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June 11, 2010

Future Shock

Draft Wrap: AL East

by Kevin Goldstein

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Baltimore Orioles
Day One Selections
3. Manny Machado, SS, Brito Private HS (FL)

Inside the Pick:
A no-brainer for months, the Orioles had honed in on Machado and Jameson Taillon, and simply waited to see who was left once Pittsburgh selected wit the No. 2 pick. While Taillon is the superior talent, Machado might be the better fit for a system that is desperate for position prospects.
What He is:
A perfect fit for the new mold of big, athletic shortstops. He has plenty of bat speed, plus raw power, and defensive ability beyond his years with outstanding hands, footwork, and transfer skills.
What He is Not:
A true five-tool talent, as both his arm and wheels rate as average. That said, his offensive potential is special for a middle infielder, although comparisons to Alex Rodriguez are cheap and lazy, based solely on Machado being a big, Dominican shortstop from Miami.
Path with the Orioles:
As the top high school player in the draft and a Scott Boras client, Machado won't be a quick sign, so he'll likely not make a pro debut until 2011, although he has the talent to begin his career at Low-A.

Through Three Rounds
3 (85). Dan Klein, RHP, UCLA

Klein was one of the best relievers in the college game this spring, but he'll likely go out as a starter as a pro. His fastball is by far his best pitch, with well above-average velocity and command, and he had a nifty curveball and some feel for a change.

Of Note Afterward:
Fourth-round pick Trent Mummey has an intriguing power/speed package in the outfield, but it's more of a 20/20 profile than superstar level. Fifth-rounder Connor Narron has big-league bloodlines (son of Jerry Narron) and is unsurprisingly very advanced for a high school player, but scouts don't see much in the way of tools after the bat, and nobody thinks he can stay at shortstop.
Summary:
After selecting Machado, the O's had to wait more than 80 picks to select again, so much of the success or failure of this draft hinges on their top pick. Later selections seemed to focus far more on safeness than upside.

Boston Red Sox
Day One Selections
20. Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State

Inside the Pick:
Vitek was rumored to be going as high as ninth overall to San Diego, but this is where he ranked on most boards, although some thought that the Red Sox had backed off him a bit after the Mid-American Conference tournament, when he performed poorly in front of GM Theo Epstein.
What He is:
One of the better college hitters in the country, while also offering more athleticism than most college players. Beyond his ability to hit, both his power and speed rate as average to a tick above for some, and his arm is downright plus. 
What He is Not:
Someone with a defensive home. He's never looked comfortable at second or third base, and many think he'll move to the outfield as a pro. His support among scouts was anything but universal, as some saw him as merely dominating lesser competition in a small park.
Path with the Red Sox:
Vitek is one of the few Red Sox draftees that might not be such a tough sign. He'll likely get some playing time over the summer, but whether a position switch occurs immediately or during the offseason has yet to be determined.

36. Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee State

Inside the Pick:
Projected by most to go in the latter part of the first round, Brentz slipped a bit on Monday before finally landing in Boston.
What He is:
A player with a long track record of hitting for power. He led college baseball with 28 homers as a sophomore, and hit 15 this year while missing significant time with an ankle injury. He has a good arm, solid athleticism, and earns rave reviews for his makeup.
What He is Not:
A player everyone believes in. Brentz takes a massive cut and lacks the classic slugger size, leaving some to wonder how well his power will translate with wood. Despite the arm and average speed, most of his value is tied to his bat.
Path with the Red Sox:
Brentz might look for a little extra money based on his expectations going into the draft, but shouldn't be a tough sign. Like Vitek, he could likely hold his own in Low-A at this point.

39. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU

Inside the Pick:
The top college arm on many boards entering the season, Ranaudo's spring was more notable for elbow issues and some extremely bad outings than anything else. He pitched well at the SEC tournament in the days leading up to the draft, but with no anticipation of a lower price from Boras, he plummeted out of the first round.
What He is:
The healthy version of Ranaudo is a 6-foot-7 righty with power stuff and plus pitchability. He got up to 95 mph with his fastball, and both his curve and changeup rate as plus offerings.
What He is Not:
The pitcher described above, at least this year. He clearly came back too early from the elbow soreness, and was 87-91 in May without movement or any crispness to his secondary pitches, although he did flash 91-94 heat at the tournament.
Path with the Red Sox:
Easily the most difficult sign for the Red Sox, Ranaudo will be looking for elite money, despite his struggles. The Red Sox will at least be comfortable with him not making a debut until 2011, as rest might be best for his arm. If he returns to form, he's potentially the steal of the draft.

Through Three Rounds
2 (57). Brandon Workman, RHP, Texas
3 (110). Sean Coyle, SS, Germantown Academy (PA)

Workman expected to go in the first round, and multiple sources indicated that he told several teams selecting in the supplemental rounds not to take him if they think he'll accept slot money. He has above-average velocity and one of the better curveballs around, but some project him as a late-inning reliever more than a starter. Coyle was a Dustin Pedroia comp for many, as a 5-foot-8 middle infielder who can just flat-out play.

Of Note Afterward:
The always-aggressive Red Sox were at it once again in 2010. Fourth-round pick Garin Cecchini is a big, athletic, high-ceiling infielder who will need seven figures or he's going to LSU. Sixth-rounder Kendrick Perkins (hey, every Boston team should have one) is a massive athlete with power, speed, and incredible rawness who is also looking for big money. 
Summary:
It's going to cost a ton of money to turn all of their draftees into pros, but if the Red Sox get it done, this is a massive collection of talent.

New York Yankees
Day One Selections
32. Cito Culver, SS, West Irondequiot HS (NY)

Inside the Pick:
One of the bigger surprises in the draft, the Yankees almost seem a bit gun-shy after the Gerrit Cole fiasco of 2008, focusing more on toolsy players they know they can sign.
What He is:
Definitely a player with tools and upside. He's athletic and loose, with plus range to his left side, average to the right, and an arm that rates as a 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale. A switch-hitter who is natural lefty swinger, he has some raw power and above-average speed.
What He is Not:
The kind of proven talent that normally goes in the first round. His swing incorporates a big leg kick, and most of his contact is made to the pull side. There are a lot of questions about his ability to hit anything but a fastball, and there are questions about his day-to-day intensity, with one scout say, "The tools are obviously there, but at times you rarely see them."
Path with the Yankees:
He certainly won't be a tough sign, and he won't be a fast mover, either. He'll likely get some Gulf Coast League action in this summer, but beginning the 2011 season in extended spring training is a likely possibility.

Through Three Rounds
2. Angelo Gumbs, OF, Torrance HS (CA)
3. Rob Segedin, 3B, Tulane

Gumbs is a strong, compactly built outfielder with the potential for some power down the road, and while he lacks a standout tool, he's got solid speed and arm strength, and scouts adore how hard he plays. Segedin was one of the better college hitters in the country, but other than a very good arm at the hot corner, the rest of his tools are lacking.

Of Note Afterward:
Fourth-round pick Mason Williams is a burner in center field and scouts like his quick bat, a nice combination as long as one accepts that he'll never hit for power. Sixth-round righty Gabe Encinas has average-to-plus stuff, but he's also one of the most polished high school arms around, with a frame that should eat up innings. Dan Burawa, a12th-round pick out of St. John's, fell due to signability concerns, but he has outstanding stuff out of the pen, including mid-90s heat and a nasty curveball.
Summary:
The Yankees confused many with their first-round pick, but they later selected plenty of upside and signability risks.

Tampa Bay Rays
Day One Selections
17. Josh Sale, OF, Bishop Blanchet HS (WA)

Inside the Pick:
Few thought Sale would last this long, as he was attached to many teams picking in the 8-12 range.
What He is:
The best high school hitter in the draft. Sale not only has plus-plus power, he's a pure hitter with bat speed, hand-eye coordination, and an uncanny ability to make in-pitch adjustments.
What He is Not:
Anything more than a bat. He's an average-at-best runner, and will likely get slower as his already-big frame matures. His arm is also not a strong point, so he'll be limited to left field at best as a pro.
Path with the Rays:
Despite falling a bit, Sale shouldn't be a tough sign, and should be ready for Low-A Bowling Green in 2011 after getting some reps in short-season ball.

31. Justin O'Conner, C, Cowan HS (IN)

Inside the Pick:
Another surprising drop, O'Conner was the backup plan for teams drafting as high as 10th
What He is:
A player with rare tools for a catcher. Everyone talks about his throwing arm, which is at least a 70 on the 20-to-80 scale, and possibly more, but he also offers plus-plus raw power at the plate and has above-average athleticism for the position.
What He is Not:
Polished, either behind the plate or at it. He's played several positions as an amateur, so his core receiving skills are quite raw. His swing is big, long, and borders on violent, so while he can hit the ball out of any part of the park when he makes contact, he'll likely always strike out at a healthy rate, and might never hit for a big average.
Path with the Rays:
Catching is one of the few weaknesses in the Rays system, but O'Conner will take a while to develop.

42. Drew Vettleson, OF, Central Kitsap HS (WA)

Inside the Pick:
While Vettleson went right round where expected, there were some late rumors of him going at the end of the first round to either the Dodgers or Yankees.
What He is:
While he's not the hitter that fellow Washington prepster Sale is, he still has significant offensive upside, and he's a much better athlete. He's an average runner with plus raw power and a good arm, and the Rays envision future outfield bookends with Sale in left and Vettleson in right.
What He is Not: Vettleson certainly has his detractors, as his power is more raw than reality right now, and his swing involves an exaggerated load than can lead to mechanical inconsistencies.
Path with the Rays:
Vettleson and Sale will likely move up the Rays ladder together.

Through Three Rounds
2 (66). Jake Thompson, RHP, Long Beach State
2 (79). Derek Dietrich, 3B, Georgia Tech
3 (98). Ryan Brett, INF, Highline HS (WA)

Thompson is one of those tough players to evaluate for scouts. He certainly looks the part of a pitcher, can touch 95 mph with his fastball and has a very good change, but the results in college were rarely there. Some felt Dietrich would evolve into an elite 2010 pick at Georgia Tech, but he merely had a good career with the Yellow Jackets. He can hit, shows glimpses of power, profiles well at third base, but baffles scouts with his inconsistency. The Rays sure liked the talent in Washington this year, and Brett is an undersized player who profiles best at second base, but he has plus speed and almost shocking power for his size, rating as just below average for some.

Of Note Afterward:
Fourth-round pick Austin Wood is a power right-hander who has teased scouts for years with mid-90s velocity and little clue as to what to do with it. Sixth-round pick Jesse Hahn left his post-season game for Virginia Tech with a strained forearm on the day before the draft. He had sandwich-round aspirations before that, and could be a find here as he has plus velocity and a good slider. Seventh-round pick Michael Lorenzen is a classic Rays draftee—a pure athlete with some crazy upside and athleticism, but just as much rawness. 
Summary:
The Rays should be thrilled with their trio at the top, as in other scenarios, two of them could have gone in the top 10 picks, while Vettleson might not have gotten past 30. Even after those three, the focus remained on upside.

Toronto Blue Jays
Day One Selections
11. Deck McGuire, RHP, Blue Jays

Inside the Pick:
Seen as a top-10 selection throughout much of the spring, the Blue Jays couldn't pass him up once he fell, despite what seemed to be a focus on athletes and upside throughout the spring.
What He is:
Arguably the most polished arm in the draft. He has four pitches (90-93 mph fastball, curve, slider, changeup) that rate as average or above, with his changeup being the best pitch, and he throws them all for strikes at any point in the count. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, he's built for stamina.
What He is Not:
The type of pitcher who is ever going to blow anyone away on a scouting level. He's supremely polished, and while hardly a finesse pitcher, his ceiling likely ends at third starter.
Path with the Blue Jays:
McGuire could move quickly through the system, and it would be no surprise to see him finish the 2011 season at Double-A.

34. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Barstow HS (CA)

Inside the Pick:
One of many good high school arms from Southern California, Sanchez went right in the range he was expected to. 
What He is:
Very projectable. Long, loose, and downright skinny, he has plus velocity now and a very good breaking ball.
What He is Not:
A finished product. Scouts rarely even saw him throw a changeup, and his mechanics are a bit unwieldy. Toronto is betting much more on what he can be as opposed to what he is now.
Path with the Blue Jays:
It's not fair to call Sanchez a project, but he's not an arm that will move quickly. He should sign with little effort, and get enough innings to be ready for Low-A in 2011.

38. Noah Syndergaard, LHP, Legacy HS (TX)

Inside the Pick:
Big southpaw who was rapidly moving up draft boards with some dominating late-season performances.
What He is:
A 6-foot-5 southpaw who can get his fastball up to 95 mph. That combination alone is worth Top-50 consideration for many teams.
What He is Not:
Anything close to a finished product. While his command is solid, neither his curve nor his changeup are refined enough to work against professional hitters, and many see him as a bit of a project.
Path with the Blue Jays:
Syndergaard will pitch in the Gulf Coast League this summer, and a full-season assignment in 2011 is simply a possibility and hardly a sure thing.

41. Asher Wojchiechowski

Inside the Pick: Seen as a mid-first-round pick heading into Monday night, Wojchiechowski's drop is nothing short of mysterious.
What He is:
One of the better pure power pitchers in the college class. He consistently parks his fastball at 94 mph, touches 97, and complements it with a hard-breaking slider. He's a big, physical righty with smooth mechanics and maintains his stuff late into games.
What He is Not:
Not everyone is convinced that Wojchiechowski will remain a starter long-term, as he's relies primarily on a two-pitch mix and rarely throws his below-average changeup. 
Path with the Blue Jays:
As a starter, he'll move a bit slower, but likely won't be challenged by the lack of depth in his arsenal until he reaches Double-A.

Through Three Rounds
2 (61). Griffin Murphy, LHP, Redlands East Valley HS (CA)
2 (69). Kellen Sweeney, 3B, Jefferson HS (IA)
2 (80). Justin Nicolino, RHP, University HS (FL)
3 (93). Chris Hawkins, 3B, North Gwinnett HS (GA)
3 (113). Marcus Knecht, OF, Connors State (JUCO)

Murphy is a polished lefty with average velocity but a very good curveball and advanced changeup for his age. He doesn't possess a ton of upside, but he's relatively safe for a high school arm. Sweeney is a smaller version of his brother Ryan, and a highly advanced hitter for a Midwest teenager. Nicolino doesn't throw hard yet, but he's thin as a rail and should add velocity as he matures to go with a quality curveball. Hawkins is an athletic third baseman who can really hit, but his defense at the hot corner elicits groans from scouts. From Toronto, Knecht is a first-round talent tools-wise with plus power and speed, but he comes with a classic high-risk/high-upside profile.

Of Note Afterward:
Fourth-round pick Sam Dyson was inconsistent this spring, but scouts are still drawn to his plus velocity and very good curve. Fifth-rounder Dickie Thon's father was a big-league star, and his skill set is similar to his father's, but there are signability concerns. Few think the club can sign 10th-rounder Tyler Shreve, an excellent power righty who seems more interested in playing college football. 

 Summary: With nine picks in the first three rounds, the Blue Jays had the opportunity to restock a system that is lacking in depth, but the jury is still out on what they did with their selections. 

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

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