2011 Mock Draft: First Round
Here is my first shot at a Mock Draft for 2011. I'll make this as interesting as possible and go all the way through the supplemental first round. The supplemental round will be posted this afternoon.
We are still a month away. Rumors are starting up, of course, and I've paid some attention to them, but there is still so much time for things to change that I don't take any one rumor especially seriously. Most teams keep things close to the vest, and there are always going to be surprises. The mock draft isn't a prediction at this point, but rather a fun intellectual exercise. I've paid attention to things like draft budgets and past draft strategies for each team, and I've thrown a few "surprise" picks in there.
1) Pirates: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice: Rendon or Cole? Rendon or Cole? Both have some question-marks sneaking into their profiles, but for today we'll assume that the medical reviews of Rendon's shoulder turn out OK.
2) Mariners: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA: I'll stick with the idea that the Mariners pick whoever the Pirates don't. I still see Cole as a future number one starter.
3) Diamondbacks: Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia. Arizona drafted Hultzen in the 10th round in 2008 and couldn't sign him. This time they do.
4) Orioles: Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech: He won't need long in the minors and makes a fine lefty trifecta with Brian Matusz and Zach Britton.
5) Royals: Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas HS: Simply makes too much sense. He's immensely toolsy, and the Royals don't let local guys get past them now.
6) Nationals: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA: I love Bauer and considered him as high as three.
7) Diamondbacks (failure to sign Barret Loux): Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut. This pick isn't protected, and Hultzen won't be cheap to sign at #3, which means signability and cost has to be factored into this as much as talent. Big front office turnover last year is an added factor: what direction will the new decision-making team go? I'll go with UConn right-hander Matt Barnes here with a pre-draft deal worked out, the first pick people look at as a "surprise" despite his talent level.
8) Indians: Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt: Fits college pitching theme of the last few drafts, with Alex White and Drew Pomeranz.
9) Cubs: Francisco Lindor, SS, Florida HS: The Cubs do unusual things, and they already have Starlin Castro. But you can't have too many middle infielders with strong bats and slick gloves, and Lindor is too good to pass up.
10) Padres (failure to sign Karsten Whitson): George Springer, OF, Connecticut. Unprotected pick, so a college player makes sense. You could easily go with one of the college pitchers here such as Stilson or Jungmann, but in this universe the Padres decide to add another high-upside athletic outfielder to the system alongside Reymond Fuentes and Donavan Tate. Springer's tools are excellent.
11) Astros: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Oklahoma HS: The Astros have been attracted to high school arms, and Bundy makes a lot of sense here. It comes down to him or Taylor Guerrieri, but Bundy has a bit more polish and is closer geographically.
12) Brewers: Blake Swihart, C, New Mexico HS: This farm system is gutted and could use help in every department. I think things are thinner positionally, and Swihart's combination of offense and defense is special. High school catching is risky but he's the highest guy on the board.
13) Mets: John Stilson, RHP, Texas A&M: I don't see the Mets changing their conservative draft philosophy just yet, but Stilson should be signable, has plenty of upside and is moving up charts.
14) Marlins: Archie Bradley, RHP, Oklahoma HS: Power high school arms typically attract the Marlins, and since Bradley is a football guy, you can spread his bonus out.
15) Brewers (failure to sign Dylan Covey): Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU: Unprotected pick, so gambling on a high schooler isn't logical. Mahtook has tools, is hitting the hell out of the ball this year, and should be signable.
16) Dodgers: Jose Fernandez, RHP, Florida HS: A surprise pick, but think about it. We know Logan White loves high school power arms, and Fernandez has one of the best. We also know that the Dodgers likely have financial restrictions from MLB. Fernandez is expected to go late in the first round, but that's due more to the depth of the class than anything else, and he's a bit older than most of the high school arms. Let's say he agrees to sign for slot money pre-draft. That's better than getting drafted 25th or 30th. He's happy, the baseball guys are happy, and MLB is happy.
17) Angels: Taylor Guerrieri,RHP, South Carolina HS: Everyone says "wow, what a bargain" at 17th overall. But there is so much talent this year that he can easily fall this far given the restrictions that some teams ahead of this slot have to contend with.
18) Athletics: Josh Bell, OF, Texas HS: He's a prep, but his upside is huge, he's got loads of power, he controls the zone, and Oakland needs hitting.
19) Red Sox (for Victor Martinez): Andrew Susac, C, Oregon State: The broken hamate doesn't reduce his stock much. Picking him as compensation for a lost catcher makes sense too.
20) Rockies: Daniel Norris, LHP, Tennessee HS: Well, if Christian Friedrich and Tyler Matzek don't pan out, let's try Daniel Norris.
21) Blue Jays: Javier Baez, INF, Florida HS: Opinion is still mixed on this guy and he could go anywhere from 20 beyond. I'll stick him with the Jays on the assumption he stays in the middle of the diamond.
22) Cardinals: Alex Meyer, RHP, University of Kentucky: Excellent upside for this spot.
23) Nationals (for Adam Dunn): Taylor Jungmann, RHP, University of Texas: Another player that everyone says "bargain!" but could easily fall here given circumstances. The Nats pick up two top college right-handers with him and Bauer.
24) Rays (for Carl Crawford): Robert Stephenson, RHP, California HS. First portion of a huge draft bounty. How do you balance upside with financial considerations? We'll start off with a high-upside high school arm.
25) Padres: Tyler Anderson, LHP, University of Oregon: He could easily go earlier than this, but under this scenario he represents good value for the Padres here.
26) Red Sox (for Adrian Beltre): Tyler Beede, RHP, Massachusetts HS: Red Sox pick the local kid and buy his arm away from Vanderbilt with a pre-draft but overslot deal.
27) Reds: Josh Osich, LHP, Oregon State: He's healthy, pushing into first round consideration, and would provide some boost for a system with thinning pitching.
28) Braves: Brian Goodwin, OF, Miami-Dade CC: Very toolsy, fast, has power, slots well here on talent and the Braves could use an outfield prospect.
29) Giants: Henry Owens, LHP, California HS: Fits the Giants mold and slots well here talent-wise, plus a home state kid.
30) Twins: Kolten Wong, 2B, University of Hawaii: There are still lots of attractive options here, but the Twins drafted Wong out of high school, he fits their needs, and has the talent to go slightly higher so it isn't a stretch.
31) Rays (for Rafael Soriano): C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah: Signable, very talented, and can help soon.
32) Rays: Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina: Signable, talented, and can help soon.
33) Rangers (for Cliff Lee): Derek Fisher, OF, Pennsylvania HS: High-ceiling athlete would likely go higher if he was from a warmer-weather area.