Draft Analysis: National League

Our experts break down the clubs by division





Now that the 2010 draft has wrapped up, it's time to start making sense of it all. We asked our three main draft reporters to give us a quick take on each team's draft class, so you can get an idea of what your favorite team went after. Jim Callis covered the Eastern Division teams, Conor Glassey took the Central, and John Manuel summed up the West. We've also provided quick links to the complete draft class for each team. Here's our rundown of the National League teams; you can find the American League analysis here.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

ATLANTA BRAVES

From the BA Draft Database: Braves 2010 Draft Class
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The Braves put together a fine draft without the benefit of a first-round choice. SS Matt Lipka (1s), the top pick, is an all-state wide receiver from Texas with plus-plus speed and plenty of quick-twitch athleticism. Atlanta is moving sweet-swinging Todd Cunningham (2), last summer's Cape Cod League batting champion, from the outfield to third base, but he profiles better at second. RHP Andrelton Simmons (2) is loaded with tools. Baseball America rated him as the best defensive shortstop in the draft, but the Braves will use him on the mound, where he has been clocked in the mid-90s. 3B Joe Leonard (3) and RHPs Dave Filak (4) and Matt Suschak (7) went a round or two later than expected. Signing C Stefan Sabol (17) or 2B Zach Alvord (18) would be a coup.
 
FLORIDA MARLINS

From the BA Draft Database: Marlins 2010 Draft Class
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As usual, the Marlins took players who will sign for MLB's bonus recommendations, but they still came away with intriguing talent. 1B Christian Yelich (1) was one of the better all-around high school bats in the draft and he's athletic, too. LHP Rob Rasmussen (2) is just 5-foot-11, but he has quality stuff in a low-90s fastball and an over-the-top curve. Florida's front office stayed true to its Oklahoma roots by taking SS J.T. Realmuto (3) from the Sooner State after he set national high school records with 88 hits and 119 RBIs. OF Andrew Toles (4) inherited speed from his father Alvin, who was an NFL first-round pick as a linebacker. RHP Robert Morey (5) has a solid fastball/slider mix. The Marlins also added a pair of quality senior signs in RHP Alan Oaks (8) and 1B Aaron Senne (10), and will have a pair of steals if they can sign RHPs Randy LeBlanc (16) and Zach Neal (17).
 
NEW YORK METS

From the BA Draft Database: Mets 2010 Draft Class
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Rather than going cheap, the Mets led off their draft with a Boras Corp. client in RHP Matt Harvey (1), who came on as a junior at North Carolina after two inconsistent seasons. Whether Harvey will be steady enough to be a starter remains to be seen, and New York returned to its usual conservative ways after that pick. The Mets didn't have a second-rounder, and C Blake Forsythe (3) and OF Cory Vaughn (4) have to prove they can make consistent contact. OF Matt den Dekker (5) is a senior sign who sticks out most with his center-field defense. There's not a lot of upside in this draft, and New York didn't even take any high-price-tag players as late-round gambles.
 
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

From the BA Draft Database: Phillies 2010 Draft Class
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The Phillies continue to draft in a way that would make former GM Pat Gillick proud: upside, upside, upside. Local LHP Jesse Biddle (1) has a 6-foot-4 frame, a fastball that touches 94 mph and promising secondary pitches. RHP Perci Garner (2) is a former Ball State quarterback with power stuff. LHP Bryan Morgado (4) and RHP Scott Frazier (5) also can light up radar guns, though both lack consistency. C Cameron Rupp (3) has the power potential and arm strength desired at his position. OF Gauntlett Eldemire's (6) pure tools are ahead of his baseball skills, and Philadelphia does a nice job of developing those types of players. The Phillies also took some late-round fliers that could pay off, such as RHPs Mike Nesseth (17), Kevin Walter (20) and Jonathan Musser (21), and LHP Jimmy Hodgskin (43).
 
WASHINGTON NATIONALS

From the BA Draft Database: Nationals 2010 Draft Class
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Most of the focus was on the No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper (1). While some thought the Nationals might expedite his bat to the majors by moving him to the outfield eventually, it was surprising to hear him announced as an outfielder rather than a catcher. Washington did well after Harper, grabbing a pair of pitchers in LHP Sammy Solis (2) and RHP A.J. Cole (4) who projected as possible first-rounders. So did SS Rick Hague (3) before he bombed in the first half of the season, though he finished the season on a tear. He profiles more as a utilityman than a shortstop, though. SS Jason Martinson (5) also will have to move to a different position, but the former Texas State wide receiver offers plenty of bat speed. SS Blake Kelso (10) is a little gamer with speed who may will himself to the majors.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

CHICAGO CUBS

From the BA Draft Database: Cubs 2010 Draft Class
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This will go down as the Hayden Simpson (1) draft. No. 191 in BA's predraft rankings, RHP Simpson went 16th overall after the Cubs saw him throw well twice in a Division II regional in Tampa, running his fastball up to 97 mph. Simpson is still a 6-foot, 170-pounder, and most scouts believe he projects more as a reliever than starter at that size. The Cubs got athletic OFs Reggie Golden (2) and Matt Szczur (5), both lauded for their tools and strong makeup. C Micah Gibbs (3) lacks loud tools but is an excellent receiver who plays with leadership and energy. The Cubs went after in-state talent in the double-digit rounds, taking Northwestern LHP Erik Jokisch (11), who shined in the Cape Cod League last summer, and prep RHP Ryan Hartman (16), known for his hard curveball and projectable frame.

CINCINNATI REDS

From the BA Draft Database: Reds 2010 Draft Class
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This could be the Reds' best draft in years. Yasmani Grandal (1) may not be Matt Weiters or Buster Posey, but he's an offensive catcher with solid receiving skills. Grandal is Miami's best catching prospect since Charles Johnson and is a value at No. 12 overall. Cincinnati got another first-round talent in speedy Michigan OF Ryan LaMarre (2), and a trio of prep pitchers with upside in RHPs Wes Mugarian (5), Drew Cisco (6) and Tony Amezcua (7). The grandson of a big league pitcher and coach, Cisco has the least fastball velocity but the most upside thanks to his moxie, command and bloodlines. OF Kyle Waldrop (12), a prep football player with good bat speed, and RHP Lucas O'Rear (13), a former Northern Iowa basketball player, are standout athletes who could be intriguing prospects if they sign.

HOUSTON ASTROS

From the BA Draft Database: Astros 2010 Draft Class
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With three of the first 33 picks, the Astros made some unconventional choices. They'll work out fine if 2B Delino DeShields' (1) foot speed and bat speed translate into big league explosiveness, and if Illinois prep RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1)—the first prep pitcher taken in the first round out of the state since 2001—lives up to his projections. He has flashed a 96 mph fastball and solid changeup. Athletic Minnesota switch-hitter Mike Kvasnicka (1s) was an outfielder and catcher in college, but the Astros will try him at third base. Similarly, Austin Wates (3) is an outfielder/first baseman whom the Astros plan to move to second base. Mississippi prep SS Jacoby Jones (19) will be a tough sign but is a nice fallback option in case one of the top picks falls through.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

From the BA Draft Database: Brewers 2010 Draft Class
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The Brewers have struggled to produce starting pitchers through the draft, but they're trying to reverse that trend with this year's class. They spent their first three picks on pitchers, starting with California high school RHP Dylan Covey (1). While Covey was inconsistent toward the end of the spring, he showed top-shelf stuff earlier in the year, sitting 93-94 mph with a true hammer curveball. After that, the Brewers went with college RHPs Jimmy Nelson (2) and Tyler Thornburg (3). They found good value with New Mexico C Rafael Neda (10), who has below-average arm strength but receives the ball well and has hit well during his three years in college. The Brewers also took a flier on Louisiana State OF Chad Jones (50). Jones didn't play baseball this year, focusing on football, and he was a third-round pick by the New York Giants as a safety.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

From the BA Draft Database: Pirates 2010 Draft Class
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The Pirates signed just two prep pitchers in 2008, but were aggressive signing high schoolers in 2009 and then went after them in bulk in 2010. The success of this draft class is tied to the success of No. 2 overall pick Jameson Taillon (1), who tied the record for highest-drafted prep righthander. But don't forget about RHP Stetson Allie (2). At their best, Allie's fastball and slider rate behind only Taillon's among high school pitchers in this class. A North Carolina recruit who would be a two-way player in college, Allie will be a tough sign. OF Mel Rojas Jr. (3) has big league bloodlines and is raw with plenty of tools. He was the only position player Pittsburgh drafted in the first 10 rounds; the rest were righthanders, and all but two came out of high school.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

From the BA Draft Database: Cardinals 2010 Draft Class
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Nagging injuries and questions about his power and signability pushed 3B Zack Cox (1)—the Cape Cod League batting champ last summer—down to 25th overall. The Cardinals jumped on him to start a draft class loaded with premium athletes, including high-upside RHPs Seth Blair (1s) and Tyrell Jenkins (1s). Jenkins is a two-way prep star who has touched the mid-90s and may be tough to sign away from a Baylor football scholarship (he's a quarterback). SS Sam Tuivailala (3) was a three-sport prep star who didn't do the showcase circuit and is just beginning to scratch the surface of his baseball ability. OF Austin Wilson (12) may be the draft's top athlete, but he also may be its toughest sign as a raw outfielder with a Stanford commitment. The Cardinals filled out with solid college players such as lefthanded-hitting C Cody Stanley (4) and LHP Daniel Bibona (8).

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

From the BA Draft Database: Diamondbacks 2010 Draft Class
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Texas A&M RHP Barret Loux (1) has been up to 95 mph this season, but his curveball hasn't been as sharp since he had bone chips removed from his elbow last year. Draft boards were scrambled after the first three picks this year, but Loux wasn't the consensus No. 6 talent. The Diamondbacks followed Loux up with athletic, projectable high school RHPs J.R. Bradley (2) and Robby Rowland (3). They didn't take a position player until San Diego SS Zach Walters (9). High school LHP Kevin Ziomek (13) and OF Ty Linton (14) offer intriguing upside, but both will be tough signs away from college—Ziomek to Vanderbilt and Linton to North Carolina, where he could play both baseball and football. The Diamondbacks made three similar picks late with RHP Konner Wade (35), C Matt Roberts (38) and 3B Garrett Nash (39), who hasn't played at Oregon State in two years because he's been on a Mormon mission. Wade is committed to Arizona, and Roberts is expected to wind up at North Carolina.

COLORADO ROCKIES

From the BA Draft Database: Rockies 2010 Draft Class
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The Rockies took a chance on two quarterbacks in the top four rounds. They took Clemson OF Kyle Parker (1), even though he's reportedly looking for at least $2.5 million to walk away from football, then nabbed North Carolina State OF Russell Wilson (4), who would be more of a project because he has played less baseball. One of the best picks on the first day was California high school RHP Peter Tago (1s) at 47th overall. Tago has a smooth, easy delivery and touched 96 mph late in the year with a good curveball. The Rockies targeted power bats like OF Jared Simon (6), OF Corey Dickerson (8) and 1B Hommy Rosado (11) and power arms in RHP Josh Slaats (5) and LHP Kraig Sitton (7). The most interesting later pick is California prep C Will Swanner (15), who will be a tough sign away from Pepperdine, where his twin brother is also committed.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

From the BA Draft Database: Dodgers 2010 Draft Class
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With owners Frank and Jamie McCourt going through a nasty divorce, the Dodgers made one of the most interesting selections of the draft by taking Texas high school RHP Zach Lee (1) 28th overall. He has first-round talent—the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder sat 91-93 mph this spring with room for projection—but he's also a standout quarterback committed to Louisiana State for both sports and is expected to be one of the toughest players to sign in this year's class. Some speculated that the Dodgers are punting the pick, but assistant general manager Logan White says the team is committed to signing him, with Frank McCourt's support. The Dodgers took more signable players with their next few picks, then more high school players who fell due to signability such as Colorado RHP Kevin Gausman (6), another LSU commitment, and California OF Joc Pederson (11), perhaps as fallback options if they can't reach a deal with Lee.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

From the BA Draft Database: Padres 2010 Draft Class
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The Padres hadn't drafted a high school pitcher in the first round since taking LHP Mark Phillips ninth overall in 2000. This year, again sitting at No. 9, the Padres couldn't pass on RHP Karsten Whitson (1). Whitson started the year as one of the top pitchers in the class, and firmly established himself as the crop's second-best high school pitcher in front of about 100 scouts at the Florida high school all-star game before the draft. He sat at 93-94 mph, touched 96 and showed a filthy slider. The Padres took a pair of college middle infielders who profile better at second base in West Virginia's Jedd Gyorko (2) and Kentucky's Chris Bisson (4). Gyorko had a monster spring after hitting .323 with power (five homers) in the Cape Cod League last summer. The team also took high school RHPs John Barbato (6) and A.J. Vanegas (7), but they could be tough signs away from Florida and Stanford.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

From the BA Draft Database: Giants 2010 Draft Class
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The Giants had one of the most college-heavy drafts, with just eight players from the high school ranks and none before the seventh round, so the accent is more on safety than ceiling. Cal State Fullerton speedster Gary Brown (1) has some standout tools—namely his speed, which helps him both offensively and defensively in center field—a knack for putting the bat on the ball, but he's also an aggressive hitter who doesn't take many walks. Virginia OF Jarrett Parker (2) was a good value who is not as fast as Brown but has more power potential. The Giants also nabbed two college pitchers who should move quickly to the big leagues. RHP Seth Rosin (4) pounds the strike zone and walked just 10 batters this year in 87 regular season innings. His fastball sits at 91-92, but touched 96 last summer in the Cape Cod League. RHP Heath Hembree (5) pitched at 95-96 mph in relief this spring, touching 98, but posted a 6.52 ERA for College of Charleston.