MLB Draft 2011 Prospects: Ranking the Best Available Players
I recently did a mock draft in which I detailed who I believed would go in the top 10 in addition to who their best major league comparison is. However, the best player available is not always selected.
Teams have different positional and organizational needs. Some players have college scholarships that make them more difficult to sign. Others require teams to go well above slot to serve them. With that being said, it is obvious that some very talented players need to wait a bit longer than they should need to until they get selected.
1) Gerrit Cole: RHP, UCLA
There is a lot of debate over who is actually the best player available in this year's draft. Going into this year, Cole would have likely been considered the second-best player eligible for this draft behind Anthony Rendon. However, Rendon's injury problems have allowed for Cole to become the best available player in the draft.
Cole is certainly an elite pitcher. He has demonstrated throughout the course of his three years in college that he has the ability to fool hitters. A plus fastball along with a plus curve and change make Cole an ace in the making.
2) Anthony Rendon: 3B, Rice
If it weren't for the questions about Rendon's durability, it is likely that he would be considered the best available prospect in the draft. However, Rendon still has the potential to be one of the elite third basemen in the majors.
In the past, Rendon has demonstrated that he has power. He set a Rice freshman record with 20 home runs and then followed it up with 26 in his sophomore campaign. Rendon also has speed and is an strong defender.
Photo Credit: Rice University
3) Danny Hultzen: LHP, Virginia
Hultzen's stock has been rising this year as he has been having an outstanding season. He could potentially be in line to be the number one pick if the Pirates prefer having a lefty over a righty.
Even as a freshman, Hultzen was the Cavaliers' No. 1 starter. He has certainly proved over the last three seasons that he deserved that spot in the rotation. Hultzen has done nothing but impress and is the top left-handed pitcher in the draft.
Photo Credit: University of Virginia
4) Bubba Starling: OF, Gardner-Edgerton HS (KS)
The Kansas resident is the best high school position player in the draft. Starling is not just a baseball star, but a football star as well. He has a football scholarship to the University of Nebraska which makes him potentially hard to sign.
Starling has five-plus tools. He could potentially develop into an elite outfielder. The potentially is definitely there for Starling to be at least a 20/20 player in the future.
Photo Credit: Pro Draft Central
5) Dylan Bundy: RHP, Oswasso HS (OK)
Bundy is far and a way the best high school pitcher in this year's draft. It could easily be argued that Bundy is the best high schooler in this year's draft, but Starling's potential to be an offensive threat and defensive star at a premium position just edges him out.
He has three plus to above-average pitches, and his fastball reaches 98 mph. He also features a curveball that comes in at 75 mph and has a strong bite to it.
Photo Credit: Perfect Game USA
6) Trevor Bauer: RHP, UCLA
Bauer is the second UCLA pitcher who should be selected in the top 10 of this year's draft. He has been gaining a lot of potential with his performance this year since he has better numbers than potential No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole.
Although he is just 6"1', 175 lbs. and features an unusual delivery, Bauer is still able to generate enough power to reach 97 mph with his fastball. His size an delivery have led to comparisons with another California pitcher: Tim Lincecum. While that is the best case scenario, Bauer should certainly be at least of top end of the rotation starter.
Photo Credit: UCLA
7) Francisco Lindor: SS, Monteverde Academy (FL)
Shortstop is an elite position in baseball, and it is one that is definitely hard for teams to fill. Lindor offers teams with a chance to fill that position. He has five-tool potential, and this should have teams chasing after him.
There are some concerns that Lindor might not sign with whoever drafts him which may cause him to fall a few spots in the draft. He has a scholarship to Florida State, which he may be inclined to take unless he gets an overslot contract.
Photo Credit: Pro Draft Central
8) Jed Bradley: LHP, Georgia Tech
Bradley has been considered as the second-best left-handed pitcher in the draft behind Danny Hultzen, but his stock has been hurt by some struggles this year. The one problem that with Bradley is that he does not have any plus pitches.
However, the reason that there is not a major issue is that Bradley has four pitches. He mixes in a slider, curveball and changeup to go along with his fastball. He should be a workhorse, and all of his pitches could potentially be at least league average.
Photo Credit: Perfect Game USA
9) Taylor Jungmann: RHP, Texas
Jungmann's 6'6", 220 lb. frame reminds many people of Mike Pelfrey. However, Jungmann should be a better pitcher for whoever drafts him than Pelfrey has been for the Mets. The University of Texas righthander has been one of the best pitchers in the NCAA.
There are just a few things turning teams away from Jungmann. For one, he has an unorthodox delivery which teams believe may lead to a future injury. While Jungmann did have elbow surgery in high school, he has outstanding stuff and should be a top-10 pick.
10) Sonny Gray: RHP, Vanderbilt
Gray is another pitcher in this year's draft that comes in at just under six feet. Pitchers such as Tim Lincecum have proven in recent years that size is not an issue for pitchers. Also, as with many other pitchers in this year's draft, Gray has a quirky delivery.
None of that matters for Gray, who has the potential to the ace of a rotation. He has a fastball with good motion in addition to a hard slider and a changeup that is a great third option. The one major knock on Gray has been his control. Gray has struggled with this at times, but when he is under control, he is an elite pitcher.
Photo Credit: University of Vanderbilt
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