MLB Draft 2011: Team-by-Team Updates on All the Latest Draft Talk
The draft is a little less than two full days away, and everybody is on their toes to see who goes number one overall, whether or not Kansas City pops local product Bubba Starling, and whether or not Josh Bell will be drafted in the first-round...or at all, after issuing a statement asking teams not to draft him.
We appear to have gotten a little clarification in the past few hours, with the report from CBS Sports that the Pirates appear to have settled on Gerrit Cole as their selection. That very well may be the case, and will now allow the Mariners to start talks with Anthony Rendon, but we've all see this type of thing before, including last year when the Royals supposedly had a pre-draft deal in place with Yasmani Grandal. They ended up taking Christian Colon instead.
So here's the latest scoop from around the web, including some recent mock draft news from both Baseball America and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
The D-Backs are still hot on the Danny Hultzen trail, despite his bonus demands of around $13 million.
Unfortunately, with the draft only one day away, most of the experts, including Baseball America, seem to think that the Virginia lefty will be off the board by the time Arizona picks at No. 3.
If that is the case, and Hultzen goes to either Pittsburgh or Seattle, the consensus seems to be Dylan Bundy. B.A. has them going with high-school phenom Dylan Bundy in their most recent mock draft, which can be found here.
Jim Callis also has the D-Backs in the mix for UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer, assuming Hultzen and Bundy go 1-2. Bauer pitches today in the NCAA regionals, and is looking to keep the Bruins' season alive with a victory.
As for Arizona's second pick, the word is that Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor are in play at No. 7, although obviously whoever they choose, they would prefer it if they were an easy guy to sign. Lindor came to Arizona for a workout last week, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Their second pick isn't protected and they'll receive no compensation if they don't sign their pick.
Arizona is also in on the rest of the college arms who could be available, including Sonny Gray, Matt Barnes and Taylor Jungmann, the latter of which is the preferred choice of MLB Network's host for the round-to-round coverage Greg Amsinger. His co-host, Harold Reynolds likes the D-Backs to go after Daniel Norris.
The Braves don't pick until late in the first-round (pick No. 28), making getting a read on them even tougher.
They have been linked to Cory Spangenberg in the past few weeks, but it's looking like San Diego might jump on him with either of their first round picks, both of which come before Atlanta's first.
The natural instinct is to pick the Braves to head in their usual direction, which is staying local. Georgia has some pretty decent draft prospects, but few that are considered first-round talent.
Heavy hitter Larry Greene is one, and Dwight Smith Jr. could be an intriguing option, especially considering the ties to the franchise with his father Smith Sr., who played in Atlanta during his eight-year MLB career.
B.A has attached a few names to Atlanta in the expanded version of their mock draft, putting Stanford's Chris Reed, Florida State's Sean Gilmartin, Oregon State's Josh Osich, Vanderbilt's Grayson Garvin or high-schoolers Daniel Norris and Henry Owens in the mix.
Keith Law over at ESPN also has them going after a high-schooler, in California prepster Joe Ross, brother of Oakland starting pitcher Tyson Ross.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo also continues that trend, sticking them with Tampa right-hander Jose Fernandez.
According to B.A., the Orioles have settled on Dylan Bundy as their choice. Woohoo!
Not only would it give the O's one of the highest-upside arms in the draft, but it would also reunite Dylan with his brother Robert, who is currently the staff ace of the O's High-A Frederick squad.
Any way you slice it, it seems as if the O's are definitely going to go the pitching route, and can you blame them? They have possibly the worst starting pitching depth in the minor leagues.
They have so little talent in their farm system that they had to take their top-ranked reliever (Wynn Pelzer) and turn him into a starter after the first few weeks of the season.
Assuming he's gone, and it's a very likely possibility, it's starting to look like UCLA duo Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer are the next likeliest candidates.
Boston Red Sox
Sox fans should be very happy with the direction that most, including myself, seem to see the team headed in with the first of their two first-round picks.
Despite his written statement to MLB requesting that teams not draft him, Josh Bell has seen his name receive tons of attention over the past few days.
Not only has this interesting move not affected his draft status, it's actually cemented the belief that the Red Sox will be the team to pounce on him at pick No. 19.
Mayo has them going with Blake Swihart, the top overall catcher who will likely command one of the larger bonuses in this draft, and you can't fault them if they go in that direction. They need a successor to Jason Varitek badly.
Still, if Bell is there, and you can offer him more than most other teams, why not take the chance?
B.A. seems to agree, making the point that Theo Epstein personally scouted Bell, and seems to have taken quite a fancy in him.
As for the team's second pick (No. 26), the consensus seems to be catcher, with Mayo stocking the Sox up with another backstop, Andrew Susac, and the experts over at B.A. landing Boston the draft's best defensive catcher, Austin Hedges.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are one of just a handful of teams that have no first-round pick.
Thank Adam Dunn for that.
That doesn't mean there's no scoop on which direction they might head. MLB.com's draft preview for the Sox seems to think they are likely to head in the direction of more pitching.
They stocked up on some high-upside arms last year, and could be in for more of the same.
But with their first pick coming at No. 47, there's no real feel for any solid choice.
The Cubs pick ninth this year and all the talk so far this draft season has been about two names: Archie Bradley and Bubba Starling.
Bradley has been rising up draft boards as of late, thanks to his state-title winning performance against Owasso HS. He also joined Bundy in the over-100 mph club, topping out at 101 mph in one of his final starts of the season.
He has that look of a front-line starter, something the Cubbies currently lack in their farm system. He would fill a great need for them, while also being the best available talent.
The other option is Starling, although the team would have to shell out a lot of dough to ink the two-sport star with a commitment to play football at Nebraska.
Starling was also scheduled to walk-on for the baseball program at UN, so the recent hire of Darin Erstad by AD Tom Osborne should also be taken into consideration. Erstad would be a great guy to model himself after.
The Cubs also made news this past week for working out Wayne Gretzky's son, Trevor, although he's nowhere near consideration for their first-round pick.
For the first time in a while the Reds don't pick until the bottom of the first-round, and while there is likely to be tons of talent available late, it has made sticking them with a player much more difficult.
Tyler Anderson, Andrew Chafin, Anthony Meo and Josh Osich seem to be the most likely candidates to still be around when they pick at No. 27, although the high-school outfielder crop seem to be getting a lot of attention, Brandon Nimmo especially.
Nimmo would fit their trend of taking very athletic, toolsy outfielders.
The team continues to reiterate that they'll be taking the best player available.
The Indians have made a killing the past two seasons by taking a college pitcher.
And while Alex White and Drew Pomeranz both look like stars, it looks like the Indians aren't content enough in their starting pitching depth to head in another direction.
Most mock drafts have them taking a college arm, with both B.A. and MLB.com sticking them with Georgia Tech lefty Jed Bradley, who will be on the mound tonight trying to extend the Yellow Jackets' season.
The Tribe's preference for college players has served them well, with White already making his big-league debut this season, Lonnie Chisenhall right behind him, and Pomeranz looking at a well-deserved promotion hopefully later this month.
There have also been some whispers that Cleveland might prefer the high-upside of Archie Bradley to any of the remaining college arms.
Cleveland's scouting director tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Indians are considering 8-10 different players with the pick.
I'm on board with the Rockies projected pick C.J. Cron, who I tabbed as their likely pick in my most recent mock draft.
The argument behind that pick is that the Rockies could use an heir-apparent to Todd Helton at first base, and while Nolan Arenado has been widely rumored to be that guy, he's seen action exclusively at third base this season.
Keith Law also sees the Rockies headed in that direction, sticking them with Cron in his most recent mock draft, but also sharing that he could see them being the first team to pop Kolten Wong at pick No. 20.
Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus is also a Cron believer.
Colorado has also been linked to five-tool outfielders George Springer and Mikie Mahtook.
Another intriguing option could be UNC's Levi Michael, who has the athleticism to handle any number of infield positions and even the outfield.
For the second straight year, the Tigers will be on the sidelines for the entire first-round.
The Tigers will have to wait until pick No. 73, meaning there is little talk about which direction they might head.
Last year they threw everyone a curveball and went for Nick Castellanos, and then shelled out a crap-load of money to sign him.
The Marlins are making a point to stress that need will not play into their decision when they pick at No. 14 in Monday's draft. Not even a little. Not even in the sense that they can try to find the best available player who also happens to fill a need.
"We don't use the Draft to fill our needs," said Jim Fleming, the Marlins' vice president of player development and scouting. "We take the best available players because our philosophy is, when you try to make the Draft mesh with your needs, you get in trouble."
As a result, there is no consensus of opinion about the Marlins pick. Baseball America sees them going after speedy infielder Cory Spangenberg, while Mayo has them seriously considering LSU's speedy outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Others have linked the Marlins to any number of high-school and college arms.
According to the Astros website, their main priority this year is going to be on picking up some power arms.
Both Baseball America (Taylor Jungmann) and Jonathan Mayo (Matt Barnes) seem to agree, and the Astros have widely been linked to Archie Bradley, but it's looking more and more unlikely that he's going to slip past the Cubs to where the Astros pick at No. 11.
Jungmann might make the most sense since he's is more polished than Barnes and he could reach the bigs a bit quicker. He also has the advantage of being the hometown favorite.
The word from B.A. is that the Astros have been all over Jed Bradley and Tyler Anderson, making them the first team to be linked to the latter. If Lindor somehow falls out of the top-ten, he could be a surprise pick as well.
As an added bonus, here's a great link to a superb story about the Astros trouble with the 11th-overall pick in year's past.
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City is the most fun to follow during draft season, because they're always picking near the top of the draft, and you know they're never going to take the financial aspects too seriously.
As a result they have the top farm system in baseball.
Bubba Starling seems to get all the love, because he's a local boy, but Francisco Lindor would also make a huge deal of sense, since shortstop is the lone weak spot in the Royals system.
Despite their up-the-middle needs, the top projected guys you're hearing in connection with Kansas City are all safe college pitchers. They seem to want somebody who can speed through the minors and reach the bigs by 2013, when most of their top prospects are supposed to be up for good.
B.A. has them taking Gerrit Cole, which is insane if you think about how he was the slam dunk No. 1 pick near the middle of the college season.
Mayo has them pulling the trigger on Starling, even though he'll take even more seasoning and won't be ripe by the time the 2013 season rolls around.
Trevor Bauer is another name heard a lot, and the feeling is that they'll take whichever UCLA pitcher is still on the board when they pick at No. 5.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have been one of the savviest teams in the draft over the past few seasons, getting great talent despite consistently picking near the bottom of the first-round.
As the team's draft preview on MLB.com points out, the Angels have a pretty good track record with high-school arms and have tended to lean in that direction the past few years.
That could make guys like Dillon Howard, Henry Owens and Robert Stephenson likely picks.
Baseball America has been projecting them to head in that direction for most of draft season, while Mayo has them strongly linked to Howard.
As B.A. reports, they've also been scouting Kolten Wong pretty heavily, and could be a surprise
Los Angeles Dodgers
Despite having limited financial resources, the Dodgers have been one of the hardest teams to peg with any given player.
Cheaper signings like Oregon's Tyler Anderson and Javier Baez seem to make a lot of sense, but then again, they could always go the route that everyone thought they were taking last year: pick a guy you know won't sign and pick up the compensation pick for next year's draft, when the team would presumably be in less of a state of transition.
According to B.A., they seem to be one of the few teams that is on Taylor Guerrieri really hard.
Mayo sees them taking Baez, one of the top bats in the draft.
The Brewers projections are all over the place, with no real set position or cost attached.
I've seen them linked to Francisco Lindor, Alex Meyer, Taylor Guerrieri, Sonny Gray, Matt Barnes and George Springer, just to name a few.
Baseball America likes them on Javier Baez, although they have a wealth of third baseman in their system, so unless they plan to try him at second, it seems like he's just another bat to find a position for.
The Brewers are one of just a few teams linked heavily to Guerrieri and I follow that line of thinking that with their first pick, which is protected, might be used on a guy who is a bit tougher to sign. Guerrieri would make sense here.
So would Jed Bradley.
Sonny Gray makes the most sense in that he could follow a Chris Sale-like pattern of rushing to the big-leagues this season in order to help the Brewers out of the bullpen. Gray would most definitely return to the minors as a starter the following season.
Jonathan Mayo, of MLB.com has pegged them with Meyer, the hard-throwing righty from Kentucky with their first pick, and Guerrieri with their second. I highly doubt that the Mets will let Guerrieri slip past pick No. 13, but if they do, he would be a steal there.
The Twins have made a killing over the past decade and a half taking pitchers with really good control. Kyle Gibson and Alex Wimmers (despite his scary debut) both fit that bill.
Aside from the generality of "you can always use more pitching," the Twins have been linked to some toolsy outfielders, specifically George Springer, who they drafted out of high-school back in 2008.
He obviously didn't sign, but you can't imagine he fell too far off their radar.
Brandon Nimmo and Brian Goodwin have also been floated as possibilities.
The Twins have also been heavily linked to seasoned strike-throwers like Sean Gilmartin, who may be more of a second-round talent, and power-hitting first baseman C.J. Cron.
New York Mets
Like the Dodgers, rumors are swirling about the Mets ability to spend big in this draft.
They too have undergone some financial hardships, but the brass seems hell-bent against letting that affect their drafting plans. As such, some pretty pricey names have been linked to New York, including Guerrieri, Lindor and George Springer.
B.A. seems to favor an outfielder for the Mets, pegging them with LSU's Mikie Mahtook. MLB.com, on the other hand, sticks them with Sonny Gray, who could make the most sense in that he'd be quick to the bigs.
The most recent news out of New York, however, is that they'd be best suited with Texas hurler Taylor Jungmann, who probably won't be available, but could be just the thing they're looking for.
New York Yankees
As usual, the Yankees don't have a first-round selection.
Thank Rafael Soriano and his lame elbow for that.
As such, the Yankees don't pick until pick No. 51, and you can guarantee that the majority of the top-shelf talent will be off the board by then, making pegging them with any player a pretty tough go.
There is Hope, however. As in Mason Hope, Archie Bradley's rotation mate at Broken Arrow HS, who happens to be a huge Yankees fan. He might make a nice second-round selection.
In just about every mock draft that's out there the A's are linked to a college outfielder, whether it be George Springer or Mikie Mahtook.
And while they're real life pool of candidates might extend to the high-school ranks, it's likely that their pick is going to reside in the form of an outfielder.
Along with B.A., Jonathan Mayo is heavy on the Springer bandwagon, arguing that the fit between the two parties just makes sense.
The A's have also been linked to Kolten Wong, despite the presence of another former highly thought of second baseman, Jemile Weeks.
Before the whole "I don't want to be drafted" episode from Josh Bell, the A's were widely seen as the team most heavily in on him, but with that statement likely to affect his signability, they're no longer considering him.
I'm sure that nobody in the city of brotherly love feels too bad about not having a first-round pick this season. After all, they ended up with Cliff Lee, who I would certainly prefer to any draft selection.
The Phillies first selection doesn't come until pick No. 39.
Word has it that they were recently spotted scouting New Jersey prepster Kevin Comer, a relatively polished right-hander who has a strong commitment to Vanderbilt, and who could be a top-five talent in the 2014 draft.
Comer would likely be available when the Phils pick, but he could cost quite a bit to sign.
They also haven't been shy about scouting Cam Gallagher, high-school catcher from Pennyslvania.
Pittsburgh has been saddled with this terrible choice for a good long while now, and while Rendon has been the projected top pick for most of that time, the past few weeks have seen so much action, that there is really no way of telling which direction they're heading.
News just broke today that the Pirates do indeed seem to have settled on Cole with the top pick.
Now let the negotiating begin!
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals pick around the same spot that they did last year, and while there will likely be no Zack Cox there waiting for them, they're still likely to get some pretty decent talent.
According to the team's website, they're probably going to stay away from some of the first-round's riskier picks, such as Josh Bell, Austin Hedges and Blake Swihart.
Their recent draft history leads you think that they're definitely going the college route, as no team has done so more often except for the Indians.
Baseball America has linked them to Levi Michael, who would make sense in that the Cards have struggled to find a long-term solution at shortstop. They've also been linked to Kolten Wong, and a few other infielders, although none aside from Michael and Wong are considered worthy of a first-rounder.
The Cardinals could always go off board and go the high-school route again. It worked pretty well for them last time with Shelby Miller, so a high-ceiling high-schooler like Jose Fernandez or Joe Ross could make sense.
San Diego Padres
The Padres round out the top ten with their first pick.
Trevor Bauer has been a prized target of theirs, but with the season he had, there's very little chance that that many teams are scared of his long-toss routine.
They, more than anyone, seem to be very high on Cory Spangenberg, with the team even willing to spend their first pick on him, even though he might be more of a sandwich or second round talent.
Both B.A. and MLB.com have them singling out Taylor Jungmann with their first pick, although Matt Barnes has also been floated as a possibility.
Their second pick, occurring at No. 25, seems to be a lock for pitching as well, with B.A. pigeon-holing them with Dillon Howard or Tyler Anderson.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants minor league pitching situation is a mess. Aside from Zack Wheeler it's a whole lotta nothing.
Taking that into account, it only makes sense that most seem to think they're going to use their late first-round selection (pick No. 29 to be exact) on a pitcher.
Baseball America has them going after Joe Ross, while some other mocks have them looking at Henry Owens.
MLB.com thinks they'll head in the opposite direction and tab Brian Goodwin, out of Miami Dade Junior College.
Another route they might take is at shortstop. Levi Michael will probably be gone by the time they pick, but there are several talented shortstops worth a look, including Joe Panik from St. Johns, Texas prep-ster Trevor Story and B.A. Vollmuth from Southern Miss.
Seattle looks like they're sitting pretty at No. 2.
With word spreading that the Pirates intend to take Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 selection, that would leave Anthony Rendon to Seattle, which is what the M's have silently been hoping for all along.
They prefer a position player, but felt taking Bubba Starling or Francisco Lindor is too risky.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have so many picks on the first day of the draft, that it's going to cost them a ton of money in order to get them all signed, especially if they stand by their motto of drafting the best available player.
They've been most frequently linked to local product Jose Fernandez of Alonso High. He could probably be had with any of their first round picks.
Baseball America thinks they might take a chance on a guy you wouldn't expect, such as LSU's Mahtook or Wong from Hawaii.
With their other picks, word is they've spent a lot of time and energy scouting Henry Owens, Tyler Beede and Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo would fit their profile of a rangy, toolsy guy who could play all three outfield positions.
The Rangers pick last in the first-round, and I haven't seen as much change in any team's direction as theirs.
They've been attached to pitchers like Joe Ross, Dillon Howard and Henry Owens, and bats such as Josh Bell, Brandon Nimmo and Cory Spangenberg.
They're likely to take whichever top talent slips through the cracks.
According to some reports, they might swing for the fences with Blake Swihart. If he's available, it will only be because all the teams picking ahead of them are afraid of his price tag.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays were another team that was all over Josh Bell before his issues put him out of their mind.
Now the name that I'm hearing most often linked to them is Levi Michael. Michael would be a nice fit for the team, most likely at second base.
He can play anywhere on the field, and is going to hit for a decent average. He's an all-around solid player.
They could also go for Kolten Wong, assuming he's available, or any number of lefties, since apparently they want to try to bolster the left-handed pitching in their farm system.
That would bring Daniel Norris, Tyler Anderson and Henry Owens into play.
The Nats have been strongly linked to Alex Meyer, with Baseball America claiming about a month ago, that the team was strongly considering him with their first pick, at No. 6.
It doesn't seem like they'll be heading that way anymore, although they could still have room for him if he slips to the Nats second pick.
Right now the focus seems to be on UCLA's Trevor Bauer, who Mayo projects going there, and Bubba Starling, who Jim Callis tabs as being the Nats likely pick.
Starling seems to make the most sense, with the Nats consistently looking for the players with the highest ceilings, although his price tag could be the highest of any position prospect.
If you believe the report from Frankie Piliere of Fox Sports, it seems that the Nats have settled on taking him regardless of who's on the board, as long as he's still there.
With their second pick, there's all sorts of divisiveness. Alex Meyer could be the guy, assuming he hasn't been popped yet, as could high-schooler Daniel Norris. Either way the consensus seems to be that they'll be going the pitching route with pick No. 23.