Another guest column from our resident “draftnik,” Marcus Wyche, who earlier this year gave us some Top 5′s for the Nats’ top two picks of the 2011 draft at #6 and #23. Without further ado…
By Marcus Wyche
This is just speculation: A lot can (and will) change between now and the draft. In fact, I looked back at my first article and only two of the players I had in my Top 5 for pick number 6 made the top ten of this mock article (YIKES). Nevertheless, here is my early guess at the Top 10 picks of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA
This is the same organization that said they’d have taken Jameson Taillon number 1 if they had the first overall pick last year. While they did pick up three high-ceiling pitchers in last year’s draft, all three will take a while to develop and the Pirate rotation needs help now. Cole can be up to the big club in the next year or so and help stabilize the rotation.
Stats (this and those that follow, as of 4/25/2011): 2.78 ERA 0.88 WHIP 9.59 K/9
2. Seattle Mariners: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice University
Dustin Ackley, Anthony Rendon and Jutsin Smoak could make for a nice infield for years to come. Rendon’s bat is great and the Mariners can use the help on offense. It won’t take long for the Mariners to make this pick.
Stats: .350 AVG 1.105 OPS .491 wOBA
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: Danny Hultzen, LHP, UVA
While it’d be a nice story if the Bethesda native gets drafted by one of the local teams, I don’t see him getting past Arizona. Hultzen’s stock has risen tremendously this year and I can’t see his stock getting any higher by staying in school so he shouldn’t be a tough sign. He’s a lefty with a lower 90s fastball, great command and really knows how to pitch.
Stats: 1.31 ERA .87 WHIP 13.63 K/9
4. Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy RHP, Owasso HS
With all their young studs leaving the minors and pitching in the majors currently, there isn’t much room left in their ML rotation for another College guy who is quick to the majors. I think they take the best HS pitcher available here and draft Bundy to be a part of the next wave of talent for the Orioles. Stats were unavailable as we went to virtual press, but here’s a great scouting report from the folks at Orioles Nation.
5. Kansas City Royals: George Springer, CF, UConn
We’ve all heard about how great the Royals system currently is. They’ve gotten to be so strong not just by paying over-slot money but also by picking players with higher ceilings than most players around them. It’s a risk, but it’s worked out well for the Royals lately. Springer has one of the highest ceilings in the draft and should be able to contribute during the same timeframe as the rest of their current top prospects. B. Starling is another possibility here.
Stats: .359 AVG 1.091 OPS .473 wOBA
6. Washington Nationals: Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech
Bradley and Hultzen are the two best LHPs in this draft. Bradley has command of his pitches and isn’t afraid to pitch inside. Roy Clark likely has a ton of information on him from his connections in Georgia. Bradley would slot nicely in between Strasburg and Zimmermann. The pick just makes a lot of sense. If everything works out we could have a homegrown rotation of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Detwiler, Solis and Bradley by 2013.
Stats: 2.98 ERA 1.16 11.64 K/9
7. Arizona Diamondbacks: Jackie Bradley, CF, USC
This pick is unprotected to AZ, so the ‘Backs have to draft a relatively easy sign here. Bradley isn’t a senior but at this spot he shouldn’t be a tough sign and could one day be a good tandem in the outfield with Upton. He’s had a tough season this year which was just ended last week by injury but he’s proven over the last two years that he can perform. Arizona and Nats could make for a trivia answer by picking two Bradleys in a row in the first round.
Stats: .259 AVG .829 OPS .367 wOBA
8. Cleveland Indians: Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt
Cleveland has done a great job over the years of developing pitchers. They get another one to develop here in Gray who has great power stuff.
Stats: 2.00 ERA 1.11 WHIP 10.69 K/9
9. Chicago Cubs: Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn
Power right handed pitcher who will be able to handle the cold-weather games that come with being a pitcher on the “North Coast.”
Stats: 0.92 ERA .73 WHIP 7.69 K/9
10. San Diego Padres: Trevor Bauer RHP, UCLA
Statistically, he’s probably the best pitcher in the draft, but GMs will be worried about his pitch counts. However, it’s highly unlikely those worries drop him out of the top 10, as San Diego will be ecstatic to get him here.
Stats: 1.42 ERA .80 WHIP 13.83 K/9
Our system can still use some more quality pitchers. Bradley, Barnes, Gray and Bauer are guys we should pay close attention to when looking at future Nationals. All of them are quality pitchers who’d instantly be a Top 3 prospect in our system next year. If Springer is available, it’d be interesting but I think the pitcher is a safer pick here in comparison to Springer. I am a Jackie Bradley supporter still but #6 is too early to choose him with the players that will still be on the board. The fans screaming for more bats in our system? Don’t worry: We have two more picks in the first round and I think at least one of them will be used on a bat.
All stats taken from http://www.collegesplits.com/data.html