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June 9, 2011
AL Central Draft Wrap
Who They are: Walker is exactly the kind of player the White Sox used to avoid, but with Kenny Williams' edict to focus on upside, he's a great find. Yes, he's raw, but he's a big athlete with plus speed and is developing power from both sides of the plate. Scouts that like him, really like him, and while Walker is a significant risk, his kind of upside is hard to find outside the first round.
Johnson is a safer pick with third- or fourth-starter upside, but he's a big, physical right-hander with above-average velocity and a good slider. He's not pretty to watch and needs to throw more strikes.
Soptic is 6-foot-6, throws 95-98 mph, and I'm done saying good things about him. The hope is that he can find some command, hone his breaking ball, and turn into a late-inning reliever.
Who They are: Lindor was in the mix at second overall to Seattle, and Cleveland has to be thrilled with him at seven. A series of almost legendary private workouts in the days leading up to the draft left some thinking Lindor was the best position player available. He's a potential plus defender who will certainly stay at shortstop, and he's a switch-hitter who put on a shocking power display in both Seattle and Arizona, leaving projections for 15-20 home runs annually.
Howard is a first-round talent who matches up well with many of the high school arms taken in the second half of the first round. He's ultra-athletic and can get his fastball up to 95 mph, but he's also a Scott Boras client who will require a seven-figure signing bonus.
Sisco is a rare polished arm from the junior college ranks. His fastball, breaking ball, and changeup are all at least average.
Who They are: McCann is a classic college catcher with big makeup, decent arm strength, and a modicum of power. He's not thrilling, but he could end up good enough to play every day in the big leagues as a second-division starter due to positional scarcity.
Westlake is a huge first baseman with big-time raw power, but he's also a bat-only player who has to hit plenty or he will not a prospect.
Who They are: No position player in the draft is close to Starling’s upside. He has well above-average power and speed, excellent defensive skills, and a cannon arm. The only question is how much he will hit. He has little exposure to top-flight competition. One scout put it best, saying, “In 10 years, we could be taking about Mickey Mantle, or talking about that Starling guy who never got out of Double-A.”
Gallagher is a big, athletic catcher with raw power and good defensive skills, but like Starling, there are questions about how much he will hit.
Brickhouse got plenty of eyeballs on him when he pitched behind 2010 first-round pick Jameson Taillon. He has an impressive fastball/curve combination, but his frame and mechanics leave a bit to be desired.
Who They are: It was surprising to see Michael fall to the end of the first round, but it was even more surprising that he wasn’t the first college shortstop chosen. He might not have a true plus tool, but none are below average, either. He has some hitting skills, a bit of power, runs well, and plays solid defense with enough athleticism to stay at the position.
Harrison offers plus power and a good bat, but there are questions about his ability to stay at third base, and he might not be graceful enough to fit in an outfield corner.
Boyd is a very thick righty with decent velocity. He is the kind of pitcher the Twins favor, as he’s a strike-thrower with a clean arm.
Boer also fits the Twins’ mold, and as a college product, he's even more polished. His best pitch is a power slider, which he backs up with low-90s velocity and good movement.
On the other hand, Williams is the exact opposite of what the Twins tend to favor; he had an ERA approaching six in college, but he does offer well above-average velocity from the left site.