Quick Draft Impressions: American League East
Baltimore: I don't have a problem with Hobgood at fifth overall. He's signable, and in my opinion the difference between him and the other elite prep arms isn't all that great. He might not be as projectable as some of them, being more physically mature, but I really like his arm and I don't think this is a huge overdraft. Mychal Givens in the second round adds another high-ceiling arm to the system, and if pitching doesn't work out you can try him as a hitter. Townsend out of Florida International in the third round is a solid college bat in the Jay Gibbons mode; not a star but a guy who should be able to contribute. Randy Henry in the fourth round and Ashur Tolliver in the fifth provide more live arms, Tolliver in particular being a good value in that round. 8th round pick OF Devin Harris (East Carolina), 9th round pick RHP Ryan Berry (Rice), and 10th round pick RHP Jacob Cowan (San Jacinto JC) all offer very good value for their draft slots. Harris has tons of tools, and both Berry and Cowan were considered possible second or third round picks if not for injury questions. This may not be a spectacular draft class, but I think it is solid.
Boston: The Red Sox go with a mixture of tools guys mixed with college guys with good track records. Fuentes in the first round offers explosive speed and athleticism but will need development time. Alex Wilson in the second round has excellent college stats, and while his velocity fluctuates, I think he could advance fast in the bullpen. Third round pick David Renfroe and seventh round pick Madison Younginer have first round natural ability but fell due to signability. As they have done in recent drafts, expect the Sox to push hard to sign these guys, taking advantage of their financial resources. Fourth round pick Jeremy Hazelbaker, Ball State outfielder, is a speed guy with gap power and a high walk rate, a solid sabermetric pick. Fifth round pick OF Seth Schwindenhammer and sixth round pick RHP Branden Kline are high school guys who will need development time but have the appropriate tools. Ninth round Baylor RHP Kendal Volz was a first round option back in February until a poor spring. If he can regain his form, he's a potential bargain at this spot. A variety of statistically successful college guys filled out the teen rounds. Overall, I think this is a very good draft, a mixture of raw tools and polish, something that both traditionalists and statheads can get behind, assuming they can sign most of them (which they probably will).
New York: I'm not really worried about Heathcott's price tag in the first round, but the off-the-field makeup questions that dog him are more worrisome. It's a gamble, though if he puts his tools together he has a very high ceiling at 29th overall. Second round pick J.R. Murphy should be signable away from Miami given New York's resources, and offers a good balance between offensive and defensive skills. Fourth round pick Adam Warren out of North Carolina and fifth round pick Caleb Cotham out of Vanderbilt are college guys who look like mild overdrafts to me in these slots. Warren is statistically successful but his stuff isn't consistent, while Cotham lacks good numbers and is up-and-down velocitywise. I think there were better values in these slots, even in the college ranks. Sixth round 3B Rob Lylerly out of Charlotte has mediocre tools but hit well at the college level. A sleeper is Sean Black, RHP out of Seton Hall in the seventh round, who never lived up to expectations in college but has a live arm. I like his upside. The Yankees stayed with college guys for the most part in the subsequent rounds. A particular favorite is D'Angelo Mack, 13th round OF out of South Carolina. Scouts say he's a tweener, but I like his swing and I think his tools are underrated. Another college performer to watch is Luke Merton, 1B-OF out of Georgia Tech drafted in the 19th round. The Yankees took upside risks in the first two rounds, but went conservative after that. Overall I think it's an OK draft, but much rides on Heathcott and Murphy.
Tampa Bay: I have a huge amount of respect for how the Rays have built up their organization, but I have some questions about the top of this draft. First rounder LeVon Washington is a speed demon, but I have doubts about his bat and his weak arm limits him to second base. I think there were better options in the first round. Second round SS Ken Diekroger is extremely toolsy, but again there are doubts that he's going to hit, and this also looks like an overdraft to me. Frankly, third round pick Todd Glaesmann and fourth round pick Luke Bailey both look like better prospects to me than Washington and Diekroger. They fell to due to signability and health, respectively. If the Rays can sign them, they could both end up being better than Washington and Diekroger. Is this a clever stratagem on the Rays part? We'll see. Fifth round pick Jeff Malm has a terrific bat but poses a signability risk due to his Southern Cal commitment. Sixth round pick Devin Fuller, RHP out of Chandler Gilbert CC, throws hard but needs better secondary stuff; his upside is certainly impressive. Sleepers include Brett Nommensen (OF, Eastern Illinois, 8th round), Derek Dennis (SS, Michigan HS, 9th round), and Alex Koronis (RHP, Tampa, 11th round). If Glaesmann and Bailey are signable, this is a strong class, but I really wonder about Washington and Diekroger, and would personally have gone with other choices there. Of course, the Rays have a better farm system than I do.
Toronto: I like Chad Jenkins a lot at 20th overall, and think that's a solid choice for the Jays. James Paxton in the supplemental round is a potential bargain, provided he can get his gopher ball tendencies under control, giving them two of the top college arms available this year. Jake Eliopoulos in the second round is probably an overdraft, but I can understand it since he's a Canadian guy. The high school southpaw will need plenty of time, but is a nice mixture with the college guys at the top. I also love Jake Barrett in the third round, a high school pitcher from Arizona who throws hard and has solid command. Also in the third round was Jake Marisnick, tools outfielder who was rated as a supplemental talent by some teams but has some questions about his bat. Fourth round pick Ryan Goins, SS from Dallas Baptist, and fifth round pick Ryan Schimpf, 2B from LSU, have excellent college statistics and can hit, but may have to move to other positions. A mixture of college, JC, and high schoolers fill out the rest of the class. I like the mixture of college and high school guys at the top, tools and polish. Looks like a good class to me.