We’re hard at work on our Draft Preview, which goes to the printer at the end of next week and should start hitting our website at about the same time. We’ll have scouting reports, overall and state-by-state rankings, mock drafts and much, much more, so stay tuned at baseballamerica.com as we get ready for the June 7-9 draft. I’ll also be part of MLB Network’s first-day coverage, which expands this year to include a one-hour predraft show and coverage of all the picks through the sandwich round.
The draft is very much on my mind, so it will be the subject of all three Ask BA questions today. Keep them coming, and if you prefer more terse draft interaction, fire me some questions via Twitter at @jimcallisBA.
- What would the ideal draft of the last five years look like? Who's the best first-round pick, second-round pick, all the way through round 25, since 2005?
This exercise was more difficult than I expected. Few players have established themselves as full-fledged big leaguers from the last five drafts, and many of the game’s top prospects were selected in the first two rounds. Here’s what I came up with:
|1. Tim Lincecum, rhp (Giants, 2006)|
|1s. Joba Chamberlain, rhp (Yankees, 2006)|
|2. Brett Anderson, lhp (Diamondbacks, 2006)|
|3. Zach Britton, lhp (Orioles, 2006)|
|4. Jeremy Hellickson, rhp (Devil Rays, 2005)|
|5. Michael Taylor, of (Phillies, 2007)|
|6. Andrew Bailey, rhp (Athletics, 2006)|
|7. Mickey Brantley, of (Brewers, 2005)|
|8. Austin Jackson, of (Yankees, 2005)|
|9. Ryan Kalish, of (Red Sox, 2006)|
|10. Desmond Jennings, of (Devil Rays, 2006)|
|11. *Mat Latos, rhp (Padres, 2006)|
|12. Adam Rosales, ss (Reds, 2005)|
|13. Dan Murphy, 3b (Mets, 2006)|
|14. Graham Stoneburner, rhp (Yankees, 2009)|
|15. Chris Carter, 3b (White Sox, 2005)|
|16. T.J. House, lhp (Indians, 2008)|
|17. Josh Reddick, of (Red Sox, 2006)|
|18. Lars Anderson, 1b (Red Sox, 2006)|
|19. Danny Valencia, 3b (Twins, 2006)|
|20. Domonic Brown, of (Phillies, 2006)|
|21. Logan Watkins, ss (Cubs, 2008)|
|22. *Tommy Hanson, rhp (Braves, 2005)|
|23. Drake Britton, lhp (Red Sox, 2007)|
|24. Kyle Allen, rhp (Mets, 2008)|
|25. *Derek Holland, lhp (Rangers, 2006)|
The toughest calls were in the first round, where I took Lincecum over Evan Longoria (Rays, 2006), and in the second, where I went with Anderson over Mike Stanton (Marlins, 2007). In both cases, I gave the nod to the player who has done more at the major league level.
The Red Sox led all teams with four picks (Kalish, Reddick, Anderson and Drake Britton) among the 26 above, which isn’t a surprise. When I graded each club’s 2005-08 drafts in Draft Blog entry in January, Boston tied the Giants for the highest grade-point average at 3.5. Four other teams had multiple choices that made the list: the Yankees with three, and the Mets, Phillies and Rays with two each.
- Cole Green gets overlooked among the rest of the pitchers at Texas, but he has a great ERA and a pretty solid K/BB as well. What can you tell me about his stuff? Where do you see him going in the draft?
The other members of the Longhorns’ weekend rotation (Taylor Jungmann, Brandon Workman) are projected first-round picks, while closer Chance Ruffin could be a sandwich-rounder. They all have sexier stuff than Green, but he has been as good as any member of a pitching staff that has posted an NCAA Division I-best 2.17 ERA.
Green has gone 9-0, 1.62 in 11 games, with a 55-19 K-BB ratio in 78 innings. He ranks second nationally in wins, and ninth in ERA and opponent average (.179). He doesn’t have a classic pro build at 6 feet and 210 pounds, and he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he pitches well enough that he should go by the end of the third round in June.
Green sits at 90-91 mph with his sinker, living in the bottom of the strike zone and generating plenty of groundouts. His changeup is a quality offering and he also has a late-breaking slider. He throws strikes with all three pitches and keeps his pitch counts down, allowing him to work deep into games. He might project as a solid middle reliever in the big leagues, but I also wouldn’t rule out him getting the job done as a starter.
- What's your opinion on Utah high school shortstop Marcus Littlewood? I'm extremely high on this kid and want my Cardinals to snag him with one of their sandwich picks. Are there any signability concerns with him committed to San Diego?
Littlewood is one of the best middle infielders available in a draft short on them. Though he’s already big for the position at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he has good defensive actions and arm strength, and he at least has a chance to remain at shortstop. He’s a good athlete who runs well, and he’s a switch-hitter with the potential to produce for power and average.
Add all that up, and Littlewood looks like a second- to fourth-round pick. It’s too early to have a good gauge on anyone’s signability, but he seems like he’d go high enough in the draft to warrant turning pro, unless he’s looking for a seven-figure bonus.