Sizing up the first round of the draft: Who should each team take?
The pick is obviously Strasburg, and I can't come up with a single reason to hesitate. He'll smash
If Harper were available, I'd probably grab him here. That's quite a statement considering Ackley also is available. I wrote about Ackley
I'm with you on Ackley, I'd take him at No. 2 without hesitation. It starts to get a little more interesting at No. 3, and I'm sure we'll start disagreeing with each other soon. The Padres are leaning toward Georgia high school outfielder
Like you said, Jim, now it gets interesting. Pirates officials have told us that they don't have to go cheap at No. 4, and honestly I think the recent history of this franchise means there's no way they can avoid taking the best player available. In this year's draft, though, I think the consensus runs out at about No. 3 with Matzek. The Pirates can't go safe; they have to get some upside. At the same time, they are the Pirates, they can't take a $6-8 million guy such as Tate or Missouri prep right-hander
You know who the big loser is if Crow goes at No. 4? The Nationals. Crow's probably going to get paid at least close to the $4 million he wanted last year (when the Nats drafted him), while Washington will get a lesser talent. That's no knock on who goes No. 10, just a reality. Crow might have been in the Nationals' big league rotation by now had they signed him. Now for Baltimore ... I think they're going to take Georgia high school right-hander
Interesting point on Crow. I can't say I disagree, nor do I disagree that Turner is the best prep right-hander available. The Giants in the past would be all over someone like Wheeler at No. 6, and we know that general manager
I wouldn't take Tate quite so high, though I'll acknowledge that he's a good fit for the Giants. That leaves me with a very easy pick. If the draft unfolds like this, the Braves will get the player they covet. Wheeler's also a good fit because he's a relatively easy sign compared to a lot of the other top talents, plus he's the top player remaining on my draft board at this point.
Jim, I love it when a plan comes together. There are certain players who will come up that I know I like and you don't, and I'll be taking them. Tate was one of them. I don't think you're down on White, though I'm pretty sure I was higher on him than you throughout most of this process. I don't have any problem with White using a split-finger fastball, like some scouts do. I know he's going to be an impact big leaguer, because at the least he'll pump 96-mph fastballs with life and that splitter out of a closer role. I have faith in White's athleticism and ability to spin a breaking ball. He has lost faith in his slider but the pitch is still there. He'd be a great fit with the Reds.
Here's where it gets tough, because Texas high school lefty
This is one of the toughest choices, as a couple of very tempting picks are on the board and Washington has to get it right. The Nats don't get compensation if they fail to sign this player. With that in mind, I'm choosing a player that I can take with conviction, someone with upside but also someone who won't break the bank, which is how the real-life Nats are handling things. I know acting GM
I like it. Let's mix it up ... OK, you knew this was coming at some point: I'm taking Gibson, even after we broke the news on Saturday that
I knew, but I didn't anticipate you'd take him that early. As a guy who relies on the two-seamer, Gibson makes all kinds of sense there. Now we get to Kansas City, which has gone all-Boras Corp. the last three years.
Bravo. There's buzz that the Royals are after Green, too, and he makes all kinds of sense there. I would have done the same thing. Maybe he's not as good as he looked in the Cape Cod League last summer, where he drew some crazy
The Rangers would love to get a Texas prep fireballer to put into a system already deep with power arms.
The Indians want an experienced pitcher and there's a guy sitting right here who may have the second-best stuff in the draft after Strasburg. We're not privy to the medical reports on Scheppers, but if they're clean, this is the point where his value clearly begins to outweigh any nagging doubts about his shoulder. I couldn't take Scheppers at No. 9, but I can take him here.
Scheppers really is one of the most fascinating players in the draft, Jim. Medical information is tough for the clubs to come by, not to mention us, but that pick would make a lot of sense for the Indians, who lack true power arms in their otherwise solid system. The Diamondbacks do as well, and would love a shot at homestate hero Leake. I just messed that up for myself two picks ago by taking Leake for the Rangers, and with all their picks in this draft, I don't see the Diamondbacks being the team that goes off the reservation for Purke. I do think that as we've said, there's no way that Minor lasts this long, even if we're not as enamored of him as some clubs are. His pitchability profile isn't my cup of tea, but he makes more sense at 16 than some of the power arms remaining here, most of whom profile as relievers. I can't let Minor go by here.
I bet Minor goes in the top 10, but I agree that the Diamondbacks would snap him up if he's still available and Leake's gone. Ideally they'd get one arm and one bat here at 16-17, which they can do by taking the best reasonably signable player still on the board. Borchering's the best prep power hitter in the draft and a good fit for Arizona.
Now we're getting to the tough part, because I would think most teams in the second half of the first round were thinking, Wow, we might get Minor or Borchering or Scheppers -- and at this point, those hopes have been dashed. The Marlins love their Oklahomans, and they have had all kinds of success with prep pitching in the draft and less so with college arms. That makes me think that James makes sense here, and I'd do what it takes to get the deal done (within reason, of course).
We're agreeing way too much, John. I'm on board with the James pick, for his talent and for the reasons you suggest. I don't think he'll be that hard to sign, though like almost every first-rounder he's not just going to roll over and accept MLB's decision to cut its slot recommendations by 10 percent. The Cardinals need some left-handers and they would have thought long and hard about James. Purke is still out there and easily the best player available, but I'm not sure that St. Louis is hopping on that train. There's still an obvious choice, for both talent and need: Brothers.
Oh, we're devastated in the Toronto war room. We had Brothers' advisor on the phone telling him he'd be gone at 20 at the latest, and he didn't get to us. We have other options for power lefties in this draft, though. Two --
We keep hearing outfielders, outfielders and more outfielders for the Astros, especially those with Texas connections, such as high schoolers Williams,
The Twins like all those same players that the Astros like, I think, Jim. They just have too many of them at the lower levels of their system, and they sure don't need another outfielder in the first round, even if Jared Mitchell -- whom the Twins drafted out of high school -- is staring them in the face. The Twins also are who they are, so Purke just keeps on falling. Taking a college closer isn't usually what people think of with the Twins, and even last year's first-rounder,
I'll take athletic outfielders for $200, Alex. GM
The Angels would seem to be a good fit for Mitchell, but he's gone. Mainly the Angels need to sign their guys in this draft, which actually runs counter to my pick. Purke is just too good for the Angels to pass up. They pick again at 25, plus 42, 44 and 48 in the supplemental round. Purke will be a tough, late sign, but with all those extra picks, scouting director
The Angels aren't afraid to spend, but I'm not sure they'll bypass talented and more signable California high school pitchers
Milwaukee is still in win-now mode, a welcome change for the franchise. The last time the Brewers had to wait until No. 26 for their first pick was way, way back in 1983, when they took
I'm surprised that Arnett lasted that long, and I'm not sure he will on draft day. As tempted as I am to take another athletic outfielder, there's another pitcher who probably won't fall this far whom I can't ignore. After getting Ackley at No. 2, the Mariners can balance him with the power-armed Matt Hobgood. Everyone keeps telling me he's going in the first 20 picks, certainly the first 25, though I still can't figure out what his destination will be.
I'll take "Guys Who Won't Last This Long" for $200. Sanchez probably won't be there at 28, either. I expect a tough sign to fall to Boston -- Purke? Turner? -- but in this exercise no one fits that bill. Sanchez has drawn some
So a little local flavor for the Red Sox? If I took a catcher there, I'd go for California high schooler
Tampa would love to take Sanchez if he were available, and I think Stassi is also in the mix for an organization that has plenty of talent and depth but is lacking behind the plate. This draft gives them plenty of options, and there's enough depth that the Rays don't have to draft a catcher in the first round. But I will, anyway, with Myers, who has one of the better high school bats in the draft. The best thing about Myers is, if he catches, it's a big bonus. He's also athletic enough that he has value if he moves elsewhere, such as right or even center field (he's a 55 runner on the 20-to-80 scouting scale). That separates him from Stassi, for me. I love Stassi, but have to pass here.
The Cubs would have plenty of nice values to choose from if the draft unfolds like this. They're on Pollock, Jackson and Kansas high school right-hander
Well, Colorado already has one gem in the first round with Gibson, whom you took for them at No. 11. Even with his stress fracture, he's the safer college pitcher pick, and a solid value at 11. If Stassi is still there at 32, I think Colorado has to jump on him, whether