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MLB Mock Draft Pick by Pick Analysis

by Steve Garrity on May. 5, 2011

The draft is a little over a month away, draft boards have yet to be set in stone and as everyone knows anything can happen. 2011 is shaping up to be a historically deep draft. We have has many as 40-45 players fighting to get into first round. As of right now this is how we have things shaping up based on team need and philosophy:

1) Pittsburgh Pirates - Gerrit Cole RHP,UCLA

-The battle for the top spot is down to two players - Cole and Rice third basemen, Anthony Rendon. Either player would be a fine choice and both have question marks heading into the draft. Rendon has battled some injuries and Cole hasn't gotten the results someone should with his talent. However the foundation of most strong teams is pitching, and the Pirates seem to be thinking the same after grabbing Jamison Taillon and Stetson Allie in 2010. Pairing Cole with both of them gives Pittsburgh hope for the future.

2) Seattle Mariners - Anthony Rendon 3B, Rice

- The Mariners would be happy with either player that falls to them and here it happens to be Rendon. He offers both great defense and a very strong bat at the hot corner. A future lineup of Rendon, Smoak, and Ackley would give Mariners something to smile about. The only question is will Seattle pay a potentially very high bonus demand or will they go in a different direction?

3) Arizona Diamondbacks - Danny Hultzen LHP, Virginia

- Arizona is a team that under former GM Josh Brynes had leaned towards college pitching. With Kevin Towers now in charge, he may elect to go a different route. However, it has been mentioned that the Diamondbacks really like Hultzen at number three. He is the most polished pitcher in the draft and could move through the minors quickly.

4) Baltimore Orioles - Sonny Gray RHP, Vanderbilt

- Baltimore isn't the deepest team in the minors and with Zack Britton graduating they could use another top arm in the system. Manager Buck Showalter usually likes to give his two cents in the draft-picking process and prefers polished college talent. The only real knock on Gray is his height (listed at 5'11), but his fastball/curve combination and fearlessness should peak the Orioles manager' interest. 

5) Kansas City Royals - Bubba Starling OF/RHP, Garden-Edgarton HS (KS)

- The Royals have the best minor league system in baseball. They are deep in pitching and in bats, so this would be a luxury pick. They have been linked to college pitching, Trevor Bauer and Jed Bradley are still on the board here, but Starling is the best prospect in the draft, he is a local product, and can play two-ways. However this could be another Zack Lee situation. Bubba Starling is a top quarterback prospect, with a scholarship to Nebraska. He will definitely cost but maybe a chance to play for his hometown team will make him reconsider.

6) Washington Nationals - Francisco Lindor SS, Montverde Academy (FL)

- The Washington Nationals have a true superstar in the making in uberprospect Bryce Harper. They also have one of the top catching prospects in Derek Noris, along with solid arms AJ Cole and Sammy Solis. What they don't have is a real up-the-middle prospect, and Lindor gives them that player. He is the rare high schooler who can actually stay at shortstop. The Nats have Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond at the Major League level, but Lindor has the tools to better than both. It shouldn't keep them from making this pick.

7) Arizona Diamondbacks - Matt Barnes RHP, UConn (Compensation for failing to sign Barrett Loux)

- Signability is key here. The Diamondbacks will receive no compensation in 2012 if they cannot sign this pick.  That knocks out a lot of prep talent and some high price players from the college ranks. They have some strong bats in the system like Matt Davidson and Bobby Borchering, but that doesn't mean a pick such as Utah 1B/C CJ Cron isn't a possibility here. But in the end the D-backs could use some more pitching depth and Barnes is one of the top pitchers in the draft.

8) Cleveland Indians - Trevor Bauer RHP, UCLA

- Bauer is technically the number two man on the Bruins, but he is quickly shooting up draft boars. He has been compared to Tim Lincecum due to his delivery and both are big time strikeout pitchers. The Indians were looking heavily at Lincecum when he came out, and passing up perhaps the second coming would be surprising.

9) Chicago Cubs - Taylor Jungmann RHP, Texas

- The Cubs are always down for taking whomever they like the best, despite what anyone else might think. For example, they took little known Division 2 prospect, RHP Hayden Simpson in the first round last year. So any top prospect left is possible here, but most of Chicago's talent is in the lower levels. They could really use a player like Jungmann who might only need a few seasons of minor league baseball and be able to get to Chicago to help the team.

10) San Diego Padres - Jed Bradley LHP, Georgia Tech (Compensation for failing to sign Karsten Whitson)

- Like Arizona at 7, signability is key here. The Padres are most likely leaning towards a college arm here. Bradley has some of the best stuff in the draft and after the haul San Diego got from Boston for Adrian Gonzalez, this adds to a solid system.

11) Houston Astros - George Springer OF, UConn

- The Astros generally are a conservative team in the draft and the system has suffered because of it. However in 2010 they tweaked their methods, and went after young players with upside such as Delino Deshields Jr. and Mike Foltynewicz. They could really use a prospect to build around, and could also use a power bat in their system. Springer is a real five-tool talent who would most likely become Houston's top prospect right away. If he is available here it would be tough to pass over him.

12) Milwaukee Brewers - Taylor Guerri RHP, Spring Valley HS (SC)

- The Brewers got burned taking a prep pitcher in the first round last year and may steer clear this year. The Brewers also have one of the, if not the worst, systems in baseball. Even before gutting the minors to get Zack Grienke there wasn't much depth. Guerri has as much upside as anyone pitcher in the draft and has already hit 98 mph. He also should probably be an easier sign than Dylan Covey - given the right offer.

13) New York Mets - Jackie Bradley OF, South Carolina

- The Mets are another team that plays it pretty conservatively in the draft. Their extreme financial problems probably won't change that approach much. There are players with more upside left on the board, but Bradley is a solid player with good tools across the board. He led the Gamecocks to the 2010 College World Series title, so he's a proven winner, and the Mets could use that bat in their system. He also shouldn't be too difficult to sign.

14) Florida Marlins - Dylan Bundy RHP, Owasso HS (OK)

- The Marlins are a team that usually leans toward high schoolers with great upside, Bundy fits that mold. It would be pretty surprising to see him fall here, but the draft is so deep and with college pitching expected to dominate the early part of the draft, this is a real possibility. Bundy has a real four pitch mix and has hit 100 mph. If he makes it here, Florida would have to jump on him.

15) Milwaukee Brewers - CJ Cron 1B/C, Utah (Compensation for failing to sign Dylan Covey)

- The Brewers will probably be looking to even out their draft after selecting RHP Taylor Guerri at 12 and grab a solid bat here. If LSU's Mikie Mahtook is still on the board he would surely be in consideration here, but Mahtook is a gamer with solid tools, and Milwaukee will probably be looking at their potential replacement for Prince Fielder. Cron makes consistent, hard contact and has the power to match.

16) Los Angeles Dodgers - Blake Swihart C, Cleveland HS (NM)

- It's difficult to assume what the Dodgers will do here because of their uncertain standing with MLB. Reaching for a player is a possibility here; they did take the toughest sign in the 2010 draft in Zack Lee even with financial uncertainty and gave him $5 million. Without all the background noise, LA likes high school talent. Grabbing Swihart, a player with upside both at the plate and behind it, would be a huge coup. It will probably take a solid offer to sign him, but he is worth it.

17) Los Angeles Angels - Archie Bradley RHP, Broken Arrow HS (OK)

- This is another quarterback prospect, so Bradley will definitely be a tough sign. However the Angels love athletic prep players, and Archie Bradley fits that mold. Los Angeles' system is slightly overrated because it has the number one prospect in baseball in outfielder Mike Trout, and after graduating a few prospects they could use more arms. Bradley has a tremendous two pitch mix in a mid-90's fastball and outstanding curve; if the Angels spend they get themselves a very good prospect.

18) Oakland Athletics - Mikie Mahtook OF, LSU

- This is a match made in heaven. Mahtook is a gamer, one who goes all out all the time; A real Eric Brynes type of player. He has very good tools across the board and is having a monster season for the Tigers. The A's have been targeting bats lately and Mikie Mahtook is someone who will fit perfectly into the Billy Beane mold, making him the perfect Oakland A's player.

19) Boston Red Sox - Matt Purke LHP, TCU

- The slide ends here for Purke. At the beginning of the season he was a consensus top three pick and in the argument to go first overall. Now with a dip in velocity and shoulder concerns his stock has dropped. He is sophomore-eligible however, so he still has leverage in threatening to go back to school. The Red Sox obviously have shown they are willing to take a chance on pitchers with injury concerns when they grabbed LSU pitcher Anthony Ranaudo  39th overall in 2010. Purke still seems to be looking for a strong bonus however, and with catching a strong need for Boston, the Sox could grab Oregon State' catcher Andrew Susac here and hope Purke falls to them at 26. Yet the chance to grab a talent like Matt Purke this late in the draft may be too much to pass up.

20) Colorado Rockies - Daniel Norris LHP, Science Hill HS (TN)

- Being the top lefty in the high school ranks, the Rockies would be overjoyed if Norris fell to them at 20. He falls here because although he shows glimpses of plus stuff, consistency has been a problem for him. Colorado's system is in pretty good shape though, both in the Majors and minor leagues, and adding Norris to go with Christian Friedrich and Tyler Matzek will give them another strong wave of prospects in the future.

21) Toronto Blue Jays - Josh Bell OF, Jesuit College Prep (TX)

- This is the type of player former Jays GM JP Riccardi would have passed over in favor of a far safer pick. Now with Alex Anthopolus at the helm he has shown he is not afraid of taking risks including trading away perhaps the most popular Blue Jay in history in Roy Halladay. Bell could be a tough sign, but he is a real five-tool talent that could be compared to Jason Heyward with less polish. Bell would move right to the top of Toronto's position player ranks.

22) St. Louis Cardinals - John Stilson RHP, Texas A&M

- It wouldn't be at all shocking to hear Stilson's name used with any of the compensation picks. He might be seen as a somewhat safe pick, since a team could pick him as a reliever type, even though he has enough to stick as a starter. He is the type of pitcher that could move through the Cardinals system quickly. St. Louis really likes to go for college level players, usually bats, but if Stilson is still on the board the Cardinals would do right by jumping on him.

23) Washington Nationals - Tyler Anderson LHP, Oregon

- Washington obviously has no problem spending in the draft, but if they were to select Francisco Lindor at 6 they will probably be looking for a less expensive player. Anderson is a player that shouldn't be too difficult to sign and will also even out the Nationals draft. Anderson is an even pitching prospect who has had a solid season and seen his stuff improve throughout the year. The Nats like to go the college arm route, so grabbing Tyler Anderson here makes a lot of sense.

24) Tampa Bay Rays - Levi Michael SS, UNC

- The Rays are going to have a franchise changing draft this year with 12 picks throughout the first two rounds. They have been mentioned to be looking towards high school bats and college arms, so this pick goes against that philosophy. However, Michael is one of the top college bats, and is a Dustin Pedroia type that could move fast through the system. He is also at a position of need for Tampa Bay, once he moves over to second base. Picking Levi Michael here will get the Rays draft off on the right foot.

25) San Diego Padres - Andrew Susac C, Oregon State

- Susac is an option for Boston at 19 or any of the compensation picks. He is presently the best catcher in the draft and offers very strong defense, along with a solid bat. His season ended early with a hand injury but it shouldn't set him back too much. The Padres have a real need at catcher in their system and Susac would be a perfect fit if he falls to 25.

26) Boston Red Sox - Jose Fernandez RHP, Alonso HS (FL)

- The Sox system took a step back after the Adrian Gonzalez deal. They had a strong 2010 draft that should help. Even after trading top pitching prospect Casey Kelly, they still have some solid pitching depth. Grabbing a quickly rising Cuban defector though who has some of the best pure stuff in the draft and has hit 98 mph will only help more.

27) Cincinnati Reds - Javier Baez SS, Arlington County HS (FL)

- The Reds have good position-player depth in the minors, but could use some pitching depth. Grabbing an arm is definitely an option here, but at this point Baez is the best player on the board. He has played shortstop this year with some mixed reviews, so a move to third base is probably in his future given that he has more than enough power to profile there.

28) Atlanta Braves - Brian Goodwin OF, Miami-Dade JC

- The Braves have one of the better systems in baseball, but a lot of their talent has or is close to graduating to the Major Leagues. A lot of their minor league depth is in their pitching. They love high school athletes, so high school mystery man Brandon Nimmo could be in consideration here. However grabbing an athletic five-tool outfielder that could team with Jason Heyward in the future would be tough to pass up.

29) San Francisco Giants - Henry Owens RHP, Edison HS (CA)

- The Giants could use some more athleticism in their system. They grabbed OF Gary Brown in the first round last year which should help. San Francisco also has a thing for high school pitchers and there happens to be two very good prep arms still on the board. Seeing both Owens and Dillon Howard on the board this late could be surprising, but it could play out this way on draft day. Owens is a California kid, with a live arm and a big 6'7" frame. He could be too much to pass over.

30) Minnesota Twins - Josh Osich LHP, Oregon State

- The Twins love taking college pitching early, outside of Kyle Gibson. They are not a team that really likes to spend big in the first round. In comes Osich, who lost all of 2010 due to Tommy John Surgery, but has bounced back in a big way in 2011. He struggled with command early which is not shocking, but after throwing a no-hitter recently he could find himself soaring up into the first round.

31) Tampa Bay Rays - Dillon Howard RHP, Searcy HS (ARK)

- The second of Tampa Bay's first round picks. Howard also goes against what the Rays usually like to do, which is grab arms from the college ranks. However, they have great pitching depth in the minors and one of the best system's in baseball. A bat like Derek Fisher could work here, but he would cost more than Tampa Bay usually likes to pay. While Howard might go against Tampa's philosophy, if falls here, they'd have to jump all over him.

 

32) Tampa Bay Rays - Brandon Nimmo OF, East HS (WY)

- Nimmo is a mystery to many. Wyoming does not have high school baseball, which means he can only play legion and showcases. It also means he is pretty raw. But everyone that has seen him play, including myself has been impressed. He is extremely athletic (runs 6.5 60) and has the tools to hit for a good average and solid power. He has been called a Rocco Baldelli type, which is a great comparison. Tampa knows all about Baldelli, who had has much talent as anyone before injuries struck. They can get themselves a re-do by selecting Brandon Nimmo.

33) Texas Rangers - Derek Fisher OF, Cedar Crest HS (PA)

- The Rangers like to go with the best player available approach, and at this point Derek Fisher is the best player on the board. He has the size (6'3''), power, and speed to become a tremendous asset. The only hold up is he has a solid commitment to Virginia, so Texas will have to open their wallets. GM Jon Daniels has never shied away from spending to get top talent, so grabbing Fisher here would be a no brainer.