Some Random Thoughts on the 2011 Baseball Draft
**This draft is extremely rich in pitching. There are pitchers that will be drafted in the third round (if not later) who would be first-rounders in some classes. Thinking about that, should a wise team trying to exploit "market inefficiencies" look at more hitters in the first couple of rounds this year, then load up on "consolation prize" pitching, pitching that is still very impressive, in later rounds?
**Thinking about the condition of my Minnesota Twins Shadow Farm System, I identify my biggest needs as catching, middle infielders, and power pitching, plus I could use a good first base prospect. The Twins draft at 30, 50, and 55. Yes, I know, don't draft for need, take the best player available, etc. But I really would like to have a catcher; the only one I have in my system who is a remote prospect is Carlos Ramirez.
Here are some 2011 draft guys I have a particular interest in for the Shadow Draft. This IS NOT a list of "top draft prospects"; I'm not going to be talking about Gerritt Cole or Danny Hultzen here. One of the reasons I do the Shadow Draft is to force myself to look deeper beyond the top guys and into middle round picks and draft sleepers.
POSSIBLE FIRST ROUND/SUPPLEMENTAL PICKS THAT I PARTICULARLY LIKE
Here are some guys that stand out to be as candidates for 30, 50, and 55. There are many others, of course, but these ones have caught my eye for one reason or another, sometimes just for reasons of intuition.
Jack Armstrong, RHP, Vanderbilt: I'd love to get him at 50 or 55. Bloodlines, athletic, lots of stuff.
Ryan Carpenter, LHP, Gonzaga: Big lefty with live arm, another candidate for 50/55 slots.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah: If he lasts to 30, he'd have to be strongly considered.
Jason Esposito, 3B, Vanderbilt: Will he last to 50/55? I don't think I'd pick him at 30, but in the supplemental round he'd look good.
Derek Fisher, OF, Pennsylvania HS: Has the tools to go much higher in a less-impressive class. I would strongly consider him if he was there at 30.
Grayson Garvin, LHP, Vanderbilt: Like Carpenter, could slot at 50 or 55.
Dillon Howard, RHP, Arkansas HS: High-ceiling HS arm that could still be there at 30. You could same the same thing for Robert Stephenson and Henry Owens, two more guys I like a lot.
James McCann, C, University of Arkansas: I love his glove, he's athletic, and he's hitting well this year. Consensus seems that he's a second or third round talent, but someone who buys into the bat could take him earlier, and I would strongly consider him at 50 or 55. Is that crazy, or can I get someone as good or better in later rounds?
Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina: If he was there at 50 I'd take him definitely, and I might take him at 30.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, Wyoming HS: Like Fisher, very toolsy. He's athletic, loose, and much more polished than you'd expect given his background. Strongly under consideration at 30.
Dwight Smith, OF, Georgia HS: Pure hitter with major league bloodlines, and I liked his dad.
Kolten Wong, 2B, University of Hawaii: Very polished bat and sources that I trust think he's underrated even as a late first-round pick. Strongly under consideration at 30 and would fit Shadow organization needs.
Here are possible picks for later rounds that I like for one reason or another. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but these guys are worth close study.
Cody Asche, 3B, Nebraska: Power from the left side, plate discipline.
Dante Bichette, 3B-OF, Florida HS: Raw power, bloodlines.
Madison Boer, RHP, Oregon: Low-90s sinker, Minnesota ties.
Garrett Buechele, 3B, Oklahoma: Bloodlines, power, defense.
Brian Dupra, RHP, Notre Dame: Senior with live arm has made big strides in the last year.
Drew Gagnon, RHP, Long Beach State: Polished, would be a first-rounder in some drafts.
Julius Gaines, SS, Georgia HS: Glove, athleticism, chance to hit.
Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State: Solid college arm.
Tyler Greene, SS, Florida HS: athleticism and upside
Deshorn Lake, RHP, Virginia HS: Live arm, upside.
Christian Lopes, INF, California HS: offensive polish.
Jorge Lopez, RHP, Puerto Rico HS: super-projectable, high upside.
Charlie Lowell, LHP, Wichita State: outstanding K/IP ratio, good stuff.
Tyler Marlette, C, Florida HS: Good glove, chance to hit.
Brad Miller, INF, Clemson: Fast, gets on base.
Chris O'Brien, C, Wichita State: Big step forward with the bat this year.
Joe Panik, SS, St. John's: Fast, reliable glove, great plate discipline.
Mark Pope, RHP, Georgia Tech: Throws strikes, knows how to pitch.
Noe Ramirez, RHP, Cal State Fullerton: Throws strikes, knows how to pitch.
Tom Robson, RHP, British Columbia HS: High-level experience in international ball, good command
Cameron Seitzer, 1B, Oklahoma: Bloodlines.
Burch Smith, RHP, Oklahoma: Solid college pitcher
Kyle Smith, RHP, Florida HS: Small frame but live arm.
Logan Verrett, RHP, Baylor: Solid college pitcher.
B.A. Vollmuth, SS-3B, Southern Mississippi: Power. Can he stick at shortstop? Does he strike out too much?
Adam Westlake, 1B, Vanderbilt: power, performance, polish.