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MLB Draft Day 1 and 2: Random Rumblings

by Steve Garrity on Jun. 8, 2011

Day 1 and 2 are in the books. With Day 3 set to begin in about 30 minutes. Here are some thoughts from the past couple of days. 

- The Pirates had the first pick to start off the first two days of the draft. Day two's selection was the bigger surprise. After grabbing UCLA's Gerrit Cole first overall as expected, Pittsburgh went for Josh Bell. Bell, a consensus top 15 talent, may be the toughest sign in the entire draft. However the selection continues to show that the Pirates front office is not afraid to spend the big bucks to take the best player available. It could take up to $6 million to sign Bell away from his commitment to Texas. That was the reported offer the Tigers were going to offer, if Bell fell to them with their first selection in the draft, 76th overall.
 
- The selection of Hultzen second overall was one of the bigger surprises from day 1. No one really had the Mariners on him but they get one of the most polished pitchers in the draft. Someone who shouldn't need too much seasoning in the minors. Fitting a lefty between Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda has to be a welcoming thought.
 
- Arizona has hoarded pitching in this draft. With their first pick they grabbed perhaps the most Major League ready pitcher in the draft in Trevor Bauer, and with pick number 2 they grabbed a polished prep arm in Archie Bradley. Both will cost, but it looks like the Diamondbacks are willing to open the wallet. Three more arms in Anthony Meo, Andrew Chafin, and Matt Price are going to really boost Arizona’s minor league system pitching depth. Price in the sixth round is a real steal.
 
- Rendon fell to Baltimore, however his medicals must have been worst than assumed because they passed him up for the top prep arm in the draft in Dylan Bundy. The Orioles system is in pretty rough shape so whoever they got here will most likely near the top of their minor leagues along with Manny Machado. It is going to cost a lot to buy Bundy away from Texas, but high schoolers who hit 100 mph don't grow on trees. Grabbing Nicky Delmonico all the way in the sixth round is huge, a top 50 talent. Though he could be a tough sign. Esposito in the second round is also a real coup. 2011 should be a real boom to their farm system.
 
- The rich just keep getting richer (although tough to ever call the Royals rich). Kansas City grabbed arguably the top prospect in the entire draft with Bubba Starling. They were connected to college pitching leading up to the draft, but it wouldn't be a surprise at all if that was all smokescreens. The Royals under Dayton Moore never shied away from taking top prep talent. Starling has to automatically move near the top of the deepest system in the league. Love the pick.
 
- Washington has had one the better drafts. Grabbing Rendon with the sixth overall is exciting, along with two of their main targets in Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin all on day 1. However the best pick they made came on day 2. Grabbing TCU's Matt Purke in the 3rd round 96th overall. A possible top 3 pick at the beginning of the season, Purke fell due to injury and inconsistency this year. But there is almost no risk at all involved with this pick. The Nationals can follow him pitch in the Cape this summer, and if he turns it around, great, and if not, no problem. Even if they don't sign him they still get a compensation pick for next year. Purke still has a ton of leverage, in that he is a sophomore, so he will definitely come with a big tag if Washington wants to sign him. But overall this is a great pick and an extremely great haul for the Nationals system.
 
- Glad to see the Astros didn't go back to their old ways and reach with a high selection. Grabbing UConn's George Springer 11th overall showed last year was no fluke for Houston. It seems they are definitely changing their draft strategy to overhaul one of the shallowest systems in baseball. Springer is a real five-tool talent, something Houston desperately needs.
 
- Apparently the Mets were serious when they said they could go over slot to sign their top draft pick this year. Brandon Nimmo's stock shot up in the days leading up to the draft, even with a $3 million dollar tag associated with him. After Nimmo it was a steady flow of college pitching, which make sense after you spend all your money on one pick. He automatically becomes their system's best position player and the pitching haul should add some much needed depth.
 
- Seeing the Angels go for a college player in the first round was interesting, since they are always usually associated with high upside, high school athletes. Grabbing CJ Cron at 17 makes you wonder about the futures of Mark Trumbo and most importantly Kendry Morales at the big league level. Cron is one of the top college bats in the draft and has big time power, it's just not an Angels type of pick. In fact they have been pretty college heavy this entire draft.
 
- The Blue Jays grabbed two highly touted prep arms in the first two days of the draft in Tyler Beede and Daniel Norris. It was surprising to see Norris slip out of the first round and out of day 1 entirely. His $3.9 million dollar bonus request obviously scared off teams, but it also showed he was serious about it. Grabbing both of them is definitely going to cost the Jays. The picks also show GM Alex Anthopolous is nothing like JP Riccardi. Grabbing Dwight Smith is the sandwich round is also a solid pick.
 
- The Red Sox got their target at 26 in Blake Swihart. They usually wait to spend later in the draft on talent that fell. Along with Swihart, they grabbed Matt Barnes, Henry Owens, and Jackie Bradley, giving them an extremely impressive day 1 haul. Day 2 was pretty much back to Boston's normal routine, grabbing value picks on talent that fell in Williams Jerez in the second round, who saw his name mentioned as a sandwich pick. They also got Senquez Golson in the 8th round. A football stud who’s signed to play for Ole Miss.
 
- The Rays were obvious winners, no matter what they did, having that many picks it would be tough to have a poor draft. But they were able to grab top talent throughout, grabbing Taylor Guerreri, Mikie Mahtook, and Jake Hager in the first round. Guerreri and Mahtook were top 15 talents. On day 2 they grabbed Granden Goetzman, a name that was reported as a probable sandwich pick. Just a ridiculous haul. The Rays are always patient and it most assuredly paid off again here.
 
- The Giants really reached on their first round pick, grabbing St. John's Joe Panik. For a system that could really use some upside players, they usually always falter. Gary Brown was a solid selection last year but Panik was a second round talent. With players like Trevor Story still on the board, they once again went the safe route. They are usually dead on with pitching, but bats they can't seem to get. However grabbing Andrew Susac in the second round was a very good pick. They were connected to him the first round due to Posey’s injury. On day 2 he has extremely great value.
 
- Interesting to see the Rangers select Kevin Matthews with the last pick in the first round. He has an extremely strong commitment to Virginia and I think most people assumed it would be a bat. However Texas has been saying throughout that signability would not be a huge concern, so maybe it shouldn't be that surprising. Grabbing Zach Cone in the sandwich round is kind of a high risk, high reward pick. He has the talent, but he just really hasn't put it together. Will Lamb on day 2 is a very interesting pick, a two way talent with great athleticism, they grabbed him as a LHP. Getting Derek Fisher all the way in the 6th round could be a real steal. He'll cost, but the Rangers don't mind paying. Overall a very solid draft for Texas.
 
- The Yankees had one pick in the first 76 selections and they blew it. Dante Bichette is an overrated talent. He has power if he connects, but his swing mechanics are so off. It would be really surprising to see him hit consistently in pro ball. New York really reached with this pick, making it two years in a row that they were somewhat conservative. Grabbing Greg Bird and Jake Cave in the 5th and 6th round were solid picks but overall a pretty mediocre draft for the Yanks. With such a deep class, it was surprising to not see them spend big in the sandwich round.

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