Mock Draft: May 28
Jim Callis' updated predictions for the first round
In terms of the big picture, not much has changed since our first mock draft
ran two weeks ago. CC of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper is still considered a lock to go No. 1 overall to the Nationals, and righthander Jameson Taillon and shortstop Manny Machado remain the cream of the high school crop.
After that, uncertainty reigns. There's no consensus when it comes to identifying the best college position player (Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox? Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon? Texas-Arlington outfielder Michael Choice? Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal?) or the second-best high school pitcher (Stetson Allie? Kaleb Cowart? Karsten Whitson? Dylan Covey?), let alone what's going to happen after the first few picks.
Several high-level scouts made sure to catch the first day of the Southeastern Conference tournament. Mississippi lefthander Drew Pomeranz turned in his best outing in a month after battling a strained pectoral muscle, putting himself back in the mix at the top of the draft. Louisiana State righthander Anthony Ranaudo, who came down with a stress reaction in his elbow after his first start of the season, looked as good as he has all year and reduced the chances he might slide all of the way out of the first round.
The only remaining speculation surrounding Harper is how much money he ultimately signs for. I still think he signs for somewhere between the largest guarantee ever given to a position player (Mark Teixeira's $9.5 million) and the all-time record (Stephen Strasburg's $15.1 million).
PROJECTED PICK: BRYCE HARPER.
Pomeranz seemed to be sliding out of Pittsburgh's plans before reversing course at the SEC tournament. Though the Pirates wanted a college pitcher and stuck to slot with the No. 4 pick a year ago, the belief is that they'll take the best player available at No. 2 and pay to sign him. That debate would be between Taillon and Machado.
PROJECTED PICK: MANNY MACHADO.
Baltimore is in an easy position: just wait and see which player among Harper, Taillon and Machado gets to their choice. The Orioles would probably take Taillon over Machado if both were available.
PROJECTED PICK: JAMESON TAILLON.
Kansas City would love a shot at Taillon or Machado. If that doesn't materialize, the Royals appear to be leaning toward college lefthanders Pomeranz and Chris Sale (Florida Gulf Coast). They also could go after a college position player, such as Grandal or Choice.
PROJECTED PICK: DREW POMERANZ.
Cleveland figures to go the college route in the first round for the ninth straight draft. The Indians would take Sale over Pomeranz, but they could be tempted by a position player such as Cox, Choice or Grandal.
PROJECTED PICK: CHRIS SALE.
Arizona has made college pitching a priority. The Diamonbacks would be interested in Pomeranz or Sale if they last this long, with Georgia Tech righthander Deck McGuire the next-best option. This is the highest landing spot for revitalized North Carolina righthander Matt Harvey.
PROJECTED PICK: DECK McGUIRE.
It's tough to get a read on what New York might do. A front office desperate for results might want a college guy who could help quickly, but the Mets are also linked closely to Covey. Cox has the most major league-ready bat in the draft, so he could be the choice over Grandal, who would fill a position of need.
PROJECTED PICK: ZACK COX.
Houston is pursuing several of the draft's top athletes, and may have to take high school outfielder Austin Wilson or Delino DeShields if it's dead-set on getting them. The Astros also don't have any power bats in their system, which makes Washington high school outfielder Josh Sale very enticing.
PROJECTED PICK: JOSH SALE.
Most of the draft's top hitters are mentioned as a possibility with this pick, including Cox, Choice, Florida high school third baseman Nick Castellanos and Ball State second baseman Kolbrin Vitek. If San Diego takes Vitek, it would make him a center fielder.
PROJECTED PICK: KOLBRIN VITEK.
Oakland could use a nearly-ready college bat, such as Cox, Choice, Vitek and Middle Tennessee State outfielder Bryce Brentz. Nevertheless, talk that the A's might pop Covey won't go away, and McGuire would be tempting if he gets to No. 10.
PROJECTED PICK: MICHAEL CHOICE.
11. BLUE JAYS.
Toronto failed to sign three picks in the first three rounds a year ago. With seven choices in the first two rounds in 2010, the Blue Jays' new regime is poised to aggressively stock their farm system, and other clubs expect them to spend heavily on high-ceiling talent. If that's the case, Wilson (one of the draft's toughest signs) or DeShields could be in their sights. If they stick closer to slot, they could opt for a college hitter (Choice, Colon) or high school arm (Covey, Whitson).
PROJECTED PICK: AUSTIN WILSON.
Cincinnati will stick close to MLB's bonus recommendations, so it will look for the best available player who will sign for slot money. Colon is the safest bet to be a big leaguer among this draft's college players, but he's also advised by the Boras Corp. and his price tag is uncertain. Other possibilities include Grandal, Choice, Brentz and maybe Ohio State righthander Alex Wimmers.
PROJECTED PICK: CHRISTIAN COLON.
13. WHITE SOX.
Chicago is targeting college pitchers. The White Sox almost never deal with the Boras Corp., so that rules out Harvey, but Wimmers and fellow righthanders Brandon Workman (Texas), Asher Wojciechowski (The Citadel) and Brett Eibner (Arkansas) would be in play.
PROJECTED PICK: ASHER WOJCIECHOWSKI.
Few teams need pitching more than Milwaukee does. The Brewers are looking at the same arms the White Sox are, but they're also not afraid to pay Boras Corp. prices.
PROJECTED PICK: MATT HARVEY.
This pick is compensation for failing to sign Matt Purke a year ago, and Texas won't get another consolation if they fail to close this deal. That leads to the possibility of slightly overdrafting someone who will sign quickly, and names floating in that scenario include Canadian high school catcher Kellin Deglan, Minnesota catcher/outfielder Mike Kvasnicka and Georgia prep outfielder Aaron Shipman. But other teams believe the Rangers will take a legitimate player (if not someone looking for more than slot money) such as Choice, Vitek or Brentz.
PROJECTED PICK: BRYCE BRENTZ.
The best value at this point might be whichever high school pitcher Chicago considers second-best to Taillon, and that sounds like Whitson. The Cubs are also tied to several Midwestern players, such as Vitek, Wimmers and Indiana high school catcher Justin O'Conner.
PROJECTED PICK: KARSTEN WHITSON.
Tampa Bay is associated with every high-upside athlete, starting with Wilson and DeShields. But if Grandal fell this far, he'd be hard to pass up for a team that needs catching help.
PROJECTED PICK: YASMANI GRANDAL.
Several California high school righthanders (Covey, Aaron Sanchez, Scott Frazier) are mentioned as possibilities for Los Angeles, which also owns picks Nos. 29 and 30. The Angels also might have interest in out-of-state prep arms like Allie, Whitson, A.J. Cole and Robbie Aviles.
PROJECTED PICK: DYLAN COVEY.
The dream scenario for Houston is to have Wilson or DeShields waiting for them at No. 19. If that doesn't come to pass, they could take another athlete, such as Alabama prep outfielder Reggie Golden or two-way star Eibner, whom they failed to sign as a fourth-rounder in 2007. Vitek is another possibility.
PROJECTED PICK: DELINO DeSHIELDS JR.
20. RED SOX.
Before Ranaudo showed flashes of his 2009 self at the SEC tournament, Boston might have been able to take Cowart or Whitson here and let Ranaudo slide to one of their sandwich picks at Nos. 36 and 39. But if the Red Sox want to make sure they get Ranaudo, they have to take him here now. GM Theo Epstein was spotted at the Mid-American Conference tournament to see Vitek, then at the SEC tourney the next day.
PROJECTED PICK: ANTHONY RANAUDO.
Minnesota likely will be looking at several college pitchers, and should be able to get one of Workman, Wimmers, Wojchiechowski or Eibner. After scoring big by taking injured Kyle Gibson with the 22nd pick in 2009, the Twins could gamble on another dinged-up college righthander in Virginia Tech's Jesse Hahn.
PROJECTED PICK: ALEX WIMMERS.
If any team can sign Texas high school righthander/Louisiana State-bound quarterback Zach Lee, it might be Texas. Whether MLB would torpedo that deal like it did last year with Purke remains to be seen. Less costly options include Workman, O'Conner and Cal State Fullerton outfielder Gary Brown.
PROJECTED PICK: JUSTIN O'CONNER.
Florida likes drafting upside and sticking to slot, and word is they're leaning toward college guys in 2010. Eibner and Michigan outfielder Ryan LaMarre fit the Marlins profile, and they've also have been bearing down on Texas A&M righthander Barret Loux.
PROJECTED PICK: BRETT EIBNER.
. San Francisco needs offense, and Castellanos could be the best bat remaining on the board. Allie's power arm might be too good to pass on if he somehow slides this far, and there aren't a lot of teams ahead of the Giants who seem to be on him.
PROJECTED PICK: NICK CASTELLANOS.
A year ago, St. Louis took a high-ceiling prep pitcher (Shelby Miller) who slid because of concerns about his signability and command. The Cardinals could do the same thing this June with Allie. Workman would provide more immediate help, and the Cards could jump on Colon if he priced himself past teams ahead of them.
PROJECTED PICK: BRANDON WORKMAN.
After choosing a college pitcher with its top pick in three of the last four years, Colorado could go for Hahn, Arizona State righthander Seth Blair or San Diego lefty Sammy Solis. The Rockies also spent their 2009 first-rounder on a high school arm (Tyler Matzek) who had no business sliding to them, and Allie's power stuff is tantalizing.
PROJECTED PICK: STETSON ALLIE.
Bet on upside here. Philadelphia could go for the best body in this year's draft (Wilson), the best pure athlete (Brown) or a gifted two-way player (Cowart). Cowart has a brighter future on the mound, but his desire to hit likely means that he'll begin his career as a third baseman.
PROJECTED PICK: KALEB COWART.
Los Angeles typically sticks to slot in the draft, and is even more likely to do so in the wake of Frank and Jamie McCourt's divorce proceedings. Cole could be the Dodgers' best option, with other candidates including O'Conner, high school righthanders Tyrell Jenkins and Mike Foltynewicz, and Washington prep outfielder Drew Vettleson.
PROJECTED PICK: A.J. COLE.
In addition to all those high school righthanders, the Angels are on some college pitchers as well. Blair has the stuff and versatility to serve as a starter or a reliever, and Solis also could be a factor here.
PROJECTED PICK: SETH BLAIR.
Some of those high school arms Los Angeles considered at No. 18 will still be available, so look for the Angels to take three pitchers in the first round.
PROJECTED PICK: AARON SANCHEZ.
This pick is compensation for failing to sign LeVon Washington, so as with Texas at No. 15, Tampa Bay gets nothing if it can't sign the player this time. Texas Tech righthander Chad Bettis boosted his stock with a strong performance at the Big 12 Conference tournament. If they fall this far, Workman and Wojchiechowski could be possibilities, with West Virginia shortstop Jedd Gyorko an option if the Rays want a bat.
PROJECTED PICK: CHAD BETTIS.
New York definitely can afford any player who falls to them because of signability. The Yankees could make a run at someone like Cowart, Wilson, Lee or Louisiana high school third baseman Garin Cecchini. Word is they'd like a chance at Harvey or O'Conner, and the name generating the most buzz at No. 32 right now is Jenkins.
PROJECTED PICK: TYRELL JENKINS.