As expected, a lot has changed since I published the first Call to the Pen mock draft back on April 18th. Of the 32 picks, 8 of them stayed the same while 4 new players worked their way into the mix. This time around I went 12 picks deep with some thoughts and stats.
#1 Washington Nationals: C-Bryce Harper, CC of Southern Nevada (1)
He is not baseball’s version of LeBron, but he is still the cream of the crop with the potential to stick at catcher and incredible power potential. He should still be in high school, but instead he is demolishing opposing pitching at the JC level. He can’t live up to the hype, but he’s about as can’t miss as you can get. Baseball America’s Nathan Rode recently had a chance to talk with Bryce Harper via phone and you can find a “transcript” of that conversation here. The “we’re looking at other people” spin cranked into high gear last Friday with this MLB.com piece. I don’t believe there is any way that the Nationals pass on Harper short of Bryce suffering a career ending injury in the next 3 weeks. For me personally, any report Washington’s front office puts out to the contrary is just insulting. He has been an absolute offensive monster this year hitting 0.415/.504/.891 with 19 2B, 23 HR, 34 BB and 38 SO in 193 AB. [...]
#2 Pittsburgh Pirates: LHP-Drew Pomeranz, University of Mississippi (4)
It appears that Pomeranz has moved ahead of Taillon to be the first pitcher taken in the draft. This seems to be a much more logical pick for the Buccos than the high school pitcher Taillon who will command a much larger signing bonus. That said, this is not about signability. Pomeranz, despite some recent struggles, has been awesome this season in his own right and is very deserving to be taken before any other player not named Harper. 2010 stats: 86.2 IP, 2.39 ERA, 58 H, 45 BB and 127 SO
#3 Baltimore Orioles: SS-Manny Machado, Brito Private HS (FL) (13)
At number three Baltimore will have their choice between the top HS player (Machado) and the top HS pitcher (Taillon). Both players will carry a large price tag to get under contract and the Orioles did take the signability route last year when they selected Matt Hobgood. However, that selection masked they fact that the O’s spent freely on several picks beyond the first round, and this time around the talent is too good to pass up. Some question Manny’s ability to stay at SS, but others believe he will become a top notch defensive player at the position. Whether he sticks at SS, slides to 3B, or winds up playing RF, Baltimore will not regret taking Machado.
#4 Kansas City Royals: RHP-Jameson Taillon, The Woodlands HS (TX) (2)
The Royals have not been shy about investing in draft picks over the last two years and Taillon’s price tag will not scare them away. The organization is in need of position prospects and is deep in pitching talent, but Dayton Moore and his staff have been drafting more on talent than on need for several years now and that will continue. When it comes to overall talent Taillon is a special package with a huge frame, great stuff, and advanced feel for pitching. He has the potential to reach the majors faster than any other starters in this draft class despite the fact he hasn’t pitched at the college level. If you want more on Taillon, and you subscribe to their site, you can check out this article Baseball America’s Conor Glassey wrote.
#5 Cleveland Indians: LHP-Chris Sale, Florida Gulf Coast (10)
The Indians have a long history of avoiding HS players with their first overall pick and that trend figures to continue this year. That said, Sale might be the best pick for the Tribe here regardless of their philosophy. His pitch arsenal features a low to mid-90s fastball, an excellent changeup and a slider that is in the works. Unlike Pomeranz and Taillon, Sale has remained effective and has avoided late season struggles. 2010 stats: 96.0 IP, 1.97 ERA, 77 H, 12 BB and 135 SO.
#6 Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP-Karsten Whitson, Chipley HS (FL) (6)
This is the first of my “gut” picks. Georgia Tech right-hander Deck McGuire has been tabbed as the Diamondbacks’ pick on a number of other mocks and it makes a lot of sense. Still, something about Whitson here just feels right to me. John Sickels wrote the following about Whitson, “he is polished for his age, throws strikes, and has a good balance of current skill, remaining projection, safety, and risk as high school pitchers go.”
#7 New York Mets: RHP-Deck McGuire, Georgia Tech (7)
The Mets are one of the teams that continue to follow the slot “recommendations” and until we see evidence of that changing, it seems safe to assume they will maintain status quo. With 3 major league pitches and a fair amount of polish, McGuire is a relatively safe pick and could move quickly through the Mets system. 2010 stats: 98.2 IP, 2.83 ERA, 83 H, 27 BB, 105 SO.
#8 Houston Astros: 3B-Zack Cox, University of Arkansas (8)
For the third pick in a row, I’m sticking to my selection from my first mock draft. Like the Mets, the Astros tend to be conservative when it comes to their draft picks and also tend to toe the slotting line. That makes Cox a safe and logical pick for a organization that entered the 2010 season with the worst farm system in all of baseball. The good news for Houston and their fans is that Cox just might be the best college hitter in the draft. He lacks impact power, but is otherwise very skilled with the bat in his hands. He has excellent discipline at the plate and has shown an ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. 2010 stats: 0.431/.516/.607 with 11 2B, 8 HR, 33 BB and 29 SO in 211 AB. Cox was the subject of a recent Baseball America article that you can check out here.
#9 San Diego Padres: C-Yasmani Grandal, University of Miami-Florida (NR)
I’m not a big fan of Grandal, but he has certainly attracted a lot of attention with a huge season at the plate. Some believe that he could go as high as #4 to the Royals, but I’d put the odds of that happening at less than 1%. More likely he is going to selected somewhere between #7 and #15 and that seems about right. Based on his 2010 season there is a lot to like about Grandal. He’s shown power, discipline, and has been proficient defensively as well. 2010 stats: 0.425/.547/.768 with 21 2B, 13 HR, 47 BB and 28 SO in 181 AB.
#10 Oakland Athletics: OF-Michael Choice, University of Texas-Arlington (NR)
The A’s love athletic college players, and Choice fits the bill on both counts. He also has the power and patience combination that the team loves. 2010 stats: 0.385/.571/.721 with 10 2B, 16 HR, 71 BB and 48 SO in 179 AB.
#11 Toronto Blue Jays: SS-Christian Colon, California State University-Fullerton (9)
FanSided’s own Mat Germain, wrote an article last week about this pick and I agree entirely with his assessment when it comes to the Jays intent to spend. After their 2009 draft class debacle and their aggressiveness in the international free agent waters I fully expect Toronto and Alex Anthopolous to throw money around if needed to draft and sign the best player available to them. Colon is represented by Scott Boras which can always be an adventure, but I don’t think this fact will give the Jays pause. Some believe that Colon will have to slide over to 2B eventually, but others believe he can play SS at the major league level. In either position, his offensive potential and his intangibles will be an asset. He came out of the gates a bit sluggish this season but has really turned it on and has more HR than SO on the season. 2010 stats: 0.351/.443/.634 with 12 2B, 14 HR, 28 BB and 13 SO in 205 AB.
#12 Cincinnati Reds: OF-Gary Brown, California State University-Fullerton (NR)
Brown doesn’t boast much power, but he is a burner with plus-plus speed and top notch defensive ability. He doesn’t draw a lot of walks, but he doesn’t strike out and makes good contact. 2010 stats: 0.438/.485/.695 with 20 2B, 6 HR, 31 SB, 9 BB and 12 SO in 210 AB.
#13 Chicago White Sox: OF-Josh Sale, Bishop Blanchet HS (WA) (16)
#14 Milwaukee Brewers: RHP-Dylan Covey, Maranatha HS (CA) (11)
#15 Texas Rangers: OF-Bryce Brentz, Middle Tennessee State (15)
#16 Chicago Cubs: RHP-A.J. Cole, Oviedo HS (FL) (5)
#17 Tampa Bay Rays: RHP-Kaleb Cowart, Cook County HS (GA) (17)
#18 Los Angeles Angels: OF-Austin Wilson, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA) (14)
#19 Houston Astros: RHP-Alex Wimmers, Ohio State University (12)
#20 Boston Red Sox: 3B-Nick Castellanos, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL) (18)
#21 Minnesota Twins: RHP-Anthony Ranaudo, Louisiana State University (3)
#22 Texas Rangers: RHP-Brandon Workman, University of Texas (23)
#23 Florida Marlins: C/SS-Justin O’Connor, Cowan HS (IN) (NR)
#24 San Francisco Giants: SS-Yordy Cabrera, Lakeland HS (FL) (20)
#25 St. Louis Cardinals: RHP-Brett Eibner, University of Arkansas (25)
#26 Colorado Rockies: RHP-Kevin Gausman, Grandview HS (CO) (21)
#27 Philadelphia Phillies: RHP-Jesse Hahn, Virginia Tech (19)
#28 Los Angeles Dodgers: LHP-James Paxton, Grand Prairie AirHogs (22)
#29 Los Angeles Angels: LHP-Sammy Solis, University of San Diego (28)
#30 Los Angeles Angels: 2B/OF-Levon Washington, Chipola JC (FL) (29)
#31 Tampa Bay Rays: RHP-Cameron Bedrosian, East Coweta HS (GA) (27)
#32 New York Yankees: RHP-Stetson Allie, St. Edwards HS (OH) (32)
With the draft just two and a half weeks away, this may be the last mock draft I do. Whether or not that is the case you can always keep up to speed via the MLB Mock Draft Database on DC Pro Sports Report. From this point on I will try to pass along draft related information as I come across it as we approach the moment that the Nationals select Bryce Harper and the 2010 MLB draft gets underway.
Topics: 2010 MLB Draft, A.J. Cole, Alex Wimmers, Anthony Ranaudo, Austin Wilson, Brandon Workman, Brett Eibner, Bryce Brentz, Bryce Harper, Cameron Bedrosian, Chris Sale, Christian Colon, Deck McGuire, Drew Pomeranz, Dylan Covey, Gary Brown, James Paxton, Jameson Taillon, Jesse Hahn, Josh Sale, Justin O'Connor, Kaleb Cowart, Karsten Whitson, Kevin Gausman, Levon Washington, Manny Machado, Michael Choice, Nick Castellanos, Sammy Solis, Stetson Allie, Yasmani Grandal, Yordy Cabrera, Zack Cox