Tag: MLB Draft 2011

MLB Draft 2011: Kansas City Royals Should Go with Bubba Starling in First Round

Every June, optimism spreads among MLB teams as the draft approaches.

It’s the time of the year when teams and fans can take a closer glimpse of their future through the draft.

This is no different for the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals have placed more emphasis in the draft process in recent years under current GM Dayton Moore, as he has beefed up his staff with more scouts in all areas, and it is already starting to pay dividends for the franchise.

Earlier this year, Baseball America dubbed the Royals’ farm system as the best unit in all of baseball.

Much of the recent praise of the Royals’ minor league system stems from a series of solid drafts, netting players such as current Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer, Royals’ starting pitcher Danny Duffy and emerging-star 3B Mike Moustakas.

In this year’s draft, the Royals will have the fifth overall pick, one that could potentially give the team another important piece to their future.

This is where local product Bubba Starling enters the discussion.

Starling, the former Gardner-Edgerton star, is considered by many as a rare five-tool prospect and could still be on the board when the Royals make their pick in the first round on Monday night.

He stands at 6’5″, 200 pounds and has the ability to either pitch or play outfield at the major-league level.

He is starting to draw comparisons to former AL MVP Josh Hamilton, and it’s easy to see why.

Starling has speed, power and the arm strength to blow away any scout who watches him play the game.

However, there could be a risk if the Royals were to draft Bubba with their first pick: Starling already has plans to enroll at Nebraska.

Although this might be the case, many think a large signing bonus and the chance to play in the majors in a couple years will persuade the talented slugger to go the pro baseball route.

The Royals simply can’t let another talented prospect from their own backyard get away from them.

Remember the former Fort Osage and Maple Woods CC star the Royals didn’t even seem to know about in the 2001 MLB Draft?

You might know him today as Albert Pujols, arguably the best player in the game.

Kansas City can’t afford for Starling to become the next Pujols—the home-grown star who got away.

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MLB 2011 Draft: Oakland A’s Targeting UConn’s George Springer First Round Pick

It’s a little bit rare for multiple mock drafts to have a consensus pick deep into the first round, but this year that seems to be the case for the No. 18 selection of the Oakland Athletics.

Several sources have the A’s targeting University of Connecticut’s George Springer, a power-hitting outfielder with good speed.

Springer, currently a center fielder, was originally drafted in the 48th round of the 2008 draft by the Minnesota Twins (1,437th overall) out of Avon Old Farms High School in Connecticut. He chose to attend the University of Connecticut instead, a decision that has propelled him into the first round, and have him ranked as high as the 11th best player in the draft by some experts.

The Athletics used their first pick in last year’s draft to select a center fielder as well, Michael Choice, currently one of the organization’s top-five prospects.

If the Athletics select Springer, they could look to move Choice to a corner outfield position, a position several scouts speculated last season may be better suited for him in the long term.

On the other hand, Springer is a natural center fielder, with the potential to win several Gold Gloves. He has above-average speed and can cover a lot of ground. He has an accurate cannon for an arm and has reached 90 mph on his throws from the outfield. He patterns his play after Torii Hunter, and makes spectacular leaping and diving catches.

Offensively, Springer has above-average power, too, and has displayed good hand-eye coordination, hitting the ball to all fields. He has a long swing, but has shown the ability to make the adjustment to offspeed pitches. He currently projects as a 20-plus home run player, even in the spacious Oakland Coliseum. If he is able to shorten his swing and square up the ball better as he develops, he could turn into a consistent power threat and a 30-plus home run star.

On the basepaths, he has speed that has been described as “aggressive-yet-savvy”. He does not have the type of speed that makes him a constant threat to opposing batteries, yet he makes good reads and gets good jumps. He should be able to pick his spots and reach 20-30 stolen bases a year consistently. In college he stole with an 85 percent success rate.

Back in February, ESPN’s Keith Law, ranked Springer the second-best prospect in the draft, calling him:

“An athletic outfielder with an above-average arm who projects to hit and hit for power and just needs to refine his approach, especially with two strikes.”

Springer conducted an interview with MLBTradeRumors.com’s Ben Nicholson-Smith in March. 

The two questions Nicholson-Smith asked that I enjoyed reading the most were as follows:

BNS – When you’re at your best, what might be some of the specific things that we would see from you on the field?

GS – One hundred percent – this’ll probably sound dumb – but just balls out all the time. Not playing with any fear. Not afraid to fail. I just go out and I let the game come to me – I just go out and I play as hard as I possibly can and if for some reason the game says that I have to run into a wall, I’ll run into a wall.

BNS – I’ve seen your game written up as a combination of power and speed. Do you see yourself as a power guy, or a speed guy, or somewhere in between.

GS – I see myself as a guy that can hit for power, but I don’t necessarily see myself as hitting for power [primarily]. I see myself as hitting the ball hard and however far it goes, if it stays in the ballpark, I just keep running.

If Springer does fall to the Athletics—and things can certainly change between now and Monday that could see him taken before the A’s pick at No. 18—then it is conceivable we could see an outfield of Michael Choice in left field (ETA: 2013), George Springer in center field (2014 in my opinion) and Michael Taylor in right field (2012) as soon as late 2013 or spring training 2014.

While Taylor’s power projection has dropped over the past two seasons, he was originally projected as a 20-30 homer guy. Meanwhile, Choice is showing good power with Stockton so far this season. The A’s could have three legitimate power threats in their outfield, as well as a fourth power threat in Chris Carter at either first base or the designated hitter role.

I know a lot of things can change as players start to come off the board, but if Springer does fall to Oakland with their first pick, he appears to be as close to a no-brain selection as there is in this deep field of first-round options.


Brandon McClintock covers the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball for BleacherReport.com. You can follow me on Twitter:      @BMcClintock_BR.

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2011 MLB Mock Draft: Prospects, Grades, Schedule and More

2011 MLB Mock Draft Coverage Starts With This Live Blog

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all your 2011 MLB Draft coverage needs leading up to Monday’s big event.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the No. 1 overall pick and are believed to be leaning towards UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole. However, they could switch things up at the last minute and go with Rice third-baseman Anthony Rendon or perhaps even Virginia’s Danny Hultzen.

We’re breaking down prospects and making predictions as to where they’ll land in the draft.

So stay right here for all the latest MLB draft related updates!

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MLB 2011 First-Year Player Draft: The Ideal Draft Strategy for the Texas Rangers

The MLB 2011 First-Year Player Draft field is being touted as one of the richest in terms of baseball talent in recent memory.

Top college hurlers such as UCLA’s Gerrit Cole, Virginia’s Danny Hultzen, and Texas’ Taylor Jungmann abound, as well as elite high school arms like Dylan Bundy and Taylor Guerrieri. This draft is loaded with pitching talent that should allow teams to stockpile arms over the course of the 50 rounds of draft picks.

Not only are there elite pitchers available, but Rice’s 3B Anthony Rendon and high school outfielder Bubba Starling headline a talented crop of position players who will compete with the arms for high draft pick status.

As far as the Texas Rangers are concerned, they won’t be able to cash in on the top names in the draft, as their strong finish in 2010 moved them down in the overall selection order. They also forfeited their top pick at number 26 to the Red Sox, in order to sign Type-A free agent Adrian Beltre to play third base. As part of the same signing, they also forfeited their number 40 pick to Boston.

Thankfully, not all hope was lost, as the Rangers were able to recoup two draft slots at numbers 33 and 37 from the Phillies as compensation for losing their own Type-A free agent Cliff Lee in the off-season. Following the 37th pick, they won’t make another selection until number 83 in the second round.

In order to assess the Rangers’ needs and determine a sound strategy for the 2011 draft, let’s take a look at their 2010 draft results, some of their top prospects already in the system, and some options that they might have as they prepare to delve into the talented pool of players represented in this year’s first-year player draft. 

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MLB Draft 2011: Will Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon Be the No. 1 Pick?

Any team with the No. 1 overall draft pick in any sport holds the key to the entire draft. More so this year in baseball because there is no clear-cut first pick. What the Pittsburgh Pirates—the holders of the No. 1 overall pick—decide to do is going to send a trickle-down effect throughout the draft.

Who the Pirates take with the first pick is still being decided according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The two players the Pirates are deciding between are UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole and Rice 3B Anthony Rendon. Both have their pluses and minuses, but neither is considered to be in the same class as previous first-round picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

The minus on Cole is that he is a pitcher. I wrote back when the Washington Nationals were prepared to take Strasburg with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft that the odds were against Strasburg. There’s a more-than-a-sample-size track record of pitchers taken in the top five of a draft who don’t pan out.

The minus on Rendon is that he is injury prone and is a 45-year-old in a teenager’s body. The college junior has already had two ankle injuries and a shoulder injury that limited him earlier in the season.

If it was my pick, I would take Rendon. Position players are always the safer bet and the Pirates organization lacks top hitting prospects throughout their organization. An infield of Rendon at third, Pedro Alvarez at first and Neil Walker at second would look nice for the Pirates in 2013.

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MLB Draft 2011: Ranking the 25 Prospects Who Are Closest to MLB-Ready

We’ve now reached the halfway point of the college baseball season, meaning the build-up to the 2011 MLB draft has officially begun.

The usual suspects are still out in the forefront.

Guys like Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Sonny Gray are still top-five picks, while there’s been some incredible movement by players like Taylor Jungmann and Danny Hultzen, who have catapulted themselves into top-10 or even top-five consideration.

In case you hadn’t noticed, high school ball is also heating up. 

Pitchers Archie Bradley, Dylan Bundy and Taylor Guerrieri are securing their statuses with fine season seasons, while Bubba Starling and Tyler Beede are just kicking off their seasons.

Regardless of what you think of the MLB draft, whether you love it or hate it (stupid compensation picks), the one thing that everyone wants to know is when their favorite team’s top pick will make an impact on the big-league roster.

If you’re a Giants or Reds fan, you probably care more about this than most, since you’ve benefited from the additions of Buster Posey and Mike Leake, two players who sped through the minors, or in Leake’s case, never even set foot on a minor league field, arriving in the majors just in time to make a huge impact on a team destined for the playoffs.

No matter who you root for, check it out, and when your favorite team selects Matt Barnes from UConn, you’ll know when to expect him to join your team’s big-league rotation.

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MLB Draft 2011: Checking in on the Top 50: Who’s Rising, Who’s Falling?

A little less than five months ago, I posted a list of the top 50 available prospects for the 2011 MLB Draft. In case you missed it, you can find it here.

In it, I detailed the draft standing, a mini scouting report and the future prospects of a fairly large pool of talented high-schoolers and collegians, including potential No. 1 overall pick Anthony Rendon as well as top-10 candidates Bubba Starling, Daniel Norris, Taylor Jungmann, Danny Hultzen and Sonny Gray.

Since it’s been five months, I though it would be a good time to look back on that top 50 and see how the players on the list are performing: Who’s doing well, who’s doing terribly and who’s dropped off the face of most team’s draft boards?

The college season is close to halfway through, and the high school season is just starting to heat up, so we have a much better picture of how each prospect is looking as well as gauging the improvement from November, when the first list was published.

In order to get a better, more recent update, I’m going to profile the top 50 in segments of 25, then hopefully recycle them and give more detailed updates of them all as the season wears on.

Enjoy the update. 

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2011 MLB Mock Draft 6.0: The Tampa Bay Rays Win the Day!

Thanks to the departures of Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate, Brad Hawpe and Chad Qualls, Tampa Bay has a ridiculous 12 picks in the first two rounds of the 2011 MLB draft. That’s a record.

They also have three picks from 24-32, meaning they stand to pick up more talent than just about any team in recent draft memory.

Unfortunately, that means they also stand to shell out more money than most teams would in an entire draft, all in two rounds.

Still, the position they are in is an enviable one for multiple reasons. Not only are they going to add enough talent to their farm system to likely leap-frog the Royals back into the No. 1 spot, but they’re also going to benefit from one of the deepest drafts in major league history.

With 10 of the first 60 picks, the Rays could stand to add numerous high-upside outfielders (Josh Bell, Brandon Nimmo, Derek Fisher, etc), some potential front-of-the-rotation pitchers (Jose Fernandez, Robert Stephenson, Adam McCreery, etc), and even some middle-of-the-lineup bats (Ricky Oropesa, Jason Esposito, Alex Dickerson, etc).

The Rays will also have their pick of some of the most talented athletes in recent memory. They’ll most certainly have their eye on Shawon Dunston Jr., one of the fastest runners in the draft, and an exciting player in the mold of Delino DeShields Jr., a top-10 pick last year.

And they’ll certainly keep an eye on the wide array of toolsy shortstops that includes Tyler Greene, Phil Evans, Christian Lopes and Javier Baez. The Rays love toolsy infielders, as their misguided selection of 2008 No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham proved.

With the draft still three months away, it’s easy to select the Rays as one of the event’s big winners.

I’ve already posted five versions of my mock draft (the most recent can be found here), and with the college and high school seasons heating up, it’s time for a new version, starting with an old familiar pick at No. 1.

In addition, each active link will take you to my scouting report of each player over at ProDraftCentral.com.

1) PIT- Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
2) SEA- Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA
3) ARI- Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia
4) BAL- Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt
5) KC- Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton HS (CA)
6) WAS- Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas
7) ARI- George Springer, OF, Connecticut
8) CLE- Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, South Carolina
9) CHC- Matt Purke, LHP, Texas Christian
10) SD- Andrew Susac, C, Oregon State (compensation for Karsten Whitson)
11) HOU- Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS (OK)
12) MIL- Daniel Norris, RHP, Science Hill HS (TN)
13) NYM- Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde Academy (FL)
14) FLA- Henry Owens, LHP, Edison HS (CA)
15) MIL- Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut (compensation for Dylan Covey)
16) LAD- Dillon Howard, RHP, Searcy HS (AR)
17) LAA- Dillon Maples, RHP, Pinecrest HS (NC)
18) OAK- Josh Bell, OF, Jesuit College Prep (TX)
19) BOS- Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky
20) COL- Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso HS (OK)
21) TOR- Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech
22) STL- John Stilson, RHP, Texas A&M
23) WAS- Preston Tucker, 1B, Florida (compensation for Adam Dunn)
24) TB- Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS (SC) (compensation for Carl Crawford)
25) SD- Mikie Mahtook, OF, Lousiana State
26) BOS- Nicky Delmonico, C, Farragut HS (TN) (compensation for Adrian Beltre)
27) CIN- Charlie Tilson, OF, New Trier HS (IL)
28) ATL- Dante Bichette Jr., 3B, Orangewood Christian HS (CA)
29) SF- Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA
30) MIN- Kyle Winkler, RHP, Texas Christian
31) TB- Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS (FL) (compensation for Rafael Soriano)
32) TB- Javier Baez, 3B/SS, Arlington Country Day HS (FL)
33) TEX- C.J. Cron, C, Utah (compensation for Cliff Lee)

Supplemental First-Round

34) WAS- Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy (MA)
35) TOR- Christian Lopes, SS, Edison HS (CA)
36) BOS- Jack Armstrong Jr., RHP, Vanderbilt
37) TEX- Jason Esposito, 3B, Vanderbilt
38) TB- Shawon Dunston Jr., OF, Valley Christian HS (CA)
39) PHI- Tyler Greene, SS, West Boca HS (FL)
40) BOS- Tony Zych, RHP, Louisville
41) TB- Brandon Nimmo, OF, East HS (WY)
42) TB- Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii
43) ARI- Peter O’Brien, C, Bethune-Cookman
44) NYM- Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra HS (CA)
45) COL- Dixon Anderson, RHP, California
46) TOR- Michael Kelly, RHP, West Boca HS (FL)
47) CHW- Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina
48) SD- Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (NM)
49) SF- Joe Panik, SS, St. John’s
50) MIN- Phil Evans, SS, LaCosta Canyon HS (CA)
51) NYY- Austin Wood, RHP, Southern California
52) TB- Jake Cave, OF, Kecoughtan HS (VA)
53) TOR- Derek Fisher, OF, Cedar Crest HS (PA)
54) SD- Bryan Brickhouse, RHP, The Woodlands HS (TX)
55) MIN- Sam Gaviglio, RHP, Oregon State
56) TB- Zach Cone, OF, Georgia
57) TOR- Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon
58) SD- Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina
59) TB- Adam McCreery, LHP, Bonita HS (CA)
60) TB- Ricky Oropesa, 1B, Southern California

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