I hope you all enjoyed my picks for the top 10 draft slots in the 2011 MLB Draft, which can be found here.
And if you're still finding yourself slightly less-than-adequately informed about the top talent heading into draft season, feel free to check out my primer on the top talent available here.
And for those of you following along with my scouting reports over at ProDraftCentral.com, we appreciate your support and comments. We've gotten some good debates going and attracted a little bit of relevant attention in the form of presumed No. 1 pick Anthony Rendon's aunt. Her comment can be found here.
Now, it's time to move on to more serious matters, as in part deux of my 2011 MLB Mock Draft, version 5.0. The top 10 is set, and now, it's time to move on to picks 11-20. This area is pretty much a shoo-in to have someone drafted and not signed come the August deadline. It's happened two of the past three years. Keep that in mind when rifling through my picks.
So let's have at it...picks 11-20, headlined by one of the most impressive athletes to hit the draft in the past decade.
There are very few things Bubba Starling can't do.
He's a three-sport athlete with serious college potential in all three. He's already accepted a scholarship to play football (quarterback) at the University of Nebraska, where he'll also star for the Cornhuskers baseball squad. And he'd probably walk-on for the hoops team if the coaches would let him.
It's no wonder he's drawn comparisons to fellow three-sport star Carl Crawford, who received scholarship offers from three different schools in three different sports. Like Crawford, it is most likely on the diamond, where ESPN's baseball guru Keith Law calls him an "obnoxiously talented baseball player," that Starling's brightest future lies.
The 6'5", 200-pound Starling could be intriguing to some teams for his on-the-mound potential, where he throws in the low 90s, but he has true five-tool talent as a position player (outfield), which will make him hard to pass up in the first-round.
Coaches, both his and opposing, call him the fastest player they've ever seen. He's been clocked in the 4.36 range in the 40-yard dash and is graded as a plus-plus runner. And that might not even be his best tool. He has out-of-this-world power and can mash with the best of this high school class.
And of course, his arm strength grades out as top notch. His high school football coach once tested his arm by having Starling throw a pass from his knees, expecting him to be able to heave it about 30 or so yards. Sterling blew everyone away and launched the ball an incredible 55 yards.
While his bat speed is ridiculous, his hitting ability still needs some work, and his swing could use some cleaning up, but Starling has all the potential to be a Crawford-like impact player at the plate as well, only with the chance for 10-15 homers more than the former Ray outfielder. Some scouts feel he has Josh Hamilton potential.
That doesn't sound like a guy you let get out of the top 10. In most drafts anyways. This year's draft isn't most years, with greater depth than just about any other in the past 15 years, which means Starling slips slightly out of the top 10 and into the laps of the Houston Astros, who like most teams have begun to place more emphasis on stockpiling as many athletes as they can in the draft. Their farm system is one of the weakest in all of baseball, and adding a top-flight player like Starling would give them a solid pairing to 2010 first-rounder Delino DeShields Jr.
It would also give the Astros, quite possibly, the two fastest players in the minor leagues.
Starling won't come cheap, and if the Astros, who usually stick to the MLB suggested bonus, can't ink him, he'll most likely take up football full-time.
Everyone agrees that Dylan is much better of a draft prospect than his older brother.
That might not usually mean much, especially in a draft where more relatives are drafted out of compassion and loyalty than any other, but with the Bundys, it's pretty darn impressive.
Dylan's sibling Robert was an eighth-round pick in 2008 of the Orioles and was touted as a first-round pick before injuring his knee prior to his senior year of high school.
The younger Bundy is now a promising pitcher in his own right, a two-time Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year winner and primed to seize a spot in the first round, thanks to a smooth and easy delivery that produces low-to-mid 90s heat. He complements the pitch with one of the draft's best high school curveballs. He's also been working over the offseason to improve his changeup. If he could bring it along, that would give him three potential above average pitches, making him hard to turn down in the top half of the first-round.
His control is pretty average, but he still has some room to grow left on his 6'1", 200-pound frame, and as he continues to fill out, he should gain more control over his body, improving his own control. He's already a day one talent, thanks to his incredible work ethic. He's going to be a beast on the mound and easily a guy who could go on short rest.
The Brewers tabbed and then missed out on another high school pitcher in 2010, Dylan Covey, who chose to attend college when he and the team discovered he had Type 1 Diabetes, just before the signing deadline.
With two of the top-15 picks, you know they'll do their homework a little bit sooner this year, which means they'll probably steer away from the safer college picks and go for a higher risk, higher upside high schooler.
Bundy would be a perfect fit for an organization that is now severely lacking in top-notch pitching talent, thanks to the Zack Greinke trade.
It looks like the Jose Reyes era may finally be coming to an end in New York.
The Mets may be hard-pressed to find an adequate replacement for Reyes short-term, but the 2011 draft holds a great wealth of talented shortstop prospects. Edison High School's Christian Lopes is the best of them all, and if he's still available when the Mets pick at No. 13, he should be high on their list.
Lopes is also the most well-rounded prep shortstop in this year's class. He has at least average tools all across the board, but it's his bat that sets him apart. He has arguably the most polished bat in the entire high school class. He has great bat speed and is a spray hitter, not in the traditional sense that he'll be mostly a singles guy, but rather that he can spray the ball hard all over the field. Lopes is a guy who should rack up doubles like Craig Biggio. He also has the potential for slightly above average power.
In the field, Lopes has really stepped up his game. Once upon a time, it looked like he was well on his way to third base, where the Mets will inevitably have to shift uber-prospect Wilmer Flores. Over the past year and a half, though, he's put in a ton of work, smoothing out his movements and improving his footwork to the point he now looks like he can stay at short long-term. He already has the cannon arm for the position.
Several scouts have compared him favorably to 2010 first-round pick Christian Colon, though at least a few feel that Lopes has the potential to be slightly better.
Everyone who has seen Lopes play comes away convinced this is one serious, professional dude. He has a very serious attitude once he steps onto the field and doesn't seem to be fazed by all the recognition and attention, which should only increase this season, as he'll receive just about as much spotlight as any other high-school prospect.
Sounds like good preparation for the Big Apple to me.
The Marlins love them some high school pitchers.
It seems like it's been forever since the Fish have taken something other than a high schooler with their first pick and more often than not that guy has usually been a pitcher.
With the wealth of prep pitchers available, and despite picking at No. 14, the Marlins could stand to pick up one of the top high schoolers available in Edison High School left-hander Henry Owens.
At 6'7", and 190 pounds, Owens is arguably the top prep lefty in the 2011 draft class. He clearly has the size, and he's upped his velocity considerably over the past few years, and his fastball which sits in the low 90s still has plenty of room for projection.
To complement his heat, Owens throws a curveball, which has action more similar to a slider, and he also has a pretty decent changeup. His arsenal of pitches has been more than enough to dominate high-school hitters. As a sophomore, Owens posted a 10-1 record and a 0.98 ERA. Last year, he struck out 127 batters in only 87.2 innings of work. His final start of the season came in the state championship game, where despite pitching a complete game and striking out 12, he still lost to 2010 supplemental first-rounder Peter Tago.
Owens is the consummate professional on the mound. He works real slow and real methodically, knowing that most high schoolers tend to try to overthrow to blow away hitters. His one weakness is that he has been plagued by control issues. He walked way too many batters as a junior and could really improve his stock by focusing on improving control of his fastball.
As a teammate of fellow potential first-rounder Christian Lopes, Owens will get plenty of attention heading into draft season, and all the added focus could make or break his senior campaign and his draft status.
The Brewers are hurting for top-notch talent bad.
After their failure to sign their top pick last year and trades for Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke, their farm system is easily the worst in the major leagues. So it only makes sense they throw away any preconceived notions and target the best players available, no matter how expensive. This may be, after all, the last draft where teams will be able to throw as much money as they can at players.
After picking up one of the top high school pitching prospects with pick No. 11, the Brewers would be wise to go back to that well and tab another high-ceiling guy who could end up as a top-10 pick come draft day—Dillon Howard.
Howard has arguably the best velocity of any prep pitcher. He regularly tosses in the mid 90s and has hit 97 on occasion. His slider is very good and grades out as a potential plus pitch in the pros. His changeup has improved dramatically, but the only thing that is going to help improve it is pro teaching and experience.
Howard has a pretty smooth delivery and clean mechanics so injury concerns should be at a minimum, something you know the Brewers are going to scrutinize each pick for after being burned last year by a Diabetes diagnosis.
Howard is committed to Arkansas.
If you're looking for the best pure hitter from the 2011 high-school crop, look no further than Tennessee prep-star Nicky Delmonico.
His sweet lefty swing and his advanced knowledge of the game are going to make him a day-one pick, without question. He's an amazingly disciplined hitter, with very few holes in said swing.
After leading his high school team to a state championship in 2009, he took Farragut HS back there in 2010 and crushed a two-run walk-off homer to win the state title, more than making up for his late-inning error that allowed his opponent to tie the game.
He also happens to be one heck of an athlete.
He has played first-base, dabbled at shortstop (it was there that he made the potential game-losing error in the state championship game), but he profiles as a catcher at the professional level. His frame and athleticism suggest he may be a Buster Posey type.
Which would fit right in line with the family trade. His older brothers are both catchers, Tony in the Dodgers system and Joey at the University of Georgia.
And if Nicky isn't going to attend Georgia, then it would only make sense for him to get snatched up by the Dodgers who have been on a steady diet of pitching for the past few years.
Delmonico would represent a change in draft thinking and a welcome one for a system that has seen many of their best hitters graduate or get traded, leaving only a surplus of pitching prospects.
You know Dillon Maples is talented based on the fact that he's headed to UNC to play college ball.
That is, if the inevitable millions that await him are not enough for his liking.
Maples is one of the top high school arms in the country and has been on scouts radars for a few years now.
A 6'3" right-hander, Maples can crank it up to the mid-90s and has an excellent breaking ball. His curveball has been the talk of numerous Perfect Game events and should have scouts drooling by next June.
His throwing motion doesn't have too many kinks and is one of the simplest of any of the top arms in the draft.
Right now, he only weighs in at about 193 pounds, but he should add on some weight to get him in the 200-210 range, which will pay off in the long run, giving him more durability.
He could also stand to add a tick or two to his fastball, which has jumped from the mid-80s to the mid-90s in only a year and a half.
The Angels usually tend to stick to California fair when they're looking at pitchers, but Maples may just be too good of a prospect to pass up.
You might think Dante Bichette Jr. is a wee bit too arrogant when he openly discusses how he's pretty sure he could hit .700 against opposing pitchers. But as soon as you take into account how much work he puts in (up to five or six hours a day in the cages) and how good he is now (.597 with nine homers and 37 RBI in 102 plate appearances), it's clear that Bichette Jr. is going to a a first-day pick.
The son of former All-Star Dante Bichette, and a one-time star of the Little League World Series, Bichette Jr. has grown up to be quite a power hitter in his own right. He is easily one of the best prospects in the draft when it comes to raw power. The kid hits moonshots.
But in addition to his ridiculous power, he's also a very good hitter. He is incredibly patient for a high schooler, and shows a great eye, a very smooth swing, and an impressive hitting ability.
Bichette is committed to the University of Georgia, but I would have to say that there's probably a 10 percent chance of him actually setting foot on campus, now with the cash that will be floated in front of him and his proud papa.
The A's have placed quite a premium on selecting great hitters in the past few drafts, and since Bichette Jr. is probably the best available, he would be a great pickup.
Wood's been everywhere, man.
In less than three years, he has pitched for the Florida State Seminoles (2009), the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League (2010), and St. Petersburg College (2010). He's been drafted twice, once out of high school by the Astros in the 36th round (2008) and once last year by the Rays in the fourth round.
And this year, he's on to his fourth team, the USC Trojans, who scooped him up from SPC after a stellar year in which he went 3-4 with 42 strikeouts in 43 innings. Wood split time between the rotation and the bullpen, where he flourished.
More important than any statistics is the fact that he was regularly clocked at 97 mph.
Wood then tried to hone his craft in the Cape Cod League, where he hardly faced any challenges. In seven games (six starts), he went 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 36.1 innings. His low ERA is even more impressive when you take into account he walked 19 batters. He was so stingy with the base hits though, allowing only 18 in his time at the Cape.
Because he's a junior college transfer, Wood will be eligible for the 2011 draft as well, and he should figure to go higher, and certainly no lower, than his fourth-round standing from last year.
The Sox showed in 2010 that they're all in when it comes to the draft. They shelled out big bonuses for Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman and Garin Gecchini. Look for them to do the same in 2011.
Taylor Jungmann is often the forgotten man when discussing the top college pitchers available in the 2011 MLB Draft, and that simply shouldn’t be the case.
In fact, Jungmann flying under the radar when he’s put together a 19-6 record in two years at Texas is only a tribute to how much depth this year’s draft is going to have.
Jungmann has put together back-to-back dominating seasons. In 2009, he went 11-3 as a freshman with a 2.00 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 94 innings. And in 2010, he one-upped himself, going 8-3 with a 2.02 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 123 innings.
Jungmann was crucial during Texas’ 2009 run to the CWS championship series, where the Longhorns eventually lost to LSU. For his part, he pitched in four games, including one start, and in that appearance he pitched a complete game. He was 3-0 with a 0.59 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 15.1 innings for the Longhorns in the CWS.
On the mound, the 6'6", 200-pound Jungmann tops out at 96-97-mph with his fastball. He complements that above-average pitch with a decent slider that has the potential to be above-average and an ever-improving changeup that he’ll have to focus on throwing more in 2011. He also mixes in a curveball which looks like it could have some potential if he threw it more.
One of Jungmann’s biggest issues are with his unorthodox mechanics which have caused many experts to think that he may be one of the most likely draft prospects to be a bust as a pro. There are also concerns about his ability to command his fastball at the next level.
Regardless, Jungmann will be the ace of the 2011 Longhorns squad and will get the chance to pit himself against the nation’s best pitchers weekend after weekend, and if he continues to improve his secondary pitches and shows the same level of dominance in 2011, he could wind up as a top-10 pick, despite his less-than-perfect mechanics.
The Rockies would be lucky to get him at No. 20.
So there you have it, picks 11-20 are a wrap. Join us next time for picks 21-33, rounding out the last of the first round.
Here's how the top 20 looks so far.
1) PIT- Anthony Rendon, 3B
2) SEA- Matt Purke, LHP
3) ARI- Sonny Gray, RHP
4) BAL- Gerrit Cole, RHP
5) KC- George Springer, OF
6) WAS- Tyler Beede, RHP
7) ARI- Matt Barnes, RHP
8) CLE- Jackie Bradley Jr., OF
9) CHC- Daniel Norris, LHP
10) SD- Archie Bradley, RHP
11) HOU- Bubba Starling, OF
12) MIL- Dylan Bundy, RHP
13) NYM- Christian Lopes, SS
14) FLA- Henry Owens, LHP
15) MIL- Dillon Howard, RHP
16) LAD- Nicky Delmonico, C
17) LAA- Dillon Maples, RHP
18) OAK- Dante Bichette Jr., 3B/OF
19) BOS- Austin Wood, RHP
20) COL- Taylor Jungmann, RHP
And here's the order for picks 21-33:
21) Toronto Blue Jays
22) St. Louis Cardinals
23) Washington Nationals (from CHW for Adam Dunn)
24) Tampa Bay Rays (from BOS for Carl Crawford)
25) San Diego Padres
26) Boston Red Sox (from TEX for Adrian Beltre)
27) Cincinnati Reds
28) Atlanta Braves
29) San Francisco Giants
30) Minnesota Twins
31) Tampa Bay Rays (from NYY for Rafael Soriano)
32) Tampa Bay Rays
33) Texas Rangers (from PHI for Cliff Lee)