Breaking Down the Draft: First Round Overview

We’re going live here at Baseball Instinct with this years Major League Baseball Draft. So keep checking in to get the scoop from pick to pick in the draft. The Number one pick in the draft will be at 7pm EST. That pick will go to the Washington Nationals and the Nats will be selecting Bryce Harper. That’s as sure a pick as the Nats had last year with Stephen Strasburg.

Round 1

1. Nationals – Bryce Harper – OF -S. Nevada JuCo – This pick was a no brainer. But he was announced as an OF. So the Nats are ready to get this kids bat moving to big leagues. Harper could very well become an 18 year old major leaguer. But look more for a May call up in 2011. The big news is that he is not going to be a catcher.

2. Pirates – Jameson Taillon – RHP – The Woodlands HS, Texas – This is the premier arm in the draft. He’s advanced. He’s in the high 90s and has a plus curveball. Taillon is 6’6 and 225 lbs. He’s a beast on the mound. Can the Pirates escape their nightmare history of destroying SPs taken in the first round? At least they didn’t pass on the top talent available.

3. Orioles – Manny Machado – SS – Brito Private HS, Florida – The O’s took Manny Machado and I’m in the minority, but I think this is a slight overdraft. I think he’s going to outgrow SS and end up a 20 HR 3B/OF. He has excellent hitting mechanics so his ability should translate. But I don’t see the A-Rod comparisons as accurate or fair. The O’s do need help at SS though and they have a large amount of talent at SP in the minors. So its a good gamble. But I think Christian Colon would have been the smarter pick.

4. Royals – Christian Colon – SS/2B – Cal State Fullerton - This is the pick the O’s should have made. Colon is going to fit in nicely with the Royals at 2B and it will happen sooner rather than later. This is an offensive minded MI with excellent power and he’s going to be able to handle 2B. Great pick once again by the Royals.

5. Indians – Drew Pomeranz – LHP – Mississippi – Pomeranz is really hyped up going into the draft and the scouts think he’s going to make it to Cleveland soon. I personally think that like last years pick Alex White, there were better pitchers available.  I think the Indians are going to regret passing up Chris Sale. Pomeranz has a great arsenal and a low 90s right at ya fastball. But Chris Sale is the better of the two.

6. Diamondbacks – Barrett Loux – RHP – Texas A&M – This is a huge overdraft. I didn’t even have Loux in my top 40 clocking in at #48 on the preview. Loux has been plagued by injury, but is a a big player and is able to get his fastball into the mid 90s at times. He has a workhorse frame. His secondaries are only average at best so for a college product there is still work to do if he is going to be a SP long term.

7. Mets – Matt Harvey – RHP – North Carolina - The Mets have passed on some of the top talents still left but didn’t exactly blow this pick. Sale, Cole, Covey and Kharsten would have been better selections but Harvey is a telented young pitcher that is closer to the majors than most. The top HS arm in the 2007 draft, Harvey went unsigned and has since struggled to regain top of the nation status. He has the goods with his mid 90s FB, works a low 80s slider and has a changeup that is workable. He’s going to get a first round consideration and then its going to take him a few years to reach his potential as a SP. Worst case scenario he’ll become a power reliever, but I think in the right situation he’s going to take the next step and become a solid rotation option somewhere around a 3 or 4.

8. Astros – Delino DeShields, Jr. – OF – Woodward Academy HS, Georgia – This is another huge reach and the Astros are going to regret this pick. I think DeSheilds would have been available later on in the Supp. round. But DeShields is a name most of us know. The son of a former major leaguer, he already approaches the game in a confident way, sometimes seeming almost lackadaisical. His best tool is his plus speed, but he does have excellent bat speed as well. He profiles as a CF right now, but could hit for enough power to even warrant LF if his arm doesn’t play up enough in center. He still needs to refine his skills as a defender, but his speed should give him nice upside.

9. Padres – Karsten Whitson – RHP – Chipley HS, Florida - I love this pick for the Padres. Excellent job by the new regime. A tall athletic pitcher with a mid 90s fastball and hard biting secondary with a slider that most scouts already call a legit major league pitch. His fastball creates hard boring action and his changeup has decent depth to project an average offering in the future. Some additional projected velocity and some good instruction could turn his strong frame and solid mechanics into a groundball/strikeout combo in the future.

10. Athletics – Mike Choice – OF – University of Texas at Arlington – This is a nice pick by the A’s. There are some players I hold in higher regard in Austin Wilson and Nick Castellanos but Choice is an advanced player. School career leader in Average and Home Runs, Choice is profiling as power hitting OF. While he won’t be able to stick in CF it won’t be because of a lack of speed. His speed grades as average but his defense doesn’t always play up. Another OF with excellent bat speed, Choice does strike out at a pretty fair clip. He’ll need to better his command of the strike zone in order for his power to translate and play up at a corner. He’s still just 21 and should eventually become a league average defender and hitter.

11. Blue Jays – Deck McGuire – RHP – Georgia Tech – The Jays went here and now. Being in the AL East they just nabbed a pitcher ready to compete now. McGuire has a workhorse build at 6’6 and 220 lbs and has proven durable during his college career while striking out a batter per inning. While he doesn’t have the upside of the arms above him on this list he does have 4 working pitches and a good ability to miss bats when he has them working. While he’s not going to be a dominant power pitcher due to his velo topping out in the low 90s he compliments well with a hard CB, Slider and an already major league average changeup.

12. Reds – Yasmani Grandal – C – Miami – The Reds just went for a catcher and they probably have found their future behind the plate. I’ve seen a lot of Grandal since he plays in my back yard and while he’s become a much better hitter in 2010, utilizing the whole field and cashing some of his raw power for contact and better pitch selection, he’s still not going to be much more than an average hitter at the next level. But league average from catcher is valuable and Grandal is a pretty sure bet to be productive. While he’s a capable defender he’s going to have a difficult time holding runners without extreme help from his pitchers since his arm average at best. This is a weak class at catcher and Grandal is the best available after some kid named Harper. So he’ll garner a spot in the top 20 picks. But that team will be reaching if they are looking for the future.

13. White Sox – Chris Sale – LHP – Florida Gulf Coast – Sale is my #3 overall talent in this draft. So I think the White Sox just got a great talent. But they’ll still pay top dollar. A lot of scouting reports read backwards on Sale. Scouts worry that he may not hold up as a starter based on his frame. He’s 6’6 and 180lbs. They worry about his arm action yet he repeats very well and has plus command of the strikezone. He could easily pack on additional pounds with the proper training regimen. The biggest plus outside of his plus command is the fact that he already commands his changeup and it grades as a plus pitch. His fastball sits low 90s and he has a tight slider. He may need some time to better develop a strong breaking pitch and if he can he’s a strong bet to become a #2 starter.

14. Brewers – Dylan Covey – RHP – Maranatha HS, California – Now teams are getting real. Covey is a top 10 talent and the Brewers just landed him at #14. 4 GMs just made a mistake. Covey is a workhorse in the making. He’s grown into his frame, pounds the zone with mid 90s fastballs and hard slider. His Curveball and Changeup also project as above average and he’s a good bet to move fast through the minors and help his team as a #3 starter who can eat innings and strike out opposing hitters at a good clip.

15. Rangers (for Matt Purke) Jake Skole – OF – Blessed Trinity HS, Georgia – This is a signability pick because the Rangers would not receive compensation if they don’t sign Skole. So they must have something completed with him already. Skole didn’t even register in my Top 100, but he’s a 2 sport star athlete with comparisons to Grady Sizemore. I’m not sure if this is really what the Rangers needed to do even with the signabilty issue.

16. Cubs – Hayden Simpson – RHP – So. Arkansas - This is a shocker. Simpson is 6′ and 175lbs. He’s not very high on any list and probably should have been more of a 3rd or 4th round pick. He’s been very successful in college and his stuff is good but he’s not overpowering and not in the mold of anywhere near a front end starter. The odds are against him paying 1st round dividends. The Ricketts families first pick is a head scratcher.

17. Rays – Josh Sale – OF – Bishop Blanchet HS, Washington – The Rays are not afraid to take talent. Never have been and they are very good at developing that talent. The Good: Plus Plus Raw power and off the charts bat speed. He’s ultra coachable and very intelligent. The Bad: Below average arm, below average defender and below average speed. If he’s going to be a major leaguer, whatever team selects this project will need to break him down and start over again. Take his swing back to the basics to utilize his plus skills with a more quiet approach. This is a project and he may fall out of the first round even though he has the chance to be the best hitter to come out of this class. ( Geo’s note: I saw this kid live a few weeks ago. Tremendous plate discipline, he won’t swing at a bad pitch. I love the maturity and work ethics here, and the power is for real.)

18. Angels (from SEA for Figgins) – Kaleb Cowart – RHP/3B – Cook HS, Georgia – A two way prepster with the idea that he’s better as a position player than a pitcher. As a 3B he’s a fringe corner and will probably have to move to a corner OF spot in time but has the raw hit tools to be an above average player. As a pitcher he has the frame to become a rotation fixture with a low to mid 90s fastball and control of a good slider and splitter. He’s going to be a tough sign and will be a project. As I mentioned last week, the Angels have the money to sign him and multiple first round picks.

19. Astros (from DET for Valverde) – Mike Foltynewicz – RHP – Minooka Comm. HS, Illinios – Great pitchers frame. Very projectable and already can push his fastball to mid 90s. His mechanics are smooth and seemingly effortless. My biggest plus with Folty is a plus changeup that he already commands really well. He’ll need to master a breaking ball, but that’s easier than teaching the changeup. This is an excellent collection of tools. He could be a special pitcher. I had him outside looking in on the 1st round. But he’s got the tools to be special and the Astros have pulled Jordan Lyles and Tanner Bushue in the past two drafts. This pick fits in that mold.

20. Red Sox (from ATL for Wagner) – Kolbrin Vitek – 2B – Ball State – The Red Sox have just done it again. While I think this is a slight overdraft, Vitek has pro hit tools. One of the top college hitters in the draft, Vitek is a solid average hitter with above average raw power and decent speed. He’s an all around player with a good arm and solid instincts in the field. He’s a safe bet to become an average major league outfielder and has the skill set with the bat to play at an All-Star level. The surest bet of any player that is a fringe first rounder. If he sticks in the MI this is a steal.

21. Twins – Alex Wimmers – RHP – Ohio State – This is another great SP pick by the Twins. They are racking up an excellent future rotation and have their marquee player signed long term to work with these pitchers. Wimmers has the most polished pitching arsenal in the draft and the numbers to prove that he’s ready almost immediately. He holds the best changeup in the draft class and its already a plus plus offering. His fastball sits low 90s with excellent command and he compliments the 2 pitches with a curveball that he can work to all four quadrants. He’s athletic and has a solid frame. Good chance of becoming a #3 starter and if he adds some additional velocity to his fastball he could be an average #2 starter.

22. Rangers – Kellin Deglan – C – RE Mountain SS Langley, British Columbia – A pick that will again raise eyebrows, but Deglan may be a special catcher with enough time to develop. He has excellent catch and throw skills and shows plus power at times. My biggest problems are that his swing is long and he’s going to be exposed by better pitchers if he doesn’t work that out immediately. He’s a project. But the Rangers are good evaluators of talent.

23. Marlins – Christian Yelich – 1B – Westlake HS, California – Yelich was announced as an OF but I have my doubts of him being able to handle anything more than LF. His arm is below average. But his bat is excellent. He clearly has excellent mechanics and can rake. But another negative is that is power is reported as average at very best. But we think he’ll develop more power based on contact ability. If he sticks in the OF he could be a 20/20 or better and have position value as well. Could be a steal.

24. Giants – Gary Brown – OF – Cal State Fullerton – Excellent pick by a Giants system that just keeps getting deeper. Brown has blazing speed and finally coming into his own as an all around hitter. He’s never going to hit for above average power, but has enough pop to keep defenses honest and has enough speed to be very valuable on offense. If he can learn a more defined control of the strikezone and add to his bb% he could be a leadoff hitting CF in short order. The best bet in the 1st round to man CF for a major league team in the near future. In the home park he’ll call home he’s going to range and his speed game plays up well there as well. Great pick.

25. Cardinals – Zack Cox – 3B – Arkansas – Cox fell exactly where I thought he would. A solid 6′ and 215 lbs, Cox is a solid 3B right now but there are questions as to his ability to man the hot corner at the higher levels. He has a short lefty stroke and solid raw power, but his lefty swing is not classic and how much his raw power will translate with wood is the biggest question. He’ll be a solid average hitter even is he doesn’t meet his raw power capabilities. But for a corner infielder it may be a stretch.

26. Rockies – Kyle Parker – OF – Clemson – Parker is Clemson’s starting QB and there are questions as to him continuing that path while becoming a pro in baseball. He has a good arm and has well above average power. He profiles as a LF so his bat will need to carry him, but he’s shown to date that he should have the bat to do that with both average and power at league average or better. The Rockies are making this pick because they probably feel like he’s the best athlete available and if he doesn’t sign they get another pick in 2011. They’ve been a smart organization in recent years. I don’t expect Parker to sign.

27. Phillies – Jesse Biddle – LHP – Germantown Friends HS, Pennsylvania – Biddle is a big LHP with a low 90s fastball and an outstanding changeup. There are more heralded talents still available but Biddle is big at 6’6 and could become a workhorse. The Phillies have a good talent on their hands.

28. Dodgers – Zach Lee – RHP – McKinney HS, Texas – Lee falls out of the first round for me based on a perceived lack of signability. But the Dodgers made a stretch pick. He’s a Football and Baseball star in Texas and is probably destined for LSU as their QB. As a SP he has a low 90s fastball but projects in the mid 90s with a slider and changeup combo that is still raw, but his mechanics are polished for a QB. He has a ton of upside, but its going to take a large payday to even have a shot at keeping him from LSU. I think the Dodgers are looking for a 2011 pick which gives them time to settle the finance problems they are having.

29. Angels (from BOS for Lackey) – Cam Bedrosian – RHP – East Coweta HS, Georgia – Another HS arm from Georgia. Cam is the son of Steve Bedrosian so he has the bloodlines. He’s built like a fullback more than a SP but has a mid 90s fastball and knowledge of pitching. He doesn’t have any plus secondaries at this point and his delivery is max effort. So the thoughts are that he ends up in the bullpen in time. The Angels will give him a shot at the rotation and the time to develop. High upside pick here.

30. Angels – Chevez Clarke – OF – Marietta HS, Georgia – The Angels have gone once again to the upside pick. Clarke is complete overdraft no matter what the circumstance. There are many better choices available. With that said, Clarke is an all tools player. Excellent speed. He’s a switch hitter with ability from both sides of the plate. He’s going to hit and has the bat speed to develop average power. He’ll need to time to refine his tools into skills at the plate. Big range of potential.

31. Rays – Justin O’Connor – C – Cowan HS, Indiana – O’Connor is the top HS catcher by default. He has a plus arm that would play up as a pitcher, but his fastball is flat with little life. So a move to C this winter proved to be the best decision. His size and tools play well, he’s athletic and keeps pop times low with his strong arm. He’s going to need a fair amount of time to realize his potential behind the plate, but could be an above average everyday receiver in time with a above average power at the plate.

32. Yankees – Cito Culver – RHP – Irondequoit HS, New York – The Yankees passed on AJ Cole, Austin Wilson, Anthony Ranaudo, and James Paxton. All would have been superior picks. Culver is a RHP with nice tools, but is being talked about as a switch hitting SS. He may also move to CF. Too many questions for a talent outside of the top 50.



I was born and raised in NYC. My father was a diehard Yankees fan but not biased and raised me to love the game more than any one team. For that I'm truly thankful to him. My love for the game runs deep, and after crunching numbers all day long, I tend to spend my nights at the FSL ballparks.

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3 Responses to “Breaking Down the Draft: First Round Overview”

  1. nathan

    Jun 08. 2010

    That’s a reach and a half at Pick 12

  2. Aaron Bentley

    Jun 08. 2010

    There were early reports he had a deal with the Royals at pick four, so look at it like it’s a steal!

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