Sonny Gray Rumors

Draft Prep: Meet The College Righties

In a draft considered by experts to be deep in pitching, six college right-handers possess the talent to rank within the top 20 overall for ESPN's Keith Law, Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein, and Baseball America.

Gerrit Cole, UCLA

Law has Cole going first overall to the Pirates in his most recent mock draft, while Baseball America has him falling to the Royals at #5.  Getting Cole is the "dream scenario" for the Royals at #5, according to Law. Cole, who was drafted out of high school by the Yankees in '08, boasts a mid-90s fastball, power slider, and above-average changeup.  Experts agree he has the ceiling of a number one starter, and Law says Cole "looks like he could pitch in the big leagues tomorrow if he'd sign soon enough to play."  He has, however, struggled with his command at times and hasn't delivered results on par with his abilities.  Cole is advised by the Boras Corporation.  He has been stingy on providing interviews, but MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith spoke to him in March.

Trevor Bauer, UCLA

Law believes the Diamondbacks could consider Bauer at #3 if Danny Hultzen is gone, but projects him going to the Nationals at #6.  Law does not expect Bauer to make it past the Indians at #8.  BA went with the Nats in their mock draft.  Bauer has been worked heavily and has unorthodox workouts and mechanics.  He's said by BA to pattern himself after Tim Lincecum.  Bauer comes with lots of strikeouts, good velocity, a plus-plus curveball, an above-average changeup, and a few other pitches too.  MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo spoke to him a few days ago.

Taylor Jungmann, Texas

Law projects the Brewers taking Jungmann at #12, with the Mets an option at #13.  BA guesses the Astros will take him at #11.  Law says the 6'6" Jungmann sits at 91-93 with a hammer curveball and strong command.  A few mild concerns have been raised about his delivery, and Goldstein questions whether he has "star-level upside."

Matt Barnes, Connecticut

Law notes that the Padres have interest at #10, which is BA's choice in their mock draft.  Barnes draws praise for his fastball and curveball, while questions remain about his command, mechanics, and secondary stuff.

Alex Meyer, Kentucky

Law names the Athletics at #18, the Red Sox at #19, and the Nationals at #23 as possibilities for Meyer, while BA takes the Angels at #17.  The 6'9" righty owns a mid-90s fastball and plus-plus slider, but Goldstein finds his performance inconsistent and all gurus say his command is lacking.  There is number one starter upside here, says Law.  Meyer, who turned down $2MM from the Red Sox as a 20th round pick out of high school three years ago, is advised by the Boras Corporation.

Sonny Gray, Vanderbilt

Gray could be Arizona's choice at their unprotected #7 spot, says Law, while the Padres could be a fit at #10.  He's mentioned the Cubs at #9 previously.  BA went with the Brewers at #15.  Gray is 5'11", but he pitches at 91-94 with what Law describes as a "knockout breaking ball."  The idea has been floated that Gray could end up a late-inning reliever.  Talking to Ben Nicholson-Smith in February, Gray said he prefers to start but considers himself versatile and enjoyed his time in the bullpen.    


NL Central Notes: Pirates, Fielder, Cubs

On this date in 1997, Sammy Sosa of the Cubs and Tony Womack of the Pirates hit inside the park homers in the same inning of the same game. Here’s the latest on the NL Central…

  • The Pirates announced that they signed five amateur free agents: Nicaraguan right-hander Adolfo Flores, Dominican right-hander Juan Mendoza, Panamanian position player Edgar Munoz and Venezuelan outfielders Anthony Claudio and Keybel Escobar. Claudio "resembles a young Magglio Ordonez," according to Pirates Latin America scouting director Rene Gayo.
  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today says Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder could get a $200MM deal in free agency if he keeps hitting like this (Twitter link). Fielder leads the NL with 41 RBI and has a .285/.380/.548 line 216 plate appearances into the season.
  • There's only a slim chance that high school right-hander Dylan Bundy will be available when the Cubs select ninth overall in next month's draft, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). If Bundy and high school outfielder Bubba Starling have already been selected, Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray could be an option for the Cubs.

Draft Notes: Rendon, Cole, Bundy, Gray

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.


Draft Notes: Gray, Bichette, Rendon, Mets

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).

Draft Notes: Cole, Rendon, Hultzen, Gray

It's far too early in the spring for teams to have their draft boards finalized, as Keith Law pointed out at ESPN.com this week. With nearly two months remaining between now and the draft, a lot can change, but that doesn't stop Law from passing along the latest on the early intentions of some teams with high picks:

  • Law hears that the Mariners will take either Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon with the second pick in the draft, depending on which player is available after the Pirates select first overall.
  • The D'Backs, who pick third, covet Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, according to Law. 
  • The Orioles are 'extremely likely' to take a college pitcher with the fourth overall pick. They could take Hultzen or Georgia Tech left-hander Jed Bradley.
  • The Royals (5th pick) are also likely to take a college arn and they're interested in UConn right-hander Matt Barnes, Hultzen and Bradley.
  • The D'Backs (7th pick) and Cubs (9th pick) have Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray high on their internal rankings, according to Law.

Draft Prospect Q&A: Sonny Gray

As the 2011 Draft draws closer, MLBTR will be introducing you to a handful of the top eligible prospects with a series of Q&As. The series debuts today with one of the top college pitchers in the nation.

Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray has "the best curveball in college baseball," according to Baseball America, and ESPN.com's Keith Law suggested last week that he has an outside shot of being the first overall pick this June. According to Baseball America, some scouts wonder if Gray's future is in the bullpen. But with an above-average curve, a 93-96 mph fastball and a change-up, he could become a starter like Mike Minor and David Price, two Vanderbilt products who were selected in the first round.

Gray talked to MLBTR about his size, his curveball and Roy Halladay. Here's a transcript of our conversation:

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