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2011 Mock Draft: Take 3

May 28, 2011
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Alex Meyer (Photo: AP)
?We are just a little over a week until the draft, and this year seems to be the draft where no one wants to claim the top spot. It's been up in the air all year and no one seems to be cementing their hold. This will be my first complete mock draft this year.

For this mock I am sticking with projected picks, not who I think should go or who is the best player available.  I will get out one final mock the day of the draft, but until then enjoy this mock.

One last note on two sport athletes, two names this draft will feature prominently with this are Archie Bradley and Bubba Starling. The bonus these players receive is spread out over five years, which can make the big bonuses more palatable for many teams.

1. Pittsburgh - Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia
Hultzen is one of the few players who has really risen this year. He has pitched very well, and is not just some soft tossing lefty. He has a legit four pitch mix, and while he might not be a dominator he should be an all star candidate for Pittsburgh within five years. Add in that he would be a nice change of pace to go with Tallion and Allie from last year. One final note a few years back the Pirates took a player with lesser demands, Tony Sanchez, then used the extra money to grab prospects later. In a draft this deep I think this approach could return.

2. Seattle - Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
I have harped on this point, but it still is relevant last year Rendon might have been the first pick. He has been hurt this year and people are really going out of their way to down grade him. I am pretty sure that Seattle is sitting there more than willing to draft him and watch him turn into an all star at third base.

3. Arizona - Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso HS
Arizona has two picks in the top 7 so this might mean they target more signable players, but they have been linked to having an interest in Bundy. Cole is also right there, but I think they have a legit interest in Bundy, and the upside of this pick is you can take a risk because you would get a comp pick next year. If the interest in Bundy is legit and it seems to be, then I expect to see him go here.

4. Baltimore - Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA
Bauer is the other name on the rise, over the last month he has jumped up the board and now has teams seeing a Lincecum type pitcher. The fear is the heavy workload, as his college coaches have pitched him to death. The other problem is while his approach is Lincecum, there are concerns that it could lead to injury.  Even still rumors say he could be a legit candidate for the 1st or 2nd pick, so a team like Baltimore could take the risk. They have so many young arms, why not take the one who might be quick to help and has a high ceiling. In the end I think Baltimore would take Bauer at the cheaper price.

5. Kansas City - Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA
Every mock and report I read says the Royals want to take a college pitcher who can quickly be ready to help their core which is just starting to hit the majors. This is also a team which has drafted quite a few high priced players and signed them. I think this is Cole's floor as while he has not been great of late the talent is still too good to pass on and the Royals do seem to love and draft other teams former first rounder's, Hochevar and Crow being recent examples.

6. Washington - Francisco Lindor, SS, Monverde Academy

Washington has shown a willingness to sign top talent. Last year they paid from not just Harper but also AJ Cole. So I looked at who is the top talent and to me it came down to Meyer, Starling, and Lindor. I put Lindor because of the fact he plays a premium position and plays it very well. He might be a bit costly but nowhere near the cost of a guy like Starling. Lindor has been all around mocks, but too many people like him for him not to fall in the top 10.

7. Arizona - Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt

Arizona got this pick since they failed to sign their first rounder last year, which means if they don't sign this pick they lose it. Gray is undersized, so it is rare to see a guy with his size who dominates with a high velocity fastball. A few teams think he is destined to be closer, but is viewed as a Billy Wagner type potentially. He is signable and would not be an overdraft.

8. Cleveland - Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky

This pick came down to Barnes vs. Meyer.  Both are playing better and rising. Barnes has the advantage of being a cold weather arm which is something the Indians do love to target in the draft. The reason for Meyer is rather simple as he has better upside. Meyer is huge and has the potential to have multiple plus pitches. He has the highest ceiling of any college arm on the board, and the Indians haven't taken a high schooler in round one in over a decade. Three years ago Meyer was projected as the number one player in this draft then he could not stay healthy, so the talent is there but you do worry about the injury history.

9. Chicago Cubs - Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton

The Cubs seem to be targeting high school players. Starling is thought to be maybe the highest ceiling player in the entire draft, but there are two big issues. First, he is very far away from the majors and might be the last guy from the first round to make it. Secondy, he is rumored to have a huge signing bonus demand. The Cubs won't be fearful of the bonus and Starling would become the only player in their minor league system with star potential.

10. San Diego - Matt Barnes, RHP, UCONN
This is an unprotected pick, and Barnes should not only sign for slot but would make a lot of sense with the great close he is having to his year. He was once thought to be a top 5 pick and could go higher. He needs to develop a third pitch, but for a signable guy he is a great value at this point.

11. Houston - Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS

The past two years the Astros have gone with a prep player. The top player on the board is Bradley who has risen past Guerrieri on boards, and if you believe what Keith Law has posted from scouts there is no way Bradley gets past this pick. He has a heck of an arm, and could develop multiple plus pitches. Add in the bonus since he is a multisport athlete and his bonus won't be as painful to pay.

12. Milwaukee - Javier Baez, SS, Arlington Country day School
Milwaukee will take a risk on players that might be a little more costly or raw. Brett Lawrie was such a player and Baez will more than likely grow out of shortstop, but if you are drafting him it's because of his bat. He does need refinement, but there is plus power potential and the ability to be something special. He could end up being the best hitter in this draft. He has been linked as high as to Cleveland and could go earlier.

13. NY Mets - Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas

The Mets always stick to slot, so the player who makes the most sense at this point would be Jungmann. Add in their financial woes and this pick becomes even easier. Jungmann is a good pitcher and might be the first player from this draft to make the majors. The issue is he is a number three starter, and if you are fine with that and a guy who won't cost a ton then Jungmann makes sense. He seems like an ideal fit for the current mess that is the Mets.

14. Florida - Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley High School

The Marlins tend to draft high school players, and love to draft big arms. Guerrieri is both of these and the best player available. They would love to get Bradley, as they love to draft arms from Oklahoma more than any other place. Bradley will more than likely be gone, so the most likely prep player at this point strikes me as Guerrieri.

15. Milwaukee - Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU
This is yet another compensation pick in this draft, which again means taking a sign able player. Mahtook has had a great year, in spite of the fact it has been a down year for hitters across college baseball. He is a plus runner, who profiles out as a centerfielder with power. He has a nonstop motor, and in a system that has been ravaged by trades would become the centerfielder of the future for the Brewers. He has done everything you can ask a hitter to do this year.

16. Los Angeles Dodgers - Cory Spangenberg, SS, Indian River State College

This pick will be slot, no doubt about it. Since Major League Baseball has taken control it seems very likely that they will take a college player who will sign for slot. Spangenberg is a name on the rise and who has been projected everywhere. He is one of the fastest players in this draft and could project as a heck of a defensive centerfielder. He has a good bat speed and should be a signable guy for the Dodgers.

17. Los Angeles Angels - Josh Bell, OF, Jesuit Prep HS

The Angels are a team that seems to prefer prep players, and of late have drafted a lot of prep bats. So this pick came down to Swihart or Bell. Bell struck me as the more toolsy player, and defiantly the one with more power. He has a nice stroke and should generate plus power. He is more than likely a left fielder, but the ability for him to be a great hitter is higher than for Swihart.

18. Oakland Athletics - George Springer, OF, UCON

The reason for the Springer slide is a lot of the teen picks are signable guys and while I don't think he will demand a huge bonus I think he might not be a cheap sign either. I think Oakland can sign him and take a risk on a big time talent whose skills have never quite turned into the player everyone thought. He is playing better of late and could go higher, it was just hard to find a slot for him.

19. Boston Red Sox - Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland High School
The Red Sox can afford to take risks in the draft and often do. Swihart could be a hard sign but his potential behind the plate would be hard to ignore. There is talk he could move to third, but either way on talent alone he could be a top ten pick. The rich continue to get richer.

20. Colorado Rockies - Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech
Bradley has not looked good of late. He is a lefty who can get it up in the mid 90's but has been hit around this year. He is talented and plays in a very tough conference. He might be a costly sign as he was earlier this year projected as a top 5 pick, but for a team like Colorado who has signed high priced picks a player like Bradley is an interesting player this late.

21. Toronto Blue Jays - Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso High School

Toronto has traded just about everyone they could and gone into full rebuild mode, so I expect them to draft BPA. Fernandez is a big flame thrower from the prep ranks. He has three nice pitches already, which should develop and keep him a starter down the road. He is another player who seems to be slowly rising right now.

22. St. Louis Cardinals - Levi Michael, SS, UNC
Michael is a 20 year old junior, so he still has plenty of room to grow. He is a solid shortstop defensively and should stay there. He has a good eye, nice swing, and solid wheels. He doesn't have a plus tool but does everything well. He should be a nice pick up and another college infielder for the Cardinals.

23. Washington Nationals - CJ Cron , 1B, Utah

Another rare player who played better this year with the new bats while most of his peers really slumped in the college game. Cron has 30 home run power and a good eye. His name has been rising, as any Indians fan could tell you, right handed power is not easy to find. In a draft known for the deep well of pitching, it would be interesting to see a team take two bats.

24. Tampa Bay Rays - Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill High School
Tampa has so many picks, I expect them to punt a few. I don't mean drafting guys they won't try to sign, but draft top talent and see if they can sign them. Norris would be a very hard and expensive sign at this point, but if you are Tampa you can take the risk. He is a very good prospect who didn't have a great senior year. He is the top pitcher on the board I would think, and if you lose him you get another pick next year and still have a ton of picks this year to risk. Plus, as a bonus every high upside pitcher who you draft the Yankees can't draft and over pay later.

25. San Diego Padres - Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon

It seems that the Padres are looking for pitching this late in the draft. Anderson is your typically lefty, and he put up big numbers in college. He is linked to the Padres by more than a few sources, and with proper development would be a middle of the rotation starter for the Padres.

26. Boston Red Sox - Josh Stilson, RHP, Texas A&M

Stilson has a big time arm which has hit 99 MPH. He is a reliever turned starter, which is something that Boston often does with relievers they draft as they hope they can be starters. If things don't work out as a starter at worst you got a Daniel Bard type talent.

27. Cincinnati Reds - Joe Osich, LHP, Oregon State
The Reds much like the Indians have targeted college players with their last few drafts. Osich is an interesting name because he was a potential top ten pick before he blew out his arm. He isn't all the way back yet, but has hit 98 this year. He sits more in the mid 90's but it is always interesting to see a lefty hit the high 90's. He might take a little longer, but the talent is enough to make a team like the Reds take a look.

28. Atlanta Braves - Brian Goodwin, OF, Miami Dade College

Goodwin is a 5 tool athlete who ended up at a junior college after academic issues at UNC. The Braves always tend to draft from the South East, so for this pick I looked at the top players that were left and looked who was from the South East. This left me with Goodwin, maybe not the most scientific approach but drafts rarely are.

29. San Francisco - Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd High School

His brother Tyson Ross pitches across the Bay for Oakland and most people think little brother should be better. He could be a front of the line starter and has three pitches which could develop. San Francisco has started to take risks on more high upside players the past few years and Ross would make a lot of sense this late.

30. Minnesota Twins - Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina

Minnesota drafts a lot of college players, and often take guys that might seem a little off the board. Meo is such a player even though he is well thought of in many scouting circles. He needs to develop a third pitch but his fastball and slider could project as plus pitches. He is from a smaller school, but the talent is there and he is another pitcher who at worst is a very good reliever.

31. Tampa Bay Rays - Robert Stephenson Alhambra High School
Another example of taking the best player on the board. Tampa might be tempted to go with a more signable player, but the gap between the prep arms and the signable players is pretty large. I would assume they are going to take talent and just hope they can sign as many as possible.

32. Tampa Bay Rays - Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent St.

Chafin gets a lot of the press for a very good Kent St. program. He is an intriguing player because he is a lefty with velocity, but the question is can he be a starter and will his pitches develop. If you are Tampa why not take the risk on an arm like his, you have the picks to make up for it. If he doesn't work out as a starter, then you lost Soriano and gained another reliever in Chafin so it's a wash.

33. Texas Rangers - Dillon Howard, RHP, Searcy High School

This is the pick for Cliff Lee, so it makes sense to grab a high upside arm. The Rangers drafted a high school arm two years ago in Purke, and though they failed to sign him I see no reason to not take a player with the potential of Howard. Law has him in his top 20 players, and there is a potential for a front of the line pitcher for Texas who needs desperately to start developing its own pitching.

There it is the first complete mock of the year, so I hope it was informative. I am very curious to hear who you think the Indians should and will take, so please comment and give me your reactions.

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