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Here's the latest as we close in on Monday's First-Year Player Draft …
- The Royals will be tempted to take prep outfielder Bubba Starling from Kansas with the No. 5 overall pick, writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. The Royals are thought to covet a polished pitcher so that he can help the big league team sooner than later, according to Dodd, but they've smarted over missing out on local products Albert Pujols and Logan Morrison in the recent past, and GM Dayton Moore has discussed the importance of snatching up local talent.
- The Pirates' indecision about which pricey college player to take select at No. 1 overall — Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon are represented by Scott Boras, while Danny Hultzen is reportedly seeking $13MM — has some baseball people wondering whether they'll take a prep player like Starling or Dylan Bundy in order to preserve their draft budget and overpay for tough-to-sign players at later picks, writes Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. Also within that piece, Rogers examines some of the crucial selections of the past 10 drafts.
- The Phillies are charged with restocking their farm despite making their first pick at No. 39, writes Bob Brookover of Philly.com. The fact that many of the Phils' core players are homegrown and others were acquired with prospects is a testament to the scouting and development departments, according to Brookover.
- The Royals could also select UConn right-hander Matt Barnes with the fifth overall pick, writes Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. Within that piece, Goff explains Barners' unforeseen ascent to likely top-10 selection.
- The Astros were once interested in Texas A&M righty John Stilson at No. 11, according to Goff, but the hurler has generally slipped out of first-round consideration due to a shoulder injury. As a result, Stilson is now a deep sleeper, writes Goff.
- Jonathan May of MLB.com published his latest mock draft today, with Cole, Rendon and Hultzen going at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 to the Pirates, Mariners and D'Backs, respectively.
- Four of six industry experts polled said they prefer Cole to Trevor Bauer of the two UCLA Bruins, but it's closer than you think, writes Tom Krasovic.
Alex Rodriguez, the first overall pick 18 years ago, has an .845 OPS after a two-hit game in Oakland today. Here's the latest on this year's draft, as we await another first overall pick…
- Teams are hearing that the asking price for Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen is $13MM, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter).
- High school shortstop Francisco Lindor will hold a private workout for the Diamondbacks tomorrow, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (on Twitter). Arizona selects third and seventh overall in this year's draft.
- Lindor, a high school shortstop, is being strongly considered by teams with top five picks, including the Mariners (who pick second overall) according to Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com. Lindor could end up as a speedy switch-hitter with some power and an elite glove.
- What do Matt Bush, Wade Townsend and Colt Griffin have in common? They're among the worst ten single-digit draft picks of the decade, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.
- In this week's edition of Ask BA, Jim Callis of Baseball America says the Pirates will likely select Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, UCLA righty Gerrit Cole or Hultzen. At this point, it's a matter of "reading the tea leaves," since Pittsburgh's intention remains unclear.
The Dodgers have had unofficial conversations with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier about long-term deals, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. GM Ned Colletti would like to lock both outfielders up instead of letting them hit free agency after the 2012 season. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors:
- Though it’s hard to imagine Dodgers owner Frank McCourt signing either player long-term given his current financial issues, MLB seems hopeful that they can find a new owner for the team if and when it's necessary.
- Proposed Mets limited partner David Einhorn will have the chance to increase his share of the team from 33% to 60% after five years, according to Heyman. Majority owner Fred Wilpon could then block Einhorn and repay him his $200MM while allowing him to keep 16.5% of the team. Heyman hears that the Wilpons won’t allow Einhorn to become majority owner. Various reports about the value of the deal circulated over the weekend.
- Anthony Rendon’s draft stock is again rising, according to Heyman. The Mariners, who select second, could choose the Rice third baseman if the Pirates pick UCLA righty Gerrit Cole first overall. If the Pirates take Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen with the top pick, Rendon and Cole figure to be Seattle’s top choices.
- The Red Sox could look to acquire an outfielder if J.D. Drew’s nagging injuries persist.
- The Nationals are suggesting that they will have a high asking price for Ivan Rodriguez.
Here's the latest on the MLB draft, which is less than a week away…
- No prospect has seen his draft stock rise more than high school right-hander Taylor Guerrieri, according to Nathan Rode of Baseball America. Guerrieri is the best high school arm an American League scout has ever seen and the odds that he goes to college seem slimmer than ever.
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus points out that this year's draft is hard to predict from the first overall selection on. Goldstein has the sense that the Pirates will select Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, but he can see them taking UCLA righty Gerrit Cole or Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon.
- Check out our Draft Prospect Q&A series for conversations with all three players and others.
- You may have heard about Trevor Bauer's unorthodox workout program, but the UCLA right-hander would prefer to be known for his fastball, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Mayo offers a must-read take on Bauer, who led the country with 189 strikeouts this season.
- Hultzen, Rendon and Bauer are all finalists for 2011 USA Golden Spikes Award, Cash Kruth writes at MLB.com.
The draft takes place one week from today; here’s the latest as teams prepare their draft boards for next Monday…
- ESPN.com’s Keith Law projects the Pirates to select UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick, though he says they’re still seriously in on Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen and high school outfielder Bubba Starling. It’s too early to rule out Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon either.
- The D’Backs could take Hultzen, UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer or high schooler Dylan Bundy third overall, according to Law.
- It looks like the Orioles will take an arm fourth overall; they have Bundy, high schooler Archie Bradley and Cole in their sights.
- If Bauer falls to the Indians, they’ll take him, according to Law.
- The Cubs “sent a small army” to watch outfielder George Springer at the Big East tournament.
- The Padres are interested in UConn right-hander Matt Barnes and Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray.
- The top three players on one team’s draft board are advised by agent Scott Boras, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.
- Rendon's stock is down a bit because of a dip in production and injury concerns, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, but Rendon's coach at Rice, Wayne Graham, expects the third baseman to go within the top two picks.
- The Giants shouldn't (and won't) alter their draft strategy in response to Buster Posey's season-ending injury, writes Jim Callis of Baseball America in a mailbag.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2011 Amateur Draft | Anthony Rendon | Archie Bradley | Arizona Diamondbacks | Baltimore Orioles | Bubba Starling | Chicago Cubs | Cleveland Indians | Danny Hultzen | Dylan Bundy | George Springer | Gerrit Cole | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | Trevor Bauer
Eleven former first overall picks are currently on MLB rosters (DL included): Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Pat Burrell, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer, Delmon Young, Justin Upton, Luke Hochevar, David Price and Stephen Strasburg. Here are some draft-related links in anticipation of this year's top pick:
- Anthony Rendon played his first games in the field since suffering a shoulder injury in March, and interestingly, Rendon played second base, reports John Manuel of Baseball America. Rendon made an error in his second game but according to one scout, "handled his routine chances just fine." While Rendon has displayed a strong third base glove in his college career, some executives have wondered if he is better suited to play second in the majors.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America has Rendon going first overall to Pittsburgh in his latest mock draft.
- The Pirates are open to taking any of the top three or four players with the first overall pick, and they don't even have a "front-runner" for the pick, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the Pirates continue to consider Gerrit Cole as a candidate for the first overall pick in the draft. Cole’s struggles have scared some teams off to an extent, but not Pittsburgh. Cole hit the 101-mph mark on the radar gun during a start tonight, according to ESPN's Keith Law (Twitter link).
- MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo lists the draft's top college arms, including Cole, Trevor Bauer and Danny Hultzen. The 2011 draft class stands apart from others thanks in large part to the deep, talented crop of college hurlers.
- As Mayo explains, 6'9" right-hander Alex Meyer has developed from a hard thrower into a more polished college arm.
- Reed MacPhail of FanGraphs offers more on the Kentucky starter and his “tantalizing combination of size and stuff.”
- Hultzen is "probably" the Diamondbacks' most wanted player, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and he thinks the D'Backs would pass on Cole if he's still available when Arizona makes the third overall pick.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
The buzz about the MLB draft is intensifying and understandably so – the big day is less than two weeks away. Here’s the latest:
- Baseball America presents its top 200 draft prospects. Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon is first on the list and high school right-hander Dylan Bundy leapfrogged UCLA righty Gerrit Cole to take the second spot on BA’s list.
- Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Keith Law ranks his top 100 draft-eligible players. Cole (#1), Rendon (#2) and high school outfielder Bubba Starling (#3) top his list and Bundy comes in fourth.
- Two UConn Huskies, Matt Barnes and George Springer, are gaining momentum, according to Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com. Cole, however, is losing momentum.
- In his latest chat, Jim Callis of Baseball America says he thinks Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray can start or become a dynamic closer.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com previews this year's draft-eligible middle infielders, starting with high schooler Francisco Lindor, an outstanding defender who can hit for average and some power.
- University of Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong told Mayo that he doesn't mind at all when people doubt him because of his size (he's 5'9"). Wong says he has spoken to fellow Hawaiian Shane Victorino about dealing with the draft.
- White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that the White Sox should get some "pretty good players" even though their first pick is the 47th overall selection. Chicago could end up taking a position player this year, according to Laumann.
A year ago, the Nationals had already decided to select Bryce Harper first overall. If the Pirates have decided on this year's top selection, we haven't heard about it, but we can pass along these updates about the 2011 draft:
- An American League scouting director told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he believes in Sonny Gray's ability to pitch well when it matters. "If you need to win a game," the scouting director said, "you want Sonny Gray pitching for you. He's that kind of guy."
- As Jonathan Mayo shows at MLB.com, relatives of well-known sports figures like Dante Bichette, Scott Boras and Wayne Gretzky are eligible for this year's draft.
- Anthony Rendon headlines Mayo's list of top corner infield prospects at MLB.com. Rendon has four plus tools and can run better than people give him credit for, according to Mayo. However, the third baseman has dealt with two injuries this year.
- As Mayo explains at MLB.com, the Cron family features a pair of prospects: Utah first baseman C.J. Cron and high school catcher Kevin Cron. Their father, Chris, made it to the Major Leagues with the 1991 Angels and the 1992 White Sox.
- Peter Gammons of MLB Network suggests the Mets may well select UNC shortstop Levo Michael with the 13th overall pick (Twitter link).
The 2011 draft takes place in exactly two weeks. In the meantime, here's the latest draft-related news from around the game…
- Executives estimate that high school right-hander Dylan Bundy could obtain a bonus of $6-7MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Bundy has a 100 mph fastball and has been linked to a possible $30MM asking price (basically double Stephen Strasburg’s current record of $15.1MM).
- Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer and high school outfielder Bubba Starling are moving up draft boards, according to Heyman. Some expect the Cubs to take Starling if he’s available when they select ninth overall.
- Executives continue to suggest to ESPN.com's Buster Olney that Anthony Rendon's future may be at second base because of body type and arm concerns (Twitter links). Rendon entered the season as a higly-regarded defender at third, but has spent considerable time DHing this year because of injuries.
- Teams received their slot bonus recommendations from the commissioner's office last week, according to Olney.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo breaks down this year's available catchers, starting with high schoolers Blake Swihart and Austin Hedges. Swihart can hit for average and power, but may be a tough sign and could eventually move to the outfield. Hedges has the top defensive skills of any draft-eligible catcher and could hit enough to be an everyday backstop.
- The Rays have 12 picks in the first two rounds of this year's draft – enough to re-load an already-deep farm system. But as Jim Callis of Baseball America explains, teams with lots of early picks haven't done particularly well, historically speaking.
- Frankie Piliere of FOX Sports hears that the Yankees are “heavily in on” prospects Dillon Howard and Brandon Martin (Twitter link). Howard is asking for a large bonus, according to Piliere.
You know the draft isn't far off when eye-popping asking prices start to circulate. Here's the latest on the amateur draft, which isn't much more than two weeks away…
- High school right-hander Dylan Bundy would have no problem becoming a Royal, adviser Jay Franklin told Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. "We think Dylan would look great in Royal blue," he said (Twitter link)
- Earlier today, it appeared as though Bundy had told several teams, including the Pirates (1st overall) and Royals (5th overall), that he’d prefer not to be drafted by them, according to Passan. Bundy believes in his long-toss program and doesn’t want teams to try to change his way of preparing for games, according to Passan.
- UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer is also concerned that teams will ask him to stop his long-toss sessions, according to Passan.
- As Jim Callis of Baseball America explained earlier in the week, players sometimes set exorbitant asking prices (like Bundy's) to make sure they fall to a team that values them highly and is prepared to pay more than most clubs would. Bundy and fellow high school right-hander Archie Bradley are asking for record deals, with Bradley looking for $20MM over five years. As Callis explains, neither pitcher will top Stephen Strasburg's record mark of $15.1MM, but each could earn over $5MM in bonus money.
- MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes introduced us to Bradley earlier in the week.
- Some executives are wondering if Anthony Rendon’s best position will ultimately be second base, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. However, Rendon is a tremendous defender at third by most accounts and he told me he takes his defensive game seriously.