In just a few short days, the 2011 MLB First Year Player Draft will be underway. The draft runs from Monday, June 6th through Wednesday, June 8th and boasts a very deep draft class with a tremendous amount of talent and potential.
That’s about all we know for certain right now.
Coming into the spring, Anthony Rendon seemed like a lock to follow in the footsteps of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper and be the consensus #1 pick. Instead the field is wide open. The Pirates are rumored to be considering no fewer than five players with the top pick and all of those players have the talent to merit the selection.
Things don’t get any easier to project after the Pirates, but that’s not going to stop us from providing you the first ever Seedlings to Stars MLB mock draft.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
RHP Gerrit Cole, UCLA, 6’4″ 220 lbs
Cole has legitimate front-of-the-rotation ability and is a little safer than Rendon at this point. His three pitch repertoire is highlighted by a high-90s fastball and a filthy change-up.
2. Seattle Mariners
3B Anthony Rendon (Rice), 6’0″ 190 lbs, Bats: R/Throws: R
Rendon is a great contact hitter with the strength and ability to hit for power. He possesses the tools to be an asset defensively. The selection would give Seattle a future infield (potentially) of Rendon, Nick Franklin, Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
LHP Danny Hultzen (Virginia), 6’2″ 185 lbs
Hultzen might not have the pure “stuff” of Cole, Gray, or Jed Bradley, but he trumps them all in terms of polish. He should move quickly through the minors. His fastball velocity improved this season which has helped move him up a lot of draft boards.
4. Baltimore Orioles
RHP Dylan Bundy (Owasso HS, Oklahoma), 6’1″ 200 lbs
College Commitment: Texas
Dylan is the top prep pitcher in this year’s class and figures to move quickly through the minors thanks to his advanced repertoire. It doesn’t hurt that his brother, Bobby, was Baltimore’s 8th round pick in 2008. The organization’s familiarity with the family could make the process of getting Dylan under contract a little easier.
5. Kansas City Royals
OF Bubba Starling (Gardner-Edgerton HS, Kansas), 6’4″ 180 lbs, Bats: R/Throws: R.
College Commitment: Nebraska (Football and Baseball)
Most mocks and sources out there have the Royals connected to a college pitcher. While I don’t dispute that is what is being floated, the Royals under Dayton Moore have rarely stuck to the script with their first round selections. Sometimes common sense needs to trump insider information and local product Starling just makes too much sense for the Royals. He is the top prep player on the board, the draft’s best athlete, and brings a legit 5-tool skillset capable of playing CF to the table.
His bonus demands shouldn’t be much of an issue. Since he is a two-sport athlete, his bonus can be spread over a 5-year period and Kansas City has not shied away from paying for amateur talent in Moore’s tenure with the team.
6. Washington Nationals
RHP Trevor Bauer (UCLA), 6’1″ 175 lbs
If Starling gets past Kansas City, he makes a lot of sense for the Nationals. RHP Alex Meyer has also been linked to Washington but with Bauer still on the board it’s hard to believe they would pass on a guy some regard as the second best player in this class. There are some concerns with Trevor, but it’s hard to argue with the results as he has largely overshadowed the performance of his teammate Gerrit Cole.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (for failure to sign Barret Loux)
RHP Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt), 5’11″ 180 lbs
Gray features a mid-90′s fastball and one of the better curveballs in the draft. Many scouts believe that Gray might be better suited in a relief role but has a very good chance to be a quality starter in my book.
8. Cleveland Indians
RHP Taylor Jungmann (Texas), 6’6 195 lbs
A workhorse who routinely gives his Longhorn bullpen the night off, Jungmann is now 10-0 with an 0.90 ERA and three complete game shutouts. The Indians have spent first round picks on North Carolina’s Alex White and Mississippi’s Drew Pomeranz, both of whom (like Jungmann) were among the best college arms in their respective classes.
9. Chicago Cubs
RHP Archie Bradley (Broken Arrow HS, Oklahoma), 6’4″ 225 lbs
College Committment: Oklahoma (Football and Baseball)
By all accounts, the Cubs are targeting a high-ceiling player and would love to see the raw but ultra-talented Starling fall into their lap. With Bubba off the board at #5 or at worst #6, look for the Cubbies to turn their attention to Archie. He has big bonus demands, but like Starling is a two-sport athlete and as a result can have his signing bonus spread out over five years.
10. San Diego Padres (for failure to sign Karsten Whitson)
RHP Matt Barnes (Connecticut), 6’3″ 180 lbs
All indications are that San Diego is looking for a college player at this spot since the pick is unprotected. That said, Barnes is generally ranked between 10 and 20 in this class so he would hardly be a reach for the Padres. Undrafted out of high school he now throws in the mid-90s with a plus curve and decent changeup. His mechanics need work but he throws loose and easy and it’s not hard to picture him in a major league rotation.
11. Houston Astros
SS Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy, Florida), 5’11″ 175 lbs, Bats: B/Throws: R
College Commitment: Florida State.
While this draft is insanely deep, top tier prep position players are few and far between. While Lindor isn’t on the same level as last year’s top SS prize Manny Machado, he isn’t too far behind. He’s a hard player to project in the draft as he could go anwhere from #2 to the back end of the teens. Houston makes a lot of sense, especially if they want to erase the mistake of passing on Derek Jeter over a few hundred-thousand dollars. Lindor is one of the few, perhaps the only, player in this class that can be expected to stay at and play SS in the majors.
12. Milwaukee Brewers
LHP Jed Bradley (Georgia Tech), 6’3″ 205 lbs
Like Barnes, Bradley also went undrafted out of high school but used his time in college to develop into a first round selection. He has a low-90s fastball that can touch 95 and couples that with a plus slider and a changeup that shows some promise. He has faded a bit as the college season has gone on but he has a great work ethic which will serve him well as a professional.
13. New York Mets
OF George Springer (Connecticut), 6’3″ 205 lbs, Bats: R/Throws: R
With their 48th round pick the Twins took a flyer on Springer back in 2008 but he opted for college. Heading into this year’s draft he is regarded as the best college athlete available. He has the all around tools to stick in CF but with his arm strength he would also be right at home in RF.
14. Florida Marlins
OF Mikie Mahtook (LSU), 6’1″ 205 lbs, Bats: R/Throws: R
At one point Mahtook was part of an outfield at LSU with Leon Landry (now in the NFL) and Jared Mitchell (first round pick of the White Sox in 2009). In terms of tools, he isn’t all that impressive, but he has been very productive in college.
15. Milwaukee Brewers (for failure to sign Dylan Covey)
RHP Taylor Guerrieri (Spring Valley HS, South Carolina), 6’3″ 180 lbs
College Commitment: South Carolina
Taylor has the distinction of being the 3rd best HS arm available in the draft. He features a mid-90s fastball as well as the ability to vary the speed of his curve. Also included in his arsenal are a changeup and a cutter. The talent is there but there are off-the-field concerns in play which may cause him to slide.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP Anthony Meo (Coastal Carolina), 6’2″ 190 lbs
The Dodgers have a long history of drafting and successfully developing prep pitchers, but given the organization’s financial situation it’s hard to believe the team will be able to go above slot with their pick. That rules out a lot of talented HS arms, like lefty Daniel Norris. Instead they will likely turn their attention to a college arm that will sign, Meo appears to fit the bill though Oregon LHP Tyler Anderson is another possibility.
17. Los Angeles Angels
C Blake Swihart (Cleveland HS, New Mexico), 6’0″ 175 lbs, Bats: B/Throws: R
College Commitment: Texas
Swihart will not be an easy pick to sign away from college and he appears to be looking for a hefty bonus. His talent however is hard to ignore. Even though he’s inexperienced as a catcher he already shows a knack for the position with a strong arm, good footwork and instincts. Swihart has an above average bat with solid-average power. While he’s not in the same mold as Royals prospect Wil Myers, he may follow the same path and move to another position to maximize his offensive potential.
18. Oakland Athletics
C/1B C.J. Cron (Utah), 6’4″ 230 lbs
The A’s love college bats, and Cron brings the most power to the table from among that group. He is a potential 30 HR guy in the majors and should be able to hit for a reasonable average as well. His father, Chris, played in the major leagues and is currently a minor league manager giving him the major league bloodlines that are always an asset.
19. Boston Red Sox (from Tigers for Victor Martinez)
RHP Alex Meyer (Kentucky), 6’9″ 210 lbs
Boston selected Meyer in the 20th round of the 2008 draft and offered him $2 million to sign. He’s done nothing to damage his prospect status in his time at college and took major steps forward this spring. He features a mid-90s fastball and a devastating slider that is unhittable at times. Unlike most young pitchers his changeup is already a viable and effective pitch as well. Meyer could go as high as #6 or be taken by anyone after that, but it seems unlikely he will fall past Boston.
20. Colorado Rockies
2B Kolten Wong (Hawaii), 5’9″ 190 lbs
It wasn’t all that long ago that Wong was considered a back of the first or supplemental round pick. Those days are long gone as his stock has gone up significantly this spring. Some experts like John Klima and John Sickels are very high on him and it’s not hard to understand why. Despite his smallish stature, Wong is simply a baseball player who can flat-out hit. Teams that pass on him will probably regret it down the road.
21. Toronto Blue Jays
OF Josh Bell (Jesuit Prep School of Dallas), 6’3″ 205 lbs, Bats: B/Throws: R
College Commitment: Texas
Sure, Bell wrote a letter to the ML Scouting Bureau that he had no intention of signing and that he wanted to go to college, but that’s not going to stop a team from drafting him in the 1st round. It may take a sizable financial committment to change his mind, but the Jays have shown a willingness to spend on talent and have plenty of other picks in case they can’t get him under contract.
22. St. Louis Cardinals
LHP Daniel Norris (Science Hill HS, Tennessee), 6’3″ 180 lbs
College Commitment: Clemson
Entering the 2011 season, Norris was regarded as the top HS lefty and it looks like he will be the first HS left-hander to come off the board in the draft. With a low-90s fastball, curve and changeup he features the standard array of pitches, but all three have the potential to be above average offerings. He earns additional marks for his athleticism, passion and makeup.
23. Washington Nationals (from White Sox for Adam Dunn)
LHP Tyler Anderson (Oregon), 6’3″ 195 lbs
Anderson features a 5-pitch arsenal as well as an advanced feel for the art of pitching. He figures to move quickly through the minors and will leave college as the Ducks all-time leader in strikeouts.
24.Tampa Bay Rays (from Red Sox for Carl Crawford)
SS/3B Javier Baez (Arlington Country Day HS, Florida)
College Commitment: Jacksonville
Baez isn’t as likely to stick at SS as is Lindor, but Javier has many other things going for him as a prospect. First and foremost is his bat speed which Baseball America regards as the best in the draft class. He also features plus raw power and a very strong arm.
25. San Diego Padres
3B Corey Spangenberg (Indian River JC, Florida)
There is some thought that the Padres will consider Spangenberg with the 10th overall pick. Given the depth in this draft class, he should be available with this pick and would be less of a reach in this range. He has excellent speed and the ability to make contact. Best described as a pure hitter, he may not have the power profile to stick at 3B. He does have the bat and the tools to play 2B or OF and has spent some time at SS.
26. Boston Red Sox (from Rangers for Adrian Beltre)
RHP Jose Fernandez (Alonso HS, Florida), 6’3″ 235 lbs
College Commitment: South Florida
Having fled Cuba with his mother and sister, he’s a little older than your typical HS senior and will turn 19 this summer. He features a mid-90s fastball with sink as well as a slider and curve but he doesn’t profile to have the conditioning or stamina to remain a starter in the long term. That said, he has significant upside as a power reliever.
27. Cincinnati Reds
OF Brian Goodwin (Miami Dade JC), 6’1″ 190 lbs, Bats: L/Throws: R
With average to plus tools in all 5 areas, Goodwin has drawn some comparisons to Jacque Jones. He’s not the easiest guy to find info about among the top prospects in this draft class.
28. Atlanta Braves
LHP Henry Owens (Edison HS, California), 6’7″ 200 lbs
College Commitment: Miami (FL)
Despite his length and easy arm action, Owens doesn’t throw particularly hard. Typically sitting in the high-80s, low-90s with his fastball, he relies more on deception and feel than overpowering stuff. In addition to his fastball he also throws a curve, slider, cutter and changeup. By some accounts there isn’t a lot of projection left in Owens which means in a best case scenario, he’ll wind up as a middle of the rotation innings eater.
29. San Francisco Giants
SS Levi Michael (North Carolina), 5’10″ 180, Bats: B/Throws: R
Through three college seasons, Michael has already demonstrated a great deal of versatility. He’s spent a season at each of the infield positions aside from 1B and has played well at all of them. As a professional he will be given a chance to stick at SS but his lack of range may force him to 2B. At the plate he shows good patience, discipline and the ability to spray the ball to all fields.
30. Minnesota Twins
OF Brandon Nimmo (East HS, Cheyenne, Wyoming), 6’3″ 185 lbs, Bats: L/Throws: R
College Commitment: Arkansas
When his name is called, Nimmo will become the third pick drafted out of the state of Wyoming in the last decade. A fact that is partially the result of the lack of high school baseball in the state. He has good speed, a short swing and displays good patience at the plate and fits the Twins mold of player.
31. Tampa Bay Rays (From Yankees for Rafael Soriano)
RHP Dillon Howard (Searcy HS, Arkansas), 6’2″ 200 lbs
College Commitment: Arkansas
Howard features a heavy low-90s fastball and a pair of inconsistent pitches in his curve and changeup. He has performed well on the showcase and summer circuits but hasn’t had the dominant senior season that you’d expect.
32. Tampa Bay Rays
OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (South Carolina), 5’10″ 175 lbs, Bats: L/Throws: R
Bradley was name the Most Outstanding Player at the 2010 College World Series as he helped lead the Gamecocks to the title. He would have gone much higher in the 2010 draft if he had been eligible, but things have changed significantly since then. Bradley struggled for most of the season and then injured his wrist which required surgery last month. It’s been a year to forget, but based on his 2009 and 2010 seasons I find it hard to believe he will fall out of the first round.
33. Texas Rangers (From Phillies for Cliff Lee)
SS/3B Jason Esposito (Vanderbilt), 6’1″ 195 lbs, Throws: R/Bats: R
Esposito was the one that got away from the Royals 2008 draft class. Selected by Kansas City in the 7th round, he turned down a seven-figure singing bonus to attend Vanderbilt University. He’ll most likely fall into the supplemental round, but I think he deserves some consideration at the back of the first.
Topics: Alex Meyer, Anthony Meo, Anthony Rendon, Archie Bradley, Blake Swihart, Brandon Nimmo, Brian Goodwin, Bubba Starling, C.J. Cron, Corey Spangenberg, Daniel Norris, Danny Hultzen, Dillon Howard, Dylan Bundy, Francisco Lindor, George Springer, Gerrit Cole, Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley Jr., Jason Esposito, Javier Baez, Jed Bradley, Jose Fernandez, Josh Bell, Kolten Wong, Levi Michael, Matt Barnes, Mike Mahtook, Sonny Gray, Taylor Guerrieri, Taylor Jungmann, Trevor Bauer, Tyler Anderson