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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 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.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo posted his first mock draft today, and within it he provides some info about what players are being targeted by what teams…
- The Pirates are still looking at Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Danny Hultzen, Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling, and perhaps even Archie Bradley.
- Most believe that Bundy wants to turn pro despite his reported six-year, $30MM contract demand.
- The Royals continue to look hard at college arms, but "there's a lot of chatter" about Starling, a semi-local kid.
- The Diamondbacks will get a "bounty of college pitching" with the third and seventh overall picks.
- The Cubs would love Starling if he is still on the board when their ninth overall pick comes around.
- It's unclear if the Astros are leaning towards a college or high school player, but Texas native Taylor Jungmann could be too good for them to pass up at pick number 11.
The Pirates are considering three to five players with the first overall pick in this June’s draft, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. There’s no obvious top pick like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper, so the Pirates are still evaluating and discussing their options.
"There is not a clear-cut No. 1 this year," GM Neal Huntington said. "That's why we continue to work. That's why we continue to follow a handful of players and do our due diligence.”
UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen appear to be in the mix for the top pick. Huntington and other Pirates execs have seen all three college stars.
Conor Glassey of Baseball America reported earlier this week that high school shortstop Francisco Lindor and high school outfielder Bubba Starling have also entered the discussion for the Pirates' top pick. However, Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hears that the Pirates believe Lindor is "waaay too small," and they're not even considering him for the top pick (Twitter link). Lindor is listed at 5-foot-11, 170 lbs.
The Pirates have spent more on the draft than any other organization since 2009 and, once again, scouting director Greg Smith has been handed “full assurance” that he can take whichever player he wants, regardless of bonus demands. The Pirates expect to be aggressive after the first round, according to Langosch. Their second selection is 61st overall; for a team-by-team breakdown of top picks, click here.
Last year's top pick isn't arriving in the big leagues any time soon. Bryce Harper isn't going to play Major League baseball this year, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Washington's ESPN 980. "It's not going to happen, because he's not ready for that to happen," Rizzo said. Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com has the details from Rizzo. Here's the latest on this year's draft…
- You've heard of Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen and UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole, two possible first overall picks. Baseball America ranks other prominent draft-eligible pitchers, including Jed Bradley of Georgia Tech, high schoolers Daniel Norris and Henry Owens, Tyler Anderson of Oregon and Matt Purke of TCU. Every one of those southpaws is a first round talent, according to BA (subscription required).
- Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Purke hopes to pitch tomorrow in TCU's final regular season series. He has been sidelined with a sore shoulder and last pitched April 16th.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo provides scouting reports and video on 50 of this year's top prospects.
- Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com provides a list of top draft-eligible middle infielders, led by high schooler Francisco Lindor. Churchill can't imagine Lindor falling past the Mets, who select 13th overall.
There is still a lot that can and will change between now and the amateur draft in three weeks, but that didn't stop ESPN's Keith Law from posting his first mock draft today. It's an Insider-only piece, but here are the important points…
- The Pirates are considering Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, and have "done their due diligence" on Dylan Bundy. Law notes that "under Neal Huntington the Pirates have long considered value relative to cost in their drafts, sometimes preferring to spend less in the first round when they see opportunities to spend their savings on other appealing prospects in later rounds." He has them taking Danny Hultzen first overall.
- Everyone Law has spoken to says the Mariners will take Rendon as long as the medicals check out, and he hears from the very good source that there is nothing structural wrong with the Rice third baseman's shoulder.
- The Diamondbacks will take Hultzen third overall if he's available, and they're hoping for Bundy or Trevor Bauer with the seventh overall pick. That pick is compensation for failing to sign Barret Loux last year.
- The Orioles have interest in Bundy, Bauer, and Jed Bradley with the fourth pick. Law emphasizes that everyone has told him the Royals want a college pitcher with the fifth pick. The Indians have their eyes on Bauer for eighth overall.
- High school outfielder Brandon Nimmo is looking for $2MM, and Law has him going to the Rays with the 32nd pick.
The amateur draft is now three weeks and two days away, and we're going to start hearing some more rumblings about teams targetting maybe not specific players, but a group of three or four players. Here's the latest…
- Baseball America's Jim Callis posted his first mock draft, and has the Pirates taking UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole first overall. That link is free for all, but subscribers can see an in-depth analysis of each pick.
- Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (on Twitter) that Pirates' GM Neil Huntingon was on hand to scout Virginia RHP Danny Hultzen last night. Click here for Ben Nicholson-Smith's interview with Hultzen, and here for a little more about the team's draft strategy.
- ESPN's Keith Law says (on Twitter) that Diamondbacks senior vice president of scouting and player development Jerry Dipoto was scouting Hultzen as well. The D'Backs hold the third and seventh overall picks. Click here for the full draft order.
- Sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that an international draft "remains extremely unlikely for the next collective-bargaining agreement," but a hard slotting system that assigns fixed bonuses to each pick is something "MLB will not concede without a fight."
Paul Maholm (2003), Neil Walker (2004), Andrew McCutchen (2005) and Pedro Alvarez (2008) were all first round selections by the Pirates. The last time they had the first overall pick, however, they selected Bryan Bullington (2002), who has yet to make a significant impact in the Major Leagues. The Pirates select first overall this June; here’s the latest on what they’ll do with the top pick:
- The Pirates appear to be looking primarily at UCLA righty Gerrit Cole, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen with the first overall selection, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. Nine of 14 scouts predicted that the Pirates will take Cole, with three predicting Rendon and two predicting Hultzen.
- For interviews with all three players, check out our Draft Prospect Q&A series.
- All signs point to the Pirates taking a college player rather than, say, high school standout Bubba Starling, according to Mayo.
- The Pirates released Double-A right-hander Tom Boleska, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). Boleska, a 24-year-old right-hander, has a 2.73 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in five minor league seasons, but has struggled in 12 appearances at Double-A this year.
- You can follow the Pirates on MLBTR with Facebook, Twitter and RSS.
Starting pitching is one of the most valuable assets in the game and, as Peter Gammons explains at MLB.com, small-market teams usually have to rely on the draft to obtain it. Here are Gammons’ latest notes from around the league…
- A's GM Billy Beane says his current rotation, a group that’s more or less untouchable, could be as good as Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito were. Trevor Cahill has “become one of the best pitchers in the game,” according to Beane.
- "Let's face it, no small-market team can afford to go into the market to get starting pitching," Beane told Gammons. "To survive and compete, you have to draft and develop pitching, or go out and get it before it's on the Major League radar screen."
- Gammons reports that some expect the Pirates to take Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen with the first overall pick this June. Click here for MLBTR's Q&A with Hultzen.
- Georgia Tech Lefty Jed Bradley will likely disappear within the first ten picks of the draft, and Connecticut righty Matt Barnes will likely be a top-15 selection.
- The Royals are looking for a college starter who can arrive in the Major Leagues and make an impact in the rotation soon.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore agrees that you need pitching to go along with premium position players. “They're not going to win if we don't find young, affordable pitching," Moore said.
- The D’Backs, who hold two of the first seven picks this year (#3, #7), will take at least one arm early on and the Rays are also likely to take a number of pitchers with some of their many high picks.