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June 6, 2011

Future Shock

The 2011 Mock Draft

by Kevin Goldstein

1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA. Upgrade this call from “lean” to “heavy lean.” It seems clear that Anthony Rendon is out of the picture, so it's between Cole and Danny Hultzen, who did himself few favors by throwing out a big bonus number over the weekend. With no inexpensive option to turn to, Cole is the guy. Last Mock: Gerrit Cole.

2. Seattle Mariners: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice. The hottest rumor of the weekend had the Mariners taking high school shortstop Francisco Lindor here, which would tear open most draft boards and create serious chaos. Lindor's workout for the Mariners was fantastic, but Jack Zduriencik got limited looks at him during the season and might prefer Bubba Starling among prep players. The other factor here is the varying medical reports on Rendon's shoulder; depending on which team you talk to the injury is either no big deal or will require surgery in the future. Despite all of the rumors, if you throw all of the cards into the air they come down in the same order. Last Mock: Anthony Rendon.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA. Bauer sneaked up boards all year and may have passed Hultzen over the weekend thanks to another sparkling performance and the Virginia southpaw's bonus demands. This decision could come down to the wire. Note that Lindor had a great workout for Arizona in recent days. Last Mock: Danny Hultzen

4. Baltimore Orioles: Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia. Bundy is still of great interest to Baltimore, but they didn't expect Hultzen to be in their mix three days ago. His ability to potentially zoom through the system give him the edge. Last Mock: Dylan Bundy

5. Kansas City Royals: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso HS (OK). There are plenty of mixed messages coming out of Kansas City. Thought to be focusing on college pitching that could help quickly, some in the industry think they're off both Bauer and Hultzen. With Bundy still in the mix and potentially the fastest moving of the high school arms, he's too good to pass up. Last Mock: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA

6. Washington Nationals: Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner Edgerton HS (KS). “Mike Rizzo loves Bubba Starling” is the “Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel” of the draft. Last Mock: Bubba Starling.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks: Francisco Lindor, SS, Monteverde Academy (FL). Lindor's Arizona workout was so good that he could go to the D’backs with the third pick. Despite the fact that this pick is unprotected, it's hard seeing them pass on him twice. Last Mock: Francisco Lindor.

8. Cleveland Indians: Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS (OK). This pick is going to come down to money. If ownership gives the Indians the go ahead, they'll take the best player on the board. If not, look for a less interesting college pitcher. Last Mock: Archie Bradley

9. Chicago Cubs: Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut. The Cubs are hard to predict due to radio silence and scouting director Tim Wilken's history of surprises, but the names being attached to them late match up with the names that belong here. Last Mock: Taylor Guerreri

10. San Diego Padres: George Springer, OF, Connecticut. If the Indians pass on Archie Bradley, this is his floor. San Diego’s focus seems to be a combination of the usual college pitchers and up-the-middle talent. Last Mock: Matt Barnes

11. Houston Astros: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas. All signs point to a pitcher, and Jungmann is a Texan with few anticipated signing issues. Last Mock: Sonny Gray

12. Milwaukee Brewers: Javier Baez, SS, Arlington Country Day School (FL). The Brewers are expected to take a batter and a pitcher with their two picks, and there are late rumors that they could have a pre-draft deal in place at #12. Baez fits well with the Brewers’ philosophy of taking hitters first and figuring out where they play later. Last Mock: George Springer

13. New York Mets: Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU. This could be nearly any logical college player still on the board. While the Mets would prefer pitching, the names most associated there are Barnes and Jungmann, both likely to be gone. Last Mock: Taylor Jungmann

14. Florida Marlins: Cory Spagenberg, 3B, Indian River State. The Marlins are one of the few teams in the first half of the first round that is primarily connected to position players. They like athletes, so Springer would also earn consideration here if he drops. Last Mock: Mikie Mahtook.

15. Milwaukee Brewers: Sonny Gray, LHP, Vanderbilt. If the Brewers save money at #12, they could get surprisingly aggressive here. They still want a pitcher and a position player, as their current minor league system has neither. Last Mock: Levi Michael

16. Los Angeles Dodgers: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra HS (CA). Several pitchers are rumored here, and it could come down to who answers their phone today and says they'll sign quickly for slot money. There is rumor of late movement towards a college pitcher who belongs more towards the bottom of the first or the supplemental round like Tyler Anderson, Josh Osish, or Anthony Meo. Last Mock: Robert Stephenson

17. Los Angeles Angels: Taylor Guerreri, RHP, Spring Valley HS (SC). I would run out of time before I could list all of the names that have been rumored to be in the Angels' sights. When that happens, “best player available” is the likely option. Last Mock: Javier Baez

18. Oakland Athletics: Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina. The A's seems to be focused on college up-the-middle talents like Michael, Springer, and Spangenberg, but there are some high school arms in the mix, especially lefty Daniel Norris. Last Mock: Daniel Norris.

19. Boston Red Sox: C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah. The Red Sox tend to be one of the most aggressive teams in any draft, but often play it straight in the first round. Cron is rumored to go as early as #10, and fits the Boston system’s need for a bopper. If they think Blake Swihart, Josh Bell, or Brandon Nimmo won’t be around at #26, the Sox could jump them here. Last Mock: Alex Meyer

20. Colorado Rockies: Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd HS (CA). One still hears plenty of college players here like Cron, Kolten Wong and some of the lesser pitchers associated with the Rockies, but as of late Sunday it seemed as if high school arms were the focus, including Joe Ross. Last Mock: C.J. Cron.

21. Toronto Blue Jays: Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech. Bradley might have, as one scouting director put it, “cement shoes.” but it's hard to see him dropping this far despite some mediocre late-season showings. Last Mock: Jed Bradley.

22. St. Louis Cardinals: Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS (TN). The Cardinals aren't afraid of letters with big bonus demands, and Norris' $4 million price tag won't dissuade them from taking the highest upside arm still on the board with this pick. Last Mock: Dillon Howard

23. Washington Nationals: Alex Meyer, RHP, Nationals. Mike Rizzo loves upside, and knows how to get a deal done with Scott Boras. This is a match made in heaven. Last Mock: Cory Spangenberg

24. Tampa Bay Rays: Josh Bell, OF, Dallas Jesuit HS (TX). Thoughts on what the Rays will do with their picks have gone from aggressive to “crazy aggressive.” They don't have the cash to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees in the free agency market, so this year's plethora of picks is their chance to find cost-controlled superstars. Bell is the best high school bat in the draft, and the Rays are looking more and more like they'll do what it takes to sign the best player they can find with nearly every pick. Last Mock: Jose Fernandez.

25. San Diego Padres: Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii. There is still not a ton of feel for this pick, but Wong continues to fit well. Last Mock: Kolten Wong

26. Boston Red Sox: Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (NM). Boston's aggressiveness might have to start earlier than expected with some of the uncertainty concerning the big-money players. If they can't get a good feel on Swihart's cost, they also like the other big high school catcher, Austin Hedges. Last Mock: Blake Swihart

27. Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon State. It’s still looking like the Reds will take an arm here, with the focus more on a college limb than a prep one. Last Mock: Tyler Anderson, LHP

28. Atlanta Braves: Jose Fernandez, RHP,  Alonso HS (FL). This pick’s possibilities seems to have been reduced from “best affordable high school player” to “best affordable high school pitcher.” Last Mock: Trevor Story

29. San Francisco Giants: Henry Owens, LHP, Edison HS (CA). I've heard nothing but high school arms; Joe Ross won't get past the Giants if he’s still available. Last Mock: Joe Ross.

30. Minnesota Twins: Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State. He's not the sexiest player on the board, but he's athletic and has outstanding fastball command, something the Twins value more than any other team in baseball. Last Mock: Kyle Winkler

31. Tampa Bay Rays: Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Bishop Verot HS (FL). A bat-only player with a beefy build, Vogelbach isn’t seen as a first-rounder by many, but power is hard to find in this draft and there is real interest from the Rays. Last Mock: Brian Goodwin.

32. Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Nimmo, OF, East HS (WY). Despite not picking until 24th overall, the Rays could end up with the two highest upside bats among high school players, as more and more indications are that they are ready to spend big. Last Mock: Dan Vogelbach.

33. Texas Rangers: Austin Hedges, C, Junipero Serra HS (CA). Yet another team than won't let Josh Bell slide out of the first round despite his letter telling teams not to draft him. The Rangers are willing to make a splash here, but not solely for the sake of doing so. Hedges might cost just a little extra, but he's potentially a special defender with a bit of pop. Last mock: Josh Osich

Inviting Everyone To The Party: Four teams that don't have first-round picks

39. Philadelphia Phillies: Michael Fulmer, RHP, Deer Creak (OK). Yet another good high school pitcher from Oklahoma, Fullmer has a big-league body and velocity.

47. Chicago White Sox: Kes Carter, OF, Western Kentucky. Chicago needs everything, and Carter is a potential power/speed package with a quick lefty bat. Local high school product Charlie Tilson could come into play, as he's looking more signable than had been anticipated.

51. New York Yankees: Williams Jerez, OF, Grand Street HS (NY). The Yankees have been on this local product from Dellin Betances' alma mater for a long time. He's ultra-athletic and toolsy, but extremely raw.

76. Detroit Tigers: Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy (MA). Detroit wants to turn their first pick into a talent worthy of a higher selection, and would love to see other teams scared off of Josh Bell. Beede is another player who has instructed teams not to draft him, but he's big and throws hard;  the Tigers love that combination.

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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