American League West Division Draft Impressions
Los Angeles: The Angels, blessed with extra picks, needed to find a good balance between affordability and talent, and I think they did a good job. First round outfielders Randal Grichuk (average tools but big-time power potential) and Mike Trout (excellent overall tools) are an intriguing combination. Grichuk might have been a slight overdraft, but I won't quibble with it. Supplemental pick Tyler Skaggs offers outstanding projectability and local ties. Supplemental pick Garrett Richards was erratic and mostly unsuccessful in college, but has a 95 MPH fastball and a nasty slider; perhaps he'll do better against wooden bats. Supplemental pick Tyler Kehrer throws hard for a lefty but will need some polish, while second rounder Pat Corbin (a slight overdraft) is a junior college southpaw who offers lots of projection. Third round Arizona State junkballer Josh Spence doesn't have a fastball, but has superb pitching instincts and could reach the majors very soon, at least in a utility pitcher role. I wouldn't bet against him. Other picks of note include sixth rounder Danny Reynolds, a high school RHP from Las Vegas with a very life arm, and Arizona State catcher Carlos Ramirez, 8th round, who has a bad body, but offers good power, good defensive skills, and a good performance record. I think he is one of the sleepers in the draft. Overall, I think the Angels did a good job here, making their extra picks count without busting the budget.
Oakland: The Athletics are known for their interest in college players, but they will mix in the occasional high-ceiling high school guy, and this draft is a good example of that. First rounder Grant Green had a disappointing season for Southern Cal, but he was still one of the best position players available this year, and getting him at 13 is a potential steal. Third round lefty Justin Marks out of Louisville has good stuff and excellent pitchability. Fourth round pick Max Stassi fell due to signability, but my guess is that they will be able to sign him, giving them two of the best hitters in the draft despite lacking a second round pick. Fifth round 3B Stephen Parker out of BYU is respected for his bat and should be able to hit outside of thin air. Sixth round Oregon State backstop Ryan Ortiz is underrated in my opinion and a nice pick here. Seventh round Illinois prep lefty Ian Krol has some makeup issues but a very good arm. 8th round UNC Greensboro RHP Rob Gilliam has a high strikeout rate and decent stuff. Sam Dyson, drafted in the 10th round out of South Carolina, has an excellent arm but a sketchy performance record, and poses a signability issue as a sophomore. If they can sigh him, his upside is strong. Another sleeper is 11th round Cincinnati 3B Mike Spina, a strong college performer who doesn't excite scouts. Overall I think Oakland had a great day. . .if they can sign everyone this is an excellent class.
Seattle: Can't argue against Dustin Ackley in the first round; he was the obvious choice. Nick Franklin at the bottom of the round is a bit less obvious, though not really an overdraft. He should be able to remain at shortstop, though there's some lack of clarity about how his bat will develop. Scouts love his makeup, which helps. Supplemental pick Steve Baron is an excellent defensive catcher who might not hit. Second round pick Rich Poythress out of Georgia has strong power but might not hit for average; third round pick Kyle Seager out of North Carolina should hit for average but might not have much power. Fourth round Long Island lefty James Jones and fifth round Oklahoma State RHP Tyler Blandford have power arms but were less than successful in college due to command issues and lack of polish. Lots of upside, lots of risk. College draft choices fill out the remainder of this draft. A sleeper could be Missouri catcher Trevor Coleman, drafted in the ninth round. He was a first round candidate until a poor spring.
Texas: The Rangers were supposed to draft Shelby Miller in most mocks, but went with a different Texas prep in reality, Matt Purke. He's got excellent stuff but a big price tag, but I imagine he'll end up signing. Supplemental pick Tanner Scheppers has the second-best arm in the draft, but the shoulder issue kept him out of the first round. High-risk, high-reward here definitely; I'll admit that I wouldn't have drafted him myself because of the injury history, but I'm risk-adverse and I'll give the Rangers credit for having guts. Tommy Mendonca in the second round out of Fresno State is basically Chris Davis but with a decent glove at third base. Robbie Erlin in the third round, prep lefty from California, is "short" at 5-11 but has a live arm and I think he is a good gamble. Fourth round Oklahoma ace Andrew Doyle has average velocity but throws strikes and eats innings. The rest of the rounds were filled out with athletes and arms, raw but promising. Sixth round Puerto Rican OF Ruben Sierra Jr, 7th round Georgia prep Braxton Lane,. and 9th round Miami Dade CC outfielder Jabari Blash all stand out for their athleticism but are very raw. This is a bold draft, which could yield great dividends but could also result in a series of tools busts.