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MLB Mock Draft 3.0: First-Round Update

May 31, 2010 – 9:00 AM
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Frankie Piliere

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It is one week until draft day and it's time to bear down for every scouting department around baseball. While most in the industry expect the picture to get more clear by the weekend, the first round remains somewhat wide open. In other words, we could be in for some draft day shockers.

With a week to go, we are rolling out our second-to-last mock draft before the event actually gets under way, and some players -- like Texas pitcher Brandon Workman, above -- are in different slots than they were last time. Our final mock will be on draft day, June 7. Let's take an updated look at how the first round could go down and the major surprises that could pop up.

  • 1. Nationals - Bryce Harper (C) | College of Southern Nevada

    There's no point in fighting it or trying to come up with reasons why this won't happen. Bryce Harper is going to be drafted by the Nationals, and it's simply going to be a matter of how much does he ask for.
  • 2. Pirates - Manny Machado (SS) | Brito H.S. (Miami, Fla.)

    The Pirates continue to bear down on Machado. They've continued to look at Jameson Taillon but they have some mild concerns over him getting hit a little this spring, and that's been just enough to sway them toward Machado. I'm told they absolutely love Machado's skill set and the only thing that could get them off him would be some last-minute outrageous demands.
  • 3. Orioles - Jameson Taillon (RHP) | The Woodlands (Texas) H.S.

    Baltimore has been on Taillon since the beginning and I don't expect that to change now. Many in the industry are speculating that Taillon could come out with a massive price tag this week, however, so that will be interesting to keep an eye on.
  • 4. Royals - Drew Pomeranz (LHP) | Ole Miss

    So, Royals scouting director, J.J. Picollo was probably taking one last look at Pomeranz or Chris Sale this past week, right? Wrong. The Royals were heavily scouting The Citadel's Asher Wojciechowski in his final start, and that contingent of scouts included Picollo. I'm still not ready to say they'd pass on Pomeranz, or Sale for that matter, but with their next pick coming all the way in the second round, they were scouting Wojciechowski with the fourth overall pick in mind. So, it's something to watch. Rumors of them having interest in Yasmani Grandal still linger, but that still appears unlikely.
  • 5. Indians - Chris Sale (LHP) | Florida Gulf Coast

    For Cleveland, it will come down to which left arm is available, Sale or Pomeranz. It's possible Michael Choice could sneak into this spot as well. Deck McGuire and Zack Cox have outside chances.
  • 6. Diamondbacks - Deck McGuire (RHP) | Georgia Tech

    The word among industry sources is that the Diamondbacks are banking on having McGuire or Sale fall to them, and that is who they'll select. It appears that McGuire will be that guy, and Arizona scouting director Tom Allison was in attendance for his ACC tournament outing. I've been told they have no interest in getting involved with Anthony Ranaudo and have moved off Bryce Brentz.
  • 7. Mets - Zack Cox (3B) | Arkansas

    In an ideal scenario, the Mets would love to have Pomeranz and Sale, but unless there's a surprise from the Royals, I can't see too many ways either of them gets to New York. So, the Mets have been looking all over for their potential pick. Cox appears to be leading the way, but Brentz remains in play. And, if you are looking for a wild card, Mets GM Omar Minaya was in Columbus this week to scout Minnesota C/OF Michael Kvasnicka. I've been told to expect a surprise from the Mets, and Kvasnicka or Asher Wojciechowski could be it. It's unclear on how interested they are, but the Mets have also heavily scouted Kolbrin Vitek.
  • 8. Astros - Michael Choice (OF) | Texas-Arlington

    Despite rumors of Houston being in on prep players like Stetson Allie and Josh Sale at this spot, what I have heard is that Houston is looking for very signable guys and will look for a college bat in this spot. They'd like a chance at Josh Sale, but it seems like they'd rather have him at their second first-round pick. It's possible he could go here, but a college bat like Choice makes more sense, and they have scouted him heavily all spring. Brandon Workman has been mentioned here as well, if they do decide to go the pitching route. Aside from the Mets, they are the highest-picking team to show heavy interest in Kvasnicka, but word is they'd also prefer him at 19 rather than eight.
  • 9. Padres - Kolbrin Vitek (2B) | Ball State

    The Padres are in somewhat of a tough spot. They expect most of the top college players they have on their short list to be off the board, and they are not enamored with the high school talent out there. If Cox or Choice lasts this long, they would be all over them. If not, I expect it to be Vitek. The Padres did not heavily scout Karsten Whitson in Sebring, but I still would not rule him out here.
  • 10. Athletics - Yordy Cabrera (SS) | Lakeland (Fla.) H.S.

    Cabrera is a brand new name for this spot, and a very strong contender to end up going here. Oakland is said to be heavily involved in the prep class this year, and that still includes a high level of interest in Dylan Covey. But word is that they've moved off him of late. Oakland is looking for a power-hitting prep bat in particular and they think Cabrera fits that mold. They've scouted him heavily all spring. Also getting heavy consideration from them is another prep standout, Justin O'Conner. If Choice or Cox somehow get down to them, however, that could alter their plans. I'm told they are not that high on Brentz.
  • 11. Blue Jays - Christian Colon (SS) | Cal State Fullerton

    This spot is a very complex one with a lot of different scenarios. Austin Wilson and his signability are going to play a key role. Like the Phillies, the Jays have had high-ranking officials visit with Wilson, so if they think they can get him signed he'll go here. But Wilson and his family have been very unclear about demands, and if Toronto can't get a feel for his situation, I expect them to go with Colon, who they've been on all spring. O'Conner, Kaleb Cowart, Whitson and Josh Sale are in play here as well. They covet Choice but he should be gone already.
  • 12. Reds - Yasmani Grandal (C) | Miami

    There are a few names we can strongly associate with Cincinnati at this stage. If Colon gets this far, they'd likely jump all over him. They've also taken long looks at Brentz, and there are conflicting reports about just how interested they are in Alex Wimmers. But Grandal sits near the top of their short list. They are at least considering prep players like Whitson and Nick Castellanos.
  • 13. White Sox - Bryce Brentz (OF) | Middle Tennessee State

    Look for the White Sox to look at the college ranks to find their pick. That much we can depend on. Brentz and Kvasnicka top their short list of college bats they would consider in this spot. They have looked at college arms like Wojciechowski and Workman, but they don't appear to be on Wimmers. High school bats Sale and Nick Castellanos are also apparently not in play. Chicago is one of the biggest believers in Brentz's bat in the round so I'd look for them to go there with this pick. If they do go the high school route, Yordy Cabrera, who is a hot name all over the round, could get a look here.
  • 14. Brewers - Alex Wimmers (RHP) | Ohio State

    There's quite a few ways Milwaukee could go with this one, including tabbing hard-throwing righty Matt Harvey. However, Wimmers' combination of pitchability and good raw stuff, plus his likely reasonable price tag make for a good match here.
  • 15. Rangers - Karsten Whitson (RHP) | Chipley (Fla.) H.S.

    It's hard to see an arm like Whitson falling much further than this. They have been on Whitson and a number of high school arms, but I think they'd be thrilled to get a crack at him here.
  • 16. Cubs - Stetson Allie (RHP) | St. Edward H.S. (Lakewood, Ohio)

    The Cubs have looked equally at college and high school players this spring, and they like what they've seen from Allie. Whether he has impressed them enough for the Cubs to meet his asking price remains to be seen, but he is likely high on their short list, along with O'Conner, Cabrera, Whitson, and Vitek.
  • 17. Rays - Josh Sale (OF) | Bishop Blanchet H.S. (Seattle, Wash.)

    There will be a number of suitors for Sale, including the Astros, Angels and Blue Jays. The Rays have been scouting him as heavily as anyone and would love a chance at his powerful, high-upside bat. It's a toss-up whether he gets down this far, and this could be as far as he gets depending on who else is available for the Rays. Grandal is in play here if he's still around.
  • 18. Angels - Dylan Covey (RHP) | Maranatha H.S. (Pasadena, Calif.)

    After the A's, it's difficult to find a landing place for Covey. He could tumble to the Angels, and I'd imagine they'd happily grab him considering their search for high school arms this year.
  • 19. Astros - Michael Kvasnicka (C/OF) | Minnesota

    Houston is very high on Kvasnicka and may even take him at No. 8, but that still appears unlikely. There's a lot out there about them looking into prep talents, but other clubs seem to think Houston is looking for easy-sign type players and college bats. They still could go with a prep bat here if the right guy is available or if Kvasnicka is gone. And, the reality is Kvasnicka has a very good chance to be gone.
  • 20. Red Sox - Anthony Ranaudo (RHP) | LSU

    It's only natural that Ranaudo gets mentioned with free-spending clubs. Last week, I had him with the Yankees, but given his solid SEC performance it's now widely believed in the industry that there's no way Boston would allow him to slide by. They have also shown heavy interest in Wojciechowski, Cowart and Harvey.
  • 21. Twins - Brandon Workman (RHP) | Texas

    The Twins are on a couple prep players like Cabrera and Castellanos, but it appears that their priority is college pitching. In this scenario, Workman would be arguably the best one available. Wojciechowski, Brett Eibner, and Barrett Loux should get a look here also. They're dream scenario is to have Wimmers still around, but the organization doesn't expect that to happen.
  • 22. Rangers - Kaleb Cowart (IF/RHP) | Cook County (Ga.) H.S.

    Signability might be a big issue with Cowart, but the Rangers may not be as scared off by the big price tag as some are assuming.
  • 23. Marlins - Barrett Loux (RHP) | Texas A&M

    Loux and the Marlins have been linked together by many in the industry and that link remains strong. Eibner is another name they could consider.
  • 24. Giants - Nick Castellanos (3B) | Archbishop McCarthy H.S. (Fla.)

    The guy who seemed to be their prime target, Cabrera, is off the board in this scenario. The White Sox seem to have moved off Castellanos and are focusing on the college ranks, so it's possible he could slide this far. He'd be on the Giants' short list.
  • 25. Cardinals - Matt Harvey (RHP) | North Carolina

    The Cardinals are expected to take the best college arm on the board, and it seems that they believe that guy would be Harvey if this scenario plays out.
  • 26. Rockies - Sammy Solis (LHP) | San Diego

    Colorado is likely to take a collegiate arm, and will take the approach of seeing who falls into their laps. They are in on Solis and he would seem like a solid lefty option. Jesse Hahn has health questions but is an option here as well.
  • 27. Phillies - Austin Wilson (OF) | Harvard-Westlake H.S. (Studio City, Calif.)

    There are really three clubs that are strong candidates to take Wilson in the first round. Toronto has been all over him, and the Yankees would love to see him slide, but the Phillies still seem to be the most logical landing place. As I said last week, Ruben Amaro Jr. was in to visit Wilson and his family recently. Something to keep in mind is Amaro Jr. is a Stanford grad, where Wilson has a strong commitment. If he gets by Toronto, this is where I see him landing.
  • 28. Dodgers - Aaron Sanchez (RHP) | Barstow (Calif.) H.S

    The Dodgers will likely stick to slot, and will probably look for some upside. In this scenario, Sanchez is the most ideal pick for them.
  • 29. Angels - Justin O'Conner (SS/C) | Cowan H.S. (Muncie, Ind.)

    There are a number of landing places for O'Conner, and he could go as high as 10th to the A's. But, if he slides this far, the Angels will not pass on him a second time.
  • 30. Angels - Seth Blair (RHP) | Arizona State

    Blair and the Angels have been linked by several industry sources throughout this spring and the link remains. The Angels will likely grab one collegiate player in the first round, and Blair could be that guy. Also under consideration for one of these late first-round picks by the Angels are prep righties, Sanchez and Scott Frazier, and a number of other high school players. Frazier, in particular, should get a long look at this spot.
  • 31. Rays - Asher Wojciechowski (RHP) | The Citadel

    The right-hander out of The Citadel was not razor sharp in front of several high-level scouts in his final college start, but the stuff is undeniable. He's been talked about all over the first round, anywhere from fourth to the last pick of the round to the Yankees. I expect Tampa Bay to take the best arm available here, and if he lasts, Wojciechowski is that guy.
  • 32. Yankees - Jedd Gyorko (SS) | West Virginia

    Even as we inch closer to the big day, this is a tough one to call. The Yankees have been involved with a number of players. But, in perhaps the biggest scouting week of the year, the Yankees were heavily scouting the Big East tournament, where Gyorko was playing. And their message has been consistent this spring -- they are not worried about simply picking a "famous" name. Several names make sense here, including Wojciechowski. If he were to drop here, the Yankees would be all over him.

Frankie Piliere spent the last three seasons working as a scout, most recently in the professional scouting department for the Texas Rangers in 2009. He now serves as the National Baseball Analyst here at FanHouse.
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