It’s not actually live, but it’s live to me as I’ve just now gotten home to check in all of the picks so far. I’m going to pretend like it’s live for the sake of my shadow drafting (wouldn’t want to be tempted to skip ahead and see who falls where so I could adjust my picks) and, well, because I’m a dork and I’ve been looking forward to this all day/week/month/year.
James Jones to Seattle with the second pick of the second day is a darn good one. Drafting him as a hitter rather than a pitcher, well, that part I question. Back in February I had Jones listed as the top collegiate lefthanded starter and 12th best college player overall. Whoops. That was a mistake, clearly, as he tumbled down draft boards with a seemingly endless string of ineffective starts all spring long, but his raw talent (mid-90s fastball) and plus athleticism haven’t disappeared. This isn’t a great comparison, but Jones reminds me a college version of 2008 Phillies draft pick Anthony Gose. Interesting that both two-way players were drafted as outfielders and not pitchers.
Mark Fleury in the fourth round? Good for him. Here’s the quick report on him from March:
- Above-average power, strong throwing arm, and a solid defensive reputation make Fleury an easy top ten collegiate catching prospect; plenty of experience catching hard throwing future professionals a nice perk; finally given a shot at catching full-time for UNC, Fleury is in prime position to vault up draft boards in the coming months
I didn’t think he’d rise quite this high and it may be an overdraft by two rounds or so, but he has enough ability to be a part-time catcher at the big league level.
Colorado’s already fantastic draft gets even better with the addition of one of the best old guys in this year’s draft, Kent Matthes. The Rockies get themselves a four year college player who is has better tools than most senior signs. Another perk: Matthes is a sure-fire sign as a college senior, so there’s one less contract negotiation headache (and potentially a few saved bucks) to deal with when it gets down to signing Matzek.
My big board is getting pounded all of a sudden – Matthes, Dwyer, Stassi, Doyle all go off the board in a row. I’ve got one minute to figure out who I want for the Indians shadow pick. Hold on…
5:06 PM (SHADOW DRAFT PICK)
RHSP Sam Dyson – that’s my pick for Cleveland at 4.125. First round caliber arm, third round quality performances (at times), but my love of velocity wins out in the end.
Some team/player fits just feel right. Scott Bittle to the Yankees? Nope, doesn’t work. Bittle to the Cardinals? Now we’re talking. The Ole Miss bullpen ace/sometime starter with the devastating cutter didn’t sign with New York last year, but will join the Cardinals organization in the coming days/weeks.
How can you not love a player from a nearby school getting picked by the local team? The Twins pick of Golden Gophers star middle infielder Derek McCallum is the perfect fit in a lot of ways – the obvious geographic connection, the gigantic organizational need for the Twins, and a style of player that ought to thrive playing within the constraints of Minnesota’s small ball approach. I’m a little mad I didn’t grab McCallum with my last shadow draft pick, I’m hurting for middle infielders right about now.
Very surprised to see Warren go this high. Even more surprised to see him going to the Yankees. I’m going to opening night in the NYPL this year (Staten Island v Brooklyn), so maybe I’ll get a chance to see Adam Warren make his first professional start. Quick scouting report from mid-March:
Pitchability is his calling card but Warren features a playable fastball as well; better K numbers every year indicate the incremental improvements in his stuff that could make him more than just a good senior sign; conservatively a safe bet to go in the top ten rounds, but could sneak closer to the sixth or seventh with a good senior season
Tampa seems like they have this whole draft thing figured out sometimes, don’t they? I know, I know – the only reason they got good was because they were so bad for so long and stocked up on really high picks. It’s a great story…too bad it isn’t true. Using your high first rounders on impact guys certainly helps speed up the rebuilding process, but picks like this one (Luke Bailey in the fourth) separate the great drafting teams from the good.
Not sure if that’s a fully developed point or not, but it’s getting harder and harder to say “great gamble of a pick – this player who fell for (fill in the blank reason) has the stuff to be a big league starter if he puts it all together” in creative ways. It’s also hard to pan picks because at this point we’re getting close to personal preference territory. I may not like a guy, but in the later rounds it’s easier to see the other side of a team’s drafting argument.
I had Miami’s Jason Hagerty as a 10+ Round sleeper (meaning he’d go round 10 or later), but the Padres snap him up here in the fifth. Even though I had him as a later round sleeper, I can’t fault the Padres for identifying their guy and taking him when they knew they could get him. Hagerty will be an excellent backup catcher for a big league team some day. He’s my kind of backup catcher, too – big power, good patience, low average, switch-hitting, and versatile (to some extent) on defense.
Austin Wood throwing 439 pitches without being properly stretched out to do so in that one game was not good for his arm. I hope even those most dismissive of protective pitch counts can at least agree on that. However, I can’t help but wonder how amazingly good that game was for his draft stock. I may not be giving big league front offices enough credit here, but after he threw those 439 pitches (just an estimate, by the way – I lost track after 425) the name Austin Wood became one of the most talked about in the entire draft practically overnight. Could a big league front office really be that easily swayed? I can easily envision a handful of teams moving Wood up a couple pegs on their draft board after that relief appearance. Here’s what I said about him a few weeks back:
- 2009: Austin Wood (SR) – LHRP
A rubber-armed closer capable of pitching multi-inning games (Ed. Note: Ha!), Wood has a tremendous work ethic and plenty of big game experience. He doesn’t throw particularly hard and he doesn’t have have a shutdown breaking ball, but he throws from a modified sidearm slot that lefthanded batters have a very tough time dealing with. It’s easy to typecast Wood as a LOOGY and nothing more going forward, but his success as both a multi-inning closer and starting pitcher during his career at Texas should afford him the opportunity to at least get a chance in middle relief as a pro. He’s another mid-round candidate that will be drafted more for organizational depth than anything, but he has a shot at a big league career if drafted by the right team.
Shadow draft pick for the Indians is prep 1B Jeff Malm at pick 155. I’m at the point where I have a list of guys I want, but the ones I think will fall are the ones I don’t think I could realistically take if they do…if that makes sense. The longer a player falls down the board, the greater the likelihood that he decides to forgo the pros and try his hand at college. I think Malm is signable in the fifth, so I’ll take the plunge.
If you had Ryan Jackson to the Cardinals in a pre-season first round mock draft, raise your hand. Come on, I know somebody out there must have had the Cards grabbing the slick fielding Miami product that early. They took him at pick 159 just now (well, not just now…hours ago, but again this isn’t a “live” live blog, remember?), a spot in the draft that more properly aligns with his talent level. For the record, I’m not a fan of Jackson’s game in the least. I’m darn near positive he’ll never hit enough to start, and his much hyped defense has been far too frequently hot and cold for my liking. To me he’s a poor hitting, inconsistent fielding shortstop. I know I’m in the minority re: Jackson’s D, but that’s what I’ve seen and heard from people I trust. We’ll see.
Again, players and teams sometimes just align too perfectly. All 5-9, 180 of Ryan Schimpf was born to be a Blue Jay. I can’t quite explain why, but it works for me.
I’ve been lax on my Phillies shadow draft updates because they are very closely aligning with my Indians picks. Here’s what I have so far with the Phils:
2.75 – C Wil Myers
3.106 – RHSP Brody Colvin
4.137 RHSP Sam Dyson
5.167 1B Jeff Malm
Is D’Vontrey Richardson signable at this point? If so, very appealing pick by Milwaukee. When do the other two football players (Jake Locker and Riley Cooper) go off the board?
Pittsburgh, I take it all back. Well, not all of it…but most of it. The Pirates front office has done a masterful job of waiting on some seriously talented prep arms who have fallen right into their laps. Brooks Pounders was one of my favorite Day One picks when you factor in talent/pick selected; Zack Von Rosenberg falls into the same category here in the fifth. A deal has already been worked out with Sanchez, so now it’s time for the Pirates to go warp speed ahead with their negotiations with these two.
At one point way back, one could have made the argument that Matt Graham should have been in the running to go to the Giants with the sixth overall pick. Baseball is a funny game, but the draft is funniest of all – the Giants gladly grab the ultra-talented righthanded pitcher with the 177th overall selection.
Oh no, Daniel Fields is off the board. Now I just have to hope the last high round middle infielder I want falls to me in a few picks…
6:15 PM (Shadow Draft Update)
At pick 6.185, I’m taking SS Scooter Gennett. He’s one of “my guys,” even though his stock has taken a beating over the past few weeks. I think he’ll be a starter in the big leagues (probably at second, maybe at third) and a good one at that.
Interesting that the Hurricanes have had their top two catchers taken in back-to-back rounds here in the 5th and 6th.
The Pirates do it again at the top of the seventh round. Trent Stevenson is a fantastic value at this point. If they sign Pounders, Von Rosenberg, and Stevenson, that would be one incredible influx of young pitching talent.
6:20 PM (Shadow Draft Update)
My 7th round selection for the Indians is RHSP Madison Younginer. I think he’s the last player that I can realistically take this late and still get away with him signed. I’m unintentionally loading up on righthanded pitching (4 out of 7 picks are RHSPs), but you have to stay true to the board.
Brody Colvin to the Phillies! The first real life pick by the team that I can say I love, without reservations. Their is tons of talk about him being close to a done deal at LSU, but that’s nothing an overslot bonus can’t overcome. Get it done, boys.
6:25 PM (Shadow Draft Update)
The 8th round brings OF Cohl Walla to the organization. Another potentially difficult sign, but I’ll roll the dice yet again. I think I need a college guy or two to finish this thing off.
6:40 PM (Shadow Draft Update)
Looks like there is a run on college guys, so I’ll jump in and take one to call my own. The pick is Erik Castro, third baseman from San Diego State. He gets the nod over Cincinnati’s Mike Spina, but I had to think long and hard about it.
6:55 PM (Ben Theriot Update!)
Round nine features a ton of big-time college athletes flying off the board including Trevor Coleman (Missouri), Brock Holt and Ryan Berry (Rice), Evan Crawford (Indiana), Brian Pearl (Washington), Wes Musick (Houston), Preston Guilmet (Arizona), Ben Orloff (UC Irvine), Gavin Brooks (UCLA), and Kendal Volz (Baylor). Berry and Coleman were at one time considered potential late first rounders, Volz was almost a sure-fire first round pick coming into the year, and, most intriguingly, Brooks was once considered one of the very best (we’re talking top 10 easy, maybe top 5) players in the entire class.
I love seeing college guys getting their due on draft day, so I’m happy for every last one of the players listed. Of course I have to admit that the pick of Texas State catcher Ben Theriot makes me happier than just about any other selection in the draft. Congratulations go out to Ben and the entire Theriot family. I can’t wait to continue to follow Theriot’s career as a professional…expect regular updates!
Round ten finishes up with my last shadow draft selection – OF Jake Locker, aka the University of Washington’s star quarterback. If you’ve followed this site at all, you had to know he was going to be my last pick. I doubt he is signable, but his tools are so great that I’m willing to try. If not for Locker, I would have popped another personal favorite, prep C Josh Leyland. I’m not sure if I mentioned this explicitly or not, but I did have a reason for doing a pair of shadow drafts. I wanted to do one for this site specifically (the Indians one), but I wanted to maintain my streak of shadow drafting for the Phillies for my own pleasure. I didn’t plan on the two drafts being almost identical, but I didn’t have a single player drafted between the Indians and Phillies pick like I had anticipated. Final Shadow Draft results:
1.15 RHSP Tanner Scheppers
2.63 C Wil Myers
3.94 RHSP Brody Colvin
4.125 RHSP Sam Dyson
5.155 1B Jeff Malm
6.185 SS Scooter Gennett
7.215 RHSP Madison Younginer
8.245 OF Cohl Walla
9.275 3B Erik Castro
10.305 OF Jake Locker
2.75 C Wil Myers
3.106 RHSP Brody Colvin
4.137 RHSP Sam Dyson
5.167 1B Jeff Malm
6.197 SS Scooter Gennett
7.227 RHSP Madison Younginer
8.257 OF Cohl Walla
9.287 3B Erik Castro
10.317 OF Jake Locker
Time for me to catch up on on rounds 11-30. Not sure what kind of stuff I should throw up on the site in the coming days (draft report cards, naturally), so I’m open to suggestions – anything you want to see?