2009 MLB Mock Draft: Picks 1-10

Austin DrakeSenior Analyst IJune 5, 2009

1. Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, RHP

     San Diego State University

     Height: 6-5     Weight: 220      Age: 20           Bats: R           Throws: R

Washington’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Aaron Crow, P, 2007- Ross Detwiler, P, 2006- Chris Marrero, 3B, Colten Williams, P, Bryan Morris, P, 2005- Ryan Zimmermann, 3B


Fastball – Speed: Mid-High 90s, can reach triple digits

                 Command: Has better control then command, can leave some pitches high

                 Movement: Normally a true pitch, not much direction change at all.

Grade: A+

Slider - Speed: Low-Mid 80s

             Command: Excellent command over this pitch

             Movement: Almost a slurve or at sometimes a 12-6 curve, tight spin.
Grade: A-

Changeup – Speed: Low 80s

                     Command: Not as good of command as the slider, but still solid

                     Movement: Under-developed, not needed necessarily
Grade: C+

Stephen Strasburg is the consensus top pick in this year’s draft and has been for awhile now. The hype surrounding this college junior is amazing.

A dominating fastball mixed in with an excellent power “slurve” makes Strasburg nearly unhittable. Coaches all praise Stephen and his work ethic to become a better pitcher and to work on his pitches. A pitch he needs help with his is changeup, as he rarely needs to use it in games, because of the success of his other two pitches.

This past summer, Strasburg pitched with the U.S.A. Olympic team and won a Bronze Medal in Beijing, China. He threw 11 innings of work and struck out 16 batters, while posting a 2.45 ERA against the world’s best.

So far in 2009, through 54.1 innings of work, he has 107 strikeouts, that’s nearly two strikeouts every three outs he pitches. Simply lights out!

2.   Seattle Mariners: Dustin Ackley, 1B/OF
North Carolina University
Height: 6-1     Weight: 184      Age: 21           Bats: L            Throws: R

Seattle’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Joshua Fields, P, 2007- Phillippe Aumont, P, 2006- Brandon Morrow, P, 2005- Jeff Clement, C


Hitting – Power: Much less than what you would expect from a first baseman

              Contact: Simply a pure hitter that can use all fields

              Approach: Great bat control and speed, best all-around hitter in the draft

Grade: A


Running - Speed: Deceptive speed for a guy who can play first

                 Base running: Maybe the best base runner in the country

                 Smarts: Uses his easy stride and surprises speed to swipe some bases
Grade: A

Fielding – Arm Strength: Recovering from Tommy John, it’s okay at the moment

                 Arm Accuracy: Doesn’t need this at First, but if he plays CF it’s pretty good

                 Glove: He’ll definitely catch the ball for you, but nothing flashy
Grade: C+


Undoubtedly the best college position player available in this year’s Rookie Draft. Dustin Ackley is recovery Elbow Ligament Replacement surgery (Tommy John) and is working on regaining some arm strength by draft day.

Calling him a pure hitter is the best way to put it. He consistently hits the ball to all fields and shows glimpses of power at times. Since his power is a little weak for a first basemen, he might move to center field to relieve some pressure from his bat.

Not only can he hit, he may be the best runner in America. You name me a first basemen that can consistently steal bases for you. Can you think of somebody? I didn’t think so. North Carolina didn’t pick this guy to play with them for no reason, you know.



3.  San Diego Padres: Aaron Crow, RHP
Forth Worth Cats
Height: 6-3     Weight: 195        Age: 23           Bats: R           Throws: R

San Diego’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Allan Dykstra, 1B, 2007- Nick Schmidt, P, 2006- Matt Antonelli, 3B, 2005- Cesar Carrillo, P


Fastball – Speed: Can reach mid-90s, normally will average low-90s

                 Command: When he just throws it’s good, when he aims, not so much

                 Movement: When this pitch is working, Crow gets some sinking action

Grade: B+

Slider - Speed: Mid 80s

             Command: Nearly mastered this pitch, it is his best offering

             Movement: An average slider movement, but with more bite
Grade: A-

Changeup – Speed: Low 80s

                     Command: Still struggles here and there, but has gotten better

                     Movement: After work it could pan out to be a great Major League pitch
Grade: B


Crow was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 2008 Rookie Draft, but walked away from the contract offer and decided to play a year in the American Association for the Fort Worth Cats as a relief pitcher.

Crow will be a hard selection to make for any team, because of his high contract demands, but his slider also makes him hard to pass up. His fastball has good movement and his changeup is coming along.

He graduated from the University of Missouri in 2008, but has played for Fort Worth since. The Padres need pitching, so Aaron Crow could be headed to Southern California pretty quick.



4.  Pittsburgh Pirates: Tanner Scheppers, RHP
Fresno State University
Height: 6-4     Weight: 200      Age: 22           Bats: R           Throws: R

Pittsburgh’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Pedro Alvarez, 3B, 2007- Daniel Moskos, P, 2006- Brad Lincoln, P, 2005- Andrew McCutchen, CF


Fastball – Speed: Mid-90s

                 Command: Solid control, won’t miss the plate often

                 Movement: Decent amount of tailing action, almost like a slight cutter

Grade: A-

Curveball - Speed: Low-80s

                  Command: A little hesitant to snap one off at times, his command shows that

                  Movement: More of a power curve, that has great upside potential
Grade: A-

Changeup – Speed: High-80s

                     Command: Average command, shows easy motion when throwing

                     Movement: Throws a little hard; he may need to take some off in the future
Grade: B


A kid who created a lot of buzz on the west coast last season at Fresno State, but had a shoulder injury last season that dropped him down on many draft boards. Scheppers is pitching well for the Independent League’s, St. Paul Saints, and if he continues, his stock will continue to rise.

Scheppers put on some weight to his already athletic physical domineer which makes him look visibily stronger. His fastball is electric thanks to great arm strength, and his power curve shows a lot of promise.

Tanner could go as high as this pick to the Pirates, but he could fall anywhere in the top 15 without a second thought.

5.  Baltimore Orioles: Tyler Matzek, LHP
Capistrano Valley High School
Height: 6-3     Weight: 185      Age: 18           Bats: L            Throws: L

Baltimore’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Brian Matusz, P, 2007- Matt Weiters, C, 2006- Bill Rowell, 3B, 2005- Brandon Snyder, C


Fastball – Speed: Low-90s from the windup, high-80s from the stretch

                 Command: Nearly pinpoint command

                 Movement: Moves in on righties

Grade: B+

Curveball - Speed: Mid-high 80s

                  Command: Drops command on purpose with this pitch to get batters chasing

                  Movement: Tight spin
Grade: A-


Slider - Speed: Low-Mid 80s

             Command: Not as good command as the fastball, but not bad

             Movement: Hard bite if he gets out in front it
Grade: B

Changeup – Speed: High 70s

                     Command: Still struggling and getting a feel for this pitch

                     Movement: He throws the change piece a bit weak, so no movement
Grade: C-


Tyler Matzek is the best high school pitcher in this year’s draft class, hands down. As a high school senior he has taken the baseball world by storm with his way above average repertoire.

He has four solid pitches, unlike most any other people entering the 2009 Rookie Draft. His fastball lives in the low-90s and from the left side, that’s dominant. Matzek has a curveball that he will get a little wild with, on purpose though, to get hitters chasing in the dirt.

He has the best command in all of the draft class, as he can place the ball anywhere, effortlessly. He has some risk, as does any pitcher out of high school, but he has the potential to be a No. 2 starter in the big leagues some day.



6.   San Francisco Giants: Donovan Tate, CF
Cartersville High School
Height: 6-3     Weight: 200     Age: 18           Bats: R           Throws: R

San Francisco’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Buster Posey, C, 2007- Madison Bumgarner, P, Tim Alderson, P, Wendel Fairley, CF, 2006- Tim Lincecum, P, 2005- No Selection


Hitting – Power: He has solid pop off his bat, could be an average HR hitter

              Contact: His bat speed lets him hit the ball wherever he wants

              Approach: He wants to take over the game with every at bat

Grade: A-


Running - Speed: Dead blazing speed

                 Base running: At this point in time, he’s okay on the paths

                 Smarts: May abuse his speed at times and make poor decisions
Grade: B-

Fielding – Arm Strength: A very solid arm from the outfield

                 Arm Accuracy: His range cuts down the need for this to be great

                 Glove: Above average
Grade: B+


Donovan Tate is the best all-around athlete in the draft this season, without a shadow of a doubt. He is the definition of a Five-Tool Athlete. At 18-years old, this may be the future of the Major Leagues.

Tate has simply blazing speed, he has been clocked in at 6.34 seconds in the 60-yard dash, that’s like running from home plate to second base. He has pop in his bat to all fields and can hit the gaps like no other high school hitter.

Not only can he hit, he can throw. Tate’s arm has been clocked at 95 MPH, so obviously, he has quite an arm from center field. He is represented by Scott Boras so expect a big signing bonus for him, but if he falls out of the top 15, he will play for North Carolina next season.


7.  Atlanta Braves: Shelby Miller, RHP
Brownwood High School
Height: 6-3     Weight: 195      Age: 18           Bats: R           Throws: R

Atlanta’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- No Selection, 2007- Jason Heyward, OF, 2006- Cody Johnson, 1B, 2005- Joey Devine, P


Fastball – Speed: Mid-high 90s

                 Command: Great command and control of this, smooth delivery

                 Movement: Average movement, it’s a heavy ball that gets on hitters fast

Grade: A

Curveball - Speed: Mid-70s

                  Command: Has trouble with inconsistently on this one

                  Movement: Two seam and four seam spin
Grade: B-


Miller bursted on the scene in 2008, his junior season, when he threw three consecutive no-hitters against his high school opponents. The hard throwing righty, is said to be a very “down to earth” player and isn’t a fan of all the attention he is getting.

He has just two pitches to speak of, a changeup is non-existent if he even has one. But, the speed of fastball will get most batters. It’s not only clocked in the upper-90s on a regular basis, it’s a “heavy” fastball that gets on hitters quick and almost pushes the bat back.

The Atlanta Braves did not make a selection in the 2008 First Round, so they are going to make extra sure that this is the guy for them. If Miller isn’t selected here, expect it to be Kyle Gibson.


8.  Cincinnati Reds: Grant Green, SS
University of Southern California
Height: 6-3     Weight: 180      Age: 22           Bats: R           Throws: R

Cincinnati’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Yonder Alonso, 1B, 2007- Devin Mesoraco, C, 2006- Drew Stubbs, OF, 2005- Jay Bruce, OF


Hitting – Power: Not much to speak of, unless he gets an inside fastball

              Contact: Needs to cut down the K’s, but has solid contact

              Approach: Has a great inside-out swing that is very beneficial

Grade: A-


Running - Speed: His acceleration is down, but when he gets going he can fly

                 Base running: Not very aggressive, likes to go one base at a time

                 Smarts: A very cautious runner
Grade: B+

Fielding – Arm Strength: Can make a solid throw from the shortstop hole to first base

                 Arm Accuracy: Accuracy comes second nature to this kid

                 Glove: He can make the hard plays, but the routine plays are tricky at times
Grade: B+


Grant Green has gone up and down the position player draft board, and was recently ranked higher then Dustin Ackley until his 2009 season. Green does have Five-Tool potential, most scouts say.

He has started for USC since his Freshman season and played in the Cape Cod league in his time off from college ball. For that league, he was named top prospect by Baseball America.

Green has had an inconsistent glove throughout his years at Southern California. The uncharacteristic errors have nipped him a few times, but he does have a very strong arm to make up for a lot of bobbles and misjudgments.


9.  Detroit Tigers: Jacob Turner, RHP
Westminster Christian High School
Height: 6-5     Weight: 210       Age: 18           Bats: R           Throws: R

Detroit’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Ryan Perry, P, 2007- Rick Porcello, P, 2006- Andrew Miller, P, 2005- Cameron Maybin


Fastball – Speed: Low-90s

                 Command: His command is normally there, other times, not so much

                 Movement: Minimal movement, high in the zone

Grade: B+


Slider - Speed: Mid 70s

             Command: Can miss high with this a lot, affects his pitch very much

             Movement: A normal slider movement, if down in the zone it can be dominant
Grade: A-

Changeup – Speed: High 70s

                     Command: Has average command over this, like most high schoolers

                     Movement: Near average movement
Grade: B


Jacob Turner measures in as one of the biggest pitchers in the draft, and that makes Detroit Tigers GM, Dave Dombrowski, drool, as that has been their forte of his first-rounders over the years. Turner’s big frame makes scouts think he could throw mid-90s consistently one day.

Because his fastball is a little slow, he turns to his slider down in the zone, since he misses with the heater up in the zone a lot. The changeup needs work and has very little movement.

He is committed to North Carolina for next season, and could probably use the college ball to ready his arm for professional ball. Turner needs to improve his velocity, he could definitely do that at N.C.


10. Washington Nationals: Alex White, RHP
North Carolina University
Height: 6-3     Weight: 200     Age: 20           Bats: R           Throws: R

Washington’s Recent First Round Selections: 2008- Aaron Crow, P, 2007- Ross Detwiler, P, 2006- Chris Marrero, 3B, Colten Williams, P, Bryan Morris, P, 2005- Ryan Zimmermann, 3B


          Fastball – Speed: High-80s – Low-90s

Command: Nothing to brag about, but this is his best commanded pitch

Movement: Tailing action

Grade: B-

Curveball - Speed: Low-80s

Command: Minimal command over the curve, just tries to get it over the plate

                  Movement: Average curveball ‘curve’
Grade: C+


Slider - Speed: Low-Mid 80s

             Command: Plus command

             Movement: Slips away from righties, most promising pitch from him
Grade: A-

Changeup – Speed: High 70s

                     Command: This needs work on this pitch

                     Movement: When he throws one, its average, at best
Grade: C

The only other pitcher to have four pitches to show in this draft is Alex White, a junior at North Carolina. White was named the 2008 ACC Player of the Year from his successes last season in the Baby Blue uniform.

White has the ideal pitcher’s body. He was a two sport athlete in high school, as he also dominated the hard wood for the basketball team.

His arsenal of pitches are fantastic. A fastball that can hit 94 MPH with a slider that has a ton of potential. The changeup does need to improve though, especially the movement. He struggled early on in the 2009 season until he shut down the University of Miami in mid-April, now he’s back on track.

Others to watch: Kyle Gibson, Zach Wheeler and Mychal Givens.


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