I decided I will do either 5 or 6 versions of my mock draft. Here for version 4 I will change it up a bit and give you a little write-up as to why each pick will be made along with obviously who the pick is. I still can’t take Gerrit Cole from the #1 spot, to me he is the #1 prospect in the draft and he’s not far from the bigs, can’t pass on him.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates – RHP Gerrit Cole – UCLA – #1 player in the draft for me. Hultzen, Rendon get consideration but have to go with #1 guy on board. He would be Pitt’s ace before long, and would be for a long time.
2. Seattle Mariners – 3B Anthony Rendon – Rice – #1a player in the draft for me. Might get some debate for Francisco Lindor and Dylan Bundy, but I think Seattle’s heart is set on Rendon unless he goes #1.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks – LHP Danny Hultzen – Virginia – Will get debate at #1, but if he doesn’t go there he will not get past 3. All of Arizona’s FO has checked out Hultzen on numerous occasions. Highest floor in the draft. Combine that with a high ceiling makes for a very good pitching prospect.
4. Baltimore Orioles – RHP Dylan Bundy – Owasso HS(OK) – They will go with the best prep pitcher in the class at 4 and not look back. Bundy has a shot to be a legit stud and is looked at as a fast track HS kid (think 2-2.5 years). His brother is in Baltimore’s system already.
5. Kansas City Royals – RHP Matt Barnes – Connecticut – KC is taking a college arm here. They really like Barnes, so unless Cole or Hultzen fall to 5 I see Barnes as their guy.
6. Washington Nationals – RHP Alex Meyer – Kentucky – Nationals like Meyer a lot. They love his stuff and his big frame. They think they can really mold him into the front line starter he has the potential to be.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks – RHP Trevor Bauer – UCLA – best player available that’s signable. With #7 being unprotected the D’Backs can’t waste the pick on a guy like say Bubba Starling who is a tough sign. Bauer has legit #2 potential to boot.
8. Cleveland Indians – RHP Sonny Gray – Vanderbilt – Indians will stick to around slot here. Gray should sign for a decent dollar amount and provide top of the rotation type potential for the rising Indians.
9. Chicago Cubs – OF/RHP Bubba Starling – Gardner-Edgerton HS(KS) – Cubs are not afraid to spend in the draft, and the fact that they get a potential superstar and bona-fide top 5 talent to drop to them at 9 is great. I’d be stunned if Starling got past them.
10. San Diego Padres – SS Francisco Lindor – Montaverde Academy(FL) – Yes the pick is unprotected, they could go college arm like Taylor Jungmann or Jed Bradley. But all indications are that Francisco Lindor is extremely signable and most scouts are unanimous that Lindor has a chance to be a stud. Not sure if Padres can pass on that.
11. Houston Astros – RHP Taylor Jungmann – Texas – Houston tends to be a slot team, and with new ownership that probably won’t change yet. Jungmann is a local kid which they like, and he provides #2/#3 workhorse type starter potential.
12. Milwaukee Brewers – LHP Jed Bradley – Georgia Tech – Milwaukee could go Archie Bradley or Taylor Guerrieri here with their unprotected pick, but I have them taking a fast track college lefty whom most rank as a top 10 pick. He falls, the Brewers bite.
13. New York Mets – RHP Archie Bradley – Muskogee HS(OK) – All signs indicate Mets will go best player available. If that is true there is little debate that Bradley is the best player available. Has a plus fastball and arguably best curve in the draft, is unanimously the #2 prep arm behind Bundy. Mets have spent in the 1st round, don’t see why 2011 would be different.
14. Florida Marlins – RHP Taylor Guerrieri – Spring Valley HS(SC) – Marlins are expected to go power arm here. Archie Bradley likely tops their list, but Guerrieri is quite the consolation prize.
15. Milwaukee Brewers – SS Cory Spangenberg – Indian River CC – stock is rising a ton for Spangenberg. Will even be in discussion as high as #10. Is between a 70 and 80 on 20-80 scale for speed and scouts really like his swing too. Questions about where he’ll end up defensively, but if he finds a defensive home I smell a very good lead-off hitter.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers – SS Javier Baez – Arlington County Day School(FL) – lightning quick bat speed, likely a 3B as a pro. Most scouts think he’s a well above average 3B defensively and offensively. With the severe financial concerns the Dodgers have, it makes Baez a good pick. He’s very signable and provides good upside.
17. Los Angeles Angels – RHP Jose Fernandez – Alonso HS(FL) – Expectation is Angels will go high school at 17. Fernandez, Daniel Norris and Josh Bell all likely to merit consideration. Fernandez has velocity to dream on, hitting 98 on the gun this spring in baseball central near Tampa. Provides great upside and good value at 17.
18. Oakland Athletics – OF George Springer – Connecticut – Could go much higher than this, again probably in discussion at #10 and almost every pick between. A’s luck out in getting a potential 5 tool 25/25 type player.
19. Boston Red Sox – C Blake Swihart – Cleveland HS(NM) – The best catcher in the draft class. Questions about signability, but that rarely is any type of a concern for the Red Sox. He looks like he’ll stick behind the plate if you are patient with him. His bat will be plus behind the dish, could also play 3B and 2B.
20. Colorado Rockies – OF Mikie Mahtook – LSU – Has a chance to go as high as 13 to the Mets, with the Brewers also likely considering him. Rockies love him, and belief is that there’s no way he gets past 20 if he even makes it there. Mahtook is a college hitter who has taken to the new bats very well, concerns if he is a CF. If not a CF his potential is a bit more limited because he doesn’t have big power that you’d expect from a corner outfielder.
21. Toronto Blue Jays – OF Josh Bell – Jesuit College Prep, Dallas – Some would say the best prep bat in the draft. He looks like a guy who will make contact at a high level and provide plus power. Not smooth defensively, probably a LF in pro ball, but most scouts believe he will hit, and hit a lot.
22. St Louis Cardinals – SS Levi Michael – North Carolina – There are talks of HS OF Larry Greene, and Cardinals are never afraid to go prep or overpay a college kid who falls, nor do you ever draft for need. But in this instance I feel they will go with Michael who looks like an SS long term who can hit and play the field a bit. His intangibles are what scouts really love, and he could be up in short order. The way he plays the game would be loved in St Louis.
23. Washington Nationals – OF Brian Goodwin – Miami Dade JC – Goodwin is a potential 5 tool outfielder who can play a solid center. Was suspended for the season by North Carolina for violating university policy, so he went to a junior college and is expected to go mid-late first round. He’s a bit of a work in progress but he is a very good prospect. A nice grab at 23.
24. Tampa Bay Rays – C/1B CJ Cron – Utah – Cron is said to have near an 80 rating on the power scale. That is really elite power territory, problem is he doesn’t have a position and may end up a DH. But if he does his bat will likely play for it. Potential clean-up hitter in not long order for Tampa, even if he DH’s.
25. San Diego Padres – LHP Tyler Anderson – Oregon – Expectation is college pitcher at 25. Anderson seems probable, but I am sure they will give consideration to Anthony Meo, John Stilson and if healthy maybe even Matt Purke.
26. Boston Red Sox – LHP Joe Ross – Bishop O’Dowd HS(CA) – Will the Red Sox go prep twice in the first round? Doubtful. But unless they are risking on Purke, which they can probably wait until the sandwich round to do, an arm like Ross makes sense. Clean mechanics and solid FB velocity with a hard curve gives Ross some good upside. Higher upside than his brother Tyson who pitches in Oakland.
27. Cincinnati Reds – RHP Anthony Meo – Coastal Carolina – Power arm with a good slider. Some see closer long term, but he maintains his velocity throughout the game which leads some to believe if he improves a changeup he’s a quality starting pitcher. Reds are looking college so they can get someone up there quicker as the Reds are likely the class of the NL Central for the next few years.
28. Atlanta Braves – LHP Henry Owens – Edison HS(CA) – Teams in the teens like Owens, so he could go there. Signability is a bit of a concern, but he has great and improving stuff from the left side. Low 90’s fastball with a good curve and developing change-up. Has a nice frame at 6’7 200, could be a real steal at 28 for Atlanta.
29. San Francisco Giants – LHP Daniel Norris – Science Hill HS(TN) – Norris was once thought of as the top prep LHP, and probable top 10 pick in the draft. But his command has dipped and his secondary pitches have lacked this year which dipped him below Owens in some scouts eyes. But he still has great projectability and a strong fastball from the left side. Giants do a phenomenal job developing pitching, they could make Norris into a stud.
30. Minnesota Twins – RHP John Stilson – Texas A+M – Big time stuff out of this right hander. Mid 90’s fastball, plus slider and a lagging change-up. Many see him as a closer long term, but he has maintained velocity throughout games this year leading some to believe he just has to work hard on the change-up and you’ll have yourself a quality starter. Could be one of the first from this class to reach MLB.
31. Tampa Bay Rays – C Andrew Susac – Oregon State – Broke his hamate bone, but has come back looking normal. Most saw him as a mid teens-low 20’s type pick, but there is always some concern that your power will be zapped a bit by the hamate injury. Still projects as an above average every day MLB catcher. The Rays with so many picks have to take some signable college kids. Cron and Susac are both signable and are both quality picks at the selected spots. Not overdrafts. They stay within the realm of best player available with both those selections.
32. Tampa Bay Rays – OF Larry Greene – Berrien County HS(GA) – Now here is where I have the Rays first shelling out some bucks. Greene has questions about position as well as ability to make contact. But on the flip side he has light tower raw power which has some people comparing him to Ryan Howard, which may be lofty. Teams are talking about him higher than this, but the Rays could take him and pay him and add yet another potential gem to their system.
33. Texas Rangers – RHP Tyler Beede – Lawrence Academy(MA) – Many possibilities for the Rangers here, but I’ll give them the top northeast prep pitcher in Beede. He has an extremely clean delivery, nice frame to go with low-mid 90’s fastball and above average curveball. His stuff, and lack of overuse from being in the northeast make him desireable to teams.