As a final recap to the 2011 June Draft First Round review series, I’m going to redraft the first round and give fans a better idea of who should have gone where with the assistance of one year of hindsight. Some teams hit the nail on the head, some really could’ve done a lot better. What do you think, are you happy with your team’s new pick?
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Dylan Bundy (RHP, Owasso HS, OK) — The Pirates did well to get Gerrit Cole, but Bundy would have given them someone who could potential help the team for a couple extra years on the back end of his career, assuming he gets locked up long-term and stays healthy.
2. Seattle Mariners: Gerrit Cole (RHP, UCLA) — The Mariners took Danny Hultzen, but I wonder if they would have taken Cole had he dropped to them. Again, the top tier of prospects in the 2011 draft included Bundy, Cole, Bauer, Hultzen, Starling and Rendon, so there really was no “wrong” choice. But it does make you wonder which post-Number One overall teams preferred which prospects.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: Danny Hultzen (LHP, Virgina) — A left-handed pitcher with strikeout stuff, Hultzen would have been a wise choice for the Diamondbacks because of his ability to minimize the effects of Chase Field. They went with Bauer, and unless Bauer adjusts his approach, this could be a bust pick for Arizona.
4. Baltimore Orioles: Trevor Bauer (RHP, UCLA) — Playing his home games in Camden Yards and division games in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park isn’t much better than Chase Field, but the Orioles are a team desperate for starting pitching, and with Bundy off the board already, Bauer is the best of what’s left.
5. Kansas City Royals: Bubba Starling (OF, Gardner Edgerton HS, KS) — With Mike Moustakas already manning the hot corner in Kansas City, Anthony Rendon didn’t make much sense for the Royals. Starling is the prospect they needed to take a chance on. Fortunately for them, they got their guy.
6. Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon (3B, Rice) — The Nationals were always going to get stuck with whichever of the top six prospects fell to them. Rendon fell to them in 2011 and he falls to them here.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks1: Jose Fernandez (RHP, Braulio Alonso HS, FL) — With this pick, the Diamondbacks took a big projectable right-handed high school pitcher in Archie Bradley. The prep star they should have taken went all the way at number 13 to the Marlins.
8. Cleveland Indians: Matt Barnes (RHP, Connecticut) — Cleveland took a prep shortstop in the real draft, but with Kipnis and Cabrera already in Indians uniforms, they could have done themselves a real favor by setting up their future starting rotation.
9. Chicago Cubs: Sonny Gray (RHP, Vanderbilt) — I’m not sure what the Cubs are doing these days. They drafted a shortstop in the first round just two years ago, despite having a very young shortstop already starting for them in Wrigley. Then, they give the major league shortstop a seven year extension. Granted, the draft happened in June 2011 and the new management team of Epstein/Hoyer took over in December 2011, but they could have bolstered a rotation that currently features Chris Volstad and Justin Germano had they taken Sonny Gray with this pick.
10. San Diego Padres2: Taylor Guerrieri (RHP, Spring Valley HS, SC) — The pitcher who refuses to walk anyone would play well in Petco Park (who wouldn’t). They instead chose a prospect in the top 10 who I’m not convinced belonged in the first several rounds.
11. Houston Astros: Sean Gilmartin (LHP, Florida State) — The Astros are never going to have a problem finding offense. With that ballpark, they need to worry about pitchers who can limit baserunners and keep the ball in the yard. So far, Gilmartin looks to fit that bill.
12. Milwaukee Brewers: Francisco Lindor (SS, Monteverde Academy, FL) — Prior to trading Zack Greinke to the Angels for Jean Segura, the Brewers were lacking top end middle infield prospects. Even now, having someone like Lindor who can get on base in front of the heart of the Brewers lineup (or lengthen the bottom part of the order) while playing good defense would have been a boon in Milwaukee.
13. New York Mets: Javier Baez (SS, Arlington Country Day School, FL) — Yes, I know the Mets already have Ruben Tejeda (who I’m a big fan of), and I know I gave the Cubs a hard time for picking Baez when they already had a franchise shortstop in place, but I see Baez as the kind of infielder who will have the power to get the ball out of Citi Field, whereas that isn’t as big of a concern with the Friendly Confines. Baez can be the Mets’ long term answer at third base if David Wright leaves in free agency in 2013.
14. Miami Marlins: Archie Bradley (RHP, Broken Arrow Senior HS, OK) — Bradley is a bit of a project still, but the only high ceiling bat left in the draft at this point is Jake Hager, and as you may have heard, the Marlins have a pretty good shortstop locked up for awhile. Bradley is probably the best risk/reward play for Miami here.
15. Milwaukee Brewers3: Jake Hager (SS, Sierra Vista HS, NV) — The Brewers, however, have no such concern. Milwaukee stocks up on middle infielders in the first round here, hoping one pans out. Hager and Lindor offer a bit of a Jose Offerman/Juan Castro situation here, but they have time to develop their respective weaknesses.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers: C.J. Cron (1B, Utah) — This was a total gimme for the Dodgers and they whiffed. As noted previously, I really like Chris Reed, but at this point in time the Dodgers were mired in the fourth consecutive sub-par offensive James Loney season and had a bonafide replacement handed to them. They instead took the college closer project arm. Now, they were able to trade for Adrian Gonzalez, but you have to wonder if Cron were in the system if they would have focused those assets on reestablishing their traditional rotation dominance instead of eating $250 million in future commitments.
17. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Tyler Anderson (LHP, Oregon) — I felt like Anderson would have been a good pick for the Angels. While their rotation looked solid in 2011, Anderson is the type of pitcher who can be successful in Angels Stadium.
18. Oakland Athletics: George Springer (OF, Connecticut) — Springer is someone who could make the cavernous Oakland Coliseum seem much smaller for opposing hitters with his combination of range and arm strength. He also possesses enough power that playing in Oakland isn’t a huge concern. If only he could cut down on those pesky strikeouts.
19. Boston Red Sox4: Taylor Jungmann (RHP, Texas) — Jungmann is a project arm, but the Red Sox are the type of franchise that can afford to wait. At the very least, he should be able to help their bullpen.
20. Colorado Rockies: Joseph Ross (RHP, Bishop O’Dowd HS, CA) — This is the guy the Rockies should have taken at number 20. With Anderson going number 17 to the Angels, Anaheim may have saved the Rockies from making this choice.
21. Toronto Blue Jays: Tyler Beede (RHP, Lawrence Academy, MA) — Right pick, sign the kid.
22. St. Louis Cardinals: Robert Stephenson (RHP, Alhambra HS, CA) — Stephenson and the Cardinals would have loved each other. He’s got the kind of stuff that could scare the NL Central as the Cardinals continue to reload seemingly every year.
23. Washington Nationals5: Kolten Wong (2B, Hawaii) — A team closer to competing in 2012 than maybe they realized, Wong gives them a nice utility infield option in a couple years so they can save money to round out the bullpen and lineup.
24. Tampa Bay Rays6: Mikie Mahtook (OF, LSU) — The Rays get their man after all, but they take him at 24 instead of 31.
25. San Diego Padres: Blake Swihart (C, V. Sue Cleveland HS, NM) — Remember, the Latos trade hasn’t happened yet, so the Padres reach down for some power behind the plate.
26. Boston Red Sox7: Alex Meyer (RHP, Kentucky) — I like Alex Meyer, but he falls a couple spots here because I think he’s more of a bullpen arm. The Red Sox can hang onto him for a couple seasons to see if he develops a third pitch, but if he doesn’t, they get a dangerous bullpen piece.
27. Cincinnati Reds: Jed Bradley (LHP, Georgia Tech) — The Reds get a pitcher who could help their rotation sooner rather than later. The perfect pick at 27 for a team looking to compete this year and next.
28. Atlanta Braves: Chris Reed (LHP, Stanford) — This would have been a nice situation for both the Braves and Reed. He gets to go to a system where he won’t be relied on to be a number one prospect, and the Braves have the pitching prospects to let Reed develop into a starter without the pressure of Major League team needs.
29. San Francisco Giants: Joseph Panik (SS, St. John’s) — Panik and the Giants were made for each other. The Giants have built a contender largely through their first round draft picks (last ten years: Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey). While I don’t think Panik is going to reach the heights of any of those players, he should help round out their infield.
30. Minnesota Twins: Levi Michael (SS, North Carolina — Bed. Made.
31. Tampa Bay Rays8: Kevin Matthews (LHP, Richmond Hill HS, GA) — Maybe the Rays can do something to keep Matthews closer to the 94-95 mph fastball he flashes rather than the high-80’s we’ve seen from him.
32. Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Nimmo (OF, Cheyenne East HS, WY) — Nimmo gets to forever say he was a first round MLB draft pick, but how do you draft someone with little to no high school baseball experience in the first round? Let alone at number 13. Couldn’t the Mets have found someone with similar tools in the tenth round? I don’t think the Rays would make either of these picks if these were the options.
33. Texas Rangers9: Cory Spangenberg (2B, Indian River State College, FL) — I still don’t understand the concept of Cory Spangenberg, first round pick. He goes number 33 to Texas because he had to go somewhere.
1: Compensation for unsigned 2010 draft pick Barret Loux
2: Compensation for unsigned 2010 draft pick Karsten Whitson
3: Compensation for unsigned 2010 draft pick Dylan Covey
4: Compensation from Detroit Tigers for loss of Victor Martinez
5: Compensation from Chicago White Sox for loss of Adam Dunn
6: Compensation from Boston Red Sox for loss of Carl Crawford
7: Compensation from Texas Rangers for loss of Adrian Beltre
8: Compensation from New York Yankees for loss of Rafael Soriano
9: Compensation from Philadelphia Phillies for loss of Cliff Lee