Here is my one and only attempt at a FanGraphs Mock Draft. Starting at 7 p.m. eastern time, we’ll find out just how right (or wrong) I am. Starting at about 6 p.m. I’ll be taking draft and prospect questions in a live chat, with hopefully a few friends dropping by to help out. We’ll also be live blogging through the first round of the draft – and possibly the supplemental round depending on how quickly things move along. Along with hanging out with us, be sure to check out our friends at Baseball America, who always have the best darn draft coverage in town.
1. PIT – Gerrit Cole, RHP (UCLA)
The man with the 100 mph fastball, which is all well and good, but he also has command issues and hasn’t dominated for long stretches. Still, his overall package is very attractive and he’ll be off the board within the first five draft picks. Cole is a big, strong pitcher but his delivery does have some effort to it. He throws his mid-90s fastball, along with a plus slider and OK changeup. He was the 28th overall pick of the New York Yankees out of high school in 2008.
2. SEA – Anthony Rendon, 3B (Rice U)
Perhaps the famous Rice University injury curse is spreading from the pitchers to the hitters. Rendon has been the consensus first overall pick for the 2011 draft since his eye-opening freshman year of college. However, injury concerns – most recently his shoulder, and previously his ankle – have clouded his draft status. Seattle is known to be very interested but he could end up sliding a bit with reports of so-so medical reports that team doctors are no doubt pouring over until the very last minute. If all goes as hoped, Rendon has the chance to be a Gold Glove fielder with 20+ home run potential and a solid batting average.
3. ARZ – Trevor Bauer, RHP (UCLA)
Generally overlooked because he’s the No. 2 starter at UCLA behind Gerrit Cole, Bauer has the potential to be just as successful – dare I say perhaps even better? – as his teammate. Bauer isn’t as physical but his heater gets into the mid-90s and has a plus curveball. He rounds out his five-pitch repertoire with a slider, changeup and splitter. Personally, I favor his delivery to that of Cole and view him as a slightly safer option with the ceiling of a No. 2 starter.
4. BAL – Dylan Bundy, RHP (Oklahoma HS)
The best prep draft eligible player in the nation, Bundy is considered an advanced prep arm that could move Rick-Porcello-fast through the minors. The younger brother of Orioles’ Top 10 prospect Bobby Bundy, that organization would love to make it a pair. Bundy has a mid-to-high 90s fastball, curveball, slider, and so-so changeup. He has a strong lower half, and a relatively smooth delivery for a hard-thrower. Bundy does alter his arm action (and slows it down) on the curve.
5. KC – Danny Hultzen, LHP (U Virginia)
A 10th round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks out of high school in 2008, that same club is said to all over the left-hander like a fat kid on cake, once again. However, there are rumors that Hultzen could even get popped first overall by the Pirates – or slide a couple spots from here. This particular draft is very unpredictable with all the top talent available. Hultzen has been arguably the most consistent pitcher in college ball this season, and has the ceiling of a No. 1 or 2 starter. His repertoire includes a low-to-mid 90s fastball, plus changeup and good slider.
6. WAS – Bubba Starling, OF (Kansas HS)
The consensus top athlete in the draft, Starling has a massive ceiling but he’s raw. He’s a potentially-plus center-fielder with good actions in the field. At the plate, he has holes but he also has good bat speed and, when he’s on, a nice, short swing path. I don’t think he’s actually quite as unrefined as some people think and will surprise with his ability to make quick adjustments given the right player development and coaching staff.
7. ARZ – Archie Bradley, RHP (Oklahoma HS)
One of the top prep arms available in the draft, Bradley (no relationship to Jed Bradley) is a bit of a wild card in this draft in the sense that there haven’t been many teams strongly linked to him. The right-hander has floated some large numbers in terms of signing demands and could slip to the back-end of the first round – but could also just as easily get popped in the seven to 12 range. He has a mid-to-low 90s fastball, curveball and changeup. His delivery is fairly easy for a big, hard-throwing teenager.
8. CLE – Taylor Jungmann, RHP (U Texas)
Linked heavily to the New York Mets, Jungmann would be a steal if he gets to the club. He has an enviable pitcher’s frame, as well as the potential for three plus pitches: 92-96 mph fastball, curveball and changeup. He also has solid control and command for his age.
9. CHC – George Springer, OF (U of Connecticut)
A fairly raw college player, Springer kind of reminds me of Cincinnati’s Drew Stubbs: a five-tool player who might struggle with consistency and the ability to hit for average because of holes in his swing and his approach. The comparison is not meant to be an insult because I’m a pretty big Stubbs fan, but it’s more of a warning because players like the Reds outfielder carry a risk of failure.
10. SD – Matt Barnes, RHP (U Connecticut)
Barnes has the ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter. He has a good pitcher’s frame and a solid repertoire that includes a low-to-mid 90s fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. Barnes has a habit of letting his shoulder fly open; when he keeps it closed, it helps him work down in the zone. He’s expect to get snagged in the eight to 15 range of the draft.
11. HOU – Jed Bradley, LHP (Georgia Tech)
Mostly linked to teams like the Indians and Blue Jays – clubs that traditionally favor college picks in the first round – Bradley is a solid overall pitcher. His repertoire is not overpowering, but he has the ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter. He throws an 88-93 mph fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. He has slightly-above-average control and could move swiftly through a minor league system.
12. MIL – Taylor Guerrieri, RHP (South Carolina HS)
Guerrieri, like Archie Bradley, is a wild card prep arm that could go just about anywhere in the first round. The right-hander has a 91-96 mph fastball, and plus curveball, as well as two developing pitches in a changeup and cutter. Guerrieri has good arm speed but he has a long arm action. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been overly clear in his signability and there are also makeup concerns after off-field problems.
13. NYM – Sonny Gray, RHP (Vanderbilt U)
There are two reasons why some clubs consider Gray a future closer: He’s 5’11” and he has command issues. He may end up as a high leverage reliever but the right-hander has a solid three-pitch repertoire so he’ll most certainly begin his pro career as a starter. He throws an 89-94 mph fastball, slider, and changeup. Gray should be a nice pick up for a club in the 11-18 pick range. Despite his size, I’m not overly worried about injuries because he has a compact and relatively smooth delivery.
14. FLA – Mikie Mahtook, OF (Louisiana State U)
The big question with Mahtook is whether or not he’ll be able to stick in center field. If he has to move to left field (right is out because of a fringy arm) then his potential takes a hit because he doesn’t project to have more than average power in pro ball. Mahtook appears to have a bit of a long swing and might be better off trying to shorten his path to the ball and hit the gaps.
15. MIL – Tyler Anderson, LHP (U Oregon)
Anderson is coveted by a number of teams that value his signability and advanced pitching approach that should see him land in the Majors quickly. The lefty has an average fastball at 87-93 mph and he also features a good changeup, slider, and curveball. Drafted out of high school by the Twins, he’s the time of pitcher that would attract them again but he probably won’t make it that far and could go as early as the Dodgers’ first pick.
16. LAD – Robert Stephenson, RHP (California HS)
Stephenson doesn’t currently have the ceiling of some of the other prep arms available but he’s received first round consideration from teams looking for signability. He’s said to have solid control but I don’t like the all-out effort in his delivery. In one video segment on MLB.com, his hat nearly flew off his head during his delivery – on more than one occasion. His curveball and changeup need a fair bit of work but his fastball can reach the mid-90s.
17. LAA – Francisco Lindor, SS (Florida HS)
Prior to draft day, Lindor was projected to go anywhere from the second overall pick to the high teens; in other words, a lot of teams are interested in him but he’s not really anyone’s consensus top pick – at least not in the first half of the round. A solid all-around athlete, he’s a lock to stick at shortstop with the potential to develop into a Gold Glover. At the plate, think Yunel Escobar – some pop and the ability to hit for average. I love his smooth swing.
18. OAK – Joe Ross, RHP (California HS)
The brother of Oakland’s Tyson Ross, the younger pitcher should go high enough in the draft to forgo a career at UCLA. Ross works in the low-90s but can touch the mid-90s. He also showcases a potentially-plus curveball and developing changeup. His delivery has a little bit of effort to it but it’s more suited to a starter’s workload than his brother.
19. BOS – Alex Meyer, RHP (U Kentucky)
Meyer wanted to attend college bad enough that he hardly blinked at a $2 million offer from Boston at the end of his prep career. Despite spending three years at a very good baseball school, the right-hander has iffy command and control. His fastball reaches the high-90s and he has a plus slider but his changeup is lacking. It may take $2+ million again to get him signed and I’m not sure he’s worth it at this point.
20. COL – C.J. Cron, 1B (U Utah)
Cron has perhaps the best power in the entire draft and could even hit for average. Unfortunately, he’s a bat-only player and doesn’t field or run well. Colorado is said to be all over him and he could be the heir apparent to first base when Todd Helton’s contract mercifully runs out. Despite spending time behind the plate in college, he’ll move to first base in pro ball. His brother Kevin Cron is draft eligible as a high school senior and could get popped in the first five rounds if teams think he’s signable.
21. TOR – Levi Michael, SS (U North Carolina)
Michael has been linked to both the Mets and the Jays in the first round. He’s a solid but unspectacular player who should move quickly through pro ball. There is late talk that Colorado could pop him instead of Cron. He doesn’t look athletic enough for my money, though. Michael is not likely to stick at shortstop and might move to second base. The Jays organization didn’t have great luck with the last shortstop it took in the first round out of UNC (Russ Adams). I’m not crazy about his bat speed or his swing path.
22. STL – Jose Fernandez, RHP (Florida)
One one hand, Fernandez is an attractive pitching prospect because he has a mid-to-high 90s fastball, as well as a promising slider and changeup. On the other hand, though, you have to question the conditioning of a teenager who is already battling his weight and has a very thick lower half.
23. WAS – Brian Goodwin, OF (Florida CC)
A potential five-tool hitter, Goodwin has a promising left-handed bat. He also shows nice skills on the base paths and could develop into a plus defender.
24. TB – Kolten Wong, 2B (U Hawaii)
A solid all-around player – both offensively and defensively – Wong’s ceiling is tempered by his 5’9” 190 lbs frame. He doesn’t offer much power but he has some speed and could hit for average. Wong should move quickly through a minor league system but is more of a complementary player than a star.
25. SD – Cory Spangenberg, 3B (Florida JC)
Spangenberg projects to hit for a high average from the left-handed side but he currently plays third base and has fringy power. He’ll likely have to move off third base, in part because of his offensively profile, but also because of his lack of defensive prowess. Second base is his best hope but he doesn’t have great actions so he might end up in left field. Because he’s signable with a plus tool (bat), he could go in the first round but is more of a supplemental round talent because of the questions about his defensive home.
26. BOS – Austin Hedges, C (California HS)
Hedges and Blake Swihart are the top two catchers available in the draft but the prep backstops are very different. While Swihart’s value is tied almost solely to his bat, Hedges has huge question marks about his ability to hit in pro ball. His glove, though, could garner Gold Glove awards. Offensively, he has potential but needs to follow the ball out of the pitcher’s hand better and keep more of a level swing.
27. CIN – Grayson Garvin, LHP (Vanderbilt U)
The southpaw has the potential to be a No. 3 starter with above-average ground-ball rates and good fastball velocity (89-94 mph). Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a great out-pitch right now as his changeup is average and his breaking ball is below average.
28. ATL – Javier Baez, SS (Florida HS)
Baez is an aggressive hitter but he has good bat speed and should hit for a decent average with gap power. He’s at his best when he keeps quiet at the plate but he has a tendency to get twitchy. In the field he has solid actions and could stick at shortstop or move over to second base; I don’t think he’ll have the power for the hot corner. There have been some makeup concerns with the young infielder.
29. SF – Daniel Norris, LHP (Tennessee HS)
Norris has good size and above-average fastball velocity for a southpaw. His heater comes in between 88-94 mph and he also throws a curveball and changeup. There are a number of teams clamoring for his services but I really don’t like his arm action, in which he short-arms the ball; I can’t see him ever having great command with it.
30. MIN – Sean Gilmartin, LHP (Florida State U)
Teams in search of a “safe” and signable college pitcher could look to Gilmartin in the first round of the draft. Not surprisingly, he’s been linked to Minnesota and is the type of pitcher that organization usually targets. His repertoire includes an 87-91 mph fastball, plus changeup and developing slider.
31. TB – Brandon Nimmo, OF (Wyoming HS)
Because he plays in relative obscurity in Wyoming, Nimmo is just now making a name for himself and remains raw. With that said, he’s an impressive athlete who has impressed a number of teams in private workouts. Defensively, he plays all three outfield spots. Offensively, he projects to be a plus hitter but his overall power ceiling is in question. He was floating a $3 million price tag prior to the draft so it remains to be seen if he’s signable away from his college commitment.
32. TB – Dan Vogelbach, 1B (Florida HS)
Vogelbach is not really a consensus first round pick but the Rays, with 12 picks in the first and supplemental rounds, will have to save some money with some of the selections. This first baseman isn’t a bad selection – he’s just raw and you really have to dream on him. Vogelbach has some of the best power – especially from the left side – in the prep ranks but he’s also rather un-athletic at 6’0” 240 lbs and is a 1B/DH type.
33. TEX – Josh Osich, LHP (Oregon State U)
The left-hander missed all of 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and there are some concerns over durability. However, he may get popped early and converted to a reliever where he could move quickly through the system if he stays healthy. His repertoire includes a low-to-mid 90s fastball, a solid changeup and an OK breaking ball.