Most Likely to Hit 40 Home Runs and Other 2010 MLB Draft Superlatives
Unless Bryce Harper goes all Matt Bush on us, it's a pretty safe bet that he'll be the surest bet to have the longest, most prosperous (not to mention most lucrative) career of any 2010 draftee.
But, who among the class of "oh-ten" has the best chance to win a batting title or steal 60 bases. Or better yet, who's the most likely to toss a no-hitter, hit four home runs in a game, or hit for the cycle.
Here's a little hint: they won't all be Harper...I think.
So without further delay, I give you the 2010 MLB draft class superlatives.
The Most Likely To Hit 40 Home Runs In One Season
This one might be the easiest of the bunch.
I mean, have you seen Bryce Harper take BP? And I'm not talking about the nine innings he plays each night. Although, Harper appears so talented that one can't really tell the difference between practice and real game play.
Harper put on one of the most prodigious power displays ever witnessed in JUCO history. As a 17-year old. Imagine what he'll be able to do as a 20-year old with two-plus years of experience under his belt.
The Nats will play it smart with Harper and ditch plans to turn him into the next Mike Piazza. They'll most likely let him begin his career in the outfield, where he could blossom into an regular All-Star with 30-40 home run power who hits for a high average.
The Most Likely To Steal 60-plus Bases
Enter Delino Deshields Jr., one of the fastest runners in the 2010 draft.
The son of 13-year veteran Delino Sr., the junior is projected as a top 15 draft pick, assuming he can be swayed from his commitment to play football at LSU. Given the type of money that he could garner as a top 15 pick, I think it's a pretty sure bet that he'll be playing in the minors somewhere come next season.
Deshields has, according to ESPN.com, 80 speed on the 20-80 scale, and he could easily fill the role as a 40+ steal guy for any team. It's almost a given that he'll be a 50+ steal guy in the minors, as it's much easier to swipe bases in the lower levels.
Once he gets to the pros he'll have to work on his hitting and plate discipline, which rank 50 and 60.
Other athlete-types could give him a run for his money, but I think he's pretty much the safest bet to steal at least 60 bases in the bigs.
The Most Likely To Throw a No-Hitter
In honor of Armando Gallaraga's almost no-no, let's honor who from the class of 2010 could be the first to toss a no-hitter.
My first instinct says Jameson Taillon, the top prep-pitcher in this year's class, but going with my gut I'd have to settle on Chris Sale, the hard-throwing lefty from Florida Gulf Coast.
Sale has been downright dominant this year, striking out 146 batters in only 103 innings with a 2.01 ERA. He's made his game on perfection, winning 11 of his 17 starts, and he hasn't lost a game since mid-2009.
At 6'6" and 175 pounds, there's plenty of room for Sale to add some weight, which could add a few ticks to his 90-93 MPH fastball and make him even more unhittable.
Taillon very well might string together a more impressive career, but Sale just has that flash of...."it," that leads me to think that we could seeing his name and the word "no-hitter" in the same sentence sooner rather than later.
The Most Likely To Win a Batting Title
Zack Cox will probably come off the board somewhere between the 5th and 10th pick, and whichever team drafts him will get one of the most hard-working, high-ceiling players in the draft.
And that's something that's not usually said of a college prospect. But unlike most, Cox has the advantage of being a draft-eligible sophomore, which means there's a little more projection left for him. Well, I'm going to go ahead and project right here that if anyone from the class of 2010 wins a batting title, I'd put my money on Cox.
After selling out for power during his freshman campaign (13 homers and a .266 average), Cox restructured his swing and came into this season with a renewed focus on driving the ball into the gaps and getting on base. He's done both this year, at a .432 clip with four more walks than strikeouts.
On the negative side, he only mashed eight home runs.
What Cox has shown everyone this year is that although he might have to choose to hit for either power or high average, if he picks high average, he has vast potential.
Batting title potential.
The Most Likely To Win 20 Games In a Single Season
Drew Pomeranz, Anthony Ranaudo, Alex Wimmers and Chris Sale get all the attention, but Deck McGuire has quietly put together quite a nice resume heading into the 2010 draft.
His numbers this season, an 8-4 record and 3.01 ERA, pale in comparison to Sale's 11-0 record and 2.01 ERA, and his 112 strikeouts are a few dozen short of Asher Wojciechowski's 144, but McGuire is still building some momentum as a possible top 15 pick.
The reason I think he's the most likely to win 20 games in the Majors is a matter of statistical analysis and pure gut. McGuire pitched only 104.2 innings this season, but he averaged seven innings pitched per start, much more than Chris Sale, who barely makes it six innings per outing. Other top pitchers such as Pomeranz, Ranaudo, and San Diego's Kyle Blair also average well under seven.
The Citadel's Wojciechowski averaged 7.1 IP per start, but his stuff pales in comparison to McGuire's, and Deck is much more likely in my opinion to pan out in the big leagues, especially given his mid-90s fastball, and three average off-speed offerings.
Staying in games longer will give McGuire a chance to earn more quality starts, more wins, and possibly earn 20 wins.
With all the attention on the other big names, McGuire could very easily be the steal of this draft.
The Most Likely To Save 30-plus Games
I'm going to go out on a bit of a limb here, and pick a guy who has three career saves and hasn't recorded one in over two years—Ohio State's Alex Wimmers.
Wimmers missed a good chunk of this season because of hamstring issues, but when he pitched, he was as good as anyone else in college baseball this year. He didn't lose a game all season (9-0) and notched a 1.60 ERA. He also didn't surrender a home run to an opposing batter all year.
His low-to-mid-90s fastball would play well out of the bullpen, and his excellent curveball would give him a devastating out pitch as a closer. There has already been rumors among teams interested in the right-hander about moving him to the bullpen and grooming him for a late-inning role.
I'm sure that given his pedigree, he'll be given every chance to prove himself as a starter, but to me he profiles as an All-Star closer down the road, one capable of saving 30-40 games per season.
He'll just have to find a team willing to stash such a talented arm in the bullpen.
The Most Likely To Hit Four Home Runs In a Single Game
Auburn's mashing first baseman Hunter Morris has been on teams' minds for three years now. It was three years ago that he was picked in the second round of the 2008 draft, but the hulking infielder decided to head off to Auburn to experience college.
Three years later, he has emerged as a more agile and more powerful force, one who has mashed 44 home runs(and counting) in three seasons, helping turn Auburn back into a major SEC power.
This season, Morris has been firing on all cylinders. He set career highs with his .392 batting average, 17 doubles, five triples, 21 home runs, 70 RBI, 61 runs, and even his six stolen bases. More importantly, he has been a consistent player all year long and has been the rock in the Tigers' lineup.
Why I am picking him to be the guy to hit four homers in one game, especially over Bryce Harper, is just a gut call...and also because it looks bad having a slideshow where six of the ten slides are Harper.
I think Morris will end up going late first or early supplemental and will work hard for whichever team tabs him.
The Most Likely To Hit for the Cycle
If there were no Bryce Harper, the player we would be occupying our time fantasizing (in a clean way) over is Josh Sale.
He doesn't have the proven track record in college ball that Cox, Morris or even Harper has, but he does have one of the highest ceilings of any player eligible this year.
Sale has gotten endorsements from just about every major draft publication as the best hitter, best power hitter, and best just about everything else.
He ranks as an above-average hitter, with well above-average power, and he can use that power to all fields to be the first player from the class of '10 to hit for the cycle.
Whichever team grabs Sale (pronounced Sally) will get a franchise-cornerstone corner outfielder.
The Most Likely Probable Top 10 Pick To Never Make It To the Majors
Do you have any idea how hard it is to make it to the Majors?
REALLY FREAKING HARD!! Toss in the fact that Manny Machado is a shortstop, and the odds get even tougher. Toss in the fact that not everyone is completely sold on whether or not he'll make consistent contact, and the odds plummet. And finally, add in the fact that Machado is considered a "five-tool" player, which often means decent at all five, spectacular at none, and I see a future in which Machado never makes it out of AA ball.
Granted, not many players in this, or any, draft have the complete tool-set that Machado does, and he's a sure-fire top four pick, but to me, there's just too many obstacles in the way for Machado to even make it to the Majors, much less star there.
That said, I hope my Orioles take Machado, and he solidifies SS for the next decade.
The Most Likely To Become a Hall-of-Famer
I know conventional wisdom says take Harper here, but I'm going out on a super limb...and taking Christian Colon to be the most likely to make the Hall of Fame. It's ridiculous I know, and this is some super projecting, but I like everything about Colon.
I like how he gets on base, hits for high average (.347), and works a count and takes walks (30:16 BB to K ratio). I like what he does once he's on base (12 steals this year, average of 13 per year). I like that he's showing some pop in his bat (14 home runs), and I like that he can drive in runs (58 RBI) and score them (62 runs scored).
I like that he plays solid defense, and while he may have to eventually move off shortstop, I can very easily envision him having a career very similar to Brian Roberts'. If Roberts can rebound from injury and string together a couple more Brian Roberts-caliber seasons (.300+ with 50+ doubles), he could be a borderline HOFer.
Most of all, I like that he's widely known as having some of the best baseball instincts in this draft.
Colon should move quickly through whatever organization takes him, and could be a decade-long fixture at shortstop or second base.