Tag:Boston Red Sox
Posted on: June 13, 2009 2:56 pm

My Current All-Star Ballot

AL Starters:
C - Joe Mauer Min
How could it be anyone else?
1B - Justin Morneau Min
Best numbers among AL first basemen, eat is Teixeira.  This is despite rare appearances on ESPN. 
2B - Robinson Cano NYY
Best numbers among AL second basemen, better than Kinsler, better than Pedroia. 
3B - Evan Longoria TB
'Nough said. 
SS - Jason Bartlett TB
Better numbers than Jeter despite less at-bats.
OF - Jason Bay Bos
He is far and away the best outfielder in the AL this year. 
OF - Carl Crawford TB
There are probably five or more guys worthy of the final two outfield spots.  I like Crawford because of his average and speed.
OF - Adam Jones Bal
Jones is already overshadowed by the rest of the league, being an Oriole.  But, he is also overshadowed by the popular Nick Markakis and rookie Matt Wieters.  This is my subtle nod to Jones' performance this season, and further proof the Orioles made a killing in the Bedard trade. 

NL Starters:
C - Brian McCann Atl
This is such a pathetic group, but someone does have to start, right?  I think Brian McCann is the most talented, so I closed my eyes and penciled in his bubble. 
1B - Albert Pujols StL
Year in and year out this position is so close, and so many of the players are deserving.  I want to make note of the great performances from Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder, but Pujols is clearly at the top. 
2B - Chase Utley Phi
One of those rare occurrances where numbers = popularity. 
3B - Ryan Zimmerman Was
David Wright's numbers are slightly better, but if Zimmerman played for a better team his would blow away the competitions.  Plus you have to give Zimmerman for signing an extension with the worst team in baseball.  Could Zimmerman, Strasburg and Bryce Harper make Washington competitive?  Even I have my doubts. 
SS - Miguel Tejada Hou
The numbers are very close between Tejada and Han Ram, but if Tejada is the All-Star starter, his trade value may go up, right?
OF - Raul Ibanez Phi
There is no better hitter in baseball this year. 
OF - Carlos Lee Hou
He has All-Star starter's numbers. 
OF - Hunter Pence Hou
His numbers are probably 5th best among outfielders, but he's the best right fielder in baseball, and his perpetual joy on the baseball field would be awesome to see in the All-Star game. 

Posted on: June 8, 2009 9:16 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2009 3:44 pm

MLB Mock Draft 2009

Hello, welcome to my 2009 MLB Mock Draft.  This is where I will try to predict every pick for the first several rounds.  With the recent news of Kyle Gibson’s stress fracture and other stock changes, I have just completely remade my mock draft, before I even released the first version.  I had originally planned to mock all the day one picks, the first one hundred and eleven.  But, because I have had to change many picks, I am not sure I will be able to get that many done by the draft tomorrow.  I will however, mock as many picks as possible and provide sufficient information on each pick.  I will continue working on this and update it, as I finish each round.  My goal is to predict 20% of the picks I mock.  I hope those of you who read my write up enjoy, please comment, and come back tomorrow for my thoughts on the draft itself.  Later in the week, I will be reviewing the draft, so look for that as well. 

Scouting reports come from a number of sites, most prominently Baseball America, PGCrosscheckers.com, John Sickel’s site minorleagueball.com and milb.com. 

There are a couple places in the draft I want to point out now, for when I come back to grade - how many picks I got right - my mock.  Where ever a team is picking back-to-back, notably Arizona at 16 and 17 and the Angels at 24 and 25, if I guess a guy at one of those two spots and he is picked by that team at the other spot, I’m counting it.  Also, in the first round supplemental, I am counting any player I guess the correct team for.  If Nick Franklin goes to the Angels in the supp. no matter what pick, I’m counting it.  I think that’s fair, right?  Anyways, enjoy. 

I have decided I am going to post what I have on the blog, and add to it, as it gets done.

First Round

1. Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg RHP San Diego State

Strasburg is the number one pick of the 2009 MLB draft.  My official prediction for how much he signs for… $21.5 million.  Strasburg is the best prospect in the draft era, and would fit into a big league rotation immediately.  I would love for the Nationals to send him to AAA, so I can see him in Syracuse, and give you all my own scouting report of him.  He throws his fastball in the high 90s and can touch 103 mph.  He also throws a hammer breaking ball in the low-to-mid 80s and a changeup he throws in the low 80s.  I worry a little; I think its possible Strasburg blows out his arm at some point, a la the guy a lot of people compare him to, Mark Prior.  With a comp. of Mark Prior, who wouldn’t worry?   Anyways I seem to be in the minority on this. 

2. Seattle Mariners: Dustin Ackley OF North Carolina

If Strasburg is on the first tier of prospects by himself, I would say Ackley is on the second tier, all by himself.  He is clearly the best hitter, having “plus, plus hittability”, according to milb.com’s draft report.  He adds plus speed and range in centerfield.  Ackley has dispelled any thoughts that he wouldn’t be able to play centerfield, following Tommy John surgery last summer, which had him saddled at first.  The main question on Ackley is how much power he’ll hit for, and although I don’t think he needs too much to be an effective major league hitter, he certainly hit 20-30 homeruns.  There was some talk about the Mariners wanning on Ackley and considering Aaron Crow or Tanner Scheppers, but I don’t buy it, Ackley’s the guy.  What I think the Mariners are getting in Ackley is a future no. 3 hitter, who is going to play centerfield, hit .300+ with a .400 OBP, and be a 20-20 guy (Curtis Granderson better OBP?), not bad, eh?

3. San Diego Padres: Donavan Tate OF Cartersville HS (Georgia)

After the first two picks things get very interesting, very fast.  It seems as though the Padres have narrowed this selection to three guys: Tate, Aaron Crow and Mike Minor.  Although, if I were running this draft, I would take Tyler Matzek, who I believe is the third best prospect in the draft.  Crow would also be a good pick, but Minor is a clear overdraft.  If Ackley falls, the Padres WILL take him.  Tate has, perhaps, the highest ceiling in the draft.  However, he is also going to cost a lot of money, close to six million?  Tate has a strong commitment to North Carolina, where he would play both football and baseball – his father Lars Tate was an NFL player.  There are also questions about Tate’s hit-ability.  I like Tate at this spot for two reasons: 1. He’s the guy available with the most upside and San Diego’s system could really use some upside, particularly up the middle 2. If Tate doesn’t go number three, I don’t know where he goes, so I instead of forcing a headache upon myself, I’ve decided to take the risk, along with the Padres, and take Tate. 

4. Pittsburgh Pirates: Aaron Crow RHP Fort Worth (University of Missouri)

As previously stated, I’m fairly certain about the first two picks, however, every other pick is far from certain.  Rumors have swirled around the Pirates, involving a sign-ability pick here.  Names discussed include: Tony Sanchez and Bobby Borchering.  The Pirates would like to save money because they are rumored to be the favorites to sign Dominican Miguel Angel Sano a SS, the rumored price is four million.  Apart from those rumors the Pirates are known to like college pitchers and the top arm on my board is Aaron Crow, who has little negotiating power and should sign around slot.  If Crow’s name sounds familiar, it should, he was the number nine pick in last year’s draft, and went to an independent league, along with Tanner Scheppers, after failing to sign, I had him going number ten to my Astros.  Crow throws a low-to-mid 90s sinking fastball, a plus slider and an at least average changeup, which is his biggest improvement from last year.  Personally, I like Crow and think he has front of the rotation upside, as a reliever he could pitch in the major’s later this season and could be in a rotation next. 

5. Baltimore Orioles: Tyler Matzek LHP Capistrano Valley HS (California)

As previously stated, Matzek is the third prospect on my board, and although Zach Wheeler seems to be the popular pick here of late, I still like Matzek – and I love the idea of Wheeler seven to his home state Braves.  Matzek throws his fastball up to 95 mph, but sits in the low 90s.  He throws two at least average breaking balls, a curveball he throws in the mid 70s and a slider in the mid 80s.  He also throws a changeup, but hasn’t needed it yet.  Matzek may not be a true no. one starter type, but he has good 2/3 starter upside, with much more polish than you would expect from a HS pitcher.  The Orioles usually draft the best player available (BPA) and don’t shy away from guy with perceived signability problems.  I do think the Orioles would love to add a good position player to their system, but there is no one of value here, so the Orioles will be “forced” to add to their already stellar crop of pitchers. 

6. San Francisco Giants: Tanner Scheppers RHP St. Paul (Fresno State)

Scheppers is a tough guy to slot in.  Many experts have him falling out of the top ten and in some cases out of the first round, because of fear for that same shoulder problem that made him fall last year.  However, because I am mocking through the first supplemental, I would hate to have to guess how far Scheppers is going to fall, I mean, I already have to do that for Kyle Gibson, so I’m not going to torture myself and do it for Scheppers too.  I like this fit.  Although, I haven’t seen many people agree with me, that’s ok though.  Scheppers has put together a good showing in St. Paul and should be close to major league ready.  He profiles as a top of the rotation starter, but does come with injury risk.  He throws his fastball in the mid 90s and can put “cut and sink” onto it (according to milb.com).  He also throws a power curve and changeup.  Like the Orioles, I think the Giants would love to add a bat and could be a possibility for Tate should he fall past the Padres, but without sufficient value on my board the Giants will also add to their “stellar crop of pitchers”.  Jacob Turner and Zach Wheeler are also candidates. 

7. Atlanta Braves: Zack Wheeler RHP East Paulding HS (Georgia)

I hope the Brave appreciate me dodging two bullets (the Orioles and Giants) to deliver them their prized Georgia arm.  Wheeler was the guy I liked at the beginning of the year for the Astros, but since, has had his stock rise more than just about anyone in the draft.  Wheeler has a perfect pitcher’s body at 6’4 170, and also fits Atlanta’s mold as a prep local product, as an added bonus, he’ll sign for slot!  Wheeler already throws up to 95 mph and still has plenty of projection.  He also throws an above average curveball and the makings of an average change.  The sky is the limit for Wheeler, who has one of the highest upsides among the HS pitchers in this draft, but he also has some mechanical problems. 

8. Cincinnati Reds: Alex White RHP North Carolina

This is where I had Gibson slated for awhile, dubbing him the Yonder Alonso of this draft.  However, due to the stress fracture, the Reds are unlikely to take him – although they could – and I don’t have to explain my Gibson = Alonso comparison.  White has been up and down, but I still believe he has the highest upside amongst college pitchers NNS (not named Strasburg).  I actually really like White and believe he would be a steal here.  Leake and Grant Green are also possibilities.  White throws a low 90s fastball, which gets up to 95 mph; his 2-seamer has great movement to it.  His slider is also a plus pitch, he throws a splitter as an off-speed pitch, as well as a below average curveball. 

9. Detroit Tigers: Jacob Turner RHP Westminster Christian Academy (Missouri)

Jacob Turner wants Rick Porcello money, well; why not give him to the team with a Rick Porcello void in their minors?  Turner has a large frame at 6-5 220 and is already throwing in the mid-low 90s.  He also throws a mid 70s slider.  He hasn’t really needed a changeup in high school.  Matt Purke is now being rumored

10. Washington Nationals: Chad Jenkins RHP Kennesaw State

Jenkins is a bit of an overdraft, but not too badly, since many think he could go to the Blue Jays at twenty also.  The Nationals have also been attached to Mike Trout and others with this pick.  The idea being to sign someone at or below slot since Strasburg is going to cost $21.5 million.  Jenkins throws his fastballs, two and four seamers, in the low 90s.  He adds a low 80s slider and changeup. 

11. Colorado Rockies: Mike Leake RHP Arizona State

Leake was the big mover during the college season, as he moved up probably a round.  He led division I in a couple statistical categories – so eat it Strasburg.  However, Leake profiles as a 3/4 starter, with a high floor.  He throws a high 80s/low 90s sinking fastball, he adds a high 70s/low 80s slider and plus changeup.  He command is plus, plus.  He’s short, but athletic for a pitcher.  The last four drafts, 78% of the Rockies’ top 137 picks have been college players, 50% have been college pitchers.  Mike Leake is a nice complement to Christian Friedrich (last year’s first rounder), and gives the Rockies a nice trio of advanced pitchers (throwing Jhoulys Chacin into the mix).  Plus they need all the pitching help they can get – although all three of the pitchers I listed profile towards the middle of the rotation.

12. Kansas City Royals: Wil Myers C Wesleyan Christian Academy (North Carolina)

After a couple years of paying for high priced talents: Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, etc, the Royals are looking for a bargain at a premium position (C, SS, CF), and rumors include Tony Sanchez, the top college catcher.  However, I like the higher upsided (yes, upsided, I like the way it sounds) Myers.  Myers has raw power and all the tools to become a solid defensive catcher, with a good arm.  He is also very athletic for a catcher, with above-average speed. 

13. Oakland Athletics: Grant Green SS Southern California

Before the season, Grant was expected to be one of the first three picks in the draft.  However, he has played his way down, as many now question his ability to stay at short, as well as his power.  Green does, however, have good hitting ability, and average to above-average speed.  His arm is also at least average, leaning above-average slightly.  However, (milb.com) he has some trouble ranging up the middle and his power is more line-drive power than anything else, but he could hit 15-20 homeruns.  Oakland’s MO is established college players, which makes it Green or Brothers in my book.  The A’s are also attached to Donavan Tate, should he fall, and his reported $6 million price tag, so signing Green should be no problem.  By the way, I love me some Green.  I think he’ll stick at short, and be a near .300 hitter with 15-20 homeruns… that’s enough. 

14. Texas Rangers: Shelby Miller HS Brownwood HS (Texas)

If there was a lock this late in the draft, it’d be Miller to the Rangers.  It fits there MO, he’s local, it works.  He throws in the mid 90s with a good curve in the mid 70s, but he has some command issues.  He’s plenty projectable.  Let me double check if this makes sense: Texas usually takes the BPA; money shouldn’t be a problem and they like their fire-ballers, yep, Miller does makes sense. 

15. Cleveland Indians : Mike Minor LHP Vanderbilt

  Mike Minor has been rumored all over the first round, but there is no clear consensus on who that one team is who takes him.    The Indians want Miller, but he won’t get there.  So, it will be the best college player on their board.  The question is who is the top college arm on their board?  It could be Minor, Rex Brothers, James Paxton or Eric Arnett.  I picked Minor.  Mainly because he would fall in my mock if I didn’t put him here (if he doesn’t go here, my prediction is 19 to the Cardinals.  Minor is a low ceiling/high floor starter.  He throws a low 90s fastball, along with both a slider and curveball, and a good enough changeup.  He probably has 4/5 starter upside. 

16. Arizona Diamondbacks : Rex Brothers LHP Lipscomb

17. Arizona Diamondbacks: Bobby Borchering 3B Bishop Verot HS (Florida )

Here’s the first pair of D’back picks.  They like to go high upside HSers early, followed by college floor.  Borchering has one of the best bats in the draft.  He is switch hitter with great bat speed and raw power from both sides.  Many believe he will have to eventually move to first but, I think he could stay at third.  His speed is average or a little below.  His arm is about average as well. 

Brothers is a guy I like a lot.  He throws his fastball in the mid 90s, he also throws a good slider, with a lot of movement, hasn’t thrown his changeup too much.  He’s a rare lefty that can dial his fastball up to 96/97 mph and I think his ceiling is 2/3 starter if he develops his changeup. 

18. Florida Marlins : Chad James LHP Yukon HS (Oklahoma )

Chad James is the guy I’m hoping falls to the ‘Stros at 21, but it’s unlikely he will as he is coveted by the D’backs, Marlins, Cardinals and Blue Jays.  The Marlins develop HS pitching very well, so James makes sense here.  If Borchering gets to here, I could see the Marlins taking the in-state third basemen.  James is a lefty with a low 90s fastball, he has touched 95 mph.  He also throws an above-average power curve and above-average changeup.  He has plenty of projection.  I seriously don’t know why James isn’t considered one of the elite HS arms, but one team will benefit as a result in the 16-22 range. 

19. St. Louis Cardinals : James Paxton LHP Kentucky

Word is the Cardinals are leaning left-handed pitcher, the options being: Minor, Brothers, James and Paxton.  One of them will fall, and in this scenario it’s the Boras corp. client, Paxton.  Paxton throws in the mid-to-high 90s, along with a hard slider and a change, which isn’t worth praising.  I don’t like Paxton, lack of a real changeup, command, questionable mechanics, Boras, but it seems like the Cards do, so he’s the pick.  

20. Toronto Blue Jays: Eric Arnett RHP Indiana

This was a tough one.  I’ve been hearing college arm.  The Jays would have liked Jenkins, Minor or Brothers, but none of them fell.  I also think Chad James is an option, although history would show the Jays shy away from HS arms in the early rounds, and Matt Hobgood is still an option.  Kyle Gibson, post-injury, has been rumored here and I think Mike Trout or Tim Wheeler are options here.  Trout has one of the highest upsides amongst position players and Wheeler is the next best college bat.  I went with the college arm route and took Arnett, although I am far less than confident with that pick.  Arnett is a 6’5” righty, who throws in the mid 90s, he also throws a slider in the high 70s/low 80s which can get batters out.  His changeup needs some work.  I’m not in love with this selection, but that’s mostly because I’m not in love with Arnett, who has risen this season, after an increase in velocity.  I also am not high on his secondary pitches or command, but he has to go somewhere in the first round… I guess, and he could go as high as 15. 

21. Houston Astros: Slade Heathcott LHP/OF Texas HS (Texas)

I have gone over this pick again and again.  I have changed my mind many times, and I still have no clue.  I have studied Astros drafts, particularly last year’s.  I have looked at the pool of names, over-and-over again, but still nothing looks right.  What does look right is Chad James.  He’d be perfect.  He’s the top guy on my wish list, but I really don’t think he’s going to last here, and I decided to adhere to my integrity as a blogger (ha) and have him go earlier.  I also like Rex Brothers, but he also will probably be gone.  There are other names in consideration here: Matt Hobgood would make sense as the next best HS arm, Jared Mitchell is the best athlete, I call Tim Wheeler “the Jason Castro of this draft”, and I started a recent buzz about Mike Trout.  Seriously, I participated in John Sickel’s mock draft on Saturday and took Trout with his pick, and since then, a bunch of people have started talking about Trout to the Astros.  I would love to see it, but I’m afraid Houston isn’t taking an OF from New Jersey and people just went to John’s website saw the pick, and liked… maybe I’m just being ethnocentric, I don’t know.  Anyways, the guy at thebaseballdraftreport.com said, “ a great tip though for any young mockers out there – go with as many off the wall picks as possible because, on the off chance you get lucky and nail one of them, you’ll be lauded as a prophet. Mock drafts almost work counter to basic human nature as people often forget the bad picks, but clearly remember the good ones.”  (By the way I suggest thebaseballdraftreport.com to anyone interested in the draft, lots of good insight)  I like this idea.  Houston is my favorite team, so I am going to hook them up with one of my favorite draft prospects, Slade Heathcott and actually it could happen...  Heathcott has one of the five highest upsides in the draft (among position players).  However, he has signability issues and character issues, which is why most teams are considering him for the second and third rounds.  The Yankees, among other teams are thinking about nabbing Heathcott in the first, due to the lack of solid options.  The Astros are also high on Heathcott, plus the all important, Texas factor.  So, why can’t the Astros jump on Heathcott?  One thing I can tell you about Bobby Heck and the current Astros draft philosophy is, they do not care about the consensus.  They will take whoever they believe to be the BPA, and it could be Heathcott.  Look at Jason Castro and Jordan Lyles from last draft?  Now go look at how they’re doing in their first full season… Jason Castro, by the way, for all you Astros fans, was called up to AA Corpus Christi and will be ready for Wednesday’s game.  Heathcott is a five-tool outfielder.   According to milb.com, he has “plus hitting ability”, “plus power to all fields”, above-average speed, plus arm strength and a plus defender.  I am going to try hard, to will this pick into reality. 

22. Minnesota Twins: Jiovanni Mier SS Bonita HS (California)

The MO on the Twins: HS bats, college arms.  Mier is the kind of toolsy player they like and with the first couple of tiers of college pitchers gone; he seems like an obvious choice.  Mier is the top HS shortstop amongst a deep class.  He has all the defensive tools to stay at short too.  He also has some hitting ability, with a little power to go with it. 

23. Chicago White Sox: Andrew Oliver LHP Oklahoma State

Oliver throws a mid 90s fastball along with a plus changeup, but he does not really have a breaking pitch yet.  He is also a Boras corp. client, but that shouldn’t bother the Chi Sox.  The White Sox have, however, been attached to several of the toolsy outfielders still around: Trout, Everett Williams and Reymond Fuentes. 

24. Los Angeles Angels : Tyler Skaggs LHP Santa Monica HS (California)

25. Los Angeles Angels : Mike Trout OF Milville HS (New Jersey)

Another back-to-back pick, remember if Skaggs goes 25 or Trout goes 24, I’m still counting it as a correct pick.  The Angels, like the D’backs have an abundance of early round pick, so they could do almost anything with them, but based on their philosophy and lack of talent in their system, they’ll go HS, HS, HS, early and often.  Skaggs is a California arm.  He throws a low 90s fastball, but should add more velocity as he matures; he is 6’5” 180 and offers plenty of projection, and some.  Skaggs also throws a plus curveball in the low 70s. 

Trout, like I’ve said is one of the ten best bats in the draft and I’ve heard it said that he is the most likely guy in the class to join the 30-30 club.  He’s a five-tooler with solid defensive skills and a plus arm. 

  26. Milwaukee Brewers: Garrett Gould RHP Maize HS Kansas

Gould just looks like a Brewers pick.  I get a Jake Odorizzi vibe from him, in fact.  He throws his fastball in the low 90s and can get into the mid 90s a little.  He also throws a plus curve and a decent enough changeup.  Gould also has that all important, no not “Texas factor”, projection thing.  He’s 6’4” 190 after all.

27. Seattle Mariners: Drew Storen RHP Stanford

  Storen is the top closer in the class, but I think he’ll be drafted as a starter, and the Mariners seem like a team that would do it.  He throws his fastball in the low 90s with good movement.  He also throws his curve in the low 80s and has an effective changeup.  That three pitch mix makes me think starter.  The Mariners are big on college players in the draft, by the way. 

28. Boston Red Sox: Matt Purke HS Klein HS (Texas)

Purke is easily one of the fifteen best players in the draft, but he wants so much money and there are only so many teams that are going to pay $5 million + for a prospect.  Which means someone is going to fall and the likely candidate is Purke.  So, some team at the bottom of the draft will luck out, possibly the Red Sox.  Purke throws his fastball in the low 90s, touching 95.  I’ve said that a lot, I mean, a lot of pitchers throw in the low 90s touching 95.  He throws his curve in the high 70s and has a good changeup.  He also has good command and a projectable body. 

29. New York Yankees: Matt Hobgood RHP Norco HS (California)

New York needs talent and s high school arm as good as Hobgood’s should be tough to pass up.  SS/RHP David Renfroe (this year’s Casey Kelly and Slade Heathcott have been rumored here.  Hobgood throws his fastball in the low 90s, he also throws a plus curve in the mid 70s, according to milb.com it could be the best curve among HS pitchers in the class.  He doesn’t have a changeup though, so he’ll need to work on a third pitch. 

30. Tampa Bay Rays: Max Stassi C Yuba City HS (California)

The Rays’ position of need on the farm is at catcher, and with Stassi available need happens to coincide with the BPA.  Stassi has great instincts and makeup; he also has all the defensive tools behind the plate and an average arm.  His bat should be good and he has some power. 

31. Chicago Cubs: AJ Pollock OF Notre Dame

The last four years, 85% of Cubs picks in the top 149 pick have been college players.  Pollock happens to be a personal favorite of mine, and it is tough to let him go to the Cubs, but the pick makes sense.  Pollock has a very advanced approach at the plate, and has gap power.  He is an above-average runner with great instincts.  He is a good fielder in center with an average arm. 

32. Colorado Rockies: Tim Wheeler OF Sacramento State

Kyle Gibson is rumored here but I’m not quite buying it.  Although, interesting move for the Rockies, if it happens, more on that later… again, if it happens.  Wheeler makes sense as the BPA and a college player; remember what I said about the Rockies and college players?  Wheeler makes good contact, with some power at times, and has plus speed.  He also has an average arm, but plus range in center.  That’s the first round. 

Compensation Round A

Now that we’re done with the first round, the blurbs are going to be much shorter and to the point. 

33. Seattle Mariners : Matt Davidson 3B Yucaipa HS (California )

Davidson has some of the greatest power potential in the draft, but like Borchering may have to move off first.  Personally, I think he can stay at third, though.  Seattle tends to lean college, but Davidson’s power bat may be too much to pass up and this pick would continue a stellar draft for the Mariners. 

34. Colorado Rockies : Alex Wilson RHP Texas A&M

The Rockies pick for a third time and I have them once again taking a college right hander.  Wilson, however, is not much like their first pick Mike Leake.  He has a mid 90s fastball, a sometimes plus slider he throws in the mid 80s a curveball and changeup, although the latter two aren’t nearly a useful as the first two.  Wilson pitched from the Texas A&M bullpen the second half of the season, but he still profiles as a starter with a pretty high ceiling. 

35. Arizona Diamondbacks : Brett Jackson OF California

Jackson is another personal fav.  He has a lot of raw power and some hitting ability, but strikes out a lot.  He also is an above-average runner.  He has a plus arm and is a decent fielder in center. 

36. Los Angeles Dodgers : Madison Younginer RHP Mauldin HS (South Carolina )

The Dodgers didn’t have a first round pick, so should go for a lot of upside with this pick… how about Younginer, who was a reliever in high school, but will be tried out as a starter in pro ball.  He has a mid 90s fastball and projection. 

37. Toronto Blue Jays : Jared Mitchell OF Louisiana State University

  Mitchell is one of the very best athletes in the draft, and was a possibility for the Astros in round one.  His ceiling is a Carl Crawford type outfielder with more power. 

38. Chicago White Sox : Rich Poythress 1B Georgia

  Poythress is one of the best pure hitters in the draft.  Again I opt against the toolsy OF rumors and I really don’t know why. 

39. Milwaukee Brewers : Tommy Joseph C Horizon HS (Arizona )

Joseph has enormous raw power and a chance to play behind the plate, with a plus arm.  He seems like a fit for the Brewers to me. 

40. Los Angeles Angels : Reymond Fuentes OF Puerto Rico

Fuentes is one of the toolsy outfielders the White Sox are after.  However, I think he’s a better fit for the Angels. 

41. Arizona Diamondbacks: Mychal Givens SS Plant HS (Florida)

Givens throws 97 mph off a mound, but it seems like most teams now like him as a high upside HS shortstop.  Is he a possible five-tooler?

42. Los Angeles Angels: Nick Franklin SS Lake Brantley HS (Florida)

  I really like this pick.  Franklin does just about everything well, with great makeup and the ability to stay at short long term. 

43. Cincinnati Reds : Marc Krauss 3B/OF Ohio

I don’t know that much about Krauss, he is one of the college ranks’ best power hitters , that’s about it.  I just love the prospect of the Ohio to Ohio connection here. 

44. Texas Rangers : Everett Williams OF McCallum HS (Texas )

Williams is another toolsy outfielder, with good power potential and speed.  The Astros were at one time considering him in the first, but have since soured on him a little. 

45. Arizona Diamondbacks: Jason Kipnis OF Arizona State

Arizona will take guys from Arizona State, they would love Leake, and Kipnis will sign for slot, an essential for teams with so many early picks.  Kipnis has about average tools across the board. 

46. Minnesota Twins : Sam Dyson RHP South Carolina

Dyson is a draft-eligible sophomore (Drew Storen is too actually), which means he has added leverage and could potentially be tougher to sign as a result.  He has a mid 90s fastball and mid 80s slider. 

47. Milwaukee Brewers: Kentrail Davis OF Tennessee

Davis is also a draft-eligible sophomore, he was supposed to be a first rounder at the start of the season, but was only ok.  Many believe he would benefit greatly from a junior season.  Davis could have a good power/speed combo, but some think he won’t be able to play center in the future, hurting his value. 

48. Los Angeles Angels: Kyle Gibson RHP Missouri

Here’s where I have Gibson.  It’s really just a stab in the dark.  Many think Gibson will still find his way in the first round, but I don’t really want to see a team waste a pick.  The Angels have money, multiple picks and are in need of great value.  When healthy, Gibson throws a low 90s/high 80s fastball with one of the best sliders in the draft and above-average changeup with above-average command. 

49. Pittsburgh Pirates : Tony Sanchez C Boston College

Tony Sanchez is the top college catcher, and is unlikely to fall this far, but he could.  If he does, it would work out greatly for the Pirates, who were considering him for the first round.  Sanchez has some hit ability, some power, average speed, a decent arm and good skills behind the plate.  He’s a prospect you shrug your shoulders at, because, other than his ability to stay behind the plate, no tool really stands out, which is probably why he’s slipped in my mock.  But, those tools in a catcher are very useful.  The Pirates like to take college players, they could use a catcher in their system (who couldn’t) and Sanchez would be the BPA here.  That’s the first sandwich round.

26 More Picks I'm banking on...

51. Seattle Mariners: Kyle Heckathorn RHP Kennesaw State
52. and 83. San Diego Padres: Ryan Jackson SS Miami and Jeff Kobernus 2B California
I'm not distinquishing which I like in the second and which I like in the third, so if either go at either, I'm counting it.  Kobernus reminds me of Matt Antonelli, while Jackson is Adam Everett, great defense, possibly little to no offense. 
54. Baltimore Orioles: Stephen Perez SS Gulliver Prep (Florida)
55. San Francisco Giants: Brody Colvin RHP HS Louisiana
56. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jake Marisneck OF HS California
59. Colorado Rockies: Blake Smith OF California
61. Chicago White Sox: Billy Hamilton OF/SS HS Mississippi
Here's where I'll finally take that toolsy outfielder. 
62. Texas Rangers: Zach Van Rosenberg RHP HS Louisiana
64. Arizona Diamondbacks: Kent Mathes OF Alabama
Mathes should be a hot commodity seeing how he has no leverage, being a senior and all, a team with multiple picks, the D'backs, could use the financial relief they'd get by taking him.  Plus he's got the talent to be a high pick. 
66. Florida Marlins: Dane Williams RHP HS Florida
67. St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk OF HS Texas
68. Toronto Blue Jays: Brooks Raley LHP/OF Texas A&M
69. Houston Astros: David Renfroe SS HS Mississippi
Remember Derek Dietrich!!!
72. New York Mets: Brian Goodwin OF HS North Carolina
73. Milwaukee Brewers: David Holmberg RHP HS Florida
75. Philadelphia Phillies: Todd Glaesman OF HS Texas
76. New York Yankees: Steve Matz RHP HS New York
78. Tampa Bay Rays: LeVon Washington OF HS Florida
85. Baltimore Orioles: Chris Owings SS HS South Carolina
96. Los Angeles Dodgers: Bryan Berglund RHP HS California
98. St. Louis Cardinals: Robbie Shields SS/2B Florida Southern
99. Toronto Blue Jays: Bryan Morgado LHP Tennessee
107. Boston Red Sox: Mike Belfiore RHP Boston College
111. Houston Astros: Jonathan Walsh C HS Texas
At some point. Los Angeles Angels: Trayce Thompson OF HS California

Those 26 picks bring up to a grand total of 75, enjoy the draft.
Posted on: April 1, 2009 11:35 am

Top 15 Prospects: Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox: Top 15 Prospects

Yes, welcome back to the top 15 prospects series.  I have been looking into the 2009 amateur draft, and got motivated to get back on the prospect series.  I would like to note that all of my rankings were made many months ago.  So, if players have since left the organization, i.e. the rule 5 draft, I may not be on the ups of that.  The ages of some players may also be a year off, as I did this late last year, and do not wish to look up the birthdates of a couple hundred players.  However, I will do my best.  I also have no idea how most of the players are doing this spring.  This series is a continuation of the prospect series I started last October.  So, it is each team’s top prospects, following the 2008 season, if you get what I mean by my wording.  The series is targeted more towards casual fans, than hardcore prospect followers.  I also value experience experienced, low upside prospects.  MLL = minor league level last season – A+ is a high A team, A- is a low A team, A (no +/-) means the prospect played at both high A and low A levels last season, “a” is short season A league, and R is rookie league.  Something else of note, that you will notice, is that I like to stay pretty objective and “professional” when writing capsules but, will break out of character, and display my own thoughts, and personality as well, especially when in parentheses.  Enjoy, and please comment your thoughts. 

15. Che-Hsuan Lin Age: 20 MLL: A-

Lin won out this spot amongst some tough competition, guys like Oscar Tejada, Anthony Rizzo, Felix DuBront, and Chris Carter will not be found on this list.  Anyways, Lin’s greatest strengths are on defense, as he possesses the glove, range, and strong arm of a big league centerfielder.  Lin has good speed, and is capable of stealing a bag or thirty three, which is how many he stole in 2008.  Lin has struggled with his bat, he hit .249 with a .359 SLG%, his on base percentage however, was a respectable .342, thanks to good plate discipline.  Lin wins out the last spot on this list, because of his excellent defensive ability, and, even though his offense wasn’t great, it was still better than Oscar Tejada’s.  I also like Lin’s advanced plate discipline, and speed, and he has time to develop more power, his 27% XBH% needs to get hiked up a bit.  It’s too early to tell if Lin can be a starter, or defensive specialist backup, that will depend on the growth of his bat. 

14. Kyle Weiland RHSP Age: 22 MLL: a

Weiland was a closer in college but, the Red Sox have decided to stretch him out as a starter.  The transition to starter has gone well, as Weiland pitched a total of 90 pitches between college and the minors.  In 60 minor league innings he posted a 1.50 ERA and struck out 68 batters.  Weiland’s fastball reaches 95 mph; it has downward movement causing groundballs.  The other two pitches are a slider with a slurvy movement, and a solid changeup.  It will be interesting to see how many innings Weiland will be able to throw in his first season as a starter.  Weiland has the tools to become a starter in the big leagues, and he is good thus far, results wise. 

13. Yamacio Navarro SS Age: 21 MLL: A

Navarro is the second of four international prospects on this list.  He showed good hitting ability in 2008, with a .304 batting average and .359 on base percentage.  He added a good SLG% of .447, and hit 11 homeruns.  However, Navarro’s XBH% was a low 29%.  With more experience Navarro should develop average power, and possibly better than average contact skills.  One part of his offensive game that needs his work is his plate discipline, as he struck out 103 times, with a K: BB ratio of over 2:1 (103 Ks to 41 BBs).  Navarro has average speed but, giving him the ability to steal a few.  Navarro is defensively sound, with adequate range for short, and an above average to plus arm.  Navarro also has some versatility, with the ability, and experience to play second and third as well.  Navarro’s ceiling is an above average shortstop on offense, and average or better defensively, I believe his floor is as a big league utility player, and good bat off the bench.  This season will be big for Navarro as he faces the AA test. 

12. Bryan Price RHSP Age: 22 MLL: a

Price was a supplemental first round pick in the 2008 draft.  Like Weiland, he was a reliever in college but, the Red Sox will try to stretch him into a starter for the time being.  Price’s repertoire includes five pitches.  He throws his fastball in the low-mid 90s, and was able to reach high 90s in relief; his 2-seamer is thrown in the high 80s to low 90s.  Price’s second plus pitch is a slider, he throws in the mid 80s. The other two pitches are his changeup and a curveball that shows some promise.  Price commands his pitches well for the most part.  In 40 innings last summer Price recorded an ERA of 3.83, striking out 43 batters.  Price certainly has the stuff to become a starter in the big leagues but, it is too early to get specific; a number three starter is certainly a possibility, especially if his curveball becomes a plus pitch.  Again, like Weiland, Price’s durability over the course of a full season (starting) is something to watch out for. 

11. George Kottaras C Age: 25 MLL: AAA

First of all, it seems that Kottaras has the backup catcher position under wraps for the Red Sox.  That being said he is a very solid catching prospect (and soon to be rookie).  Kottaras’ best tool is his above average power.  He hit 22 homeruns in 2008, he added a good .457 SLG%, and very good 42% XBH%.  Kottaras also boasts pretty good plate discipline walking 64 times last season.  Kottaras has been all over with his batting average over the years, and last season he hit .243, however, because of his ability to take walks, Kottaras did not have a problem getting on base, his on base percentage was .348, not a great number but, it will not hurt the team when he’s batting sixth or lower.  He also strikes out quite a bit, 110 times in 2008 but, again, I am not worried too much about his ability to get on base, especially with his power.  Kottaras can struggle on defense, although he does a great job blocking pitches, and he has a hard time throwing runners out.  Kottaras does have experience catching knucklers, which certainly helped him when the backup/Wakefield catcher job.  Kottaras may not have the highest of upsides but, I am very high on him.  If he can manage on defense, and hit for a solid average, I think Kottaras can be an average offensively minded catcher, with above average power.  I do not think his downside is any less than a decent backup, and bat off the bench. 

10. Stolmy Pimentel RHSP Age 19 MLL: a

At only nineteen Pimentel put up solid numbers in the New York – Penn league.  He pitched 63 innings with an ERA of 3.14 ERA, striking out 61 batters.  He has good command and movement with his fastball but, he has only average velocity (88-92 mph).  Pimentel has a good feel for his changeup, and throws it in the 78 to 82 range.  His curveball has 12-6 movement, and has the chance to be a plus pitch, its average right now.  Although it’s early in his career, and Pimentel will likely play his first full season this year, he could be a middle of the rotation starter. 

9. Michael Almanzar 3B Age: 18 MLL: A-/R

Athletic and toolsy with limited playing experience; Almanzar must be a high upside Latin American player.  Almanzar saw moderate success in rookie league last season before struggling in the South Atlantic League, in all he hit .262, with a .306 OBP, and .376 SLG%.  Almanzar added a lousy 28% XBH%, and had a SO to BB ratio of 4:1.  Summed up, he is raw offensively and defensively for that matter.  Lucky for Almanzar and the Red Sox, he has all the tools and projection to be a very good player.  His power grades as above average, as does his arm, while everything else seems to be average, except for below average speed.  I am going to wait till he plays a full season before I say anything about just how good he can be.

8. Ryan Westmoreland OF Age: 18 MLL: NA

Westmoreland is not the type of player I usually rank high but, scouting reports are too high in his case.  Ryan had labrum surgery late last year, and will likely be out till the summer.  Still all his tools grade as potentially above average, including a plus arm.  Westmoreland will have no problem being a top centerfielder on defense, and also possesses good plate discipline for his age.  It’s tough to say anything else before he plays a game professionally, depending on his success in a shortened season he could jump into the top five though. 

7. Ryan Kalish OF Age: 20 MLL: A

I actually had Kalish sixth until I wrote the blurb on Casey Kelly, I convinced myself to bump him ahead of Kalish… I must be a good persuader.  Anyways, Kalish had mixed success in 2008, he hit .273, with a .365 OBP, and only a .363 SLG%.  Kalish’s poor power numbers showed up across the board, as he hit only five homeruns over the course of the season, and hit just a 24% XBH%.  Kalish did display good plate discipline, he had a K: BB of 1.5 to 1 (99 SOs to 61 BBs).  Kalish also has above average speed, and stole 19 SBs last season.  He is a good defender in center and has great range, and an average to above average arm.  Kalish has tremendous upside as a top of the lineup batter.  More power could come, as Kalish is still only 20.  He will likely play most of the season in AA.

6. Casey Kelly RHP/SS Age: 19 MLL: a

Kelly was Boston’s first round pick last June.  Coming into the draft he was highly touted as both a pitcher and shortstop.  He played shortstop in short season A ball after signing but, Kelly will start the 2009 season as a pitcher.  After Kelly pitches 100 innings he will return to the field as a shortstop.  This new development makes Kelly a very interesting prospect.  He could become a good shortstop with power, or a starting pitcher with a better than average pitches.  After signing, Kelly hit .215 with only a .255 OBP, he showed good power, hitting a 49% XBH%.  His plate discipline was bad however; he struck out 42 times in 130 at-bats, while walking only 6 times.  Kelly is very athletic, possessing plus range and a plus arm.  He should develop into an at least average defensive shortstop but, he may grow too big for the position, he is already 6-3/6-4 and 205ish.  He has good power but, he has to work on making contact and his plate discipline.  On the mound Kelly throws an average fastball in the 88 to 92 mph range, and the pitch has good sink.  His fastball velocity should rise as he focuses on pitching, he has plenty of projection.  His curveball is a 12-6er and is an above average pitch; his changeup is average at least right now.  As stated before Kelly has a high upside as either a shortstop or pitcher, and the Red Sox are going to look into both options for now, we’ll see how he is doing at both positions at the end of the year. 

5. Nick Hagadone LHSP Age: 22 MLL: A-

Hagadone was the Red Sox’ first pick in 2007, he was a college reliever (most of the time) but, the Red Sox have made him starter, although it would not be surprising if Hagadone ended up as a reliever before establishing a career in the majors.  Before moving on, I should mention that Hagadone underwent Tommy John surgery last June but, his recovering has been going well, and he hopes to be pitching in games by June or May.  He throws his fastball in the low-mid 90s with good movement.  He also throws an above average to plus power slider in the low 80s, and a getting to average changeup in the low 80s.  Hagadone’s stuff translates to him being a number two or three starter, and he has had success on the mound, when healthy.  However, there is still talk of Hagadone becoming a reliever (how do you crack a rotation already consisting of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Dice K with Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson floating around, not mentioning Michael Bowden?), and we have yet to see how Hagadone returns from injury. 

4. Daniel Bard RHRP Age: 23 MLL: AA/A-

Bard pitched in 78 innings in 2008, all in relief; he struck out 107 batters in that time, recording an ERA of 1.51.  As you can tell from the numbers, Bard is a very special reliever, which will give Boston two of those as early as this summer.  Bard throws his fastball in the mid to high 90s, reaching triple digits; the pitch has a lot of movement on it.  He also throws a plus slider, which has almost sluve-like movement, there’s a curveball and changeup in his repertoire as well but, Bard doesn’t have to throw those two pitches in relief.  As I said, Bard will be a special reliever; it just may not be as a closer, because Papelbon is there. 

3. Josh Reddick OF Age: 21 MLL: AA/A

Reddick is a guy a like, his scouting reports are solid, and his stats back them up beautifully.  In 2008 he hit .311 with a .356 OBP.  His power was great, and can be found in three places: he hit a .544 SLG%, 23 homeruns, and a solid XBH% of 36%.  Reddick lacks plate discipline, his SO: BB rate was about 2.5 SOs to BB.  Reddick has good speed, and used it to steal 14 bases last year.  He is an above average outfielder with the ability to play center or a corner, and he possesses a plus arm.  Unlike many centerfield prospects, Reddick’s value would not dissipate with a permanent move to right field, as he has above average power.  Reddick has the ability to become an above average outfielder in the majors but, not an elite outfielder. 

2. Michael Bowden RHSP Age: 22 MLL: AAA/AA

Bowden throws his fastball in the low 90s.  He also throws an above average hard 12-6 curve in the mid 70s, and an above average circle change in the low 80s.  He complements his stuff with excellent control of all three pitches.  In the minors last year he pitched 144 innings, posting a 2.62 ERA, and striking out 130 batters.  He also had success in stints in Boston.  Bowden is major league ready but, there isn’t a place for him in the big league rotation, which means Michael is either on his way to the bullpen, like Justin Masterson, bouncing back-and-forth between AAA and the majors regardless of his performance, like Clay Buchholz, or headed out of the organization.  Bowden would likely develop into a mid rotation starter if given a chance, and could be a low-end number two starter.

1. Lars Anderson 1B Age: 21 MLL: AA/A+

There is some debate as to whether Anderson is just an above average first basemen, or if he is an All Star at the position.  I tend to agree with the latter.  In 2008 he hit .317, with a .417 OBP, and .517 SLG%.  He also hit 18 homeruns, and an XBH% of 37%.  Like most power hitters Anderson does strike out a lot, 107 times in 2008 but, he also drew a lot walks, 75.  Anderson’s hitting numbers are all there, and his power should even rise, as he continues to gain experience.  Anderson is at least average defensively, and works hard at improving, he is fairly athletic for a first basemen.  I see Anderson as a .300BA/.400BP guy, with 30 homerun potential.  Now seems as a good a time as any to say that a hitter usually does not peak until 27, which is well known for those of you who play fantasy baseball.  So, when I say Anderson has 30 homerun potential, he likely will not reach that number for awhile, even if he plays in the majors everyday next year at 22. 

Final Thoughts:   The Red Sox’ list has two good things going for it, check that, three: 1. they have great talent at the top in Anderson and Bowden 2.They have a very deep list; all fifteen prospects are quality prospects 3. Their list is littered with diversity.  They have a solid prospect covering each position, a good mix of pitchers and hitters, and they also have a good mix of near ready prospects, and high upside guys who are a long way from the majors.  The biggest strength of Red Sox’ group of ‘top prospects’ is their diversity and pitching.  The Red Sox already have Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Dice K as locks in their rotation for the foreseeable future, not including Clay Buchholz (who would rank second after Lars Anderson if he still qualified for this list), and currently the Red Sox have Brad Penny, John Smoltz, and Tim Wakefield for at least a year, possibly two.  Bowden is ready to start in the majors, Justin Masterson would be a solid starter, and Hagadone, Price, Weiland, and Pimentel (not including the versatile Casey Kelly) are well on their way to becoming starting options in the next 2-3 years.  The Red Sox also will have two of the best relievers in baseball in Papelbon and Bard.  Let’s speculate the entire pitching staff for the end of the 2011 season, five-man-rotation: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Dice K, Buchholz, Bowden, and Justin Masterson, the seven in the bullpen: Papelbon, Bard, Hideki Okajima, Nick Hagadone, Bryan Price, Kyle Weiland, and Junichi Tazawa (who I did not include on my list, he is a good enough prospect but, when I created the list way back when, I didn’t know much about him, and decided to stick with what I know).  I want to know how the Yankees (or anyone else) expect(s) to hit against a pitching staff like that. 

Next Up: The Yankees



Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com