Community Mock Draft Commentary: NL CENTRAL

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL Community Mock Draft Commentary

CHICAGO CUBS
1) Justin O'Conner, C, Cowan HS, Muncie, Indiana
2) Mike Kvasnicka, C-OF, University of Minnesota
3) Burch Smith, RHP, Howard JC (TX)
COMMENTARY:  O'Conner is linked to the Cubs in pre-draft rumors, so it makes sense here in the mock. His bat is highly impressive but he may need some time with the glove. Kvasnicka is interesting; his bat in college was solid, and he has the tools to catch but like O'Conner may need some time. Smith is big and can hit 95, and third round money could keep him from his junior year at Oklahoma. This draft would certainly add some catching depth to the system, and I like Smith a lot as a JC arm that could be overlooked.

CINCINNATI REDS
1) Christian Colon, SS, Cal State Fullerton
2) Marcus Knecht, OF, Connors State JC
3) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Yucaipa HS, California
COMMENTARY:  I like the Colon pick for the Reds and he should move through the system pretty quickly. Knecht may need more time, but he' s my favorite JC player not named Harper, with a huge power upside. Walker is quite raw and will need careful development, but his long-term potential his high. Overall I think this is a good mixture of talent: one guy with great polish and decent tools, one guy with no polish but excellent tools, and one guy in the middle.

HOUSTON ASTROS
1) Zach Cox, 3B, University of Arkansas
1) Dylan Covey, RHP, Maranatha HS, Pasadena, CA
1S) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Minooka Community HS, Illinois
2) Griffin Murphy, LHP, Redlands East Valley HS, California
3) Stefan Sabol, OF, Aliso Niguel HS, Aliso Viego, California
COMMENTARY:  The hardest part of this draft would be getting penurious ownership to write the checks. Cox is a polished bat that should move fast, even if he doesn't develop into a huge slugger. Covey falling to 19th was unthinkable a month ago but it could very well happen. Folty and Murphy also deserve to be in the first round conversation. Sabol is a terrific upside pick in the third round. You can bet that the Astros baseball people would love to do something like this.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
1) Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State University
2) Perci Garner, RHP, Ball State University
3) Andrelton Simmons, SS, Western Oklahoma JC
COMMENTARY: I love Alex Wimmers and I think people underrate him, even as a first round pick. His upside is, I believe, higher than people say. That changeup is killer, he has good breaking stuff, and he is not a soft-tosser. Garner is more of a raw guy, a football player learning to pitch but blessed with plenty of arm strength. I like him, but he might be more of a third or fourth round guy. Simmons is uberathletic but rather raw, although I think he slots well in the third round.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
1) Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands HS, Texas
2) Robert Aviles, RHP, Suffren HS, New York
3) Mike Olt, 3B, University of Connecticut
COMMENTARY: It will be either Taillon or Machado in real life, and Taillon would certainly provide the potential ace that the Pirates system has been lacking. The news of Aviles' blow elbow ligament came out right after the pick was made, but I let it stand because a "sign-and-rehab" option would make sense, although probably more a round or two later. Olt fits well in the third round: he has a terrific glove and a decent chance to be a solid hitter.
     If you were Aviles, and the Pirates offered you, say, third round money, would you take it and rehab in a professional environment, or would you take the risk of going to college and hope for a bigger payoff later?

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1) Kaleb Cowart, 3B-RHP, Cook County HS, Adel, Georgia
1S) Sammy Solis, LHP, University of San Diego
1S) Kyle Parker, OF, Clemson
2) Aaron Shipman, OF, Brooks County HS, Georgia
3) Marcus Littlewood, SS,Pine View HS, Utah
COMMENTARY: Cowart won't be cheap, but his two-way athleticism is certainly very attractive and would benefit a Cardinals system that needs some upside. Solis provides some polished college pitcher leavening and fits well in past Cardinals drafts. Parker has tools and power, and you can spread his bonus out due to football. Shipman and Littlewood return to the high school hitter theme, with Shipman striking me as a guy who could end up being quite special. Littlewood isn't quite as toolsy. This class would be expensive to sign, particularly Cowart and Littlewood if pre-draft buzz is accurate, but it would certainly help the system.

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