2011 MLB Draft Results: Picking the Winners and Losers from Day 1
The first round of the 2011 MLB Draft came with more than its share of surprises and with 60 picks officially in the books it's time to take a look at which teams aced the draft and which teams fell short.
Here's a look at five winners and five losers from the first day of action.
(Note: I included each player's draft spot along with their Baseball America ranking in parentheses).
Winners: Washington Nationals
The Nationals landed an embarrassment of riches in the draft, ending up with probably the best player for the third consecutive year. Rendon is a terrific hitter who projects to hit for both average and power, assuming those injury concerns aren't serious. He'll probably end up at first base with Ryan Zimmerman already at third, but the Nationals could have the best infield in baseball in a few years with Zimmerman, Rendon, Desmond and Espinosa, with Bryce Harper roaming the outfield.
Meyer is a 6'9" righty with some of the best raw stuff in the draft and a dangerous fastball-slider arsenal. Control issues could force him into a closer's role, but on upside alone he's a top five talent. Goodwin is an athletic outfielder with speed and a good bat with the potential for some power.
The Nationals may have to spend close to $10 million to lock up these three players, but assuming they all sign Washington will have an incredibly strong foundation for the future.
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice: 6 (1)
Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky: 23 (19)
Brian Goodwin, OF, Miami-Dade JC: 34 (44)
Winners: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox ended up with four of the top 40 picks in the draft and they absolutely took advantage of each selection, replenishing a farm system that had been depleted by the Adrian Gonzalez trade.
Barnes is one of the best college arms in the draft with an active fastball (93-97 mph) and a good curveball, two pitches which alone could make him a potential No. 1 or No. 2 starter. Getting him at No. 19 was a steal for the Red Sox.
Swihart, meanwhile, is generally regarded as the best catcher in the draft. He's already a pretty polished hitter and has the potential to hit for power from both sides. His receiving skills need work and he may ultimately end up as a corner outfielder, but the bat is good enough to get him to the big leagues. Sounds like Victor Martinez.
Owens is raw, but at 6'6" he projects as a potential front-line ace. Bradley is a top 15 talent who dropped to the supplemental round after a terrible year at South Carolina. He's a superb defender (he can reach triple digits on the gun) and he can hit to all fields.
Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut: 19 (13)
Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS, Rio Rancho, NM: 26 (17)
Henry Owens, LHP, Huntington Beach, CA: 36 (33)
Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF, South Carolina: 40 (34)
Winners: Tampa Bay Rays
It's easy to call the Rays winners with 10 of the top 60 picks, but to their credit they made some pretty great picks and more than made up for an offseason in which they lost several of their best players.
Guerrieri is the superstar of the draft and is one of the best prep arms in the draft, with a fastball that dials up to 97 mph and a plus curveball. He'll be a tough sign, but on talent alone this is a frontline starter.
Mahtook is another player who fell largely because of signability concerns. He has all the tools you look for in a centerfielder and should be roaming Tropicana Field within two or three years.
In the supplemental round the Rays loaded up on prep players with terrific upside, so even if some of them end up as busts the odds are that at least one will end up in the majors. It's unlikely Tampa Bay will sign everyone here, but Guerrieri and Mahtook alone could make this a terrific draft class.
Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS, Columbia, SC: 24 (10)
Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU: 31 (21)
Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas, NV: 32 (122)
Brandon Martin, SS, Santiago HS, Corona, CA: 38 (65)
Tyler Goeddel, 3B, St. Francis HS, Mountain View, CA: 41 (89)
Jeff Ames, RHP, Lower Columbia (WA) JC: 42 (119)
Blake Snell, LHP, Shorewood HS, Shoreline, WA: 52 (184)
Kes Carter, OF, Western Kentucky: 56 (51)
Grayson Garvin, LHP, Vanderbilt: 59 (56)
James Harris, OF, Oakland Technical HS, Oakland, CA: 60 (NA)
Winners: Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks traded Dan Haren to the Angels and Max Scherzer to the Tigers over the last few seasons and have been waiting to reload on starting pitchers. They finally got their chance in the draft, selecting two of the top arms available.
Bauer, not Cole, was actually the ace of the UCLA staff and is one of the most major-league-ready players in the draft. The Diamondbacks can be confident that they can slide Bauer into the rotation within a couple of years, making this a very safe pick.
The selection of Bradley is more intriguing because the No. 7 pick was unprotected and Bradley is considered a very tough sign. However, if he does sign the Diamondbacks will be getting a potential ace and a fearsome duo in Bauer and Bradley.
Chafin, meanwhile, is another promising pitcher who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, but could be a mid-rotation starter. Three starting pitchers in one draft? That's a pretty solid haul.
Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA: 3 (5)
Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS, OK: 7 (9)
Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent State: 43 (38)
Winners: Minnesota Twins
On the field there's not much more than can go wrong for the Twins. But fans can take solace in the fact that the scouting department is still doing a super job.
Michael might be the best pure shortstop in the draft and is a steal at the bottom of the first round. He's a terrific hitter from both sides of the plate and could be in the majors very quickly.
Harrison is one of the better pure hitters in the draft without a true position and Boyd is a big kid who projects as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. Each of these three players has a good chance at making it to the majors and it's not often you can say that.
Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina: 30 (22)
Travis Harrison, 3B, Tustin HS, CA: 50 (78)
Hudson Boyd, RHP, Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, FL: 55 (58)
Losers: New York Mets
Nimmo seems like a reach at No. 13, especially since he hasn't been playing against a high level of competition for very long. The upside is through the roof and Nimmo could easily end up as a five-tool corner outfielder, but the Mets aren't in a position to gamble with high selections. Anybody remember Fernando Martinez?
Then the Mets took Fulmer, a strong prep arm with an impressive breaking ball. However, he's expected to be a tough sign and there were better college pitchers available.
The Mets are still in serious financial trouble and it seems strange that they would take two players who are both expected to go over slot. It wouldn't be a shock to see neither of these two to sign, and even if they do their chances of becoming impact players are minimal.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, East HS, Cheyenne, WY: 13 (37)
Michael Fulmer, RHP, Deer Creek HS, Edmond, OK: 44 (45)
Losers: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are in a similar position to the Mets, except that they absolutely can't go over slot to sign a player.
That explains why they took Reed in the middle of the first round, even though he's a second round talent. The Stanford lefty has a good curveball and changeup, but not much else. He projects as a back-of-the-rotation type.
I'm not sure there were too many other options for the Dodgers here, but excuses don't justify a poor selection.
Chris Reed, LHP, Stanford: 16 (60)
Losers: San Francisco Giants
The Giants made probably the most questionable pick of the first round by taking Panik at No. 29, one spot ahead of the multi-talented Levi Micheal. Panik isn't an awful player and should hit for average in the big leagues, although he may have to move to second base because of a weak arm. Guess that Jose Reyes trade isn't happening.
Crick is a more defensible pick because he has a good fastball and promising secondary pitches. He may not be anything more than a mid-rotation starter and it'll take him a while to get there, but he represents solid value at No. 49.
Both Panik and Crick could be good players and the Giants have a history of drafting well, but it's hard to justify taking Panik over Michael and Crick over guys like Daniel Norris or Dillon Howard.
Joe Panik, SS, St. John’s: 29 (67)
Kyle Crick, RHP, Sherman HS, TX: 49 (47)
Losers: Texas Rangers
Matthews was a surprise pick at the end of the first round not so much because he's an average prospect, but more so because it's the Texas Rangers who drafted him.
He features good velocity, but he has a strong commitment to the University of Virginia and might easily end up as a reliever. There were definitely better options available here.
Cone is another reach. The toolsy outfielder looks like a stud, but he's yet to play like one on the field. He'll need to learn how to hit an off-speed pitch if he wants to ever play for the Rangers. Jackie Bradley or Dwight Smith would've been a stronger pick here.
Kevin Matthews, LHP, Richmond Hill HS, GA: 33 (105)
Zach Cone, OF, Georgia: 37 (86)
Losers: Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays were the other big players on the first day of the draft with five of the top 57 picks, but I'm not impressed with what they came away with.
Beede has great potential as a frontline starter, but he also has a strong commitment to Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt players are typically very hard to sign. There were much better pitchers still available, including Alex Meyer (No. 23), Taylor Guerrieri (No. 24) and Joe Ross (No. 25).
The remaining four selections are all guys with decent upside, but with serious flaws in their game. The only one of interest is Smith, the son of former Cubs outfielder Dwight Smith, Sr. Comer is also another Vanderbilt commit.
There's nothing wrong with taking high school players. However, with five picks the Blue Jays needed to come away with at least one guy who they could be confident will sign and make it to the majors. This is one of the deepest drafts in recent memory and it looks like the Blue Jays whiffed big time.
Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy, Groton, MA: 21 (35)
Jacob Anderson, OF, Chino HS, CA: 35 (157)
Joe Musgrove, RHP, Grossmont HS, El Cajon, CA: 45 (90)
Dwight Smith, OF, McIntosh HS, Peachtree City, GA: 53 (49)
Kevin Comer, RHP, Seneca HS, Tabernacle, NJ: 57 (102)