Draft Buzz: Top 15 Clearing Up
Everyone expected this draft to be as unpredictable as any in recent memory (beyond the first pick, of course), and the arrival of draft day has only stirred up the rumor mill.
We've been keeping tabs on all the various information and misinformation floating around and will continue to provide updates here on the latest buzz.
UPDATE (6/7 - 6:53 PM) - So, what now. A couple sources tell me it may not be Grandal to KC. Then i ask "probably Sale?" The answer is still no. Are we looking at Choice or Asher Wojciechowski? I think it's going to shock us
UPDATE (6/7 - 6:41 PM) - Hearing Bryce Brentz could end up in the last 5-6 picks of the first round
UPDATE (6/7 - 6:17 PM) - Karsten Whitson appears to be the target at pick #9. I don't know if that means the Padres believe Choice will be gone or they just prefer him now, but that's what I am hearing.
UPDATE (6/7 - 5:09 PM) - Grandal deal is in big trouble with KC. They thought they had a deal and KC doesn't seem too happy about them looking for more now.
UPDATE (6/7 - 4:08 PM) - Don't rule out a shock at #4 if Grandal falls through. How about this for shock? Bryce Brentz may be an option. Likely? No, but he's a name being tossed about.
UPDATE (6/7 - 4:00 PM) - The latest on Zack Cox contract demands: Apparently teams think he is looking for a big league deal and Pedro Alvarez money.
UPDATE (6/7 - 3:41 PM) - Word is that the D'backs would indeed take Barrett Loux over Pomeranz, but not over Chris Sale
UPDATE (6/7 - 3:05 PM) - Braves looking at Noah Syndergaard, a prep RHP from Texas with the 53rd overall pick. Industry sources don't believe he'll last to their next pick at 70. Lots of teams in on him 50-60 range.
UPDATE (6/7 - 3:01 PM) - Rockies not interested in Stetson Allie. Contrary to some rumors out there, I'm told he is absolutely not in their mix
UPDATE (6/7 - 1:58 PM) - Continue to hear names like Vettleson and Lipka with the Yankees.
UPDATE (6/7 - 12:25 PM) - More compensation round pick buzz continues to roll in. The latest involves the Atlanta Braves at 35. Word from industry sources is that they are on high school infielder, Tony Wolters in this spot.
UPDATE (6/7 - 11:48 AM) - We continue to get more information on the Yasmani Grandal situation. Word from industry sources is that while there was originally an agreement in place, the Grandal camp now believes they can get more money from another top 10 team. That team? The Cleveland Indians. Sources say that Kansas City offered $2.9 million and Cleveland has topped that offer. It's still the belief, however, that Kansas City will take Grandal, but that original agreement seems to be on shaky ground now that a better offer has been made.
UPDATE (6/7 - 12:45 AM) - There are lots of rumblings coming in now about potential compensation round targets for clubs. The latest one has to do with the 43rd overall pick. There have been a couple names linked to the Seattle Mariners in this spot, but the latest one is five-tool prep outfielder Joc Pederson.
UPDATE (6/6 - 11:15 PM) - The Yankees get linked to just about every player this time of year, but it's time to start narrowing it down. Late word from industry sources on Sunday night was that New York was leaning toward taking a high school bat with the 32nd overall pick. Sources indicated that the Yanks have two particular names in mind. Who those names are remains a mystery, and their intention also appears to be to take a high school arm with their next pick. That could be where Robby Rowland fits in. So, if you like upside and some gambles, it looks like that may be the direction the Yankees are going in a thin class.
UPDATE (6/6 - 10:30 PM) - It looked for some time that Oakland was leaning heavily towards Zack Cox at No. 10. It now appears that Christian Colon is the A's backup plan to Michael Choice, who will almost certainly be off the board. At least that seems to be the indication coming from within the organization. So, there may be some plans shifting in Oakland, and I'd now say, according to some strong sources, that they are leaning toward Colon. Some sources believe the price tag of Cox may have a lot to do with this and that he could slide as far as the No. 20-25 range.
UPDATE (6/6 - 10:09 PM) - Around this time every year, we begin to hear about some potential compensation or second round targets, particularly for the big market clubs that have the money to spend. The Yankees and Red Sox seem to have a couple names of which they are both very fond. The Red Sox are, according to multiple industry sources, are said to be leading the list of clubs who are targeting Canadian prep catcher Kellin Deglan. The Yankees have also shown interest, but given the fact that their second pick isn't until 89th overall he likely won't be in play. Many in the industry believe Boston will take him with one of their compensation round picks. Deglan is not a great example of Boston being able to flex their financial muscle, however. According to sources, he is perhaps the most signable player in the draft. A tougher sign is a prep player both the Yankees and Boston are heavily involved with as well. Sean Coyle, a 5-foot-9 high school infielder is said to be a potential plus hitting tool guy, but also could command above slot money somewhere in the second round. Boston and New York have been big players for him this spring and continue to be as we approach draft day.
UPDATE (6/6 - 8:05 PM) - As it has long been believed, Josh Sale appears to be the Astros' man at eighth overall, barring a slide by one of the top two college southpaws. Sale's signability doesn't appear to be a big issue and Houston is not enamored with the remaining pitching options that figure to be available for them. Look for Michael Kvasnicka, Chad Bettis, and possibly Brandon Workman to be options with their later picks.
UPDATE (6/6 - 3:55 PM) - We are continuing to get word that the Mets are heavily leaning toward Justin O'Conner with the seventh overall pick. But, there is one condition to that. If Chris Sale or Drew Pomeranz gets to them, they will likely take one of the pair over O'Conner. This strengthening buzz also is beginning to make Zack Cox to the Athletics look more and more like a safe bet.
UPDATE (6/6 - 12:05 PM) - High school arms tend to slip when draft day actually arrives, and it appears that could happen for two of this year's top young arms. Both Dylan Covey and Karsten Whitson figure to go lower than originally projected, and according to sources, Covey may fall all the way to the back of the first round. Whitson has landing spots in the 15-20 range.
UPDATE (6/6 - 2:10 AM) - The latest word from industry sources on the potential pre-draft deal between Yasmani Grandal and the Royals is that it will be worth "upwards of $3 million."
UPDATE (6/6 - 1:50 AM) - Yankee fans are desperate to hear what their team will do at the back of the round. Now, there is some real noteworthy information rolling in on New York's preferences. High on their short list is prep right-hander Robby Rowland, according to sources. Rowland is a tall, projectable hard thrower and would be a very interesting gamble at 32nd overall. It's difficult to tell if they are looking at him with their first pick or the 82nd overall pick, but he doesn't figure to be available that low.
UPDATE (6/6 - 1:35 AM) - Jesse Biddle remains a primary target for the Brewers at 14, but also in the picture is prep righty out of Florida, Luke Jackson. Both players worked out for them on Saturday. Milwaukee is also believed to have a third target in mind, most likely a college arm. If Biddle gets by the Brewers, his next possible landing spot is the Phillies. The Dodgers and Angels are also heavily involved at the bottom of the first round. In all likelihood he will not get by the Angels, if you are looking at his absolute floor.
UPDATE (6/6 - 12:35 AM) - Word in the early morning hours on Sunday from industry sources was that after having GM, Omar Minaya scout both prep C/IF/RHP, Justin O'Conner and Arkansas' Zack Cox, the Mets and Minaya are leaning towards O'Conner for the 7th overall pick in Monday's draft. According to these sources, they like him as a catcher. Teams below the Mets also are getting the feeling that they will not have a shot at O'Conner. If this goes down it would come as quite a surprise to many in the industry. It would likely also save some money for the Mets.
Biddle the Brewer?
The Milwaukee Brewers have been linked to a number of players in recent weeks, including big ticket arms like Matt Harvey and Anthony Ranaudo. But, the general feeling in the industry now is that Milwaukee will go with fast rising, prep left-hander Jesse Biddle with the 14th overall pick. Obviously, this could hinge on which players fall to the Brewers, but Biddle appears to be in their sights.
Pirates Still Deciding
As we speak, it's likely that a war is being waged in the Pirates draft room. In recent days, the industry consensus appears to have shifted, and it now appears that Pittsburgh prefers prep righty Jameson Taillon. This one is going to go down to the wire, though. A decision has not been made, and high school shortstop Manny Machado is still very much in play.
Mets Dispatch Top Scouts
The Mets still have a group of players they are considering with the 7th overall pick, but it appears that they are down to two players: Matt Harvey (pictured above) and Zack Cox. However, the Mets dispatched top scouts to see Michael Kvasnicka, Christian Colon, and Indiana prep standout Justin O'Conner this weekend as well. Those three, as well as Bryce Brentz, remain in the discussion.
Pomeranz a Fit for Cleveland
According to industry sources, the Indians will not let Pomeranz slide any further than the fifth overall pick. They'd be very happy to the Ole Miss southpaw last this long, and given the pre-draft deal between Yasmani Grandal and the Royals at No. 4, it looks like they will get their man.
Down to Two for San Diego
As first reported by FanHouse via Twitter, the Padres will choose either Michael Choice or Kolbrin Vitek with the ninth overall pick, following impressive workouts from both players. If they are both available, I expect San Diego to take Choice.
Athletics Narrowing Their List
Oakland has narrowed its list, and two of the players on that short list are Zack Cox and Justin O'Conner. It's quite possible that Oakland will go with the prep hitter, O'Conner, but most in the industry cannot see them passing on Cox if he is still available. And, if the Mets pass on Cox, Oakland will likely have a crack at him. Few in the industry are ready to rule out Dylan Covey, Christian Colon, or Yordy Cabrera completely.
McGuire the Odd Man Out
The player most impacted by Yasmani Grandal going to the Royals is probably Deck McGuire. Grandal pushes Drew Pomeranz to the Indians, and Chris Sale to the Diamondbacks. Arizona was McGuire's most likely landing spot. But, now with Houston zoning in on Josh Sale, and San Diego likely going with Choice or Vitek, it could push McGuire all the way to the the Reds, who would be very happy to take him. Alex Wimmers and Christian Colon are still under serious consideration for the Reds as well.
Updated Mock Draft: Top 15
1. Nationals -- Bryce Harper, C, College of Southern Nevada
2. Pirates -- Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands (Texas) HS
3. Orioles -- Manny Machado, SS, Brito HS (Miami)
4. Royals -- Yasmani Grandal, C, Miami
5. Indians -- Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Ole Miss
6. Diamondbacks -- Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast Univ.
7. Mets -- Justin O'Conner, C, Cowan HS
8. Astros -- Josh Sale, OF, Bishop Blanchet HS (Seattle)
9. Padres -- Michael Choice, OF, Texas-Arlington
10. Athletics -- Christian Colon, SS, Cal State Fullerton
11. Blue Jays -- Austin Wilson, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS (Studio City, Calif.)
12. Reds -- Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech
13. White Sox -- Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee State
14. Brewers -- Jesse Biddle, LHP, Germantown Friends (Pa.) HS
15. Rangers -- Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State
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.