2011 MLB Mock Draft v 3.0 - First Round (33 selections)
6/6/20111. Pittsburgh Pirates – RHP Gerrit Cole
The Pirates landed two of the biggest power arms in last year’s draft, securing right-handers Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie. However, in a sport where you can never have enough pitching, the Pirates have been lacking on the mound for many years now. Unless they are still somehow as high on Rendon as everyone else was a year ago, Cole is likely to be their guy.
2. Seattle Mariners – 3B Anthony Rendon
It just makes too much sense. The Mariners desperately need offence, and a year ago they likely never imagined a situation where they could land Rendon. His power bat would be a welcome addition to an already promising, yet unproven, infield depth chart. Led by King Felix and Michael Pineda on the mound, if Rendon is here at #2, expect the Mariners to jump on him.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks – LHP Danny Hultzen
If the Pirates don’t take him first overall, the Diamondbacks surely snap him up here. Or at least that appears to be the general consensus, but stranger things have happened.
4. Baltimore Orioles – RHP Dylan Bundy
If the top three picks play out the way we have them listed, it’s almost impossible to imagine the Orioles passing on Bundy, a pitcher that many scouts feel might be the most talented player, let alone pitcher, in the entire draft. Oh, not to mention, the O’s already draft Bundy’s older brother, and he’s already climbing the organizational ranks. The only two likely names who could change the Orioles mind here are Gardner-Edgerton H.S. OF Bubba Starling and UCLA RHP Trevor Bauer, whose outstanding season has brought him out of teammate Gerrit Cole’s shadow.
5. Kansas City Royals – OF Bubba Starling
I understand the speculation that they want a more polished player, likely even a pitcher, to hopefully help the team compete, as early as say 2013 when its bumper crop of prospects will likely be coming into their own at the big league level. However, Starling is a local boy and the best athlete in the draft. For a team that prides itself on its prospects and already has a solid pipeline of talent on the way, why pass over one of the most talented players on the board? Perhaps LHP John Lamb’s impending Tommy John surgery might lean them towards a more polished college pitcher to help fill the void? Trevor Bauer or Sonny Gray could fit the bill. We’d go with Starling.
6. Washington Nationals – RHP Trevor Bauer
The Nationals would love for Bauer or even Bundy to fall to them here. Of course, if Starling somehow slipped out of the top 5, they’d love to add his superstar profile alongside the likes of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks – SS Francisco Lindor
If they are able to select Hultzen at #3, it’s hard to imagine the Diamondbacks being able to pass up one of the draft’s most talented position players, a switch-hitting natural shortstop with power. One reason that might stop them is that the pick is unprotected as it was awarded not being able to sign their 2010 first-rounder, RHP Barret Loux (who is now in the Rangers organization). If they want to continue to stockpile arms, college LHP Jed Bradley, RHP Sonny Gray or even RHP Taylor Jungmann could fit the bill. They could also reach for a talented high school pitcher, like RHP Archie Bradley or RHP Taylor Guerreri.
8. Cleveland Indians – RHP Matt Barnes
We’ve been hearing all along that the Indians would be absolutely ecstatic if UCLA RHP Trevor Bauer was still on the board when it comes their turn to pick. While that’s looking unlikely, it’s not out of the question. Everyone seems to feel they’ll go with another college arm and it could either be LHP Jed Bradley or RHP Matt Barnes. We’re going on a limb with Barnes.
9. Chicago Cubs – RHP Archie Bradley
The Cubs would love an impact bat here, and assuming his letter of intent to attend the University of Texas is a bluff, OF Josh Bell could be the perfect fit. It just seems too good to be true, and although they’ll likely consider OF George Springer as well, if a top flight high school pitcher like RHP Archie Bradley is still on the board, it might be too hard for the Cubs to pass up. Remember, they surprised everyone last year by selecting H.S. RHP Hayden Simpson in the first round.
10. San Diego Padres – OF George Springer
A talented five tool player like Springer would be a welcome addition to a franchise that is trying to overcome the loss of traded superstar Adrian Gonzalez. 1B prospect Anthony Rizzo, who was acquired in the Gonzalez trade, is tearing up Triple-A and appears to be the real deal. However, there isn’t a ton of offensive upside among the team’s top prospects and Springer could be a nice injection of talent for the organization.
11. Houston Astros – LHP Jed Bradley
We’ve seen him mocked as high as #5, and while the Astros also could use offensive help, Bradley might just be the best player left on the board if he falls this far and the Astros may have no choice other than to snap him up. OF Josh Bell is unlikely, although he is a Texas native. The Astros could also consider a couple of Taylor’s, in Guerreri and Jungmann.
12. Milwaukee Brewers – RHP Taylor Guerreri
Losing the organization’s top pitching (RHP Jake Odorizzi) and hitting (3B Brett Lawrie) prospects in one offseason has left the organization with a void of elite level talent, and the Brewers will set out on draft day to restock and replenish to the best of their ability. They could do a lot worse at #12 than Guerreri, and they showed how much they value starting pitching talent this offseason by unloading Odorizzi and Lawrie to acquire Greinke and Marcum. RHP Sonny Gray and RHP Alex Meyer could also be in the picture.
13. New York Mets – RHP Sonny Gray
The Mets lost their top pitching prospects, RHP Jenrry Mejia, to Tommy John surgery earlier in the season and have a terrible void of pitching depth. Ace LHP Johan Santana is still recovering from surgery, and RHP’s Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee can’t carry the team by themselves. Gray is pretty advanced and likely won’t command too much over slot, which could turn him into the ideal pick for the cash strapped Mets.
14. Florida Marlins – SS Javier Baez
The Marlins have a rotation loaded with talent in RHP Josh Johnson, RHP Ricky Nolasco and RHP Anibal Sanchez, however they have some holes in the infield, notable and second and third base. The team traded incumbent 2B Dan Uggla in the offseason and top prospect 3B Matt Dominguez was injured in spring training and is just now starting his season in the Minors. SS Javier Baez could likely player either position, or be the long-term successor to Hanley Ramirez if things don’t work out long-term.
15. Milwaukee Brewers – RHP Alex Meyer
OF Josh Bell could be the steal of the draft here, and combined with an upside pitcher like Guerreri would inevitable help the Brewers recoup the losses of Odorizzi and Lawrie. However, with Bell’s positioning, it’s hard to imagine Milwaukee being an ideal destination for him so we’ll go with another high-upside pitcher here.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers – RHP Taylor Jungmann
It all depends on the money for the Dodgers this year, as everyone knows about ownership’s financial problems. He could move quickly to help the big league club and if the team is going to shell out cash, it might prefer to receive a little quicker return on its investment.
17. Los Angeles Angels – OF Josh Bell
The team has been spurned in recent years, attempting to land big names free agents like OF Carl Crawford. So, if management feels there’s a chance he’ll sign, the team could do a lot worse than to shell out the cash to buy Bell away from his scholarship.
18. Oakland Atletics – OF Mikie Mahtook
The A’s landed a premium power bat in last year’s selection of OF Michael Choice, and Mahtook could be a tantalizing player to add to the team’s nucleus of young hitting prospects, which also includes 2B Jemile Weeks, OF Michael Taylor and SS Grant Green.
19. Boston Red Sox – C Austin Hedges
A lot of people like Bell to the Red Sox here, but if word gets out that he will sign, it’s hard to imagine him sliding this far. The team has had trouble finding a reliable replacement for Captain Jason Varitek behind the plate, and two of the draft’s most talented catching prospects will likely catch their eye. They could go Hedges or Swihart, but we’ve seen them linked to Hedges more so he’s our guy here.
20. Colorado Rockies – 1B C.J. Cron
The Rockies could consider 1B C.J. Cron’s power bat or a middle infielder like SS Levi Michael or 2B Kolten Wong. We like Cron’s power as the team could use a legitimate slugger to protect OF Carlos Gonzalez and SS Troy Tulowitzki in the lineup, more than another table setter.
21. Toronto Blue Jays – RHP Jose Fernandez
We keep hearing how the Jays are looking for college players, and names like SS Levi Michael and 2B Kolten Wong have been mentioned along with prep LHP Daniel Norris. We still think Jays GM Alex Anthopoulous will seek the highest upside player, and with several compensation picks, he won’t be afraid to take a risk. Fernandez presents an ideal situation, high upside with an electric fastball, yet not polished enough to be taken in the top of the first round. Norris could also be the guy.
22. St. Louis Cardinals – OF Jackie Bradley
Assuming they re-sign 1B Albert Pujols, the Cardinals would love finally acquire some elite table setters to get on base ahead of Albert and LF Matt Holliday. OF’s Brandon Nimmo and Brian Goodwin could also be in the equation, but we think they’ll go the college route in an attempt to get a player who can help a year or two earlier. After all, Albert won’t be around forever. The devastating loss of RHP Adam Wainwright could also make the team lean towards selecting a pitcher, but we think their success converting middle relievers into valuable starters allows them to focus on improving the offence.
23. Washington Nationals – SS Levi Michael
If the Nationals wanted to try and hit a home run, TCU LHP Matt Purke could be a great gamble here. Obviously the organization would have to be able to trust his medical reports, but adding Purke to a player like Bauer or Starling could give them the most elite level talent of any team in the Majors, including Kansas City. That being said, Purke in the first round just seems to be far fetched at this point. With Werth and Harper locked into the long-term future in the OF, they could go with a talented infielder like Levi Michael.
24. Tampa Bay Rays – RHP Dillon Howard
The Rays have an abundance of picks to help replenish their major league roster after the loss of several key free agents over the winter. Their minor league system is still among the game’s best, but the Rays will have a chance to really leap out in front with a big haul in this draft. High school RHP Dillon Howard could be a nice headliner for the 2011 class.
25. San Diego Padres – 3B Cory Spangenberg
We’ve been hearing his name lined to the Padres for a long time now, so if he’s still here they’ll jump. If not, they could look at OF’s Brandon Nimmo and Brian Goodwin as well as arms like LHP Tyler Anderson and RHP Dillon Howard, if they are still on the board.
26. Boston Red Sox – RHP Tyler Beede
The Red Sox do their homework, and they have had reported interest in Massachusetts product RHP Tyler Beede. If that’s true and they are able to secure a catcher with their pick, they might just snap him up here.
27. Cincinnati Reds – OF Brian Goodwin
The Reds have a lot of pitching talent in their system and could use more bats to supplement 1B Joey Votto, 2B Brandon Phillips, and OF Jay Bruce. They could also go with a high upside high school pitcher who they could afford to wait a little longer for his development.
28. Atlanta Braves – LHP Daniel Norris
The Braves would be laughing to land a pitcher as talented as Norris this deep into the first round, and if he falls this far they’d really have to have their eye on specific guy to pass him up. Despite their outstanding pitching depth in the minor leagues, the Braves will likely go with the best available player.
29. San Francisco Giants – OF Brandon Nimmo
The Giants have tons of pitching talent, at the big leagues and in the minors. They have also lost two of their best young hitters for extended periods of time as C Buster Posey is out for the year and 1B/OF Brandon Belt was just placed on the disabled list, and could be out for quite some time. They can’t win forever with guys like SS/3B Miguel Tejada, OF Cody Ross and SS Juan Uribe so OF Brandon Nimmo could be a great gamble here. Lots of teams are reported to be high on him, and if San Francisco is among them, he could be a steal this late in the first round.
30. Minnesota Twins – 2B Kolten Wong
Minnesota has generally preferred the safe pick, taking college pitchers with plus command over raw high schoolers with projectability and heat. Hawaiian 2B Kolten Wong could fit the bill perfectly, as a low-risk pick. They could also go with University of Oregon LHP Tyler Anderson, who could move quickly.
31. Tampa Bay Rays – C Blake Swihart
Despite all the success they have had in the last three seasons, Tampa Bay has never really had a sure fire every day catcher. Drafting and developing a home grown player, yet alone a talented offensive player at position like catcher makes too much sense for a team that relies on scouting and player development. It could also serve the team well one day to have a bona fide leader behind the plate, to join the likes of Evan Longoria leading the team on the field.
32. Tampa Bay Rays – LHP Henry Owens
Owens is another high upside high school pitcher, and the Rays have tons of darts to throw at the board. They could do worse than the California native who can reach the mid to upper 90’s with his fastball. Not to mention another LHP to help balance the organizational depth.
33. Texas Rangers – LHP Matt Purke
Could you imagine? After everything Purke has been through, from having his reported $6 million bonus denied by MLB, it would be an amazing story if he ended up being selected by the Rangers again. Hopefully the two could work it out, assuming Purke’s medical reports are promising, and perhaps one day he could be a dominant left-handed force at the top of their rotation, something they thrived on when LHP Cliff Lee led them to the World Series. Purke and LHP Martin Perez could form a dangerous combination that could battle it out with Seattle’s RHP Felix Hernandez and RHP Michael Pineda for years.