June 3, 2012; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Oklahoma Sooner pitcher Jonathan Gray (22) pitches against the Army Black Knights in the first inning in game three of the Charlottesville regional at Davenport Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Laferriere-USA TODAY Sports
The Major League Baseball draft is upon us today. With the failure of the big TV markets to properly cover the college baseball season, most fans have no idea who the big time players are. Due to this and the fact that prospect take a few years to make an impact in the professional ranks, many fans are not too attached to the players that are selected in the MLB Draft.
That does not mean the MLB Draft lacks excitement. Many colleges are going to be watching the draft and then watching to see if some of their recruits are going to be signed away from them with huge signing bonuses. As is the case in most drafts, there are plenty of multi-sport players (so goes the theory baseball players are not athletic) in this season’s draft.
Here is a look at how I mock the top-10 picks in this draft to go. Remember, I am no draft expert and most of the picks I have made are based on scouting reports and videos I have watched on the internet. I hope you guys enjoy it!
1. Houston Astros – Jonathan Gray (RHP, Oklahoma)
There is a lot of talk about the Astros taking Colin Moran with this pick to save some money and allocate it to picks later in the draft. That’s what GM Jeff Luhnow and the team did last season, cutting a deal with Carlos Correa and taking him number one overall. Gray’s recent Adderall incident could affect the type of bonus he gets. This may put him in the range for the Astros to save some money for later in the draft. Gray throws in the upper 90’s (occasionally reaching 100+ miles per hour) with his fastball. Gray has all the tools to be an ace where ever he lands. At the end of the day, he’ll be too good for the Astros to pass up.
2. Chicago Cubs – Mark Appel (RHP, Stanford)
The Chicago Cubs will likely have choice of whatever future ace that the Astros do not take. Many scouts see Appel as the top pitcher in this draft and worthy of the number one pick. So the Cubs are in a win-win situation either way. Many expected Appel to be the number one pick, but he excited Marlins fans when he went just one spot ahead of their number nine pick. His agent Scott Boras proved to be a tough bargain for the Pittsburgh Pirates, failing to reach a contract with the team and returning for his senior season. He made 16 starts for the Cardinals this season, posting a 2.56 ERA and struck out 130 in 123 innings of work. It would be hard to envision him making a 2012 like fall.
3. Colorado Rockies – Kris Bryant (3B, San Diego)
Bryant is rated by many as the best power hitter in the draft and his fit with the Rockies makes so much sense. His 31 home runs led Division 1 baseball by a wide margin. If he can stick at third base longterm, his prospect status stock is that much higher. If the Rockies take Bryant, like they have been long rumored to, he will be a special player to watch in Colorado’s thin air.
4. Minnesota Twins – Kohl Stewart (RHP, St. Pius X HS, TX)
Most mock drafts see Stewart ending up with the Twins and this move would make a ton of sense. Stewart has the highest upside in the draft of any pitcher, according to most scouts. He does however have a strong commitment to Texas A&M to play quarterback. However, if he is paid top money, most scouts believe he would bypass his football career to sign with an MLB team. Stewart has all the makings for a future ace in the majors, but it seen as very raw.
5. Cleveland Indians – Colin Moran (3B, North Carolina)
There have been rumors that Moran could go number one to the Astros, as I mentioned above, but he is not at the level of the top three players in this draft and would be an overdraft at number one. He would be a great pickup for the Indians at number five though. Many scouts see Moran as the best pure hitter in the draft. Moran has a great chance to move through any organization at a rapid pace. His prospect standing will be affected by his ability to stick at third defensively.
6. Miami Marlins – DJ Peterson (3B, New Mexico)
Think the Marlins could also go with Branden Shipley here, but I think they covet a college position player more. Petersen finished the season with the fourth highest batting average (.408) and has been one of the more underrated bats in college baseball. Many scouts question whether Petersen can stick at the hot corner long term, but I doubt the Marlins pass up a chance at a bat like Petersen’s.
Here is a video of Petersen:
7. Boston Red Sox – Braden Shipley (RHP, Nevada)
Shipley can honestly go anywhere from pick #4 to #7. If the Marlins pass him up at number six, I don’t see him getting past the Red Sox. If the draft goes as expected, Shipley would be the best available player for the Sox and he would be the best pitcher left on the board. While he does have an impressive fastball-changeup combination, he will need to work on his command to be successful at the next level. He is someone that can rise through an organization quickly.
8. Kansas City Royals – Austin Meadows (OF, Grayson HS, GA)
Another pick the Marlins may consider, Meadows has the size and the athleticism to be a power hitting center fielder long term. He went to High School not too far from fellow prep outfielder, Clint Frazier. The two formed a nice rivalry playing head-to-head in Atlanta and could both be top 10 picks today. If Meadows taps his potential in both power and being able to play strong in center, he will be a steal this low in the top-10.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates – Reese McGuire (C, Kentwood HS, WA)
Reese McGuire is highly regarded for his strong defense behind the plate and may not make it out of the top 10 for just that. McGuire is the top catching prospect in this season’s draft and could go even higher if a team cuts a deal with him. The Pirates have done well recently drafting and adding McGuire to their farm system will be a nice boost.
10. Toronto Blue Jays – Clint Frazier (OF, Loganville HS, GA)
The Jays will be excited when Frazier lands in their laps with the final pick in the top 10. Frazier has five-tool potential talent in the outfield and has arguably the highest upside of any hitter in this draft. His impressive bat speed could translate to big time power in the major leagues. He, unlike Meadows, is not likely to stick as a center fielder long term, but could still provide strong defense in the corners.
I by no means am a draft expert and every pick I made in this draft could be wrong. However, it was still an enjoyable experience to do this mock. The first round of the MLB Draft will take place tonight, with the Marlins having five of the first 80 picks in the draft, including four picks tonight.
The Marlins first pick should fall into line with tip-off of the Miami Heat game, but none the less, Marlin Maniac will be covering the Marlins draft picks to the best of our ability (provided the Heat play well and I don’t have to throw my laptop off the wall).