And so it begins. I’m working on approximately zero hours worth of sleep since waking up early Sunday morning and about ten total since late last week, so this version of the live blog should come with about 70% more delirious fun!
1.1 Washington – Bryce Harper
1.2 Pittsburgh – Jameson Taillon
1.3 Baltimore – Manny Machado
1.4 Kansas City – Yasmani Grandal
1.5 Cleveland – Chris Sale? Drew Pomeranz? Stetson Allie? No clue at this point, but I’ll go Sale for now…
As for Harper’s eventual position with Washington, well, I don’t personally see how they can not at least give him the chance to start out behind the plate. I get the positives that come with moving him to the outfield right out of the box (speeding up his timetable, keeping him healthy, allowing him to focus on hitting above all else), but the positional advantage, at least through his first few big league seasons, is too tempting for me to ignore. Then again, I’m perfectly alright with moving him to RF for the reasons listed above. I mean, come on, it’s Bryce Harper…you can’t lose either way.
Before going into the Pittsburgh pick, I’m going to quickly bring back what I consider a pretty good comp for Harper’s upside and timetable to the big leagues. I promise I won’t be quoting myself all night long, but, hey, I liked the comp then and I still like it now:
The outside the box comparison for Bryce Harper that I’m pretty happy with, in terms of certain amateur scouting similarities (prodigious power, underrated athleticism, familiarity with being under the spotlight from an early age), potential professional developmental paths (September debut three years after draft year, ready to play every day in subsequent season), and ultimate big league upside (40+ homers, .270ish batting average with another 100 points or so worth of OBP): Prince Fielder.
Boom! Jameson Tallion to Pittsburgh. Had a strong feeling on this one all along, as noted in the most recent mock. I’ve read already that Pittsburgh has basically come out and said Taillon was just too good to pass up, or something to that extent. That’s what I was getting at with the bolded part here:
The Pirates surprised everybody last season by going with the signable Tony Sanchez over more expensive, more exciting options. This year, they’ll surprise everybody once again by going with the expensive, exciting Jameson Taillon over more signable options. I can’t profess to having any insider information to back up this assertion, but I do have a whole bunch of unfounded opinions, which, let’s be honest, are more fun anyway. First, and I know many disagree with this point, the Greg Smith-Neal Huntington-Frank Coonelly-Bob Nutting leadership team in Pittsburgh simply hasn’t been together long enough to make any kind of firm declaration about the draft tendencies. To say that they will go with a signable college guy just because they did it last year seems like specious logic to me. Then again, to say they’ll go with a potential big money prep player because there isn’t enough of a track record to judge them is probably an equally unfounded guess. That’s the beauty of an opinion-based exercise such as this, I suppose. Another reason why I think the Pirates will go with Taillon is for the simple fact that he’s just that far ahead of the field. Again, it’s just one man’s opinion, but I like Taillon significantly more than whoever is going to wind up going third, and believe he is a better prospect than any of the prep arms the Pirates passed on last year, Tyler Matzek included. I think the Pirates will come around to this line of thinking, perhaps after reading my love letter to Taillon from last December. The recent string of nagging injuries for many of the top college pitching options helps the cause. Lastly, and this may be the biggest stretch of the three, the Pirates need hope. Struggling teams in the National League could always take solace in the fact that no matter how bad things got, the Nationals would always be there to take the brunt of the poorly run organization criticism. A competitive start combined with some anxiously awaited reinforcements up from the minor leagues make Washington one of the most talked about stories of the early season. They’ve got hope. An organization like Pittsburgh, despite doing a good job in the beginning stages, needs the big splash that the consensus top player (non-Harper division) in the draft could bring.
Speaking of that love letter to Taillon, here’s the money part of that scouting report:
To take it a step further, Taillon’s scouting profile reminds me a little bit of what scouts said about Josh Johnson as he was coming up through Florida’s system. While I’m not brave enough to claim Taillon will ever have a pro season quite like the one Johnson just had, I have no problem pointing out that Taillon is currently a better prospect than Johnson ever was. Taillon has a better overall fastball, better secondary offering (though Johnson’s slider has turned into a real weapon professionally), and eerily similar command, makeup, and mound presence. The light clearly went on for Johnson enough to turn him from a good prospect to a great pitcher, a perfect example of how different developmental paths can be for different players. There’s no telling what kind of path Taillon will actually take, but the fact that he even has the chance to follow in the footsteps of a guy like Johnson is darn exciting.
I like Taillon because he’s going to move closer to a college pitcher than a high school pitcher, but still maintain the ace upside more typically associated with the typical projectable prep first round arm. His lack of physical projection might be a red flag for some, but I like the fact that he’s got the body of a man already. He’s ready to go.
Christian Colon to the Royals? Talk about going back and making some early 2010 mocks look super smart, Kansas City. I read something on Colon a long time ago that always stuck with me…I’ll surely butcher it here, but it was something along the lines of “he has just enough power to get himself into trouble.” Could this be the start of a Yasmani Grandal slide? Or does he go to Cleveland like some have speculated? That pick never made any sense to me, but stranger things have happened, right?
Drew Pomeranz to Cleveland is another one of those picks from the early set of mock drafts that seemed to hold steady for months until recent injury concerns and a dip in performance started causing some to drop him down the board.
Barret Loux to Arizona has been one of the hot picks over the past week or so. I like Loux, but am definitely not feeling this pick. I had him ranked 13th out of all of the college righthanded pitchers in this draft and he winds up going 6th overall. What a country! Here’s the quick scouting report on Barret Loux:
Texas A&M JR RHP Barret Loux: 90-92 FB, peak at 93-94 while starting; has hit peak of 98 coming out of bullpen; good command of above-average 83-86 CU; SL with some promise; KCB with above-average potential if he can ever learn to consistently command it; 6-5, 220 (3.07 FIP; 12.75 K/9; 2.81 BB/9)
Streamline the repertoire down to FB/CU/KCB (the new hip pitch it seems) and you could be on to something, but any way you want to spin it, this pick is still a major reach. It’ll be interesting to see if taking a more signable guy early on will enable them to target prep players who fall in the mid- to late-rounds.
Best Available Time! Now that Matt Harvey is off the board to the Mets (a very rude pick considering I sat on my couch reciting “don’t be Harvey, don’t be Harvey, don’t be Harvey” over and over again), the best available players left according to yours truly include:
- Oviedo HS (FL) RHP AJ Cole
- Chipley HS RHP Karsten Whitson
- Harvard Westlake HS (CA) OF Austin Wilson
- Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL) 3B Nick Castellanos
- St. Edward HS (OH) RHP Stetson Allie
I’m really stubborn about the prep guys I like. I think there is some value in sticking with the guys who have showed their worth on the early prep showcase circuits all the way through draft day rather than jumping in on some of the helium guys that seem to pop up in mid-May every year.
Is Houston really going to take Delino DeShields here? I refuse to believe it…
Houston, you’ve done it again! DeShields is an absurdly quick runner and he should have plus range in center eventually (needs to work on his reads), but the bat is still a major question mark for me. I know he finished the season strong, but betting on such a limited sample of improvement at pick number eight seems really dangerous. This feels like the kind of pick a fans can talk themselves into liking over time, but it must be a bitter pill to swallow for Astros fans hoping to make a serious splash in 2010.
Karsten Whitson to San Diego is a darn fine pick. The improvements he made from the summer after his junior year to the start of his senior year were astounding. I likened him to the good version of Max Scherzer because of his plus FB, plus mid-80s SL, and CU that could be the difference between struggling as a starter, succeeding as a starter, or settling into a dominating relief role. I think option B is most likely, especially now that he’ll have the benefit of Petco behind him.
Michael Choice to Oakland is the kind of pick that gets me dreaming about one crazy potential future lineup. Chris Carter, Mike Taylor, and Michael Choice as the heart of your lineup would be a lot of fun to watch.
Not once had I heard Deck McGuire to Toronto as a possibility, so it’s cool to actually see it happen. It makes a lot of sense when you stop and think about the type of righthanded starting pitchers the Blue Jays have targeted in recent years. Really nice pick.
The Matt Harvey/Mets comment from up thread had to do with me being a Phillies fan (and therefore not a fan of the Mets) and me being a huge fan of Matt Harvey. Saw Harvey pitch extensively in high school and in his freshman year at Carolina, and always came away impressed. The way he reinvented himself, ditching his once awesome CB for a now awesome SL, really impressed me. Matt Harvey’s scouting report:
North Carolina JR RHP Matt Harvey: 92-96, peak FB 98; low-90s two-seamer with crazy sink; 83-85 SL that flashes plus; sinking 79-83 CU with promise; teams might be willing to bet that plus high-70s CB from high school could come back; 6-5, 225 pounds (3.65 FIP; 10.10 K/9; 3.00 BB/9)
Three straight phenomenal picks, I think. McGuire to Toronto, Yasmani Grandal to Cincinnati, and Chris Sale to the Chicago White Sox are all outstanding value for this point in the round. Some quick thoughts on the picks in reverse order…
I think Chris Sale is going to have a better pro career than Drew Pomeranz. The quick scouting report on Chris Sale:
89-92 with plus sink on FB,95-96 peak; very good to plus 77-80 CU; average 77-78 SL that works a bit slurvy; gets big edge over Pomeranz in FB command; big ground ball pitcher (65+% in 2010); Andrew Miller body comp; 6-6, 185 pounds; signature win (8 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 10 K) against Clemson (2.98 FIP; 13.02 K/9; 1.22 BB/9)
Grandal to the Reds has me wondering about a potential logjam down the line with former first round pick Devin Mesoraco, now in AA after tearing it up for Lynchburg. It’s not quite analogous to the Yonder Alonso/Joey Votto situation, but there are some similarities there. The presence of Mesoraco is absolutely no reason to pass on Grandal, but it does create an interesting situation to watch going forward.
The Deck McGuire quick scouting report:
Georgia Tech JR RHP Deck McGuire: heavy 89-92 FB, peaking 93-94; 82-86 SL with plus potential; low-70s CB with plus potential; average low-80s CU; pinpoint command on just about everything (4.18 FIP; 10.06 K/9; 2.58 BB/9)
I think I like his two breaking pitches way more than most, but it’s his superb command, a massively underrated component to good pitching, that’ll help him have a long big league career. Good pick.
Seriously, how good is Jim Callis? He’s the reason I didn’t even bother doing a mock draft in the two weeks leading up to the draft because, if we’re all being 100% honest here, there’s literally nobody that does it better than he does. Any mock I would do would either be a) totally wrong because I’m just pulling things out of my backside, or b) a blatantly plagiarized rip-off of his latest mock with just enough dumb changes to throw the unobservant fan off the scent. Blessed Trinity HS (GA) OF Jake Skole, the 119th best prep player in the nation according to me, is now property of the Rangers, as called by Callis earlier in the day. Incredible.
We’ll get back to Milwaukee taking Dylan Covey in a minute, but, wow, how about the Cubs? I may not agree with a lot of their early round selections, but I give them credit for believing in their scouts and sticking to their boards. Shades of Tyler Colvin, this pick. Here’s the quick scouting report on the newest Cub, Hayden Simpson:
Southern Arkansas JR RHP Hayden Simpson: 88-94 FB, peaking at 96; nice CB; 6-0, 175 pounds
I had him ranked 94th on my list of top draft-eligible righthanded college pitchers, but it’s easy to see what the Cubs see in him. The FB/CB combo both work as plus pitches at times. I’m a little scared that the Cubs see him as a reliever only, but, if that’s the case, then how about a young, talented, expensive (in picks, resources, and bonuses, not salary) bullpen of Andrew Cashner, Jay Johnson, and Hayden Simpson. Throw in Jeff Samardzija and you’ve got a party!
Josh Sale to Tampa is a fit that makes me really happy for some reason. I think I like it because it runs counter to a lot of the “toolsy, upside, athleticism, speed, defense!” talk that crops up around Tampa draft season every year. Tampa just flat picks the best player on the board, regardless of position or organizational fit or public perception.
Time to catch up a bit.
1.14 Milwaukee – RHP Dylan Covey
1.15 Texas – OF Jake Skole
1.16 Chicago Cubs – RHP Hayden Simpson
1.17 Tampa – OF Josh Sale
1.18 Los Angeles Angels – 3B Kaleb Cowart
1.19 Houston – RHP Mike Foltynewicz
Here’s my beef with the Skole pick. First, let me preface this by saying I’m not entirely sure of the bonus demands being floated by any of the players heading into the draft because a) they never really interested me, and b) I tend to believe about 95% of all bonus talk prior to the draft is pure poppycock, plain and simple. I realize Texas is in a uniquely difficult financial position and that the pick in question was unprotected, but will the bonus difference between Skole and, say, a player like Sale really wind up being all that different? I’m honestly asking, I don’t know. If so, disregard this paragraph and take it on faith that the Rangers scouts know what they are doing in identifying Skole as a quality player that’ll only cost a slot or below bonus. If not, I’m confused. Maybe I shouldn’t judge them too harshly until they make a few more of their early round picks…
On second thought, was the pick all about (well, not all about, but you know what I mean…) Skole’s football scholarship to Georgia Tech? That scholarship will allow Texas to spread out the bonus over a five year period. Interesting.
I’m not nearly as high as Foltynewicz as many seem to be, but it’s a more justifiable pick than the earlier DeShields selection. More on him later…
Here’s a quick scouting report on Dylan Covey:
RHP Dylan Covey (Maranatha HS, California): low- to mid-90s FB, mostly 90-93, peak 95-96; low-80s SL with plus potential; promising 80-83 CU and 77-79 CB with legit above-average upside, but in need of polish; clean mechanics; command comes and goes ; reminds me a little bit of San Diego draft prospect Kyle Blair, but more commonly compared to John Lackey; 6-2, 200 pounds – somewhat stocky build, but surprisingly athletic for his size
1.20 Boston – 2B Kolbrin Vitek
1.21 Minnesota – RHP Alex Wimmers
1.22 Texas – C Kellin Deglan
My guy! Been all aboard the Vitek bandwagon dating back to January, starting with this quick scouting report:
Vitek’s tools all grade out similarly to fellow small school sensation Bryce Brentz. They both have plus bat speed, good plate discipline, and plus power potential. They are also both two-way players who have had success on the mound collegiately, though only Vitek could actually pull of the trick of being a legit draft prospect as either a hitter or pitcher. In addition to a glove/arm combination that will definitely play at third professionally, Vitek does all the little things well that make scouts (and wannabe’s like me) very happy. He is a sensational base runner, works deep counts, and has one of the coolest names this side of Yordy Cabrera. Vitek’s utter dominance of the Great Lakes League this past summer sealed the deal for me. He may not be a first rounder in June, but he is as good a bet as any college hitter in the 2010 to be an impact player in the big leagues.
I think he’s good enough in the infield to play either 2B or 3B, but it sounds like the Red Sox will be moving him to the outfield.
Alex Wimmers to the Twins is a really good pick. A rotation with Wimmers and Kyle Gibson sitting right smack dab in the middle is one that will help win you a lot of games. Here’s the Alex Wimmers scouting report:
Ohio State JR RHP Alex Wimmers: 88-92 FB; has touched 94; plus-plus potential with mid-70s CB, but pitch should be above-average professionally at minimum; good to plus upper-70s CU with sink; can nibble too much at times, but great command allows him to get away with it; 6-2, 195 pounds (2.66 FIP; 10.73 K/9; 2.84 BB/9)
In mentioning the former catching surplus in Texas, Peter Gammons made a good point about how quickly organizational depth can disappear or, in happier times, appear out of nowhere. There is so much fluidity to the developmental curves of minor leaguers that there really is no sense in drafting for organizational need.
1.24 Florida – OF/1B Christian Yelich
Nothing against Christian Yelich, but I was deathly afraid he’d be the Phillies pick at 27. Thank you, Florida. If the Phils take either Nick Castellanos or Austin Wilson, I may go streaking…
1.25 San Francisco – OF Gary Brown
Brown’s strengths and weaknesses are pretty darn obvious. He’s an absolute burner with a plus hit tool who should be a plus defender in center. However, his completely allergic to watching pitches fly by him untouched, so his offensive value will always be almost 100% batting average dependent. The combination of no patience and little power just about negates those three plus tools mentioned above. If he’s going to succeed, however, it makes sense that it’ll be in a place like San Francisco.
1.26 Colorado – OF Kyle Parker
Stunner. Massive upside, massively scary signability concerns. As mentioned on the telecast, it’s interesting to see a franchise well-versed in drafting college QBs (Todd Helton, Seth Smith) take a chance on the first ever collegiate athlete to throw 20 TDs and hit 20 HRs in a single year. The only difference with Parker is that he has never played behind a Manning brother.
Time to update the best available player list! Here’s who we’ve got…
3. Oviedo HS (FL) RHP AJ Cole
5. Harvard Westlake HS (CA) OF Austin Wilson
6. Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL) 3B Nick Castellanos
7. St. Edward HS (OH) RHP Stetson Allie
9. Texas JR RHP Brandon Workman
11. Cowan HS (IN) C Justin O’Conner
It’ll be Jesse Biddle for the Phillies here, I think. Too much connected them to him in the past two weeks to think they’d pass him up now…
1.27 Philadelphia – LHP Jesse Biddle
Quick scouting report on the newest member of the Phillies family, Jesse Biddle:
89-92 FB with good late movement, peaking 93-94; above-average potential with upper-70s SL; interesting mid-70s CU; slow low-70s CB; has thrown cutter in past; some concern about closely lumped together velocities (all secondary offerings in 70s); 6-6, 225 pounds
Shadow Draft Pick = OF Austin Wilson, signability be damned!
1.28 Los Angeles Dodgers – RHP Zach Lee
Conspiracy theory alert! Lee, considered one of the toughest signs in the entire draft, is a very, very, very curious pick for a team reportedly short on funds. Could he have been picked with the intention of never actually signing him?
1.29 Los Angleles Angels – RHP Cam Bedrosian
Won myself a cool ten dollar bet from about a year ago thanks to Bedrosian sneaking into the back end of the first round. I’d offer to split it with him, but I get the feeling he won’t be needing to snag five bucks from me anytime soon. Quick scouting report on Cameron Bedrosian:
RHP Cameron Bedrosian (East Coweta HS, Georgia): 90-93 FB, peak 95-96; potential plus 75-79 CB; average mid-70s CU; excellent 88-91 SF; 6-0, 195
1.30 Los Angeles Angels – OF Chevez Clarke
Not to paint Clarke with the classic toolsy prep outfielder brush, but…yeah, that’s exactly what he is. Four average or better tools including a plus arm and above-average speed, but the bat is a definite question mark. Sounds about right.
1.31 Tampa – C Justin O’Conner
I firmly believe that O’Conner could also succeed as either a regular shortstop or a starting pitcher, he’s just that talented. I’ve got a lot to say about Tampa’s first day, but I’m going to hold off and use it for a separate piece. I’ll leave it at this for now – I’m jealous of the fans who get to root for the Rays front office.
1.32 New York Yankees – SS Cito Culver
And the Yankees conclude the first round by taking a player from upstate New York who profiles best as a defensive first utility infielder. Did not see this one coming at all.