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Saturday, 7 May 2011

2011 MLB Draft Pt. 1

As the 2011 MLB draft approaches (June), Cans of Corn is bringing some scouting reports on a number of the top prospects expected to go in the draft. This is part 1 of the series and before we get started we should check out some of the teams positions in the draft.

Teams now more than ever are placing higher value on drafting and grooming prospects from within, less likely to let them go through trades or off season signings. This puts a lot of weight on the draft in June and it should be noted that some teams are in better positions than others for sure.

Tampa Bay has an excellent position, drafting 10 times throughout the first 60 picks.
Toronto Blue Jays will select 5 players through the first 60 picks.
Pittsburgh Pirates have 1 pick in the top 60, the first overall, so it best be a good one.
Seattle Mariners will select 2nd overall, their only pick through the first 60.
San Diego Padres have 5 picks in through the first 60, beginning with 10th overall.
Boston Red Sox have 4 picks through the first 60, beginning with 19th overall.
New York Yankees have just one selection and it's the 51 overall.

Anthony Rendon, 3B
Rice University Owls - 6'0" 190lbs - B/T R/R

Anthony Rendon is favored by many to go first overall this year in the MLB draft and for good reason. In 2010 he captured the 2010 Howser Trophy for National Player of the Year (previous 3 recipients were Strasburg, Posey and Price). Baseball America selected him National Player of the Year and the Houston mayor declared June 29th/2010 'Anthony Rendon Day' in Houston.

As a freshman he hit .388 with 20 bombs and 72 RBI, he also stole 9 bases on 11 attempts. As a sophomore, Rendon hit .394 with 26 jacks and knocked in 85 runners. Rendon's walk total was three times his strikeout total at 65BB. He also possesses excellent defensive skills, posting a .978 fielding percentage with only 4 errors all season.

In 2011 Rendon has experienced a bit of a power surge and most scouts attribute that to rushing back from his second ankle surgery. Rendon has still retained that speed though, not shying away from swiping bags and has knocked a couple triples thus far. The majority of scouts have Rendon as phenomenal talent that projects to be a star in the show. Yet depending on Pittsburgh's needs and the fact they already possess a solid young 3B in Alvarez they may opt to take a pitcher. Whomever lands Anthony Rendon should be very excited, this kid can play and continues to improve every year, which is never a bad sign.

Gerrit Cole, RHP
UCLA - 6'4" 220lbs

Cole was previously drafted in 2008 by the New York Yankees. Represented by Scott Boras, Cole turned down 4 million dollars to attend college and the Yankees were left in the dust. In 2010 he recorded 153k's in just 123 innings. Gerrit Cole's fastball sits around 94mph although has been clocked as high as 98-100mph at times. His breaking ball has some scouts saying it's "the best in all of college" and he also possesses a plus change up.

Cole has suffered through a tough stretch this season losing 3 straight and seeing his ERA sit around 8.48 through those losses. He has been leaving his pitches a little high in the strikezone and has become prone to giving up the long ball more than his previous two seasons. However in his last start, Cole pitched 7 1/3, striking out 5 while surrendering only 1 ER for the win. In 2011 he's 5-5 and we could easily see him go #1, giving the Pirates a serious 1-2 punch with last years pick Taillon. However the same could be said if the Mariners get him.

Some blogs are comparing him to Strasburg, although I believe that's a stretch, I do think Cole is more durable than Strasburg, given his size. I know the Diamondbacks are hoping his 2011 record sees him drop to 3rd but I highly doubt it. Look for Gerrit Cole to go either first or second come June.

Sonny Gray, RHP
Vanderbilt - 5'11" 195lbs

In 2011, Sonny boasts a 9-3 record. In his last start he took the loss, but pitched 8 innings, striking out 9 and allowed just 2ER with 0 walks. He's considerably smaller than Cole but still has a strong fastball in the low 90's that can get up to 95-96 when needed. His slider is above average and he has a decent change that is getting better and better.

Gray pitched for team USA last summer and went 3-0 with 37k's in just 24IP. He was named Baseball America's summer player of the year in 2010. All of Gray's coaches talk about his approach to every single game, they say his "professionalism is unparallelled" and "every game is a gold medal game for him". Although a quality that can't be recorded statistically, we all know what it brings to your day to day performance.

I watched a bullpen session online and this kid can throw. If I was a big league GM, I wouldn't be disappointed at all if I landed this Gray. He will definitely be one the first pitchers off the board come June.

Taylor Jungmann, RHP
Texas - 6'6" 195lbs

Here's a guy that has been better than both Gray and Cole this year but has flown relatively under the radar thus far. In 2011 he has tossed 3 complete game shutouts and has only failed to make to the 8th inning a couple if times. He leads his team in every pitching category, causing his stock in the 2011 draft to rise considerably.

Jungmann has a great fastball in the mid 90's (93-97mph) and he's been able to sustain that velocity deep in to games this year, always a good sign. As of April 1 of this year Jungmann had only given up 5BB's in 51.2 innings pitched, so you know he's dialed in with no signs of control issues. A big guy that's durable and can eat innings is a type of player that is always highly coveted by any big league team. If Jungmann slips out of the top 10, he'll be a steal for anyone at that point I think, yet I doubt it happens. I bet he'd look good in the National's rotation in a few years behind Strasburg and Zimmerman.

Danny Hultzen, LHP
Virginia - 6'3" 200lbs

In 2011, Hultzen is 9-1 with a 1.19 ERA. He has 112k's in just 76 innings and has given up just 2HR. His WHIP has big league clubs drooling at an attractive 0.82.

Surfing through some blogs, I've been reading a lot of Oriole fans hoping to land this guy at #4. He would certainly be an excellent addition to an already blossoming young group of arms.

Hultzen is a very aggressive pitcher who seems to have the ability to just "pitch" some scouts say. His fastball sits around 91-93mph and can get up to 95-96mph. Hultzen's 4 seamer has some great late life and misses quite a few bats. He possesses great command and has turned into a strikeout machine. Scouts have his slider rated slightly above MLB average and he's not afraid to throw it in any count. His curveball could use some work as it's the weakest pitch in his arsenal. Hultzen's command and composure are truly his best weapons. He does an excellent job of keeping the ball low in the strikezone resulting a lot of groundball outs. His arm slot has some concerned for his elbow, but considering it is nearly identical to other lefthanders (Randy Johnson, Chris Sale and even Zach Britton to a degree) some feel he'll be AOK and are not that concerned.

Hultzen will certainly be one of the first LHP off the board this June and projects to be a solid #2-3 starter. He'll be a welcome addition to any farm system indeed.

Bubba Starling, OF
Gardner-Edgerton HS - 6'4" 185lbs - B/T R/R

Bubba Starling is the best overall athlete in the draft, no question. He is a 3 sport athlete playing them all very well. He led his High School basketball team to the sub state championship game and is set to play QB for Nebraska along with baseball. Whether Starling develops into a pitcher or outfielder is up in the air. He doesn't use his lower body very well, according to espn's Kieth Law, yet can still throw high 80's /low 90's. His bat speed is unreal already and could easily develop into a 5 tool everyday player. According to prodraft central "Coaches, both his and opposing, call him the fastest player they’ve ever seen. He’s been clocked in the 4.36 range in the 40-yard dash, and is graded as a plus-plus runner. And that might not even be his best tool. He has out-of-this-world power, and can mash with the best of this high school class." An impressive compliment for sure.

It's always a risky thing committing money to a relatively unproven high school player, especially when they play more than one sport. That being said, Bubba is definitely going in the top 10 and I could see Kansas City scooping him at #5. Most scouts say it's not his power, speed or talent that impress them, it's his ability to soak up instruction and tutelage, and turn it into excellent results. The ceiling is indeed high on Starling but there are a lot of uncertainties and the road is long for many high school draftees.

That's all for this edition, be sure to check back for Pt. 2. This years draft class has a lot of good talent and depending on different teams needs, we could see some interesting selections this year. Obviously there is no Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg to hype up the draft, yet there is possibly more overall talent. The success of the Rays, Rangers and Giants have some teams really buying into the idea of building from within and through the draft. Thanks for reading and be sure to leave your thoughts and/or opinions below.


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  2. cool thanks, I'll be sure to check it out

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