The 2010 MLB Entry Draft kicks off in less than 24-hours, and much has changed since my first attempt at a Mock Draft on Thursday. With the aids of experts like (ESPN's Keith Law, Fanhouse's Frankie Piliere, Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein, Baseball America's Jim Callis, plus from SB Nation, Minor Leauge Ball's John Sickels, and MLBBonusBaby's Andy Seiler) I've followed a long all the rumors of pre-draft agreements and team preferences, and compiled together what seems to me like a logical Mock Draft.
In addition, I invite you to follow Project Franchise's Twitter, @PFTwit, during the first and sandwich rounds Monday night, for up-to-the-minute opinions of the draft's happenings.
1: Washington Nationals – Bryce Harper, C
Things are changing as we get close to the draft, but not with the first overall pick. There seems to be virtually no doubt that 2010’s baseball phenom will soon be a National – that is, if he signs. While he’ll be drafted as a catcher, the Nationals will likely end up playing him the outfield to speed up his development.
2: Pittsburgh Pirates – Jameson Taillon, RHP
Expected to go with SS Manny Machado for weeks, the Pirates seem to have decided on going with the best prep school pitcher in the country, and seem set on drafting Jameson Taillon, often compared to flame-thrower Josh Becket at #2.
3: Baltimore Orioles – Manny Machado, SS
The Orioles have always been positioned to take the player Pittsburgh passed up on, and that remains the case, as they could finally have their shortstop of the future with this pick.
News broke Friday evening that the Royals had a pre-draft agreement in place with one of the best college hitters in the country in Grandal, and is mostly what caused changes up and down draft expectations.
5: Cleveland Indians – Drew Pomeranz, LHP
The Royal’s taking Grandal opens the door for Cleveland to take the nation’s best left-handed pitcher, Drew Pomeranz. As a college pitcher, Pomeranz likely mixes the best polish and upside combination of any player in the draft.
6: Arizona Diamondbacks – Chris Sale, LHP
While it was earlier speculated that the Diamondbacks were likely to go with collegiate righty Matt Harvey, the Royals/Grandal ripple effects give them a shot at Chris Sale, another college arm with very good stuff, but some concerns over mechanics.
7: New Yorks Mets – Justin O’Conner, C/SS
One of the other main draft shakers came Saturday when after seeing the high school infielder in person, word spread that the GM Omar Minaya liked what he saw and would take O’Conner if the two pitchers going above were off the board, as seems likely. O’Conner may be a bit of an overdraft here, but his combination of good defensive skills and a quick bat give him big upside for the Mets, especially if he stays at catcher.
8: Houston Astros – Josh Sale, OF
Also over the weekend, it became clear from reports by many draft experts that the Astros had settled in on selecting Josh Sale, a high school outfielder many say has the best prep bat in the draft. He has great potential to move quickly for a high school pick, and could be a cornerstone offensive player on a rebuilding Astros club.
9: San Diego Padres – Kolbrin Vitek, 2B/OF
The Padres had Vitek and outfielder Michael Choice workout with them this week, and seem set on picking one of the two players. You can probably flip a coin between them, but Vitek is probably a bit safer of a pick than Choice, who has some flaws in his swing. Vitek may not have as big offensive potential, but he seems to be a more athletic guy with potential to play centerfield in the majors.
10: Oakland Athletics – Zack Cox, 3B
Cox is described as the most polished collegiate bat in the draft, and the Athletics would love to see him fall into their laps, as it now seems likely will occur. The A’s have been rumored with a bunch of players, but Cox would likely be the type that Billy Beane couldn’t pass up on.
11: Toronto Blue Jays – Michael Choice, OF
The Jays have been linked to Choice for a while now, as well as seemingly a zillion other names, but Choice makes the most sense for them. He shouldn’t be too difficult to sign, which is important with the three supplemental round picks the Jays have, and with power rated near 80 on the 20-80 scale, has major upside too.
12: Cincinnati Reds – Christian Colon, SS
Colon is an all-around solid player that should move fast through the minors. He doesn’t have gigantic upside, but on a team with big power bats like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, an above average offensive shortstop is a great addition.
13: Chicago White Sox – Deck McGuire, RHP
As one of the most polished college pitchers in the draft, McGuire has long been considered likely to go in the top-10 picks. However, movement at the top of the board has dropped McGuire a bit, as he lacks the upside of most top-tier guys. Still, he’s the type of pick the White Sox usually like to grab.
14: Milwaukee Brewers – Matt Harvey, RHP
The Brewers have been linked to pitching for most of the time leading up to the draft, and may get a chance at a high upside player like Matt Harvey, previously expected to go within the top-10. Unlike McGuire, he does bring some risk despite being a college pitcher, but also has considerable upside.
15: Texas Rangers – Brandon Workman, RHP
This is surprisingly the first spot in the draft I’ve kept the same since my previous mock draft, other than Bryce Harper. Workman still makes sense here for Texas, as he’s signable, solid, and a local player.
16: Chicago Cubs – Alex Wimmers, RHP
The string of right-handed pitchers continues to the Cubs in the spot. Wimmers is the pitcher most compared to the Reds first-round pick from 2009, Mike Leake, in that he could quickly help at the Major League level, something that may appeal to the victory-starved Cubs.
17: Tampa Bay Rays – Karsten Whitson, RHP
Whitson is a high school arm that provides a considerable amount of upside, perfect for the tendencies of the Rays. Whitson has previously been expected to go in the top-10, if not the top-5, but teams up there may prefer safer picks than a high school arm, as those are generally considered on the risky side. Still, of any pitcher in the draft other than Jameson Taillon, Whitson shows perhaps the most potential to be a front-line starter.
18: Los Angeles Angels – Dylan Covey, RHP
The Angels have three first round picks, and would love to get the chance to start them off by taking a local player from the high school level with good upside in Dylan Covey. He’s often compared to Matt Cain, and could eventually play John Lackey’s role atop the Angels rotation.
19: Houston Astros – Stetson Allie, RHP
While Whitson and Taillon may be the two pitchers in the draft that seem most likely to turn into staff ace’s, Allie may have more upside than both of them – if he can harness secondary pitches and improve his command. Allie reportedly hit 101MPH on radar guns today in his last high school game. Combined with Josh Sale, the Astros could provide themselves with both the leader of their offense and pitching rotation with these picks.
20: Boston Red Sox – Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
Ranaudo is a college pitcher who was at once expected to go in the top 5 picks, but inconsistency and health concerns have knocked him down the board. He could easily turn out to be the steal of the draft, and a team may just be enticed to take him before the Red Sox do. Still, with an expected high price tag, he should fall to this point, and most expect the Red Sox wouldn’t let him fall any further.
21: Minnesota Twins – Asher Wojciechowski, RHP
In addition to a challenging name to spell, Wojciechowski is another college pitcher that fits in with the types of picks the Twins usually like making. He is a relatively safe pick, but should have the upside of a #2 or #3 starter, the likes that the Twins have been successful filling their rotation with as of late.
22: Texas Rangers – Kaleb Cowart, 3B/RHP
Cowart has been linked to the Rangers for a while, and balancing the safe pick of Workman at #15, Cowart provides big upside as one of the best all-around athletes in the draft. It remains to be seen whether he ends up on the mound or as a hitter, though speculation is that he prefers to hit.
23: Florida Marlins – Nick Castellanos, 3B
The Marlins tend to take high-upside high school players, and that’s just what they’ll get with Castellanos, who scouts expect will hit for strong average and power in the big leagues. The Marlins tend to turn around their players often, but if timing works out, he could one day make a really strong offensive left-infield with Hanley Ramirez.
24: San Francisco Giants – Yordy Cabrera, SS/3B
The Giants are starved for strong bats in their system, and even at the big league level, so they may be enticed to pick a safer and closer college bat. However, recent rumors connect them to Castellanos or Cabrera, two players that could one day be big offensive threats.
25: St. Louis Cardinals – Bryce Brents, OF
With so much money tied up to Matt Holliday, and likely to Albert Pujols if/when they extend him, the Cardinals will strong bats to fill around them for relatively cheap prices. Brentz is a player that could do just that, and while comparing his upside to Matt Holliday would be risky, he could certainly make a great corner-outfield partner for him before too long.
26: Colorado Rockies – Jesse Hahn, RHP
I linked the Rockies to Hahn in my first edition of the mock draft, and don’t see much reason for that to change. Hahn is a collegiate pitcher with solid upside if he can overcome some injury issues. The Rockies have built their team greatly through strong drafting, and a healthy Hahn could fit right into that mix.
27: Philadelphia Phillies – Austin Wilson, OF
The Phillies are known for taking great, raw athletes with huge upside, and that’s what they’ll get with Austin Wilson. Ruben Amaro has met with Wilson and his family, according to reports, and while teams ahead of them have shown interest in Wilson, it seems like the Phillies would snag him and hope they can meet his price if he were to fall to them.
28: Los Angeles Dodgers – Delino DeShields Jr., 2B/OF
DeShields is a toolsy player with good upside, and should have a price tag that’s manageable for the Dodgers. Delino DeShields Sr. played for the Dodgers in the mid-90s, and the younger DeShields could get a chance to follow in his footsteps.
29: Los Angeles Angels – Brett Eibner, RHP/OF
I matched Eibner with the Angels in my previous attempt at mocking the 2010 draft, after they had been linked together in a few places, and don’t see much reason to venture away from that as of now. Eibner could be a solid pitcher or powerful outfield bat, and both could suit the Angels down the road.
30: Los Angeles Angels – Mike Kvasnicka, C
I speculated before that with the second pick in a row here, the Angels may look to a safer player that they may be able to get a bit of a bargain on, and Kvasnicka fits that profile. I guessed that they may look at catcher Kellin Deglan for this spot in my last guess, but word today from Keith Law is that the Canadian Deglan is expected to fall to the Blue Jays in the supplemental round.
31: Tampa Bay Rays – Aaron Sanchez, RHP
With this compensation pick for failing to sign outfielder LeVon Washington last year, the Rays may should look for a signable player. Sanchez fits that bill, while also providing them with a fair bit of upside, which is always something the Rays seek.
32: New York Yankees – Jedd Gyorko, SS/3B
The Yankees had been strongly tied to Gyorko before I wrote my previous mock draft. There have been a few more names speculated with the Yankees since then, such as pitchers Luke Jackson and Robby Rowland, though those names generally are expected to fall later in the draft, which leads me to think they may be looking at them for the second or third rounds.
Feel free once again to share your opinions in the comments section!