Draft Chat With Conor Glassey
Conor Glassey answered draft queries on Sept. 16.
Conor Glassey answered draft queries on Sept. 16.
An early look at the top talent for the 2012 draft.
Brian Johnson's success on the mound and at the plate is making life difficult for scouts.
When it comes to the draft, the O'Sullivan family doesn't usually take a conventional path.
Jim Callis wrappped up the draft with a chat that looked at which teams surprised and which prospects fell unexpectedly.
As draft day dawned, one thing was certain: The Pirates will take UCLA righthander Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 overall selection. After that, teams were still scrambling to line up their picks. The consensus is the Mariners will choose Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon with the No. 2 pick. The Diamondbacks had appeared locked in on Virginia lefthander Danny Hultzen at No. 3, and the Orioles had zeroed in on Oklahoma high school righthander Dylan Bundy, though now those teams seem headed in different directions. It no longer looks like the consensus six players in the draft (the aforementioned four plus UCLA righthander Trevor Bauer and Kansas high school outfielder Bubba Starling) will go in the top six.
It's a down cycle in Louisiana this year. College baseball in the state was down in terms of draft talent and wins. None of the state's 12 Division I teams made it to the NCAA tournament, and two—Centenary and New Orleans—were dropping out of Division I. Centenary was going to Division III, while UNO was headed to D-II. The high schools in the state didn't step forward to fill the void. Only a handful of Pelican State prospects were sure bets to be drafted in the first 10 rounds.
The University of Minnesota will provide most of the North Star State's draft picks, though the two best prospects aren't Golden Gophers. St. Olaf righthander Ben Hughes and Centennial HS lefty Austin Malinowski stand out the most, but may have to wait until the double-digit rounds to hear their names called. Scouts had a more difficult time than usual evaluating the state after the Metrodome collapsed in December, leaving the Gophers without their usual home. Forced to play outdoors, Minnesota got in only 44 games of its 56-game schedule, and several other college and high school teams also had to scramble.
Scouts don't usually have much reason to trek to the Dakotas, but they did this year. South Dakota State righthander Blake Treinen hit 97 mph with his fastball, making him one of the draft's most intriguing senior signs and giving him the chance to be the region's highest-drafted player ever. Both Dakotas also have a high school prospect of note, though righthanders Tanner Chieborad and David Ernst are expected to attend college.
The Cornhusker State hasn't had a college position player drafted in the first five rounds since Alex Gordon went No. 2 overall in 2005, but that streak should end thanks to another Nebraska third baseman, Cody Asche. As usual, Nebraska and Creighton will produce the majority of the state's draft picks, and the top high school prospects will attend college rather than turn pro.
Not much went right in the Great Lakes State from a scouting standpoint this spring. Michigan righthander Kolby Wood, the Major League Scouting Bureau's top-rated prospect in the state entering the year, blew out his biceps in his second game and had season-ending surgery. Teammate Derek Dennis, a shortstop who turned down sandwich-round money from the Rays out of high school, broke a bone in his foot and batted .216. Even the state's two best talents, Central Michigan lefthander Trent Howard and Michigan righty Tyler Mills, didn't finish as strongly as they began the season. Most of the state's top prospects are college pitchers, and the overall high school crop is extremely weak.
After a historic 2010, Georgia is down for 2011. The best prep talent was in the southern part of the state, though players like outfielder Larry Greene, infielder Tyler Gibson and catcher Jordan Weems will have to overcome playing against weaker high school competition. At least the state's college clubs had solid talent, with Georgia Tech likely to produce its fourth first-round pick in the last decade in lefthander Jed Bradley. The state's top performer was Georgia Tech righty Mark Pope, who emerged as the Yellow Jackets' Friday starter and ace by going 11-4, 1.74.
Missouri didn't have a player selected in the top five rounds last year, the first time that had happened since 1995. The Show-Me State's talent isn't much better in 2011, with high school outfielder Johnny Eierman the only prospect assured of getting tabbed that early. The high school talent outshone the college prospects this spring, especially in terms of position players. Missouri State second baseman Kevin Medrano had a disappointing junior season that could drop him out of the first 10 rounds.
If it weren't for Kent State, scouts wouldn't have had much reason to travel to Ohio this spring. The Golden Flashes won the Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament championships, featuring the three best prospects in the state: lefthander Andrew Chafin, righthander Kyle McMillen and third baseman Travis Shaw. Chafin and McMillen should go in the top three rounds, but the quality drops off quickly after them. There may not be a signable high school player worthy of going in the first 15 rounds.
Kentucky righthander Alex Meyer will be the state's first first-round pick since Eastern Kentucky's Christian Friedrich three years ago. Louisville righthander Tony Zych and Western Kentucky outfielder Kes Carter could go in the sandwich round, and the Bluegrass State never has had three players selected that high in one draft. Louisville infielder Ryan Wright could go in the second round as well, but the high school crop is not nearly as strong.
Vanderbilt's rise as a national college program will be evident in this draft, as seven Commodores made it into BA's Top 200 Prospects. Ace righty Sonny Gray is a surefire first-rounder, and five other Commodores—righthanders Jack Armstrong and Navery Moore, lefthander Grayson Garvin, third baseman Jason Esposito and first baseman Aaron Westlake—all are likely to go in the first five rounds. Nicky Delmonico entered the year as a potential first-rounder and finished strong. He led Knoxville's Farragut High to its fourth straight 3-A championship, getting help from lefthander Philip Pfeifer, Vanderbilt's top in-state signee. His bout of shoulder tendinitis kept him from pitching in an April matchup with Tennessee's top prep talent, lefthander Daniel Norris. A Clemson signee, Norris dropped a bit as the season wore on due to inconsistency, though he wasn't expected to slip out of the first 33 selections.
Our third first-round projection for the 2011 draft, in list form. We predict the Pirates will selected Virginia lefthander Danny Hultzen first overall, followed by Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon going to the Mariners.
Our third projection of the first round of the 2011 draft, complete with analysis. The Pirates takes Virginia lefthander Danny Hultzen at No. 1, followed by Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon going to the Mariners
With the draft coming up on Monday, we wanted to take yet another look at how the first round might unfold, this time if four of our draft experts were making the calls. This isn't a projection of how the first round will play out, but rather who editor John Manuel, executive editor Jim Callis and assistant editors Conor Glassey and Nathan Rode would prefer for picks 1-33. We changed the order up from our original experts draft, and the four experts alternated choices throughout the first round while taking into account each club's needs and financial situation.
Arkansas has some high-end talent this year, but not tremendous depth. The state has two players likely to go in the first three rounds and five players who could go in the first 10 rounds this year. The University of Arkansas is the top baseball institution in the Natural State and has more talent among its underclassmen, chiefly sophomore righthander D.J. Baxendale and freshman corner infielder Dominic Ficociello (both of whom were invited to Team USA's college national team trials), and freshman righthander Ryne Stanek, one of college baseball's hardest throwers.