The 2011 MLB Draft is in the books. Now it's time to look back and see who were the winners and who were the losers.
While the players that were taken are still a ways from being MLB contributors, it is never too early to grade how a team fared with their selections. There certainly are a handful of teams who look to have made a killing on paper at least.
So here is a run down of the notable picks that each team made, as well as an overall draft grade based on what they did with their early round selections. I have also tried to give a sleeper for each team, generally someone who performed well at the college level but didn't grade out to be a high pick.
Five years from now, this will almost certainly look different, but here are each team's 2011 draft grades, one day after the draft is completed.
With the third and seventh picks in the draft, the Diamondbacks got their draft off to a roaring start. They took two of the top pitchers on the board in UCLA's Trevor Bauer and Broken Arrow High School's Archie Bradley.
Bauer—who has drawn comparisons to Tim Lincecum—should be one of the first players to reach the majors from this class. While Bradley is a big, strong kid who projects to be a front-line starter with three plus pitches. He could easily wind up being the best high school arm of the class.
After that, the Diamondbacks continued their emphasis on pitching, landing Kent State lefty Andrew Chafin and Coastal Carolina ace Anthony Meo. Both were great in college but both have questions surrounding them.
Chafin battled injuries, while Meo projects more as a reliever at the next level. Still, both players look like quality picks at No. 43 and No. 63 respectively.
As far as sleepers go, the team took TCU starter and Third Team All-American Kyle Winkler in the 10th round. He had tremendous success throughout his college career.
The Diamondbacks were clearly interested in stocking up on arms and they got two of the best in the draft as well as a number of solid ones in the rounds that followed.
Draft Grade: A
With their first round pick—No. 28 overall—the Braves took Florida State left hander Sean Gilmartin. He posted a 12-1 record with a 1.83 ERA this season. While he was projected as more of a sandwich round player, the Braves should be able to sign him at slot at least.
After that the Braves landed a pair of college infielders in SS Nick Ahmed from UConn and 3B Kyle Kubitza from Texas State. Both are solid, proven commodities who will add depth to the Braves organization.
However, the team's fourth round pick may be its most intriguing. Santa Clara University right hander J.R. Graham has a fastball that sits high-90s and can touch 100, as well as two serviceable off-speed pitches. Graham is a project but a project with tantalizing upside.
Looking to the later stages the team nabbed Vanderbilt closer Navery Moore in the 14th round. Ranked as the 113th prospect overall by Baseball America, Moore may have fallen due to Tommy John surgery in high school, but he projects to be a late-innings reliever and perhaps even a closer. At this point he looks to be a steal.
They also grabbed Coastal Carolina second baseman and Second Team All-American Tommy La Stella in the eighth round, 266th overall. He hit .391 BA, 11 HR, 63 RBI this season. Those numbers are hard to ignore that late in the draft.
Draft Grade: B-
With their first round pick, the Orioles landed the top high school arm on the board, and a player many believe has the upside to be the best player in this entire draft. Owasso High School right hander Dylan Bundy features a fastball that touches triple-digits. He adds two big league caliber breaking pitches, as well as a strong commitment to the University of Texas therefore it will take big money to sign Bundy, but the Orioles knew that going in.
After that, the team took Vanderbilt third baseman Jason Esposito at 64th overall. Esposito hit .362 BA, eight HR, 55 RBI this season. He profiles as an above average offensive third baseman who could be a starter at the next level. He is, however, a Boras client which is never good.
The Esposito selection was followed by a pair of college right handers in Mike Wright of East Carolian and Kyle Simon of Arizona, both of whom may have been reaches at their respective draft positions.
The team made up for that, however, with one of the steals of the draft, landing high school utility player Nick Delmonico in the sixth round.
Delmonico has been praised for his professional approach at the plate and has recently taken up catching. He has the athletic ability to make it work and if he can, his value as a left handed hitting catcher would make him a first round talent.
Draft Grade: B+
The Red Sox struck gold in the 2011 draft and it all started with their selection of UConn right hander Matt Barnes at 19th overall.
Viewed by many as a top 10 talent, Barnes fell to the Red Sox after a dominant senior season in which he posted a line of 11-4, 1.62 ERA, 111 Ks. He is one of the steals of Day One at 19th overall.
After that, the Red Sox used their financial freedom to land their catcher of the future in high schooler Blake Swihart at 26th overall. The consensus best backstop in the draft, Swihart projects to be a .300 BA, 20 HR guy at the big league level. While he will have to be lured away from his commitment to Texas; the Red Sox have the money to do entice him.
Still not finished, they then nabbed Henry Owens at 36th overall. One of the top high school arms in the draft, Owens has a four pitch repertoire and fantastic command. He is perhaps the most polished high school arm of the class.
With their final day one pick, the Red Sox took a chance on South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., once viewed as a sure-thing top 10 pick, they got him at 40th overall. After a dominant year last year, he slumped early this year before being shelved with a season-ending injury. Still, he could be a steal if he returns to form.
Throw in highly regarded prep outfielder Williams Jerez and Cal State Fullerton ace Noe Ramirez and the Red Sox draft is absolutely phenomenal.
Draft Grade: A+
After reaching for pitcher Hayden Simpson with their first round pick last season, the Cubs seemingly took the best available talent with their ninth overall selection, scooping up high school shortstop Javier Baez. A move to third base seems to be in the cards with Starlin Castro at shortstop, but his offensive tools have drawn comparisons to Hanley Ramirez. The organization is thin on position player talent.
That was followed by the selection of high school behemoth Dan Vogelbach. The 6'1", 250 pound first baseman was regarded as one of the top left handed power hitters in the draft. He hit 17 longballs and drove in 50 runs in just 32 games his senior season. He could be a bargain at 68th overall.
After taking Miami University outfielder Ezekiel DeVoss with their third selection, the team landed Louisville closer Tony Zych who recorded 13 saves and struck out a batter an inning this year. He was viewed by many as a sandwich round pick but fell to 129th overall.
The Cubs added some intriguing names later on, taking hockey legend Wayne Gretzky's son Trevor, a high school first baseman, in the seventh round. They then selected Shawon Dunston Jr., the son of the team's former shortstop, in the 11th round.
Draft Grade: C+
Without a pick in the first round, the White Sox made their first selection at 47th overall, taking JUCO outfielder Keenyn Walker. This is his third time being draft, after hitting .402 this season. He has speed to burn as he recorded 65 steals in 68 attempts as well. This marked the eighth straight season the White Sox took a college player with their first selection.
That was followed by the selection of California right hander Erik Johnson, who went 6-4 with a 2.91 ERA this past season. With a four-pitch repertoire, none of which are over-powering, Johnson projects as an innings eater and someone who could move quickly through the system.
The Sox went on to take pitchers with their next three picks as well, landing hard-throwing JUCO right hander Jeff Soptic, Kent Stat closer Kyle McMillan—a Third Team All-American—and Standford reliever Scott Snodgrass.
Late in the draft, the team snagged James Madison shortstop and Second Team All-American David Herbek in the 15th round, 471st overall. He batted an eye-popping .374 BA, 15 HR, 74 RBI and it will be interesting to see if those offensive skills carry over to the MLB.
Draft Grade: C-
Picking at the end of the first round for the first time in years, the Reds grabbed prep right hander Robert Stephenson. Stephenson was viewed as being somewhere between tier one and tier two as far as high school arms in the draft. With a mid-90s fastball, good breaking ball and developing curveball, Stephenson could be a front-line starter if given some time to develop.
With their second pick—84th overall—the Reds took Puerto Rican high school outfielder Gabriel Rosa. He has potential to be a very good power threat once he fills out his 6'4" frame. He is a bit of a project but there is no doubting his upside.
The Reds then made some noise in the college ranks as they drafted four players from major programs out of their next seven picks.
Rice closer Tony Cingrani (12 saves, 1.74 ERA), Louisville 2B Ryan Wright (.346 BA, 12 HR, 52 RBI), Kansas State reliever James Allen (17 saves, 1.35 ERA. Third Team All-American) and Texas starter Cole Green (7-3, 3.09 ERA) all add a good amount of talent and experience to their farm system. All four players could be ready to contribute in a few years.
Draft Grade: B
The Indians used their first pick—eighth overall—to take high school shortstop Francisco Lindor. Viewed as the best defensive shortstop in the class with developing offensive skills, Lindor will be given plenty of time to develop. He should have no problem reaching the majors on his defensive skills alone.
After that, they grabbed high school pitcher Dillon Howard with the 67th overall pick. Many viewed Howard as a first round talent. It is easy to see why with his mid-90s fastball that gets good sink, curveball and changeup.
The fact that he is a Scott Boras client may be why he fell. The Indians will almost certainly have to pay over slot for him but he should be well worth it.
In the fourth round, they chose First-Team All-American catcher Jake Lowery—128th overall—after he hit .357 BA, 22 HR, 83 RBI at James Madison. While it was not against the best competition those are gaudy numbers nonetheless. Slugging catchers are hard to come by also.
They then grabbed Stephen F. Austin outfielder Bryson Myles 188th overall after he hit .411 with a whopping 53 steals this past season.
As far as sleepers; the team grabbed what may end up being Lindor's double-play partner as Arizona State second baseman Zachary McPhee was picked up. After a .389 BA, nine HR, 64 RBI season and First-Team All-American honors last year, he took a step back this season, hitting just .276 BA, 1 HR, 25 RBI. He was certainly worth taking a chance on in the 13th round.
Draft Grade: A-
With their first pick—20th overall—the Rockies took Oregon ace Tyler Anderson who could be one of the most big league ready players in the draft. Anderson was dominant this season, with a 8-3, 2.17 ERA, 114 Ks in 107.2 innings pitched line, with a four pitch repertoire and a good feel for all of his stuff, Anderson will be on the fast track to the big leagues.
That selection was followed by a pair of well regarded, high-ceiling high school position players in SS Trevor Story—45th overall—and OF Carl Thomore—77th overall—and with some development they could both become impact players. A smart move to take a pair of upside guys after the safe pick of Anderson.
Then—with the 107th overall pick—the team took Bethune Cookman catcher Peter O'Brien. He is coming off a fantastic 2010 season when he hit .386 BA, 20 HR, 56 RBI and was named Third-Team All-American, and this year he hit .304 BA, 14 HR, 69 RBI. While his receiving skills are average at best, there is no questioning his offensive potential.
At 288th overall, they took Texas A&M ace Ross Stripling who was a Third Team All-American after going 12-2 with a 2.41 ERA, adding three saves as well.
Going deeper into the draft, the Rockies nabbed Florida first baseman Preston Tucker with the 498th overall pick. He hit .319 BA, 13 HR, 65 RBI this season, and many thought he could be an early second day pick. He was certainly good value here in the 16th round.
Draft Grade: B+
Without a Day One pick, the Tigers made their first selection at 76th overall, taking Arkansas catcher James McCann. He hit .306 BA, 6 HR, 38 RBI while establishing himself as one of the better defensive catchers in the nation.
With their next pick, 106th overall, they grabbed Vanderbilt first baseman Aaron Westlake who hit an impressive .349 BA, 14 HR, 48 RBI which was his third straight season with double-digit home runs.
Later on in the eighth round—257th overall—the Tigers selected Dallas Baptist University outfielder Jason Krizan who hit .419 BA, 10 HR, 81 RBI and earned First Team All-American honors.
Also of note, in the 12th round—377th overall—the team took Big Ten Player of the Year Jeff Holm from Michigan State. The outfielder hit .379 BA, 9 HR, 61 RBI to earn the conference's top honor.
Draft Grade: C
Selecting 14th overall in the first round, the Marlins chose high school right hander Jose Fernandez. At a solid build of 6'5", 235 pounds, he has a big-league body and throws 92-94 mph with his fastball including the ability to hit as high as 98 on the radar gun. Add in a plus curveball and a changeup and slider which means the Cuban native has a ton of potential.
With their next pick—72nd overall—the team took Washington State left hander Adam Conley who went 6-7 with a 3.50 ERA this season as the team's ace in what was a bit of a reach.
One late selection of note was Wichita State left hander Charlie Lowell who was taken—193rd overall—in the sixth round. He was a Third Team All-American after going 10-5 with a 1.75 ERA and striking out 124 batters in 103.1 innings. He could be a real bargain and has the stuff to be a big league contributor soon.
Draft Grade: B-
Holding the 11th pick in the draft, the Astros could have gone a number of directions, but decided to take the top collegiate outfielder on the board: UConn's George Springer. The Big East Player of the Year and a First Team All-American, Springer should develop a good amount of power as he develops. He projects to be an above average defensive outfielder. He should be the team's future left fielder and could be on the fast track in an organization short on position player talent.
The team then took high school right hander Adrian Houser with their next pick, a big 6'4" kid who should fill out into a solid front-line starter if he continues to develop. That was followed by Vanderbilt starter Jack Armstrong who missed much of 2011 with injuries. If he hadn't he would likely have been a first round pick. He could go back to school to boost his stock.
A few rounds later—160th overall—the team took Stony Brook right hander and Second Team All-American Nick Tropeano. He was fantastic this season, going 12-1 with a 1.84 ERA and had 119 strikeouts in 93 innings pitched.
With their late round picks, the Astros again stuck to the college ranks, taking a trio of Third Team All-Americans in Creighton starter Jonas Dufek (12-1, 2,08 ERA, 128 Ks), Kent State starter Kyle Hallock (10-4, 1.95 ERA, 88 Ks), and Oklahoma State first baseman Zach Johnson(.356 BA, 13 HR, 63 RBI)
Draft Grade: B
With the fifth overall pick in the draft, the Royals had the opportunity to draft Kansas high school legend Bubba Starling which they did despite the incredible signing risk. They pulled the trigger and will now begin to negotiate the most coveted two-sport star since Joe Mauer.
Starling signed on to play quarterback at Nebraska next season. He is a freakish athlete with a 4.3 40-yard dash and a rocket arm that projects to be substantial power. Now they just have to convince him that football is bad.
From there, the Royals stuck to their standard strategy of drafting high-upside high schoolers, taking catcher Cameron Gallagher—65th overall—then a pair of right handed arms in Bryan Brickhouse and Kyle Smith, followed by a shortstop in Patrick Leonard, before they made their first college player selection.
The Royals already have the deepest and most talented minor league system in baseball, and if they can land Starling, they will be one step closer to contention in the not too distant future.
Draft Grade: B+
With the 17th pick in the draft, and the Angels made the most of their only selection in the top 100, taking Utah first baseman C.J. Cron who was the top college slugger on the board.
Originally a catcher, it remains to be seen what Cron's position will be in the big leagues. He may be groomed as a DH in the Billy Butler mold. Either way, after hitting .431 BA, 20 HR, 81 RBI last year, and an equally impressive .434 BA, 15 HR, 59 RBI this season being named First Team All-American twice, the Angels will find a way to get his bat into the lineup.
From there, the team looked to the major college pitchers, taking Florida reliever Nick Maronde (1.66 ERA, 11.84 K/9) as well as USC teammates Austin Wood (5-7, 5.61 ERA) and Logan Odom (5-6, 3.96 ERA) among the next six selections.
Later on—495th overall—the Angels grabbed Southern first baseman Frazier Hall. A Third Team All-American, Hall hit .423 BA, 9 HR, 58 RBI and provides an experienced college bat that has had good success very late in the draft.
Draft Grade: B-
With the 16th overall pick, the Dodgers reached for Stanford reliever Chris Reed, who had nine saves and a 2.54 ERA. While he was a reliever in college, he has a solid three pitch arsenal and is viewed by many scouts as a starter down the line. As a junior, perhaps the Dodgers were using a high draft spot on him to assure he'd sign.
Their second pick—73rd overall—was spent on high school third baseman Alex Santana who has the size to fill out into a good power hitter, and should have the defense to stick at third base long-term.
The team took three of college baseball's top catchers later in the draft as they search for their backstop of the future, as NC State's Pratt Maynard (.323 BA, 5 HR, 41 RBI), Oklahoma's Tyler Ogle (.343 BA, 9 HR, 45 RBI), and Wichita State's Chris O'Brien (.410 BA, 10 HR, 70 RBI - Second Team All-American) were all selected.
Draft Grade: C
Drafting 12th overall, the Brewers had to sit back and see who would fall to them. I'm sure they were thrilled when that somebody became Texas ace Taylor Jungmann. With a record of 13-1 and a 1.39 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 129.1 innings, Jungmann may well have been college baseball's most dominant arm in 2011. He should move quickly through the system on his way to the Brewers' rotation.
With their second selection coming three picks later—15th overall—the Brewers stayed in the college ranks and took another top arm in Georgia Tech's Jed Bradley. With a devastating fastball-slider combination, Bradley will need to develop a third pitch. He is far from the most polished pitcher but he showed his potential as the top pitcher in the Cape Cod League last summer.
They followed those selections with two more pitchers in high schooler Jorge Lopez—70th overall—and Cal State Long Beach ace (4-10, 2.81 ERA)—100th overall.
They returned to the college ranks for their next pick, taking Cal Stat Fullerton utility player Nick Ramirez. The Third Team All-American hit .285 BA, 9 HR, 45 RBI as a first baseman and had 16 saves with a 1.12 ERA as the team's closer.
Draft Grade: A
With the 30th pick in the draft, the Twins took what most considered to be the top college shortstop in the draft in North Carolina's Levi Michael. He fell off a bit this season after hitting .346 BA, nine HR, 54 RBI last season, that dropped to just .297 BA, five HR, 48 RBI this year. Still, he is a true shortstop with offensive tools which is clearly a position of need for the Twins so the pick makes sense.
With two picks in the 50s following that, the Twins took a pair of high schoolers in third baseman Travis Harrison—50th overall—and right hander Hudson Boyd—55th overall—as they looked for upside players to bolster their minor league system.
Later—148th overall—they took California-Irvine ace and Second Team All-American Matt Summers. He put together a dazzling line of 11-2, 1.72 ERA, 96 Ks in 109.2 innings.
Then—298th overall—they took another All-American in Third Team selection Adam Bryant. The Troy University outfielder hit .337 BA, 11 HR, 66 RBI on the season.
The most talked about pick, however, may have been at 208th overall, when they took future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez's son, a high school center fielder.
Draft Grade: B
The first draft of the Sandy Alderson era started with the 13th overall selection. The Mets took high school outfielder Brandon Nimmo. He is an interesting case in that his Wyoming high school does not have a baseball team so scouting him has been tough. His smooth line-drive swing has drawn comparisons to Paul O'Neill and that was enough for the Mets to make their choice.
After taking a high school pitcher with their next selection—44th overall—the Mets then turned to the college ranks and took three straight big time college pitchers.
NC State's Cory Mazzoni (6-6, 3.30 ERA, 137 Ks), Baylor's Logan Verrett (7-5, 2.93 ERA, 96 Ks), and Cal State Fullerton's Tyler Pill (7-1, 2.28 ERA, 110 Ks) should help add a good amount of experienced pitching depth to the Mets minor league system.
Perhaps the most intriguing selection came very late—942nd overall—when the Mets took Third Team All-American Chad Zurcher. The Memphis outfielder is currently leading all of D-I with a .443 batting average, as the senior clearly knows how to hit the ball.
Draft Grade: B+
Without a first round pick, the Yankees made their first move of the draft at 51st overall, when they selected high school third baseman Dante Bichette Jr.
Clearly the bloodlines are there, as his father hit 274 career home runs playing mostly for the Rockies. He is one of the more promising high school position players in the entire draft. The Yankees got very good value here at 51st overall.
That pick was followed with the selection—88th overall—of Texas pitcher Sam Stafford. The Longhorns third starter behind Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green, Stafford put up a stellar line of 6-2, 1.57 ERA, 86 Ks in 74.1 innings. He is viewed as a better prospect than Green moving forward.
From there, the Yankees tried to hit on a high upside player, taking five straight high schoolers: three pitchers, a catcher and an outfielder. They are looking to the future trying to improve what is a depleted farm system.
Draft Grade: B
With one pick in the first 100, GM Billy Beane had to be thrilled when Vanderbilt ace Sonny Gray fell to him at 18th overall. Viewed by many as a top 10 pick, Gray went an impressive 11-3, 2.01 ERA, 115 Ks in 107.2 innings, and despite his 5'11" frame he throws gas and has a great slider with a developing changeup to complement his fastball. He should be a good starter for a long time once he reaches the majors.
The team then used their next four picks on small school position players as they try to catch lightening in a bottle with a small school diamond in the rough.
One pick of interest was Fresno State outfielder Dusty Robinson, a Third Team All-American who hit .308 BA, 16 HR, 60 RBI last season and was equally impressive this year at .310 BA, 16 HR, 55 RBI. He can hit, no doubt about it, and he helped Fresno State to a 40-16 record this season.
Draft Grade: C+
With their first pick—39th overall—the Phillies selected high school first baseman Larry Greene, one of the best power hitter of the entire class. At 6'0", 235 pounds Greene certainly looks the part of a slugger. The Phillies could have their heir to Ryan Howard in place if they can convince Greene to sign.
That was followed by another high school position player in shortstop Ramon Quinn—66th overall—but from there the story of the draft for the Phillies was college talent.
First, they took a pair of third baseman, a position of need, in Miami's Harold Martinez (.301 BA, 3 HR, 38 RBI) and Nebraska's Cody Asche (.327 BA, 12 HR, 56 RBI - Second Team All-American) as they try to find Placido Polanco's eventual replacement.
Joining them as top college player selections was Texas A&M Corpus Christi outfielder Matt Holland (.391 BA, 10 HR, 53 RBI 0 Third Team All-American), Evansville utility player Cody Fick (.406 BA, 9 HR, 71 RBI - 7-4, 2.36 ERA, 59 Ks - Second Team All-American), and Oklahoma ace Michael Rocha (10-3, 1.75 ERA, 82 Ks) as the Phillies added experienced players to their farm system who should be able to help out sooner rather than later.
Draft Grade: B+
With the first pick in the draft for the first time since 2002 when they selected uber-bust Bryan Bullington, the Pirates took UCLA ace Gerrit Cole. Despite a down year record wise, his strikeout numbers and ERA are still impressive and he has the best stuff of anyone available in this draft. He is a Boras client and will no doubt take until the last seconds to sign, but he could be the ace of the Pirates staff by 2014.
That was followed by the first pick of the second round—61st overall—and with arguably the top high school hitter in Josh Bell still on the board due to signability concerns, the Pirates jumped at the chance to grab a top 10 talent in the second round. The big switch-hitter with unlimited power potential seems to genuinely want to attend Texas. The Pirates may have to make him one of the draft's highest paid players if they hope to keep him.
On to the first pick of the third round, the Pirates again found themselves in a position to grab a player well below where he was expected to go. They snatched up Indiana outfielder Alex Dickerson. A First Team All-American last season when he hit .419 BA, 24 HR, 75 RBI, his numbers took a dive with the new bats but he still hit .367 BA, nine HR, 49 RBI and he is a first round talent who could be in the big leagues quick.
Beyond that, the Pirates grabbed a lot of players at slot and took chances on a number of high schoolers who likely won't sign. The fact of the matter is, they will have to pay their first three picks as though they had three first round picks and if they can sign all three the draft will be a huge success.
Draft Grade: A (assuming they sign all three guys)
With the 10th overall selection in the draft, the Padres dipped into the junior college ranks, taking the top JUCO player in infielder Cory Spangenberg. The Big South Freshman of the Year last year at VMI, he chose to transfer after disliking the military aspect of VMI. He dominated winning JUCO Player of the Year. He has the tools to hit over .300 consistently, but his power will determine if he stays at second base or is moved to third base or the outfield. Either way, he can flat out hit.
After Spangenberg, the Padres took a pair of top tier high school arms in Joe Ross—25th overall—and Michael Kelly—48th overall. Both are big, tall guys with impressive fastballs who profile as front of the rotation caliber pitchers once they fill out a bit more and continue to develop their breaking pitches.
The Padres then took a chance—82nd overall—on high school catcher Austin Hedges who was the consensus best defensive catcher in the draft. His stock fell when he came out and told teams he would not sign and planned to honor his commitment to UCLA. Still, the Padres will try to persuade him that going pro is his best option.
As for late round intrigue, the Padres took Georgia Tech starter Mark Pope (11-4, 1.74 ERA, 88 Ks - Second Team All-American)—173rd overall—and Fresno State ace Greg Gonzalez (11-1, 1.79 ERA, 124 Ks - First Team All-American)—473rd overall—in two fantastic, under the radar selections.
Draft Grade: A-
With their first selection—29th overall—the Giants reached to fill a need, selecting St. John's shortstop Joe Panik. With a .398 BA, 10 HR, 57 RBI line, to go with a .509 on-base percentage and .642 slugging percentage, he was not just the top offensive shortstop, but one of the top hitters in all of college baseball. While he may have been available later on for the Giants, they jumped on the player they wanted and that should be commended.
After taking high school pitcher Kyle Crick—49th overall—the team turned their attention to the college ranks starting with Oregon State catcher Andrew Susac. A broken hamate bone dropped his stock a bit, but he was once a top catching prospect out of high school, and after being named the Cape Cod League's number five prospect this past summer, the Giants took a chance on his potential with the 86th overall pick.
Next up was USC first baseman Ricky Oropesa, who was perhaps the top first base project on the board after C.J. Cron was taken. Oropesa has big time power potential, hitting 13 longballs his freshman year, and 20 his sophomore year, before being held to just seven this season due in part to the new bats. Still, his power is for real.
Late in the draft, they landed Susac's teammate, pitcher Josh Osich. In his first year back from Tommy John surgery, he went 6-4 with a 3.64 ERA and 79 Ks in 76.2 innings. He is a first round talent if he can return to pre-surgery form, and worth a risk at 207th overall.
Draft Grade: B+
With the second overall pick, many expected the Mariners to take Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, but instead they took Virginia ace Danny Hultzen. Hultzen had perhaps the best season of any college player. He went 11-3 with a 1.57 ERA while striking out a staggering 148 batters in just 103.1 innings as the ace of the nation's top team. He is as safe a pick as there was in the draft and should have no trouble joining Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda by 2014.
The Mariners next pick was not until 62nd overall, and they used it on First Team All-American shortstop Brad Miller. The Clemson product put up gaudy numbers, hitting .395 BA, 5 HR, 50 RBI, 21 SB while playing solid defense at shortstop. He looks to be a future big league starter.
Late in the draft, the team added a pair of Hultzen's teammates in catcher John Hicks (.339 BA, 7 HR, 54 RBI) and third baseman Steven Proscia (.341 BA, 8 HR, 58 RBI).
The team also took the versatile Bo Reeder out of East Tennessee State with the 1,083rd pick. A First Team All-American, Reeder hit .316 BA, 15 HR, 59 RBI and also served as the team's closer, logging 18 saves with a 1.95 ERA. Certainly an interesting pick.
Draft Grade: A-
With the 22nd pick in the draft, the Cardinals drafted Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong. A prototypical Tony LaRussa player who is a hard working gamer capable of playing multiple positions. Wong put up phenomenal numbers, hitting .378 BA, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 23 SB this season as he was the top college second baseman of the 2011 class. As long as last year's Cape Cod League MVP continues to hit he should be fast tracked to St. Louis.
With their second selection—79th overall—the Cardinals reached into the Cubs' backyard and took Chicago-land high school outfielder Charlie Tilson. He is extremely athletic and has tremendous speed, which is his greatest asset, but he is a solid contact hitter as well. He could be the Cardinals long-term answer in the lead-off spot.
A few rounds later—70th overall—the team took Oregon State ace Sam Gaviglio who went 12-2 with a 1.87 ERA and 113 Ks in 115.1 innings, earning him Second Team All-American honors. A solid value pick for a team that focused on position players in the early rounds.
Draft Grade: B+
With a record 12 picks in the first 100, the Rays added to what was already a good minor league system with a wealth of young talent. They started off with the selection of high school right hander Taylor Guerrieri. He has some of the best raw stuff in the entire draft, and with a fastball that sits mid-90s and tops out at 98, as well as a big league ready slider and a plus changeup, he has the stuff to develop into perhaps the best pitcher in this entire draft.
That pick was followed by the selection—31st overall—of LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook, as they got the best college outfielder on the board. A true five-tool talent, Mahtook is a gamer and has a great combination of speed and power that could make him a consistent 20-20 man at the big league level.
Of the next ten picks, six were high schoolers, and two were small school talents, but the Rays did nab two more top college arms before their bounty of early picks were spent.
Landing Vanderbilt lefty Grayson Garvin (13-1, 2.37 ERA, 89 Ks - Second Team All-American) and Hawaii closer Lenny Linsky (14 saves, 1.30 ERA - Third Team All-American) to round out their dozen early draft selections, added some experience to the draft class for the Rays.
Draft Grade: A (a lot will depend on the progress of the six high schoolers, however)
With the final pick of the first round, the Rangers went off the board a bit and took high school left hander Kevin Matthews. Generally when a player is described as an "athlete" you are talking about an outfielder or a middle infielder. However, Matthews falls into that category as well, as despite his 5-11 frame he can dunk a basketball. However, there are major signability concerns, which may be why the Rangers reached and made him a first round pick.
With their second pick, four selections later—37th overall—the Rangers took Georgia outfielder Zach Cone. Another guy who falls in the elite athlete category, his numbers were down from his 2010 season, but he has the full set of tools that scouts look at, and he could develop into a difference maker if he fulfills his potential.
With their final pick in the first 100, the team took big 6'6" Clemson left hander Will Lamb who spent the majority of this season as a center fielder, hitting .348 BA, 3 HR, 39 RBI, but is looked at as a pitcher by the Rangers after he threw 24.2 innings with a 5.11 ERA.
Late in the draft, the team tabbed a pair of Third Team All-Americans in Creighton outfielder Trever Adams (.387 BA, 14 HR, 57 RBI) and College of Charleston first baseman Matt Leeds (.345 BA, 18 HR, 80 RBI).
Draft Grade: C
Picking at 21st overall, the Blue Jays took high school right hander Tyler Beede in a surprise of sorts. Committed to play at Vanderbilt, Beede sent out a letter saying he would not sign last week. His impressive three pitch arsenal coupled with his great makeup were worth taking the risk for the Blue Jays.
That pick was followed by six more high school selections, but none was bigger than the 74th overall pick, when the Jays landed lefty Daniel Norris. Viewed by many as a sure-fire first rounder and arguably the best high school left hander in the draft, signability issues knocked Norris way down the board, and the Blue Jays were there to catch him, now they just need to sign him.
Sticking with their risk taking ways, the Jays then took another fallen first round talent—108th overall—nabbing Texas A&M ace John Stilson. Formerly a closer, Stilson took over as weekend starter this year and went 5-2 with a 1.68 ERA. However, when it was announced he needed surgery on a torn labrum, his draft stock plummetted.
Draft Grade: B+ (figuring they sign Norris), C+ (if they don't sign Norris)
Drafting out of the top slot for the first time in three years, the Nationals still wound up with who many considered to be the top talent on the board. Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon fell to them at sixth overall. Injury issues side tracked Rendon's season and he could be in for a position change with Ryan Zimmerman entrenched at third base. However the Nationals will find a way to use Rendon and his professional approach at the plate.
Keeping the surprises coming, Kentucky ace Alex Meyer was still on the board when the Nationals picked again at 23rd overall. A huge 6'9" right hander, Meyer finally began to realize his potential this past season, and while it remains to be seen if he will be a starter or a closer, he is an asset regardless.
The Nationals were far from done, however, as they then took JUCO outfielder Brian Goodwin with the first pick of the sandwich round, landing one of the better all-around athletes at the outfield position and someone with all the elite tool except for power.
With three top names already in their corner, the Nationals took a chance on perhaps the biggest name out there on Day Two: TCU starter Matt Purke. The consensus number one pick for the 2011 draft following last season, he has battled arm problems and lost velocity this season, but at 96th overall it is worth seeing if he can return to the form that made him the best pitcher in college baseball in 2010.
The Nationals also grabbed Bryce Harper's brother Bryan, a left handed pitcher from South Carolina who posted a 5.40 ERA in 22 relief appearances with the 907th pick. He can thank his brother for that one.
Draft Grade: A+