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2010 Draft Review: AL Central

Here begins our team-by-team reviews of the 2010 draft. Each team is linked to their full draft at BaseballAmerica.com. And: yes, this is still too early to be judging a team’s draft. As a result, I will be pretty neutral in my analysis.

Number of First 10 Picks Signed: 8.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Chris Sale, Florida Gulf Coast, lhp, 13th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 9/1.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 5/5.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Amazingly, Sale has already made four appearances with the White Sox, running a zero ERA through 3.2 innings. Combine that with 19 strikeouts in 10.1 innings in the minors … The three college pitchers making up the 2-4 rounds of the draft — Jacob Petricka, Addison Reed, Thomas Royse — have all been great in the low minors, though Petricka has moved onto a full season league … Top offensive signee Andy Wilkins is doing what’s expected: bashing in the Pioneer League at a .338/.417/.534 clip, while playing mostly third base … Meanwhile, top high school pick Rangel Ravelo has really struggled (.550 OPS) in the Appy League.

Thoughts: While I found SEC draftees Wilkins and Ross Wilson moderately inspiring, there’s no doubt this draft is centered completely around college pitching. I have to hope and assume that Sale will soak in some knowledge from Don Cooper these last two months, but then be ready to open next season in Double-A, as a starter. Petricka has some fantastic potential, and don’t sleep on ninth-round pick Kevin Moran, who also has a good arm. I’m not a huge fan of one-note drafts — in this case, college pitchers — but those arms have enough variety to not have me write off the strategy completely.

Number of First 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Drew Pomeranz, Ole Miss, lhp, 5th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 5 college, 3 HS, 2 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 5/5.

Notable Performances: Sixth-round JC shortstop Nick Bartolone is the highest drafted player to have regular playing time so far. After a nice stint in the complex league, Bartolone has struggled in eight games in the New York-Penn League … So, too, have Division I talents Jordan Cooper (4.90 FIP), Tyler Cannon (.247 wOBA) and Diego Seastrunk (.297 wOBA), all picked after the ninth round.

Thoughts: This is a team that gave seven figures to four players, and at least a quarter million to four others. There’s quite a bit of variety in that group, with two million dollar prep hitters (Tony Wolters, Alex Lavisky) and about $4 million in investments to five Division I pitchers. Pomeranz is the key to that group, but there was a time when Kyle Blair was ranked higher, and you have to like getting draft-eligible sophomore Michael Goodnight in the 13th round — he’s a real talent. This is to say nothing of LeVon Washington, who was drafted in the first round in 2009, who has a lot of believers. A diverse and expensive draft is going to get my praise every time.

Number of First 10 Picks Signed: 9.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Nick Castellanos, Florida HS, 3B/SS, 44th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 7 college, 2 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 4/6.

Notable Performances Thus Far: The Tigers were aggressive with some early drafted catchers, sending third-rounder Rob Brantly to the Midwest League, and sixth-rounder Bryan Holaday to the Florida State League. Brantly has been average-ish, while Holaday has been big with the lumber (.381 wOBA) but not with the glove (2-for-19 throwing out runners) … In fact, that West Michigan team added not only Brantly but a new right side, as Corey Jones (.394 wOBA) and Tony Plagman (.351 wOBA) have really helped the Whitecaps … On the not-so-positive side is Jim’s son Patrick Leyland, who has really struggled in the complex league, hitting .179/.234/.188 in 32 games.

Thoughts: Detroit’s annual financial commitment to the draft is inspiring, and it was no exception this year: Nick Castellanos broke the record for the largest bonus of a guy drafted outside the first round. Detroit also gave seven figures to Chance Ruffin and Drew Smyly, a pair of high-floor college pitchers. Obviously, though, they key here is Castellanos, and this is a huge statement about their belief in his ability. Getting Drew Gagnier in the 17th round was nice, but it’s not a draft I feel overly optimistic about. More than most drafts, it seems like the success of the draft is tied to one player.

Number of First 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Christian Colon, Cal State Fullerton, 4th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 8/2.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 5/5.

Notable Performances Thus Far: It hasn’t been an easy road for Christian Colon, who has a .299 wOBA in 180 plate appearances in the Carolina League. We know that Wilmington stadium is death on offense, but a 4.4 BB% and .286 BABIP won’t get it done in the low minors … Third-round pick Mike Antonio has made 15 errors in 24 games at shortstop in the complex league. It’s been a problematic first 28 games, but he has shown some nice gap power … The always enigmatic Scott Alexander has been nothing but in the Pioneer League, with a 4.68 FIP, a sky-high BABIP, and a 6.8 K/9.

Thoughts: For all the thinking that the Royals drafted Colon to save some money for later: Colon actually ended up getting the sixth-most money in this draft. They did spend a bit later, waiting until the midnight hour to get Brett Eibner and Jason Adam signed. While this draft has a lot of diversity, I’m not sure there’s much to be crazy about. Colon will need to stick at shortstop, Kevin Chapman a dominant Thornton-like reliever, and Jason Adam a nice high school diamond in the rough. I like Adam, but the fact that he has a pretty good chance to become the draft’s best player means a failure of scouting in rounds 1 and 2.

Number of First 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Alex Wimmers, Ohio State, rhp, 21st overall.
College/HS Breakdown of 10 Highest Drafted Signees: 7 college, 2 HS, 1 PR.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 4/6.

Notable Performances Thus Far: The team’s two highest drafted hitters are both with the complex league team, and have offered completely different results. Second-round shortstop Niko Goodrum has been a mess through his first 100 professional at-bats, collecting half as many hits (15) as strikeouts (30). Puerto Rican outfielder Eddie Rosario has been great, showing both some power (.137 ISO) and speed (22/24 on bases) … Fifth-round outfielder Nate Roberts has been dominant in the Appy League, hitting .321/.433/.554 through 31 games.

Thoughts: It’s no secret that I really like Alex Wimmers, and he makes a lot of sense with the Twins. Minnesota continued its formula that they’ve built their farm system around: college pitchers with command, prep up-the-middle athletes. Wimmers is joined by Pat Dean and Logan Darnell as pitchers that should move through the low minors quickly. But if they aren’t future stars, the team did gamble with Goodrum and Rosario, and they certainly have some potential stars culled through the International Scouting Department. That said, the team went pretty inexpensive this year, and I’d love to see a few more risks.

Favorite AL Central Draft: Cleveland.