the draft, teams love drafting big power arms. With Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh will have a scary 1-2 punch and will have their future all-star catcher Tony Sanchez to handle the staff. The Yankees loss in 2008 is the Pirates gain. Cole can hit 102 mph on the radar gun. It will be interesting to see who will end up being the better starter between Cole, Hultzen and Bundy. Cole has battled some command issues this season but the ceiling is very high on this future star. A solid pick overall. I would have gone with Rendon but this was a pick that the Pirates almost had to make.
2. Seattle Mariners: Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia
Widely expected Anthony Rendon starts his drop. After not going #1, many expected the Mariners to take Rendon. Hultzen goes up all the way to #2 as the Mariners continue to stock up on pitching. Hultzen has three strong pitches and had a huge season for Virginia this year. The kid will look for big bucks and the Mariners will open up their wallet. The surprises have already begun to start the draft and shows that mock drafts can simply be thrown out the window once the real show begins. If the goal of teams is to build strong rotations a la the Giants and Rays, then the Mariners are well on their way to building a contender. King Felix, Prince Pineda and Hultzen should give the Mariners one of the top rotations in the AL West, if not all of baseball one day. The irony is that the Diamondbacks were picking next and had taken Hultzen out of high school in 2008. Arizona lost out on him again.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA
Many mock drafts got this one correctly. Only 6’0″, Bauer is drawing Lincecum comparisons. He may be one of the quicker climbs to the majors and was part of the reason why he was drafted. Diamondbacks also wanted him and didn’t think he would last until the 7th pick. So far in the year of the pitcher, all top 3 picks are starters. As the Rendon drop continues, I see him going no later than #6 to Washington who would love to add another strong bat.
4. Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS
Four picks. Four starting pitchers. Orioles love their young pitchers and Bundy will be a big addition. Bundy was expected to possibly go as high as #2 and some had him pegged at #1. He throws 100+ mph and is looking for a big contract. Joe Bundy, the brother of Dylan is also an Oriole and we may see the brothers on the field together one day. Known to have a great work ethic and should be a great addition for the Orioles. Some reports had the Royals hoping that Bundy would fall next to #5 but his potential was too much for the Orioles to pass up on.
5. Kansas City Royals: Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner Edgerton (Kan.) HS
This is the case of the local boy who made good. Starling is considered one of the best athletes in the draft and will excel in his hometown for years to come. What a scary offense he will form with Myers, Moustakas and Hosmer. Another multi-sport star, Starling will have to choose between football and baseball. The hometown advantage should win out and we will see Starling patrolling the Royals outfield one day soon. A solid pick and even better for the Nationals, who grab the former lock #1 pick going into the season, Anthony Rendon at #6.
6. Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
My pick to go first overall, Rendon falls all the way to #6. Not that the Nationals will complain. With injury concerns including shoulder, Rendon was seen by many as the top bat of the draft. I cannot believe that 5 other teams could pass him up and Washington fans should be dancing in the streets. Washington in 3-4 years will be a huge powerhouse team with the Royals. Perhaps a World Series matchup one day?
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (for unsigned 2010 first rounder Barret Loux): Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS
The year of the pitcher continues. Another two-sport player, Bradley will also have to pick baseball over football. A huge price tag and expected to fall into the teens, the Diamondbacks targeted their player and grabbed him. On a rebuilding team, a solid pick with a high ceiling.
8. Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
A shortstop with pop, the Indians found the future replacement for Asdrubal Cabrera. A safe pick, many expected the Indians to go with a starting pitcher here.
9. Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez, SS, Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day School
Another hugely talented player out of Florida. A-Rod comparisons anyone? Baez is seen to have a strong bat. He may not stay at shortstop but Baez should be a solid bat for a team in dire need of offense. With Castro entrenched at short, it will be interesting to see where Baez plays on the diamond.
10. San Diego Padres (for unsigned 2010 first rounder Karsten Whitson): Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Indian River (Fla.) JC
A versatile player, Spagenberg also plays shortstop and outfield. The next Chone Figgins or Ben Zobrist? One of the top athletes of the draft, signability issues had led to experts pegging him as a late first rounder. Despite failing to sign last year’s pick, the Padres were not afraid to go with another high-risk, high-reward player. This may be the future center fielder of the Padres, with great defense and plus speed to go along with a solid bat.
11. Houston Astros: George Springer, OF, UConn
Great bat speed and huge upside. There are doubts if the kid will be a superstar but the Astros like him and grabbed him early. Not sure how well his bat will translate to the majors but has drawn Grady Sizemore comparisons. A great outfielder who will likely stay in center field, the upside was too high for the Astros to pass up on him. He will be compared to fellow draftee Bubba Starling and who will become the better player. I can’t say that I am particularly happy with this selection as Taylor Jungmann should have gone to Houston at this slot.
12. Milwaukee Brewers: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas
Jungmann is a 6’6″ pitcher and considered a very advanced pitcher. I thought he might go in the top-5 and would not fall past Houston. But the Brewers got lucky and grabbed one of the best pitchers still available at #12. As a local product, Jungmann was a great fit for Houston. But as a team that needs to restock its prospects cupboard, the Brewers got one of the “can’t miss” kids. We may be looking at the future Brewers ace.
13. New York Mets: Brandon Nimmo, OF Cheyenne East (Wyo.) HS
The Mets…the Mets….what are they thinking? He did not play high school ball and was projected by some as a 2nd rounder. Lots of talents, but the comparisons to Rocco Baldelli do not get me very excited. High reward and high risk player. If he does project into a future Andy Van Slyke, the Mets will be pleased. But for a team in dire need of talent in its system, I would have gone with more certainty. Playing its home game in a pitcher’s park, I expected a pitcher here. But as this draft is showing us, you never know what will happen. Mets fans tomorrow morning will probably be angry in what is shaping as the roughest season in team history.
14. Florida Marlins: Jose Fernandez, RHP, Tampa Alonso (Fla.) HS
A local product, Fernandez is 6’4″ and 220 pounds. The Marlins love their upside pitchers and Fernandez has one of the best arms in the draft. Concerns over legal issues may have led him to fall and some expected him to go later in the 1st round. But the Marlins took the best available arm and with the need to sell seats in their new ballpark, Fernandez could not be passed up. Questions on maturity also dog him and we may be seeing another Matt Garza scenario. But if Fernandez comes close to matching Garza’s numbers in the majors, the Marlins will be pleased. A good pick that makes sense.
15. Milwaukee Brewers (for unsigned 2010 first rounder Dylan Covey): Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech
Combined with Jungmann, the Brewers are the big winners thus far. A very advanced pitcher, Bradley was a top-10 pick for me going into the draft. The Brewers always have strong scouting and it doesn’t surprise me that they did not pass up on this kid. Congrats to Milwaukee, well done.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers: Chris Reed, LHP, Stanford
A closer at Stanford, Reed is a big boy at 6’4″, 195 lbs. Reports indicate that he may move to the rotation, although at this point I see him staying in the pen. A nice pick, I had him going in the 2nd round and not drafted early by the Dodgers. I suspect signability had a lot to do with this one as the Dodgers do not likely have the money available to go with a high-profile prospect. I have never approved a selection based on money considerations and thus would label this one as likely a failure in the making.
17. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah
The Angels were smart with this pick, as they need bats in the system and Cron had one of the biggest bats in the country. Cron was projected to be a late first-rounder but the Angels did not let him slip. Cron comes from a baseball family, as his father is a manager at AA and his brother will likely be drafted this year as well. For a team that usually goes with pitching, I’m impressed that Anaheim broke away from its mold and went with a college bat. Kudos to the Angels on their choice.
18. Oakland Athletics: Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt
Projected by some as a top-10 selection, the A’s got Gray with the 18th pick. Great stuff and despite standing at only 5’11”, the Athletics could not pass on his potential. I think that Gray will end up in the bullpen and Oakland likely sees him as a future closer. The A’s do not do many things traditionally and they obviously saw enough in Gray to take him in the 1st round. I am sitting on the fence with this pick but my guts says a strong starter would have better served the team long-term.
Another projected top-10 pick, the Red Sox nab Barnes at #19. At 6’4″ 205 lbs, the Red Sox get themselves a great arm. Lively stuff with a smooth delivery, Red Sox nation has to be pleased with this choice. This teams knows how to draft, plain and simple. Some mock drafts had Barnes as high as #5. Somehow the Red Sox always seem to walk away with winners from the draft, despite drafting late. Strong scouting and deep pockets always help.
20. Colorado Rockies: Tyler, Anderson, LHP, Oregon
The greatest pitcher in Oregon history, Anderson is seen very close to the majors. An advanced pitcher that should do really well in Colorado. After growing up in Vegas, Anderson will be ready for the weather conditions of Colorado. A relatively safe pick, Anderson went a little higher than I expected. But with Cron and Barnes off the board, the Rockies went with their next highest rated player.
21. Toronto Blue Jays: Tyler Beede, RHP, Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy
The Red Sox were hoping to land this kid at #26 but the Jays nabbed the Mass. product early. I would have gone with Bell or Purke with this pick, but the Jays clearly saw a lot in this kid to make this surprise pick. Beede is planning to go to Vanderbilt but with a strong offer, he will likely sign. Theo Epstein is likely not happy after losing out on him, but the Jays should be pleased with their choice. If they are able to sign him. With a debate on signability, the Jays went high-risk and high-reward with this pick.
22. St. Louis Cardinals: Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii
A strong hitter and seen as a good defender, the Cardinals did really well for themselves here. Kolten Wong was seen as a late first-rounder, with average speed and power. He will be more of a project, but the Cardinals are seen as getting a kid with good makeup. It is hard to get many superstars this late, but a good solid second baseman should be seen as a nice selection if he pans out. Guerrieri, Bell and Swihart are still on the board, as is Purke who would have been higher ceiling picks. The Cardinals went safe here, but a guaranteed return has value sometimes as well.
23. Washington Nationals (from White Sox for Type-A Adam Dunn): Alex Meyer, LHP, Kentucky
Standing 6’9″, the Nationals went for a big time pitcher, literally. There is a chance that Meyer could be a starter and might be the next Randy Johnson. Or he could become the next Andrew Brackman or maybe a future closer. These types of picks are hard to project and Meyer like many tall pitchers will need to find control if he is to succeed in the majors. Still many good players on the board but after going with the safe Rendon, the Nationals went with the high ceiling project here. Future hall-of-famer or bust? We won’t know on Meyer for a few years.
24. Tampa Bay Rays (from Red Sox for Type-A Carl Crawford): Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley HS
This was a top-12 pick on many boards, but maturity issues dogged Guerrieri to drop this low. One of the best arms in the draft, the Rays have done it again. On pure talent, Guerrieri can compete with almost any pitcher in the draft. He has a very strong fastball and pitching in the Rays system, he could develop in a hurry. Clearly makeup did not scare the team and the Rays made a strong selection. After losing Carl Crawford, the Rays got back a big piece today for their organization.
25. San Diego Padres: Joe Ross, RHP, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O’Dowd HS
The younger brother of Oakland A’s pitcher Tyson Ross, the Padres get a 6’2″, 180 lbs pitcher. Ross was expected to perhaps go to the A’s or Giants, but he still stays local and goes to San Diego. Pitching in San Diego, Ross should do very well in a pitcher’s park. I have read good reports on the kid and he should be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. Nice pick for the Padres.
26. Boston Red Sox (from Rangers for Type-A Adrian Beltre): Blake Swihart, C, Rio Rancho (N.M.) Cleveland HS
The Red Sox continue to clean up as they draft the strongest hitting catcher of the draft. His bat compares to Chase Utley, which is a nice comparison. The Red Sox were supposed to take Swihart at #19 but were able to nab Barnes and still get their man at #26. A win-win night for the strong drafting Red Sox.
27. Cincinnati Reds: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Martinez CA, Alhambra HS
Stephenson had back-to-back no-hitters in high-school and was seen as going to the Giants possibly at #29. This kid has huge upside and for a team that drafts exceptionally every year, the Reds have likely found themselves another winner. Especially if the Giants were looking at him as a possible choice, Stephenson will be a prospect to keep an eye on.
28. Atlanta Braves: Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State
The Braves grab a college lefty late in the draft and they have gone with a more ready arm in Gilmartin. Considered a safe pick, the Braves went with a winner with a good selection of pitches and fluid delivery. Gilmartin continues the trend of the “pitcher’s draft”.
29. San Francisco Giants: Joe Panik, SS, St. John’s
A New York native, Derek Jeter is his favorite player. Not on many boards, the Giants went a little high on Panik. Did they “Panik” with this pick? Yes. With such deep pitching, the Giants had to get some bats into their system. A player who is seen as very intense and playing the game the right way, Panik could be a decent bat, strong glove for the Giants. But since he would have likely been there for them in the 2nd round, I think they reached early. I would have gone for Bell or Purke and taken my chances with a risky signing with this pick and having a higher ceiling.
30. Minnesota Twins: Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina
A switch-hitting shortstop, not a bad pick for the Twins. Some experts had him in the early 20s, but playing hurt his numbers were average. Michael plays hard and is seen as a solid defender. A Twins-type player according to Gammons, we could be looked at the future shortstop of the Twins. While Michael does not have much power, he should hit for average and should be a good gritty ballplayer. Personally, I still like the higher upside players but with budgetary concerns, the Twins like safer type picks that are signable. Michael fits the bill.
31. Tampa Bay Rays (from Yankeesfor Type-A Rafael Soriano): Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU
A top-15 pick who falls to #31, the Rays nab a fairly strong prospect. A really strong defender, Mahtook will be a great center fielder. He can hit for average, some power and will steal many bases. Many experts will be happy with this pick and with a strong scouting staff, the Rays grabbed themselves another good one. A hard worker with lots of talent, we could see the next Carl Crawford here. The Brewers, Red Sox, Nationals and Rays are my big winners thus far.
32. Tampa Bay Rays: Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista HS (NV)
The Rays go with a project here but with 3 picks in the 1st round, they could afford to take an easy sign with tools. As more of a late 2nd round type selection, this pick was financially driven and not my preference. With stronger players on the board, I would have liked to see the Rays to go for more of a proven commodity.
33. Texas Rangers (from Phillies for Type-A Cliff Lee): Kevin Matthews, LHP, Richmond Hill HS (GA)
The Rangers go with pitching with the last pick of the 1st round. He is apparently destined to go to Virginia but the Rangers went for the high-risk, high-reward pick. The Rangers have all of a sudden becoming a breeding ground for pitching and Matthews fits the mold of what Texas looks for in a pitcher. Signability aside, Matthews is an extremely talented pitcher and will be a huge success if signed by the team. Otherwise, with the last pick of the first round, the Rangers were not taking a huge chance but tried to score big.
Still sitting on the board at this point were expected first round picks Larry Greene, Daniel Norris, Josh Bell, Matt Purke and Henry Owens. It goes to show you that no matter how well we try to project these drafts, surprises will always result. For curiosity, check out our recent articles in the past few days on the draft and see how our inside scouts did. You might be surprised. While it takes skill and knowledge to try to predict these drafts, it is far from an exact science. But when projections do turn into reality, it is always a great feeling.
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