With less than 2 weeks until the big event, it’s time to get serious with our draft coverage here at RAB. With mock drafts popping up left and rightÂ (subscription required for the first link), I figured it was time we got in on the action. To help me out, I brought in blogging hall of famer DA Humber, who runs the fantastic and recently re-launched Baseball Central blog. If you aren’t checkin’ out his site everyday, you should be, cause you’re missing out on some cool shit.
The rules are simple: who do we think will go where in the first round? Enough talking, let’s get down to business.
1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
DA:Â David Price, LHP, VandyÂ â€“ Simply, the medicine the Devil Rays need.Â A legit frontline starter that should fly to the big league squad quickly.Â Dominated college and has a perfect frame and arsenal to have the Rays challenge the Twins as having the best 1-2 punch of southpaws.
Mike: Price – The D-Rays say they have 3 players in mind for the first overall pick, but you know they’re just sayin’ that to make the other teams sweat. In a familiar spot (Tampa has had the first pick twice before, and hasn’t pickedÂ lower thanÂ 10th Â in the lastÂ 9 years),Â they go with the consensus top talent in the draft. Pretty soon they’ll have Price alongside Kazmir, Jamie Shields and Jeff Niemann, which means they’re going to be a juggernaut with that talented lineup. Watch out in 2010.
2. Kansas City Royals
DA:Â Matt Wieters, C, Georgia TechÂ â€“ Much has been ballyhooed about the possibility of Wieters freefalling out of the top three in the draft after a moderately impressive but not outstanding 2007 campaign in Georgia Tech.Â But it seems likely that the Royals will go and nab the backstop and hope he develops in to a Mauer-esque talent for years.
Mike: Max Scherzer, RHP. Fort Worth Cats (Indy) – This draft is loaded with pitchers, but Scherzer is one of the most polished righties and arguably the most dominant. After not reaching a deal with the D-Backs as the 11th pick in the ’06 draft, the Royals grab a running mate for last year’s top pick, Luke Hochevar, who also went the Fort Worth route.
3. Chicago Cubs
DA: Josh Vitters, 3B, Cyrpess High (Ca.)Â â€“ The best hitter in the draft?Â Vitters won’t fall out of the top five.Â The kid can rake, and projects well as a superior offensive talent.Â His upside is very enticing and the Cubs probably won’t look elsewhere.
Mike: Vitters – Can he be the next the next David Wright? Definitely, but if he did that, he’d be falling short of his ceiling.Â Vitters is theÂ kind ofÂ hitter that can fall out of bed andÂ spray line drives to all fields; think Billy Butler with above average defense at the hot corner. Even theÂ Lovable LosersÂ couldn’t screw this pick up.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
DA:Â Max Scherzer â€“ Signability is the key factor with the Boras led Scherzer, but young talent is not something the Pirates should skimp with.Â They’d probably prefer Vitters, but will undoubtedly take the next best player on the board once they’re up.Â Scherzer figures to be that guy.
Mike: Mike Moustakas, 3B/C, Chatsworth High (Ca.) – The Buccos brass had their hearts broken when the Cubbies popped Vitters, but they take the next big thing in the fast rising Moustakas. California’s career prep homerun record holder joins Andrew McCutchen to giveÂ the PiratesÂ a pair of budding superstars.Â Â
5. Baltimore Orioles
DA: Rick Porcello. RHP, Seton Hall Prep (NJ)Â â€“ There have been many names bandied about in Baltimore of who the O’s might select, and if I were a betting man, I’d say it would be an arm.Â Despite being relatively burned by their (overpriced) investment thus far in straight out of high school project Adam Loewen, don’t be surprised if the O’s go back to the High School Arm Well and nab Porcello, if not Quebecer Phillippe Aumont.
Mike: Matt Wieters – Peter Angelos jumps in and orders the selection of the big nameÂ Wieters, even though his clubÂ has taken hitters with their first pick in 3 of the last 4 drafts. Given that they’re getting a switch hitting power threat at the most preimum of positions, it’s still a very good pick.
6. Washington Nationals
DA:Â Ross Detwiler, LHP, Missouri StateÂ â€“ The Nationals are in desparate need to get some help quickly.Â They desparately need an arm, and one that can be major league ready as soon as possible.Â Detwiler should be their choice.
Mike: Rick Porcello – Sentenced to a lifetime in baseball obscurity (well,Â at least for the first 6 years of his career really), Porcello instantly has the hopes of a franchise thrust upon his shoulders. He’s got a great arm, probably the best in the draft class, but man, good luck kid.
7. Milwaukee Brewers
DA: Jason Heyward, OF, Henry County High (Ga.)Â â€“ Heyward’s stock fell a bit this summer because nobody wanted to throw anything remotely close to the strike zone to him as he was completing his senior year in high school.Â But his tools remain in tact, and he projects as Derrek Lee Version 2.0.Â Despite having Prince manning 1B for the next decade, the Brewers have traditionally taken fantastic young talent in the draft.Â Heyward just seems like he should be a Brewer.
Mike: Ross Detwiler – Burned by the high schoolers they’ve taken in the first round in recent years (Chris Nelson, Jayson Nix and Matt Roney ring a bell? Thought not), the Brew Crew grabs a polished arm that’ll be the perfect compliment to the power arsenals of Sheets and Gallardo.
8. Colorado Rockies
DA:Â Daniel Moskos, LHP, ClemsonÂ â€“ Moskos is tough to judge as he is a college closer, which means he’ll fly to the bigs very quickly.Â The Rox need pitching help all the time, and Moskos is a pitcher, and could be the best arm available in the 9th spot.Â
Mike: Moskos – Perpetually in need of pitching, the Rockies already have plenty of hitters in their organization as it is. Having shown some versatility by moving into the Clemson rotation late this year, Moskos should move quickly in whatever capacity the Rockies decide to use him. This is another squad that could be an absolute monster if it ever got some top flight pitching.
9. Arizona Diamondbacks
DA: Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch High (Ct.)Â â€“ Another high school arm, Harvey has scouts very exciting about his future.Â Good frame, and front line potential with a delivery that doesn’t forewarn future injuries, Harvey could and should crack the top ten picks.
Mike: Madison Bumgarner, LHP, South Caldwell High (NC) – Tall, hard throwing lefties are a rare commidity, and Bumgarner is the best of that breed in this draft. Whatever money they saved by not signing Scherzer will be well spent here. Bumgarner’s got a legitimate chance to be the best player to come out of this draft.
10. San Francisco Giants
DA:Â Beau Mills, 3B/1B, Lewis-Clark State (Id.)Â â€“ An explosive 2007 college campaign has elevated the corner infielder’s stock.
Mike: Mills – 6 of the 12 big leaguers to come out of the NAIA powerhouse have been drafted by the Giants, and they’ll continue that relationship here. Looking towards the post-Barry era, the G-menÂ opt forÂ the nation’s most devastating offensive player (and a Tom Brady look-alike). Mills’ numbers are worth mentioning: .459-.553-1.000 with 21 doubles, 33 homers, 222 total bases and 113 RBIs in only 57 games through last weekend.
11. Seattle Mariners
DA: Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Ecole Du Versant (Quebec)Â â€“ One of the skyscraper pitchers available in the draft, Aumont is a major project but has tremendous stuff and ability.Â Like Andrew Brackman, the other skyscraper, it’s hard to gauge where the Canadian may go, some have projected him to go as a top five pick.
Mike: Andrew Brackman, RHP, NC State – Exactly the kind of player the Mariners would take: high risk, high reward, high cost. Having rushed their last 2 first rounders (Jeff Clement and Brandon Morrow), the M’s would be wise to be patient with Brackman, who’s throw barely 140 innings over the past 3 years, and has tired down the stretch.
12. Florida Marlins
DA: Jarrod Parker, RHP, Norwell High (In.)Â â€“ He’s a small guy and out of high school, but he’s been topping out at 98 MPH lately and is flying up team’s charts.Â This year’s Tim Lincecum.
Mike: Phillippe Aumont – The Marlins have an embarrasment of pitching depth, and only add to it with the flamethrowing Canadian.
13. Cleveland Indians
DA: Andrew Brackman â€“ Signability and mechanics are the two big question marks concerning the giant athletic phenom.Â His stuff should entice a team with a pick in the top fifteen to nab him.Â Cleveland seems a logical fit at thirteen here.
Mike: Jarrod Parker – With the 13th pick in the 2007 First Year Player Draft, the Cleveland Indians select Jarrod Parker, heir to Adam Miller’s title of “Greatest Pitching Prospect That Gets No Love.” Seriously, this kid can flat out deal.
14. Atlanta Braves
DA:Â Madison Bumgarner â€“ Another tall pitcher, the southpaw has a huge fastball but almost no breaking ball repertoire to speak of.
Mike: Jason Heyward – Through the miracle of a deep draft, Schuerholz gets his top target in the local kid. The best 5-tool talent in the draft, Heyward will instantly become the best outfield prospect in the NL East, ahead of all those Mets’ guys.
15. Cincinnati Reds
DA:Â Blake Beaven, RHP, Irving High (Tx.)Â â€“ As you can see, this draft is very pitcher heavy, and Beaven is another arm that impresses.Â Another big guy, Beaven is a power pitcher who has top rotation capabilities.
Mike: Beaven -The last time the Reds took a flamethrowing righty from Texas, it worked it well. Why not shoot for the moon twice?
16.Â Toronto Blue Jays (from Rangers for Frank Catalanotto)
DA: Matt Dominguez, 3B, Chatsworth High (Ca.)Â â€“ There has been strong talk that the Jays are very interested in the powerful corner infielder, which makes sense since there is little power in the farm right now for Toronto.Â Dominguez seems likely.
Mike: Matt LaPorta, 1B, Florida – Led the nation in homers as a sophmore, battled injuries as a junior, led the nation in OBP and OPS as a senior. Like Ricciardi would take a high schooler in the first round 2 years in a row…
17.Â Texas Rangers (from Astros for Carlos Lee)
DA: Josh Smoker, LHP, Calhoun High (Ga.)Â â€“ Back to the High School arms, Smoker is a southpaw who has two plus pitches already.
Mike: Joe Savery, LHP, Rice – Injury slowed junior campaign after a projected top 10 in the preseason, but he’s coming around of late. This year’s Ian Kennedy.
18.Â St. Louis Cardinals
DA: Julio Borbon, OF, TennesseÂ â€“ A prototypical leadoff man, with great speed, the Volunteer should go in the first round as he’s one of the more safe picks in the draft.Â St. Louis eventually needs someone to fill in for the aging Jim Edmonds in center field.
Mike: Matt Dominguez – Walt Jocketty and Co. keep it simple and take the best player left on the board. He could be the best hitter to come out of their system since Pujols…or he could be the next guy moved inÂ a Cardinals’ trademarkÂ prospects-for-veterans deal.
19.Â Philadelphia Phillies
DA: Kyle Russell, OF, TexasÂ â€“ Power hitting outfielder, with a great arm.Â Sounds like something Pat Gillick might warm toward.Â The Phillies need a few more bats, and he could help their system in that regard.
Mike: Casey Weathers, RHP, Vandy – Meet the latest member of the CCRTTBABDITFR club (College Closer Rushed To The Bigs After Being Drafted In The First Round).
20.Â Los Angeles Dodgers (from Red Sox for Julio Lugo)
DA:Â Mike Moustakas â€“ The Boras client who has committed to play to USC should prove to be a difficult sign.Â He’ll fall, and the Dodgers seem like the most likely team to bankroll him for their farm system.
Mike: Julio Borbon – It’s almost not fair the talent that this team is able to horde in the draft each year. ThisÂ time they add the draft’s best leadoff prospect, and get ridiculous value at #20.
21. Toronto Blue Jays
DA: Justin Jackson, SS,Â Roberson HighÂ (NC) â€“ The defensively gifted shortstop has great speed, and a slowly developing bat.Â The Jays are in dire need of acquiring a legit shortstop, and Jackson would be their best choice to develop into that guy.
Mike: Kevin Ahrens, 3B, Memorial High (Tx.) – Okay, so maybe Riccardi will go for high schoolers in consecutive first rounds. A bit of a sleeper, Ahrens mashes from both sides of the plate and could be the next Chipper.
22.Â San Francisco Giants (from Dodgers for Jason Schmidt)
DA: Michael Main, RHP, Deland High (Fl.)Â â€“ Extreme stuff for a high school kid.Â Throws 99 MPH, but has a wonky delivery that could eventually lead to arm problems or a move to the bullpen as a closer.Â The Giants didn’t listen to concerns about Tim Lincecum last year, and that move paid off, they should continue to take risks and nab Main.
Mike: Main – There’s no reason toÂ think that Brian Sabean will continue to digress from his usual “I want all the arms I can get” approach, especially after taking Mills earlier. Main may be the best athlete in the draft, and is a first round talent as an outfielder as well.
23.Â San Diego Padres
DA: Yasmani Grandal, Miami Springs High (Fl.)Â â€“ Flying up the catching charts as one of the elite backstops available after Matt Weiters.Â Years away from the bigs, but a guy who can develop into a fantastic backstop.
Mike: Josh Smoker – They’ve got 11 picks in the first 5 rounds, and vow to spend the money needed to rebuild their barren farm system. Kevin Towers and friends start off by selecting the best player left on the board, and follow up by doing the Dance of Joy. (seriously, tell me that didn’t make you laugh)
24.Â Texas Rangers (from Angels for Gary Matthews Jr.)
DA:Â Neil Ramirez, RHP, Kempsville High (Va.)Â â€“ Great command, and a high schooler that is the most projectable righty arms in the draft.Â Texas will probably be stockpiling arms in this draft and Ramirez seems likely one of them.
Mike: Nick Schmidt, LHP, Arkansas – Forever needing arms, the Rangers go for Big Schmidt, who’s the (follow along) lefthanded version of a poor man’sÂ Joba Chamberlain.
25.Â Chicago White Sox
DA: Matt LaPortaÂ â€“ A powerful college hitter who would have been a first round pick last year had he not got injured and proved to be a difficult signing.Â Back in the draft, LaPorta’s bat will be coveted by many teams looking for a fix quickly.Â Kenny Williams will eventually have to replace the aging Jim Thome.
Mike: Mitch Canham, C, Oregon State – Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and teams overdrafting catchers/aspiring rappersÂ because of position scarcity. Canham is this year’s example. Many Yankees fans’ hearts are broken.
26.Â Oakland Athletics
DA: Jack McGeary,Â Roxbury Latin High (Ma.)Â â€“ Another projectable high schooler, McGeary has great control and throws left handed.Â Because of the high quotient of high school talent available, it seems likely that many of the Moneyballers will buck tradition and look hard at the younger arms.
Mike: Todd Frazier, 3B, RutgersÂ – Billy Beane’s type of guy: impressive track record and will probably sign for below slot. There’s about zero chance of him staying at short, his college position.
27.Â Detroit Tigers
DA: Michael Burgess, Hillsborough High (Fl.)Â â€“ Scouts are concerned about his ability to make consistent contact, but his insane power and cannon arm make him a very exciting prospect. Attended same high school as Gary Sheffield and Carl Everett.
Mike: Devin Mesoraco, C, Punxsutawney High (Pa.) – A bit of an under the radar guy after Tommy John surgery his junior year, Mesoraco is a rare 5-tool catcher and may have the greatest upside at the position. A legit first round talent, there is quite a bit of risk here.
28. Minnesota Twins
DA: Peter Kozma, SS, Owasso High (Ok.)Â â€“ Very exciting high school shortstop prospect.Â If the Jays don’t select him with the number 21 pick, he won’t last much longer.Â The Twins, always a savvy organization with great scouting skills, won’t let him pass.
Mike: Matt Harvey – There’s about 40-45 players in this draft with legitimate first round aspirations. That depth, coupled with Scott Boras “advising” Harvey, leads to one of the top 6 or 7 talents in the class dropping all the way to #28. The Twinkies are never shy about opening the wallet for draft picks (and especially won’t be this year with the imminent departure of Johan), having paid over slot for most of their first rounders this century, including a thenÂ record $5.15M for Joe Mauer back in ’01.
29.Â San Francisco Giants (from Mets for Moises Alou)
DA: JP Arencibia, C, TennesseeÂ – The catcher had a disappointing 2007 campaign with the Vols, hampered by injuries, thus making his stock fall.Â He could fall out of the first round, but I have an inkling that the Giants might think long and hard, and could roll the dice on the backstop.
Mike: Brett Cecil, LHP, Maryland -Â With their third first round pick, the Giants opt for the supremely underappreciated Cecil. After spending most of his college career closing games, Cecil moved into the Terrapin’s rotation recently with great success.Â He’s good enoughÂ and has a deep enough repetoire to stay in the rotation,Â plus he’s got a sick Eric Gagne circa 2003 splitter-changeup hybrid at his disposal.Â
30. New York Yankees
DA:Â Casey Weathers â€“ Another bullpen arm to complement Humberto Sanchez and Joba, as the impending end of Mariano Rivera looms.
Mike: Kyle Russell- He obliterated Texas’ single season homerun mark this year with 27 through last weekend (previous record was 20 dingers), and he’s more than just some meathead slugger that will be a DH by his 100th career game. With the Yanks lineup looking older by the day, Russell could provide a nice shot in the arm for the Grand Opening of Yankee Stadium version 2.0.
Photo Credits: David Price via scout.com; Josh Vitters via perfectgame.org; Max Scherzer via SI; Danny Moskos via theacc.com; Beau Mills via goldpanners.com; Madison Bumgarner via The Chatham Journal; Julio Borbon via UTSports.com; Michael Main via SI; Matt LaPorta via Brian; Michael Burgess via perfectgame.org; Kyle Russell via texassports.com