With the 2010 MLB draft just five days away, it’s time for the second version of its mock up, complete with a few changes big and small.
By Jake McCormick
The 2010 MLB mock draft 2.0 (* indicates compensation pick):
1. Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper, C, College of Southern Nevada
Two things are guaranteed in Washington right now: Harper will be drafted on June 7 and Stephen Strasburg will make his MLB debut on June 8. What a start to a week, right?
2. Pittsburgh Pirates: Manny Muchado, SS, Miami Brito HS (Florida)
The second best position player in the draft has a very similar skill set to the 2007-08 versions of JJ Hardy, but has repeatedly stated his admiration for Alex Rodriguez. With the way he’s been hitting lately, this Scott Boras client could very well develop into more of an A-Rod and less of a Hardy.
3. Baltimore Orioles: Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands HS (Texas)
Taillon is widely considered the top pitching prospect available, and Pittsburgh’s best current and future starters are Paul Maholm and Zack Duke. Taillon is a 6’7” power arm complete with three plus pitches (fastball, slider, curveball) that has some minor command problems found in nearly every raw talent coming out of high school.
4. Kansas City Royals: Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU
Ranaudo has boosted his draft stock tremendously over the past few weeks with a couple of strong appearances in the SEC Tournament. It seems as if he has worked his way back into the top five mix, thanks to a healthy right arm to go with his 6’7″ college-developed frame.
5. Cleveland Indians: Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Ole Miss
Pomeranz is the best lefty in the draft, but his arm angle has been somewhat concerning for a few teams. His ability to pitch in big situations, buckle hitter’s needs with his power curve, and his developing changeup will be too enticing for him to drop below the fifth pick.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks: AJ Cole, RHP, Oviedo HS (Florida)
Cole’s fastball sits in the low 90s, but has reached 96 occasionally over the spring season, and it should gain some speed and movement as Cole beefs himself up a bit against minor league hitter. He’s the second best high school pitcher in the draft (behind Taillon), and has just as much upside if he can put on a few pounds.
7. New York Mets: Zack Cox, 2B/3B, Arkansas
Cox’s recent muscle strain shouldn’t affect his career or draft stock. This left handed underclassman can mash and Cox would fit nicely as the heir apparent to David Wright at the hot corner. He’s got some work to do on the fielding side of things, but that’s what the minor leagues are for.
8. Houston Astros: Josh Sale, OF, Bishop-Blanchett HS (Washington)
Houston’s farm system has been stripped to the bones, and Sale has slowly moved up draft boards because of his big bat. The Astros are notoriously built around free agency, but Sale could be a no-trade blue chip by the time he gets going in the minors.
9. San Diego Padres: Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State
The Padres are in need of some bats with pop, and Vitek will fill the gaps in Petco Park while racing around the bases with above-average speed. He can also get ahold of a ball every once in a while, and may have to move to the outfield because of footwork concerns at second base. Either way, he’ll help San Diego score runs.
10. Oakland A’s: Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech
Another college prospect stuck in draft stock limbo, the 2009 ACC Pitcher of the Year won’t get past a team loaded with on-the-cusp hitting prospects and a rotation of former minor league stars. McGuire is the most MLB-ready starter in the draft, but will most likely top out as a No. 3 starter.
11. Toronto Blue Jays: Christian Colon, SS, Cal State Fullerton
See comments about Manny Muchado for a full description of Colon, who is a ballplayer in every clichéd sense of the word. He does have a better throwing arm and experience against college level hitting.
12. Cincinnati Reds: Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley HS (Florida)
If genes are any indication of MLB longevity, Whitson will be playing at the highest level (father Ed played 15 years in the Bigs). His off-speed secondary pitches are a work in progress, but his delivery and sinking fastball give Whitson enough qualifications for a top 10 selection.
13. Chicago White Sox: Matt Harvey, RHP, University of North Carolina
Chicago has an extremely thin farm system because of the team’s tendency to favor free agents and trades, but building up depth starts on the mound. Harvey has some command issues, but it’s always hard to ignore a 97 MPH heater that sets up a plus curveball.
14. Milwaukee Brewers: Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast
Sale has an above average repertoire and consistently throws strikes, and the Brewers are always in need of pitching, especially with the stunted development of 2009 first round pick Eric Arnett.
15. *Texas Rangers: Stetson Allie, 3B-RHP, St. Edwards HS (Ohio)
Allie could be an above average masher/defender at third or close games with his Joba Chamberlain-like upper-90s on the mound. He’s definitely a high-risk, high-reward pick, but the potential return far outweighs the potential failures for half these teams.
16. Chicago Cubs: Brandon Workman, RHP, Texas
Not ones to pass up a collegiate fireballer that comes with some assembly required, the Cubs will take the Texas Longhorn sophomore that has a similar makeup to Jeff Samardzjia. Thankfully for them, Workman has spent more time on the mound than the gridiron.
17. Tampa Bay Rays: Yasmani Grandal, C, Miami
The Rays have been so good at drafting lately that the Red Sox and Yankees must be reluctant to support changing the MLB’s no-trade clause on draft picks. The switch-hitting Grandal has excellent footwork behind the plate and should move up the best farm system in baseball fairly quickly.
18. *Los Angeles Angels: Nick Castellanos, 3B, Archbishop McCarthy HS (Florida)
With a little defensive fine tuning and some time to grow physically, Castellanos has the potential to be an All-Star caliber third baseman. At 6’4”, he has a Scott Rolen-like power stroke from the right side and can actually get down the line surprisingly fast for a player his size.
19. *Houston Astros: Kaleb Cowart, IF-RHP, Cook County HS (Georgia)
Cowart’s probably the best hitting/pitching combo available, and is talented enough to be a justified draft pick as a pure pitcher or pure infielder. Given the way the Astros’ farm system looks now, either one will help.
20. *Boston Red Sox: Michael Choice, OF, Texas-Arlington
No matter who they sign or trade for, the Red Sox always seem to have quality prospects down on the farm. Choice fits the mold of a stereotypical Boston outfielder (high average and on-base percentage with sufficient power and speed).
21. Minnesota Twins: Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State
Wimmers tossed Ohio State’s first ever no-hitter last May, but has had some questions arise about his consistent control. Considering the Twins’ organizational MO is teaching throwers how to pitch strikes, Wimmers would be in good hands.
For more on Wimmers go here
22. Texas Rangers: Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee State
The Rangers are filled to the brim with young pitchers, and Brentz would give Texas another big bat waiting in the wings to continue their power-happy outfield tradition. Getting a hitter of his caliber at pick 21 would be highway robbery.
23. Florida Marlins: Jesse Hahn, RHP, Virginia Tech
Here’s all you need to know about Hahn: He throws a 96-98 MPH fastball complimented with an 83 MPH changeup. Hahn’s fastest path to the Bigs is most likely as a closer of the future, as he has been relieving for Virginia Tech this season.
24. San Francisco Giants: Austin Wilson, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (California)
What do Iggy Pop and the Stooges and Austin Wilson have in common? The answer: Raw power. Wilson is fairly slow as a runner and projects as an average defensive outfielder, but his swing is too valuable for a pitching-rich team to pass up.
25. St. Louis Cardinals: Brett Eibner, RHP/OF, Arkansas
What better team to draft a good hitting/just as good pitching prospect than the Cardinals? There looks to be little downside to choosing one over the other, and if St. Louis can convert Rick Ankiel at 26 years old, the 21-year-old Eibner should become a long-term asset.
26. Colorado Rockies: Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, The Citadel
Wojciechowski has a closer’s hard fastball, and has a slider in the works as just an average pitch at this point. Colorado has a surplus of pitchers waiting to graduate to the Majors, and Wojciechowski could be there fairly quickly as a power reliever.
27. Philadelphia Phillies: Dylan Covey, RHP, Maranatha HS (California)
Covey may have the best curveball in the draft. His fastball tops out around 93-94, and he’s still working on a changeup, but the Phillies need to beef up their pool of pitching prospects after the Roy Halladay trade.
28. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jedd Gyorko, SS, West Virginia
Gyorko’s season at West Virginia has helped his draft stock enough that he’s solidified himself as a first round pick. He doesn’t have the range to play shortstop, and will probably move to third, second, or the outfield, but Gyorko has good power along with an overall solid bat.
29. *Los Angeles Angels: James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky
Because of multiple problems at Kentucky and in negotiations with the Blue Jays (drafted 37th in 2009), Paxton couldn’t start pitching until May 8 in an independent league. He’s definitely the biggest question in the draft because he could be picked in the top 10 or fall to the second round. At this spot, the project lefty is too valuable to pass up.
30. Los Angeles Angels: Justin O’Conner, C/SS/RHP, Cowan HS (Indiana)
Some scouts have said O’Conner has shades of Manny Ramirez in his swing, which has to entice the Angels, a team always happy to take on pure hitters. Los Angeles could definitely use some prospect depth in the left side of the infield as well.
31. *Tampa Bay Rays: Delino DeShields Jr., OF, Norcross HS (Georgia)
DeShields has no power, but excellent speed and line-drive hitting ability similar to his father of the same name. He’s projected as a quality center fielder with great range, and would fit very well into a prototypical Rays outfielder.
32. New York Yankees: Gary Brown, OF, Cal State Fullerton
Brown can rake and bust it down the line, but he’s got some Carlos Gomez-like issues with walks. The speedster has more power than his 6’0″ 185 pound frame would suggest, and is still learning the outfield, but has enough upside in both areas to warrant a spot as a top Yankee prospect.