2011 Mock Draft: Take 2
Could Vandy's Sonny Gray be the Indians
first pick? (Photo: AP)
As we get closer to the draft a lot of players seem to be solidifying themselves. The draft is very deep this year, and the Indians should have a lot of choices who to draft when their first pick comes up. This draft's depth is in arms which should be 75% of the picks in the first round.
This mock will focus on who I think teams will take as I looked back at the preferences of college vs. preps and who is willing to go over slot. I am no expert so what I write about players is from scanning several writings of draft experts on the web. I use this information to figure out a board of my own and then try and figure out where everyone will fall.
I also want to point out one more thing. Something to keep in mind is that if a player is a two sport athlete then the bonus they get can be spread over five years which makes deals more palatable for teams. This occurred last year with the Dodgers and Zach Lee. As we are a month out, this mock will now go to the half way point of round one. The first round has 33 picks, so we will round up and focus on the top 17 picks.
1. Pittsburgh - Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
Cole has been a little underwhelming, so I think in spite of his injury Rendon is at the top of the class. The injury that has plagued him, has hurt his stock. Last year he was a slam dunk for the first pick as there were reports that teams where higher on him then on Harper. Even still this guy looks like another Evan Longoria, and he should win a gold glove at some point. When you add in a killer work ethic there seems to be little chance that Rendon does not pan out.
2. Seattle - Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA
This draft has a 1A and 1B at the top with Rendon and Cole, so whoever is left is who Seattle will take. Cole has a live arm that hits in the upper 90's. He has been on a rough streak of late, but the talent is undeniable. Imagine in three years a rotation that goes King Felix, Pineda, and Cole. This would make many a Yankee fan squirm, as Cole was their former pick and it seems that Yankees fans think they can use Eminent domain to claim King Felix this year. That rotation would be a legit three ace rotation, and something I am sure that Seattle would love to have.
3. Arizona - Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia
Arizona has two picks in the top 7, so this means more signable players. Arizona actually drafted Hultzen out of high school so we know they like his stuff. Hultzen has been the ultimate helium pitcher this year, and has not come back down to Earth. He is the top lefty in the draft, and in spite of this being a bit of a signability pick it is not an overdraft. Many teams end up redrafting the player that got away, and he would be a good fit for Arizona. He is settling into that top 4 range for sure.
4. Baltimore - Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA
Bauer is the other name on the rise as over the last month he has jumped up the board and now has teams seeing a Lincecum-type pitcher. The fear is the heavy workload as his college coaches have pitched him to death. The other problem is while his approach is like Lincecum, there are concerns that it could lead to injury. Still rumors say he and Hultzen could be legit candidates for first or second pick, so a team like Baltimore could take the risk. They have so many young arms, why not take the one who might be quick to help and has a high ceiling.
5. Kansas City - Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton
Starling is a man without a definite position. Most teams think he will be an outfielder, but some do still see him as a pitcher. Kansas City has the top farm system in baseball, and they got there by drafting top talent and signing them. Starling is the top talent on the board and a player many consider a top three talent. He is a two sport athlete, which will make it so his sizable bonus can be spread over five years. Add in the bonus fact that he is from right near Kansas City and it seems like a natural fit. I know the talk is they want a player who can come up and help them as their other talent is hitting the majors, but I feel it is a smoke screen. I think Starling will be too good to pass on.
6. Washington - Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso HS
Washington has shown a willingness to sign top talent. Last year they paid not just for Harper but also for AJ Cole. Bundy is a player who in a few years might be the top player from this draft. He hits 99 MPH as a high school senior, which means he could gain even more velocity. He has the attitude you look for in ace pitchers, and could develop four major league pitches. There is a concern that he is smaller at only 6'1", but the ceiling is very high.
7. Arizona - Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas
Arizona got this pick since they failed to sign their first rounder last year, which means if they don't sign this pick they lose it. Jungmann has been maybe the most dominating pitcher in the land this year. He should move quickly up the minors, and while he might not be a front of the line starter, he should be a solid starter who they should not have to worry about signing.
8. Cleveland - Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt
There are a lot of ways the Indians could go, but over the years the one constant has been college players early. The last time the Indians took a high school player in round one was, Dan Denham in 2001. Not only was it a decade ago, but it didn't exactly work out. The past few years the Indians have not been limited by slot, but Gray would be a near slot draft pick. He throws hard as he hits 96-97 MPH and has a real live arm. The reason he would fall to eight is because he is under six feet tall. The thought is that even if he can't hold up as a starter at worst he is an All Star closer. If he does stay a starter he could be a front of the rotation starter. I originally had Bauer here, but I no longer think he will still be on the board.
9. Chicago Cubs - Francisco Lindor, SS, Monverde Academy
I know a few people are thinking why take Lindor when you have Castro who is so young and performing at shortstop already. The reason is simple as it takes a few years to develop players, so you take the best player and then find a place for them or trade them. The Cubs have not shied away from prep players, and Lindor is the top prep bat. He is a switch hitter who looks like a Tulo-lite type of shortstop. He might be in high school, but defensively he is the top shortstop in this entire draft.
10. San Diego - George Springer, OF, UCON Blake
Springer is a player who does everything well, but nothing great. He would be an ideal fit in that large outfield in San Diego with his speed and range in the outfield. There are a range of comps out there for Springer, but the one that makes the most sense is Drew Stubbs who is another guy who does a little bit of everything. The Padres have two firsts, and outside of the Donovan Tate draft have not been big spenders. A player like Springer is a calculated risk as he won't be a hard sign and has upside with a bat that is only behind Rendon and Starling.
11. Houston - Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley High School
The past two years the Astros have gone with a prep player. The top player on the board is undoubtedly Guerrieri, who is the biggest rise of any prep player. He is the number two prep pitcher in the class and has touched the upper 90's with his fastball, which has a nice heavy sink to it. He has the ability to develop into a front of the line starter.
12. Milwaukee - Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech
The second best lefty in this draft, he seems to be a consensus 10-15 pick in this draft. He has two solid pitches and the size teams look for in a starter. He might not be a sexy pick, but with two firsts, it makes sense to take a solid pitcher who you won't have to go over slot to sign. He should be a solid MOR starter.
13. NY Mets - Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky
The Mets always stick to slot, so the player who makes the most sense at this point would be Meyer. He might be the ultimate boom or bust pick in this mock. Meyer is huge at 6'9", can hit 100 mph, and has multiple projected plus pitches. This is a player who three years ago was projected to be the number one pick in the draft, but then he had a few rough years in college and now finally looks on track. This last year should be enough to convince some team in the top 20 to take the risk. The Mets took another player who had fallen but recovered in their junior year last year with Matt Harvey.
14. Florida - Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS
This pick is maybe the most likely one in the entire draft. The Marlins every year take a prep arm from Oklahoma. It is almost a joke for many people who closely follow the draft, and for the record last year's top pick Chad James was a prep pitcher from Oklahoma. Bradley is the top player on the board and is a two spot athlete, which should be noted.
15. Milwaukee - Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU
This is yet another compensation pick in this draft, which again means taking a signable player. Mahtook has had a great year in spite of the fact it has been a down year for hitters across college baseball. He is a plus runner who profiles out as a centerfielder with power. He has a nonstop motor, and in a system that has been ravaged by trades would become the centerfielder of the future for the Brewers.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers - Matt Barnes, RHP, UCONN
This pick will be slot, no doubt about it. Since Major League Baseball has taken control it seems very likely that they will take a college player who will sign for slot. Barnes is a guy who could go much higher, but in spite of a good numbers year reports say he has not developed and that he has not looked dominating in his starts. Still the talent is there, and some teams think a player like Barnes will improve once he gets out of a cold weather area. A former break out player on Team USA, he would be a nice high upside pick this late.
17. Los Angeles Angels - Josh Bell, OF, Jesuit Prep HS
The Angels are a team that seems to prefer prep players, and of late have drafted a lot of prep bats. So this pick came down to Swihart or Bell. Bell struck me as the more toolsy player, and definitely the one with more power. He has a nice stroke and should generate plus power. He is more than likely a left fielder, but the ability for him to be a great hitter is higher than for Swihart.
So this is my second mock draft, and with a month to go it will change again as we get so much closer to the 2011 MLB Draft. It should be an exciting time and something to enjoy. The hope is that as well as the Indians are playing and as deep as the minors are this will be the last top ten pick the Indians have for a long time. Hopefully they make it count.