Here's your first look at a relevant, up-to-date 2010 mock draft. Since the first 16 picks are set in stone, that order is how it's going to be next June. Picks 17 to 30 aren't protected against free agent compensation, and neither is the Yankees' pick at #32. Tampa Bay's pick at #31 is protected, as it's compensation for not signing LeVon Washington in the 2009 draft. Picks 19 and 21 are also not set in stone, as the one-game playoff on Tuesday will determine where Detroit and Minnesota line up. The winner will pick at #19, and the loser will pick at #21. I'm hedging my bets on the side of the Twins for right now, as they have their home field and a much better pitcher heading to the mound. So that's the order in which I slotted them (for now). Enjoy!
1. Washington Nationals - Bryce Harper, C, CC of Southern Nevada - Harper's not the best thing to ever happen to baseball, but he's the frontrunner for this spot at the current moment. A big spring against more advanced competition will lock this spot up for him. He's got some competition, but there's no clear top talent behind him, so if the class is this muddy eight months from now, Harper's going to go #1.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates - Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU - A lot of people are basing their judgment of Ranaudo on his College World Series performance, where he was noticeably tired and didn't have his best stuff. However, it's hard to find the pure size of Ranaudo, and his stuff is much better than that nationally-televised outing. Don't look for pure gas or a Strasburg-like bender, but he grades out as above-average in everything with more projectability than your average collegiate. He's a Boras client, so we'll see if that affects his status, but for now he's the best major college prospect.
3. Baltimore Orioles - Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands HS (TX) - I had a hard time putting Taillon below Ranaudo, but I still think Ranaudo's more proven history puts him slightly above Taillon's rawness. There's no doubt to me that Taillon is the best pitcher the 2010 prep class has to offer, as he's raised his stock clearly above A.J. Cole. He's got great size, great projectability, and great current stuff, so there's not much to dislike here. His main question mark will be his representation, and he's got a Rice commitment, too, so when the signability fog begins to clear, we'll have a better read.
4. Kansas City Royals - Christian Colon, SS, Cal State Fullerton - Colon may have broken his leg at the end of Team USA's season, but that was only after he had established himself as the best all-around position player in the 2010 college class. He's a good fielder with good instincts, a good hitter, and there's really nothing he's bad at. People will whine about his lack of dazzling tools, but Colon's got a solid toolset with a solid skillset with great makeup, and there's no reason to think he can't be an above-average Major League shortstop in relatively short order. Assuming he recovers fully from the broken leg, he's a top ten pick with a good spring.
5. Cleveland Indians - Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech - McGuire's a polarizing figure, but no one doubts his pure size and stuff. Like Ranaudo, some say that McGuire's prospect package relies too much on size and projectability and not enough on actual pitching ability. However, McGuire's got an above-average fastball with a pair of breaking pitches and a good changeup, so I don't see anything that isn't Major League-caliber in terms of future grades. He's got to firm up his command, but he's definitely right up at the top of the pack for the 2010 college pitching class.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks - A.J. Cole, RHP, Oviedo HS (FL) - Cole, who was considered pretty much even with Taillon entering the summer, has had a good summer, but not one that matched Taillon's. He's also a really big kid, but with a much more projectable frame that some teams drool over. His fastball is of the plus variety, and his slurve (that's what I call it) is a plus pitch, too. He's got true number one potential, so I don't see him falling too much unless he completely falls apart in the spring. He's committed to Miami.
7. New York Mets - Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley HS (FL) - Here is the best name no one's talking about. People always talk about Taillon and Cole while leaving Whitson's name out, but I don't necessarily see it that way. He's of similar size to Cole, with similar projectability, also has a plus fastball, and possibly has more movement on that pitch. He's got both a slider and curve, and while neither are plus now, they've got great potential, too. That whole package is going to attract droves of scouts, and I see him going the way of Zack Wheeler from the 2009 class.
8. Houston Astros - Zack Cox, 3B, Arkansas - Cox is the best draft-eligible sophomore in the 2010 class, and he's arguably the best overall hitter in the entire class. A lefty in the box, he's got plus power and hit tools, but he's lacking a bit in the pitch recognition and plate discipline departments. The big question he'll look to answer in the spring is whether he can stick at third base, as some see him as a first baseman with hard hands and below-average third base range. His arm is a plus, so I'd give him every chance to play at third as long as he's hitting.
9. San Diego Padres - Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Ole Miss - Left-handed power arms are hard to come by, and Pomeranz has one. There's been some big questions about his arm action, and his lack of athleticism leads me to believe he's going to be susceptible to the big arm injury. However, up to now he's been healthy and effective, and his breaking ball can be one of the best in the 2010 class. He's big, has a solid history, and is left-handed, so it's hard to see him dropping out of the top fifteen without an injury of some sort.
10. Oakland Athletics - Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast - Sale was the star of the Cape Cod League this summer, and most prospect buffs would be lying to you if they told you they knew who he was before his summer run. He's going to battle Pomeranz and James Paxton for the top lefty in the college class during the spring, and there's a good chance Sale comes out ahead. He's also big, standing at 6'6'', but he's projectable too, as he might be able to add a good twenty pounds to his frame. He's got a plus fastball with good movement and an effective changeup, and I see Sale as a relatively safe pick as far as pitchers go.
11. Toronto Blue Jays - Kris Bryant, 3B, Bonanza HS (NV) - It's tough to predict this pick, along with Padres', as they're both in the middle of front office transition, and a GM hasn't been named. However, teams usually keep a good number of their scouts for at least the next season, so I'm going at least partly off of history. Bryant's got the power bat Toronto's been searching for in the minors since Kevin Ahrens hasn't panned out. He might be a first baseman in the long run, but if Bryant proves he can handle himself with the wood bat before June, teams won't care. His raw power is that good. He's probably a first round pick with a good spring, and he might even go higher than this with an offensive explosion.
12. Cincinnati Reds - Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State - Wimmers had a great late summer on the Cape, and I think he's moved into being the best cold-weather guy in the 2010 class. He's not a big guy, unlike the pitchers above, but his stuff is quite advanced. I might call his fastball average, maybe a tick above with movement and command, but his curve and change are above-average and improving. The Reds went with Mike Leake in 2009, so they might want to go in a different direction from the polished college pitcher in 2010, but Wimmers is in-state and a true first-round talent, so there's no reason to believe he can't go here.
13. Chicago White Sox - Jesse Hahn, RHP, Virginia Tech - I'll get a little heat for this, but I really think a team like the White Sox will bite on Hahn's electric arm early in the first round. He's got the definition of a plus fastball, just from velocity alone. With a better curveball, Hahn could easily slide into the top ten to a team that thinks he can be a top-tier starter. The only problem is that he's probably still going to be a reliever eventually in pro ball, despite his big 6'5'' frame, and that will knock him completely off some teams' first-round lists. The arm is too big to ignore, though, and Hahn's a real first-rounder in my book.
14. Milwaukee Brewers - LeVon Washington, OF, Chipola JC (FL) - Washington was a first-rounder in 2009, and there aren't many current scenarios that knock him out of the first round in 2010. With a recovery in his right arm, which I do expect to happen, more teams will think of Washington as a true center fielder with plus range. His hit tool is still plus, and with a weaker class of hitters in the 2010 class, there's nowhere to go but up with a good season at Chipola against solid Florida JUCO competition. Beware the Boras.
15. Texas Rangers - Brandon Workman, RHP, Texas - This pick is unprotected against future compensation, as this pick itself is compensation for the Rangers not signing Matt Purke from the 2009 draft. Therefore, it really has to be a college player here, and Workman's probably affordable and solid from a talent perspective. He didn't have a good summer, but he had an extra long spring at UT, and he still has a good fastball-curveball mix. There could be better talent available here, but it's doubtful that the Rangers could afford it.
16. Chicago Cubs - Stetson Allie, RHP, St. Edwards HS (OH) - Some scouts see Allie as a third base prospect, but his arm is just too good to pass up. Remember how we thought Shelby Miller had the best pure arm a year ago? Allie's is better. Remember how Madison Younginer got hype because of his closer role and plus fastball? Allie's better. He already touches 99 with his fastball, has a slider in the upper-80s, and could be the best pure arm from high school in quite awhile. The problem is that he might just be a reliever, as he has a high-effort delivery. The Cubs seem to like these kind of cases, so this seems like a solid fit.
17. Tampa Bay Rays - Austin Wilson, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA) - There's been some hype about Wilson being a top five pick, but he just doesn't have the polish to be that type of player quite yet. There's not a lot of argument about whether Wilson is the best prep outfielder in the draft, as most scouts would say he is. However, there's some question about where he might line up. His build is huge, he's got plus raw power, and a plus-plus arm, but he needs to work on pitch recognition, and he's not really a long-term center field prospect to most. If he falls this far, the Rays would probably be delighted to land him.
18. Seattle Mariners - Nick Castellanos, 3B, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL) - Castellanos is the Bobby Borchering to Kris Bryant's Matt Davidson. Castellanos has the more advanced approach and better advanced game results than Bryant, but the tools seem to currently rest in Bryant's favor. Castellanos has a good hit tool with good raw power, and the odds are in Castellanos' favor in terms of staying at third base. All in all, Castellanos would form a good complement to Seattle's pick of Nick Franklin in 2009. Makes sense to me.
19. Detroit Tigers - James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky - If the Tigers win tomorrow, then they slide two spots from here. I'm just guessing they'll lose. Sorry Tiger fans. Anyway, Paxton is a strong-armed lefty and Boras client, and the Tigers like both. With better results to go with the plus stuff that Paxton flashed in 2009, he'll probably improve his draft position from the supplemental first round slot he landed to the Blue Jays in the 2009 draft. Paxton isn't your typical senior sign, as he'll still just be 21 at the time of the draft, and he's still unlocking the potential he has after years in an even colder climate than Kentucky. He's a probable first-rounder to at least a team with multiple early picks after the free agent signings shake out.
20. Atlanta Braves - Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee - There's been a lot of hype around Brentz with his huge numbers, and my draft profile of him has been wildly popular. However, Brentz has his flaws, as pitch recognition continues to be a bit of a concern with him. Do we have another Jeff Francoeur on our hands? Not at all. But it's just something to watch. On the plus side, he's got big raw power, solid athleticism, and a plus arm for a corner outfield spot, so any team looking for a potential middle-of-the-order hitter will grab him. Atlanta can't have guys like Matt Diaz, Garret Anderson, and Ryan Church forever if they expect to win.
21. Minnesota Twins - Manny Machado, SS, Brito Private HS (FL) - Machado's a polarizing player in the scouting ranks, as there's an argument raging over whether Machado's a true shortstop or not. It's not hard to follow either side's argument. On the plus side, Machado can turn in some plays that look truly middle infielder-esque numerous times over the course of the game. On the minus side, he can sometimes look stiff and show minus hands. In addition, the first thing you notice about him when you watch him is how big he looks for the shortstop position. Not everyone can be Cal Ripken and handle shortstop in the bigs at that size. I'm not putting down his athleticism. It's solid. So is the arm. But with a Yunel Escobar-like bat wrap and overall questions about his bat, the defense is what's going to determine his draft slot.
22. Texas Rangers - Rick Hague, SS, Rice - Once again, the Rangers might go with a Texas product in Hague. This pick is protected against a player not signing, so maybe they pick a riskier player here. While I list Hague as a shortstop here, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone take him as a third baseman after his plus-plus fielding run there with Team USA this summer. He'd be a solid-average, perhaps a bit better, defensive shortstop, though he might slow down a bit too much for the position quickly as a result of his great work ethic in gaining strength. His hitting should be solid, and while he doesn't have above-average power and pitch recognition, he's coachable and should improve continually in pro ball. He's a late first-rounder in most scenarios at this point.
23. Florida Marlins - Dylan Covey, RHP, Maranatha HS (CA) - The Marlins have a long history with preps in California, and Covey's the best pitcher out there in the 2010 class. There's a pretty clear line between Covey and the top arms like Taillon, Cole, Whitson, and Allie, but don't be surprised if Covey has a big jump similar to fellow California prep Matt Hobgood had in the 2009 class. He's got a plus fastball and curveball, but like most preps, he lacks a good current changeup, and he'll need that to thrive in the pros. He's a mid- to late-first rounder now, but there's room for more.
24. San Francisco Giants - Josh Sale, OF, Bishop Blanchet HS (WA) - Sale's the type of kid that could absolutely explode into top draft material with a huge spring season. He's a corner outfielder in the truest sense of the word, but the bat's legit. A lefty hitter, he's got all the makings of a middle-of-the-order hitter, and he can put an absolute charge into a ball. The Giants need those type of hitters, and they're quietly building a solid nucleus of young hitting prospects to go with their usual glut of young pitching. A lineup including Josh Sale in a corner outfield spot could be special.
25. St. Louis Cardinals - Yordy Cabrera, SS, Lakeland HS (FL) - Remember what I said about Machado being big? Cabrera's bigger. That's why many scouts think Cabrera's eventually going to outgrow shortstop, where he shows consistently good actions and range. He's a bit of a hacker at the plate, but he's got plus tools there, too. He's fast, too, with a plus arm, so he's what you might consider a true five-tool player in a relatively weak class for tools. If Cabrera turns out a great senior year, he could be compared favorably to Jio Mier of the Astros, and I see him being a solid first-round pick.
26. Colorado Rockies - Kyle Blair, RHP, San Diego - If only Blair could up his fastball. That's the story I keep hearing. His slider is an absolute plus pitch, and with a solid changeup, Blair could be a top prospect with a couple ticks extra on his average fastball. However, it's not the case, and I see him as more of a late first-rounder at the moment. He's probably more hyped than your average 2010 draft prospect, but it's all about current draft position, and I can't put him higher than this now. A good spring season could bump him up, as could extra ticks on the fastball.
27. Philadelphia Phillies - Kevin Gausman, RHP, Grandview HS (CO) - The Phillies signed the marquee 2009 LSU pitching recruit in Brody Colvin, and Gausman's that guy in the 2010 class. He's blessed with good size at 6'4'', and he's ultra-projectable, probably more projectable than anyone in the class. He doesn't have the plus fastball velocity that the top guys have, but it's still above-average with good life. He's got the makings of a good curveball and changeup, so we might have another high-ceiling arm on our hands. The Phillies love these type of projectable arms, and assuming they don't sign a Type A free agent, Gausman might be on their short list.
28. Los Angeles Dodgers - Brett Eibner, OF/RHP, Arkansas - Eibner's the best two-way player in the 2010 college class, and I really think he's a first-round type of guy. He's got plus power at the plate with solid actions in a corner outfield spot, and he's also a potential mid-rotation guy on the mound. I like him more as a hitter, so I'll stick with that for now. The Dodgers picked both Aaron Miller and Blake Smith, the two best two-way college players in the 2009 draft, so why not Eibner?
29. Boston Red Sox - Jedd Gyorko, 3B/2B, West Virginia - Gyorko's a questionable first-rounder to those that only love pure tools, but his bat is a legitimate first-round weapon in my book. He's got a plus hit tool and decent raw power, and I think Gyorko could be a solid all-around infielder. Whether he's a second baseman or third baseman isn't a big deal, as his bat will play at either spot, but the Red Sox would probably only go for him at the third base spot. He fits perfectly into the Boston style of hitting, and I can easily see a match here.
30. Los Angeles Angels - A.J. Vanegas, RHP, Redwood Christian HS (CA) - Vanegas has good pure stuff, and he probably has one of the best breaking balls in the entire class. He didn't have a great summer, but the talent was always on display, despite some hiccups. The biggest question I have about him is his Stanford commitment, and that could scare a lot of teams away. If he's signable, he's probably a late first-round or supplemental-round talent. The Angels wouldn't mind signing this in-state prospect.
31. Tampa Bay Rays - Bryan Morgado, LHP, Tennessee - This pick isn't protected against a player not signing, so the Rays will probably have to go the college route with the pick. Morgado was a third-rounder a year ago to the White Sox as a draft-eligible sophomore. A great summer raised his stock, and he didn't sign, but he established himself as a great 2010 prospect in the process. He's probably more in the supplemental- to early-second round range, but the Rays just need a signable guy in this slot, and Morgado's got good potential.
32. New York Yankees - Justin O'Conner, SS, Cowan HS (IN) - The Yankees are building a solid core of young hitting in their system, and they're only lacking an eventual replacement for Derek Jeter. Enter Justin O'Conner. O'Conner's got all the tools to be a plus shortstop with both the glove and the bat, and it's only his geographic location that's hampered him as a prospect. He's got one of the best infield arms in the entire class, and there's not much thought that he'll ever have to move positions. He hits well, too, and he could easily surpass both Machado and Cabrera in this class of shortstops. This would be a great pick for the Yankees, who should be brainstorming about who should replace Jeter in the near-future.
There's your first 2010 mock. What do you think?