The first round (including supplementals) of the 2010 MLB Draft is in the books. There were a few surprises (at least based on the mock drafts I saw), with Cal State Fullerton SS Christian Colon (4th Royals) and Texas RHP Barrett Loux (6th Diamonbacks), going higher than projected. Middle Tennessee State outfielder Bryce Brentz, The Citadel’s RHP Ascher Wojciechowski and LSU’s RHP Anthony Ranaudo going lower than expected.
I’m not sure that I consider Loux or Ranaudo surprises, though. Loux pitched awfully well this year for a top college program playing top competition, and Ranaudo had elbow problems and a terrible season, following his great sophomore season last year.
Here are my thoughts.
I don’t know that I’m sold on Gary Brown (24th pick). He’s projected to be a professional outfielder, and he looks an awful lot like something the Giants have already in Nate Schierholtz.
Brown can clearly hit, hitting .438 this year, after hitting .340 in 2009. However, he doesn’t have a whole lot of power and he doesn’t walk much. He had a 1.180 OPS in 2010, which looks good, but really isn’t great for a college player selected in the first round. His OPS numbers his freshman and sophomore years were .800 and .897.
Brown can definitely hit, and he played for a good college program that plays good college competition. However, I like guys that can get on base, and that doesn’t seem to be Brown’s best suit.
Michael Choice (10th pick) looks like the kind of player the A’s would draft. He hits for power (16 HRs in 2010), walks a lot (76 times) and strikes out a lot (54 times in 196 ABs).
Choice makes me think of a young Jack Cust or Matt Stairs: a player looking for a pitch to drive and not swinging at much else. His high strikeout total, which projects to 152 K’s in 550 ABs, is my major cause for concern. A guy who strikes out that much in college, which is probably roughly equivalent to Choice starting at A+ ball in 2011, is a concern, particularly when he reaches AA ball.
Alex Wimmers (21st pick) isn’t a surprise for the Twins either. He’s a college pitcher who played for a Mid-West university. The Twins have had a lot of luck with these guys, and they haven’t changed their formula.
Wimmers is a good pick for the Twins aside from the reasons mentioned, and he looks a lot like the guy the Twins took last year with the 22nd pick of the ’09 Draft, Kyle Gibson. Like Gibson, Wimmers is coming off an injury. Wimmers went 9-0 this year with a 1.60 ERA and a line of 73 IP, 58 hits,0 HRs and 23 walks allowed and 86 Ks.
Wimmers season ended early due to a hamstring injury, which is better than an arm injury. Kyle Gibson’s 2009 ended with a forearm stress fracture, which is better than an elbow or shoulder injury. This year so far, Gibson has a 2.27 ERA with a line of 75.1 IP, 60 hits, two HR's, 20 walks and 67 Ks, after seven starts at A+ and five starts at AA.
Needless to say, Gibson pitched better at A+ ball, but his ERA so far at AA is still an excellent 2.81.
Clearly, the Twins are making decisions based on their past experiences, and in this case (and the case of Gibson) the strategy makes a lot of sense. They are taking top college pitchers whose stock has fallen on draft day due to injuries, not involving their elbows or shoulders. This is a good way to get top 15 upside when your first pick is not in the top twenty.
For what it’s worth, Wimmers recorded 273 Ks in 217.2 college innings pitched. He only really found his control this last season, for a player his age that’s certainly soon enough.
The player with the most upside of the three I’ve discussed is probably Michael Choice. However, when taking into consideration the draft slots, I think I like the Twins’ decision to take Alex Wimmers with the 21st pick as the best decision of the three.