Tag:MLB Draft
Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:44 pm

GM Moore: Royals will keep home-grown talent

By Scott Miller

KANSAS CITY -- If Bubba Starling, the Royals' first-round pick in Monday's draft, follows the same path as Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon (this year's model), Billy Butler, Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crowand even Mike Moustakas, an already rich farm system will become even more fertile.

But if Starling and some of those other guys follow the path of Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye as short timers in Kansas City, then might this Royal praise be fool's gold?

Mixed in among the 25 consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance was one significant recent false start, in 2003. The Royals that year had their only winning season in the past 16, and Tony Pena was named American League manager of the year. Beltran, at 26, was the center fielder.

By the middle of '04, Beltran had been traded to Houston and by the middle of '05, Pena had been fired.

The general manager is different now -- Dayton Moore instead of Allard Baird -- but the owner is still the same in David Glass.

"Everybody wants to sign good, young players long-term," Moore told me during a conversation shortly after the Royals made Starling their top pick. "We're no different in Kansas City. We've demonstrated that over the last three years by signing Zack Greinke, although we traded him, Billy Butler and Joakim Soria to long-term deals. Those have been our three most productive players over the last four years."

And in the Royals' defense, though they're short on pitching, their price for Greinke was high, including current shortstop Alicedes Escobar.

Moore has said more than once that if the Yankees or the Red Sox want somebody in today's game, they're eventually going to get him.

"That's why you've got to have a great farm system," Moore said. "If you have a lot of good players, it's going to be hard to sign all of them long-term in the economy of today's game.

"John Schuerholz in Atlanta [the former GM and current president] signed Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones long-term, but he couldn't keep Rafael Furcal. He signed John Smoltz long-term but couldn't keep Tom Glavine, even though he tried.

"Our goal, by 2012, 2013, is to have the majority of our 25-man roster reflect home-grown talent. Hopefully, we can do it. We're on pace to do it. Then there's a pride factor -- they know the rookie ball hitting coach and manager, the know the coaches and managers all the way up."

Then, Moore says, if players decline long-term deals or leave via free agency, "they're not just saying no to the Kansas City Royals. They're saying no to every coach, instructor, scout and front-office person. That's a major split."

Moore points to the Twins, who have signed Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Joe Nathan to long-term deals, as models.

"That's what we're trying to do," Moore said. "I believe in the plan. We have to execute the plan.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 6, 2011 8:42 pm

A Mariner surprise as Hultzen goes No. 2 in draft

By Danny Knobler

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- We knew this draft would provide some surprises.

We never thought the surprises would start so soon.

After the Pirates opened the draft by picking UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole, as expected, the Mariners followed by choosing University of Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen with the second pick.

Hultzen wasn't a pick out of the blue. The Pirates went to the final weekend before deciding between Cole and Hultzen at No. 1.

But in every pre-draft scenario discussed among officials at the draft, the pitching-rich, offense-poor Mariners were going to take Rice University third baseman Anthony Rendon.

"Completely unexpected," Hultzen told MLB Network after the pick was made.

The Diamondbacks followed by taking UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer, also as expected.

Rendon went to the Nationals, with the sixth pick.

At that point, the six players expected to go 1-6 had gone 1-6. In that sense, the draft was going as expected.

But who knew the Mariners would pass on Rendon and take Hultzen?

Other first-round thoughts:

-- The Orioles took high school pitcher Dylan Bundy, who some scouts considered the most talented pitcher in the entire draft.

-- As recently as Sunday, the Royals were expected to stay away from local high school product Bubba Starling, not because they didn't like him but because he has a football scholarship to Nebraska and they weren't convinced he wanted to sign. Eventually, the Royals took Starling, possibly because he convinced them or maybe because their preferred picks were taken before they drafted. Kent Babb, a writer for the Kansas City Star, wrote on Twitter that Starling told him two months ago that "it would make it very difficult to go to Nebraska if the Royals picked him."

-- Two picks after Nebraska's next quarterback went to the Royals, Oklahoma's next quarterback went seventh overall when the Diamondbacks used their second first-round pick on Archie Bradley. Bradley is also well-regarded, enough so that there was talk before the draft that the Orioles would take him with the fourth pick.

-- UCLA became just the second school to have two of the first three picks. Arizona State did it in 1978, with Bob Horner going first overall to the Braves and Hubie Brooks going two picks later to the Mets.

-- Bundy and Bradley didn't go to school together, but they have worked out together for years. In an interview on MLB Network, Bundy said they were "pretty much brothers."

-- As advertised, this was a pitcher-heavy draft. The first four picks were all pitchers, for the first time ever. But it also points up another general problem baseball has right now, which is that there aren't enough good young hitters in the game right now. It's one of the reasons that offense is down in the big leagues, and it's one of the things scouts covering the minor leagues talk about.

-- Baseball has improved the visibility of the draft in recent years, almost all for the better. But it probably wasn't a great idea for one of the MLB Network guys to walk to the front of the media section and yell to the fans sitting behind that they should applaud every pick: "Even if it's fake, it looks good on TV."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 6, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 7:21 pm

Cuban defector causes early draft drama

MLB Draft
By Matt Snyder

There was drama before the MLB Draft even began Monday evening. Onelki Garcia Speck, a left-handed pitcher who recently defected from Cuba, had been ruled eligible for the draft and reportedly could go in the first round. Just as the draft was getting underway, however, ESPN's Keith Law reported that Garcia Speck has been ruled ineligible. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has reported that Garcia Speck's agent has submitted documents to Major League Baseball showing Garcia Speck as a resident of Nicaragua. If that's true, he's not eligible for the draft.

The interesting twist here is that it's highly likely that Garcia Speck prefers not to be eligible for the draft. He has already signed with a Los Angeles-based agent, Gus Dominguez, and has reportedly scheduled a workout for teams this coming weekend. By being ruled an international player, he can simply sign with the highest bidder. If he had been ruled eligible, one team would have had exclusive negotiating rights with him.

Several international scouting directors were initially angry about the possibility that Garcia Speck would be eligible for the draft, according to Baseball America. Major League Baseball had issued a memo at 10 p.m. ET Sunday to notify teams of his availability, and it's likely many teams didn't know enough about him to make an accurate judgement on when he should be selected.

Of the information out there, Baseball America has gathered that Garcia Speck throws in the 92-95 range and had a 4.73 ERA in 205 innings the past three seasons. He reportedly has control issues but really good stuff. Last season, he had a 3.40 ERA.

Some reports have Garcia Speck as a 21 year old, others say he's 23.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 6, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 1:12 pm

Nationals not tipping hand on draft selection

By Evan Brunell

The last two seasons, the Nationals' draft picks were patently obvious the day the team finished with baseball's worst record: Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

MLB Draft

This year is a different story, as the Nats pick seventh and aren't tipping their hand, writes the Washington Post. Part of that is because of questions about who will be available, as players can drop because of signability and other concerns. The Nationals are expected to draft the best player available, but are expected to trend toward pitching if it's available. That means they could potentially pass up the top high-school bat in the draft in Bubba Starling to pluck someone such as Danny Hultzen, who is at risk for sliding down draft boards as a college lefty.

Speaking of signability, Starling is a Scott Boras client -- as are Strasburg and Harper -- but if the club wants to spread out the money in the draft, it could elect to draft Hultzen. That would allow the team to fill a priority by grabbing a college pitcher and then target more high-priced players in future rounds, as they appear to be leaning.

The draft is at 7 p.m. ET on Monday. You can follow the draft live on MLB.com and the MLB Network.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 5, 2011 2:23 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 8:18 pm

Worst first-round picks of the last decade

By Matt Snyder

As the MLB Draft inches closer and closer, it's time to take a look at the biggest gaffes of the past decade -- one per team. My esteemed colleague C. Trent Rosecrans took a look at the best pick for each team of the past 10 years Saturday, so I'll even things out by listing the worst first-round pick -- including sandwich picks in a few cases -- of the last 10 years for each team.

Obviously it's a bit subjective to make such a judgement, but we'll do our best. More weight will be placed on higher picks -- for example, a bust at No. 1 is way worse than a bust at No. 30. We'll avoid casting quick judgements on the past two to three years, because it's too soon to really determine the level of bustdom.

Next to each selection, I'll list at least one "could have had" pick that only takes into account other first rounders.

Anyway, let's dive in.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Snakes actually have done a pretty good job in the actual first round, so we'll have to go with a sandwich pick. In 2006, they took Brooks Brown 34th overall. He spent most of the ensuing five seasons in Double-A, where he was 27-28 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. He went 3-13 in 20 Triple-A appearances. Could have had: Chris Coghlan or Chris Perez.

Atlanta Braves: They don't really make terrible picks often, so we have to go with someone who might not turn out to be a bad pick at all. Cody Johnson was taken 24th overall in 2006. The outfielder is in his sixth pro season and hitting .223 with a .713 OPS in Double-A. He's only 22, so there's still hope, especially when considering he already has 10 doubles and 10 homers this year -- but he's not even with the Braves anymore (he's now in the Yankees organization). Could have had: Daniel Bard, Chris Coghlan or Chris Perez.

MLB Draft
Baltimore Orioles: There are some beauties in here, such as taking Wade Townsend eighth overall and not being able to sign him or Billy Rowell ninth overall, but the choice is Chris Smith. The left-handed pitcher was taken seventh overall in 2001 and never even made it to Class A-Advanced. In his four professional seasons, Smith had a 6.12 ERA and 1.92 WHIP. Control woes did him in, as he walked more guys than he struck out. Could have had: David Wright.

Boston Red Sox: The 27th overall pick in 2006 was shortstop Jason Place. He hasn't made it past Double-A and is currently and outfielder in Class A-Advanced in the Yankees organization -- and he's hitting .209 with a .633 OPS. There's still time for him to remove himself from bust consideration, at age 23, but he's the pick for now. Could have had: Chris Coghlan or Chris Perez.

Chicago Cubs: Tough call because there are some pretty bad ones here. I'll go with Mark Pawelek by a nose over Bobby Brownlie and Ryan Harvey (No. 3 overall pick in 2007, Josh Vitters, also has a shot to get here). Pawelek was taken 24th overall out of high school in 2005 and was playing Independent ball by 2010. He never made it higher than Class A-Advanced, where he had a 4.67 ERA in 18 appearances. Could have had: Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz.

Chicago White Sox: Back in 2001, the White Sox selected Kris Honel, a right-handed pitcher, out of high school 16th overall. He stuck around for nine seasons, but never ascended higher than Double-A. His career ERA was 3.90, but most of his good work was in the deeper low levels. He was 8-10 with a 6.02 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in Double-A. Could have had: David Wright.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds have been pretty good, but there's one sticking out like a sore thumb. Right-handed pitcher Chris Gruler was taken third overall back in 2002 and was out of baseball by 2007. He pitched most of his career in rookie ball, but appeared in 10 Class A games. His ERA in Class A was 9.27. Could have had: Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, etc. Yikes.

Cleveland Indians: Back in 2001, the Tribe took a talented starting pitcher out of high school by the name of Dan Denham. He lasted nine seasons in the minors until leaving baseball after 2009. He was 10-13 with a 5.83 ERA in 41 Triple-A appearances. Could have had: David Wright.

Colorado Rockies: Right-handed pitcher Casey Weathers is in Double-A right now, sporting a 4.96 ERA, but he was the eighth overall pick in 2007. At age 25, he should be further along than this. Not atrocious, but the Rockies haven't been bad overall in the first. Could have had: Madison Bumgarner or Jason Heyward, among others.

Detroit Tigers: Right-handed pitcher Kyle Sleeth was the third overall pick in 2003. He never made it past Double-A and had a career ERA of 6.30 in parts of three minor-league seasons before calling it quits. Could have had: Nick Markakis, John Danks, David Aardsma, Chad Billingsley, Carlos Quentin or Adam Jones.

Florida Marlins: Pitcher Jacob Marceaux was taken 29th overall in 2005 and never made it higher than Double-A, where he had a 4.68 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 46 appearances. He played Independent ball in 2010 and is now out of baseball. Could have had: Clay Buchholz or Jed Lowrie.

Houston Astros: Considering their best pick was Chris Burke, it's easy to see the Astros haven't been very good in the first round. Likewise, it's tough to narrow down one bust pick. We'll go with Derick Grigsby. He was the 29th overall pick in 2002 and was out of baseball by 2005, never advancing past Class A. Could have had: Mark Teahen.

Kansas City Royals: They've been solid lately, but in the early 2000s missed several times. The two biggest ones were Colt Griffin (ninth overall in 2001) and Chris Lubanski (fifth overall in 2003). We'll go with Griffin, as he was out of baseball by 2006 and never went past Double-A. He had a 4.02 career ERA in Double-A. Could have had: David Wright.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Every player the Angels took in the first from 2001-2006 has made the bigs, so we have to go with the worst one and it's not even close. Brandon Wood absolutely destroyed minor-league pitching for years but hasn't done anything at the big-league level. He actually has a negative WAR (wins above replacement) in about 200 games. That's tough to do for someone with so much talent. He was the 23rd overall pick in 2003. Could have had: Chad Billingsley, Carlos Quentin or Adam Jones.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Back in 2004, the Dodgers took Justin Orenduff 33rd overall. He only made it to Triple-A for one season before retiring at age 26. He was 3-7 with a 6.55 ERA in Triple-A. Orenduff has since unretired and is at extended spring training after just two appearances for Class A-Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Could have had: Gio Gonzalez or Huston Street.

Milwaukee Brewers: Before the run where the Brewers nabbed Fielder, Weeks, Braun, LaPorta, pitcher Mike Jones was taken 12th overall in 2001. He climbed up to No. 56 in Baseball America prospect rankings at one point, but never made the bigs. He did appear in 12 Triple-A games, sporting a 4.32 ERA. He retired in January. Could have had: David Wright.

Minnesota Twins: They haven't missed badly much in the first, so the choice is a sandwich pick: Hank Sanchez. The first baseman was taken 39th overall in 2005 and flamed out after five seasons -- never getting past Class A. He hit .207 with a .634 OPS in 102 career games at those low levels. Could have had: Clay Buchholz or Jed Lowrie.

New York Mets: Every first-rounder from 1998 through 2007 has made the majors except for Nathan Vineyard. A sandwich pick out of high school in 2007, Vineyard was out of baseball before he turned 20. Could have had: Tommy Hunter.

New York Yankees: Not surprisingly, the Yankees very rarely have high draft picks, since that would mean they lost of a lot of games the previous season. One of the times they actually had a top-20 pick, they missed pretty badly. In 2005, the Yanks went with shortstop C.J. Henry 17th overall. He never got higher than Class A-Advanced and was done with baseball following the 2008 season. Could have had: Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz.

Oakland Athletics: In 2004, the A's had back-to-back picks at 25 and 26, and both were sufficiently awful. We'll give the nod to Brad Sullivan (pick No. 25). He shuttled between rookie ball and Class A for five years before calling it a career. His ERA at Class A-Advanced in parts of four seasons was 5.98. His best season was 2004 at Class A Modesto, where Sullivan was 8-11 with a 4.65 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. Could have had: Carlos Quentin or Adam Jones.

Philadelphia Phillies: This is a tough one, because the Phils have done a pretty good job. We'll begrudgingly go with Joe Savery. He was 1-12 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in Triple-A last season and is back in Class A-Advanced Clearwater this season, repackaged as a hitter. He's still only 25, though, so there's hope he makes it. Savery was the 19th overall pick in 2007. Could have had: J.P. Arencibia, Rick Porcello or Julio Borbon.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Every first-rounder from 2000 through 2008 has made the bigs, so we're left deciding from the guys who made it. Bryan Bullington was the top overall pick in the 2002 draft and only appeared in six games for the Pirates. Could have had: B.J. Upton, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, Denard Span, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Blanton, Matt Cain and several others who outperformed Bullington.

San Diego Padres: Lots of bad ones, but this is an easy choice. Matt Bush was the top overall pick in 2004 and never got past Class A-Advanced (as a position player). He's widely regarded as one of the biggest busts in draft history. In parts of four seasons, Bush hit .219 with a .569 OPS. He's currently trying to make it as a pitcher and has climbed up to Double-A. He's still 25, so there's a chance he makes a career out of his pitching. Still, for the Padres, this is horrible, especially when you see this. Could have had: Justin Verlander, Jeff Niemann, Homer Bailey, Neil Walker, Jered Weaver, Billy Butler, Stephen Drew, Gio Gonzalez, Huston Street.

San Francisco Giants: They haven't been bad at all, so we'll go with a minor bust. Pitcher Craig Whitaker was taken 34th overall in 2003 and never made the bigs. He bounced around all levels of the minors for eight seasons, only getting to Triple-A for 14 games in 2010. In 193 career minor-league games, Whitaker was 14-13 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Could have had: Adam Jones.

Seattle Mariners: Catcher Jeff Clement was taken third overall in 2005 out of USC and had a really productive minor-league career, but he was never able to put it all together at the big-league level. In parts of three seasons, Clement hit .223 with a .664 OPS. He was even moved out from behind the plate because of defensive issues. Considering he did make the majors, this wouldn't be such a horrible pick until you see this ... Could have had: Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz. Ouch.

St. Louis Cardinals: They don't often completely miss, as every non-sandwich first-rounder between 2003 and 2008 has made the show. So the 28th overall pick in 2001 is our selection here. Justin Pope pitched eight seasons in the minors and only ascended higher than Double-A  for 21 Triple-A appearances. He spent most of his time in Double-A, where he was 16-12 with a 3.04 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He's been out of baseball since 2009. Could have had: David Wright.

Tampa Bay Rays: They very rarely miss, so this was actually an easy choice. Only one first-rounder between 1997 and 2007 failed to make the majors and it was Wade Townsend. The right-handed pitcher was selected eighth overall in 2005. He never made it above Double-A, compiling a minor-league career that sports a 7-21 record with a 5.68 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. He's now out of baseball. Could have had: Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz.

Texas Rangers: They've actually avoided complete busts, so we'll go with Matthew Purke in 2009, who the Rangers took 14th overall and were unable to sign. They did get a supplemental pick in 2010 for that, but it's still the 14th pick and not signing him. And, again, they aren't any real huge busts for the Rangers in the past decade. Could have had: Alex White, Mike Trout, Brett Jackson or several other prospects.

Toronto Blue Jays: He still has time to turn it around, but the Kevin Ahrens pick looks pretty bad. He was taken 16th overall in 2007 out of high school, so he's still only 22. It's just that he's only advanced to Class A-Advanced in five seasons. The third baseman is hitting .246 with a .705 OPS this season and it's his best yet. Could have had: Rick Porcello or Julio Borbon.

Washington Nationals: It was the Montreal Expos at the time, but it's the same franchise, and pitcher Josh Karp was taken sixth overall out of UCLA in 2001. He made it to Triple-A for two seasons, but compiled a 5.91 ERA in his 45 appearances. He was out of baseball by 2006, only to return to Independent ball in 2009 for a season. Could have had: David Wright.

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 5:29 pm

Best first-round picks of the last decade

By C. Trent Rosecrans

With the MLB Draft beginning Monday night at 7 p.m. ET, the Eye on Baseball crew is going to look at the best -- and worst -- first-round draft picks by each team in the last 10 years. 

With the way the baseball draft goes, there are plenty of busts in the first round every year, but there are a lot of great players in the game that were drafted in the first round and the supplemental first round. Tomorrow we'll look at the misses, but for today, here are the hits.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Most first overall picks make the majors and many (Alex Rodrgiuez, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones) find their way to superstardom. Justin Upton may not be a superstar yet, but the first overall pick of the 2005 draft already has one All-Star appearance under his belt and will probably have more to come.

Atlanta Braves: With the 14th pick in the 2007 draft, the Braves took a local kid, outfielder Jason Heyward. Nice pick.

MLB Draft

Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters is close to taking this spot, but for now it's still Nick Markakis, who was taken with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft out of Young Harris College in Georgia.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox had five picks in the first round and the supplemental first round in 2005, and as good as Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie are, the pick here is right-hander Clay Buchholz, taken 42nd overall out of Angelina College.

Chicago Cubs: While his name is now a cautionary tale, it's easy to forget just how good Mark Prior was before arm trouble. Drafted with the second pick of the 2001 draft, he won six games in 2002 and 18 in 2003, his best season. Overall, Prior was 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA.

Gordon BeckhamChicago White Sox: Even with his struggles last year and this season, Gordon Beckham has been a productive player for the White Sox after he was taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Cincinnati Reds: Taken out of high school with the 12th overall pick in 2005, Jay Bruce is the reigning National League Player of the Month and only seems to be getting better at 24. He already has 85 homers in his career, including a National League-best 17 this season.

Cleveland Indians: How bad have the Indians' first-round picks been the last decade? The 18 players taken by Cleveland in the first round and the supplemental first round over the last 10 years have collected just 506 games in the majors, 334 for Cleveland. Lonnie Chisenhall (29th overall in 2008) may eventually be their best in this list, but for right now it's the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie, who at least has 40 big-league wins.

Colorado Rockies: While the Indians' choice was tough, the Rockies' wasn't -- Troy Tulowitzki was taken with the seventh overall pick in 2005.

Detroit Tigers: With the second pick in 2004, the Tigers took Justin Verlander.

Florida Marlins: The team's best pick of the last decade came in the fourth round of the 2002 draft when it took high school pitcher Josh Johnson, but as far as first-round picks, their best is right-hander Chris Volstad, taken with the 16th pick of the 2005 draft.

Chris BurkeHouston Astros: The Astros didn't have first-round picks in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and haven't had much production from any of them. There's really just two choices, Chris Burke (10th overall, 2001) and Jason Castro (10th overall, 2008). Castro has potential, but is out this season and has played in just 67 big league games, so the pick is Burke, who played in parts of six seasons with three teams, but his 18th-inning walk-off homer (left) to clinch the 2005 NLDS against the Braves is one of the franchise's signature moments.

Kansas City Royals: This choice could be much more difficult in five years, but for now it's pretty easy -- Zack Greinke. The Royals selected him sixth overall in the 2002 draft and he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jered Weaver was the 12th pick of the 2004 draft.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers took lefty Clayton Kershaw with the seventh pick of the 2006 draft out of a Texas high school.

Milwaukee Brewers: This could change in a couple of years, but for now, Prince Fielder (seventh overall, 2002) leads Ryan Braun (fifth overall, 2005). Fielder is a free agent this offseason, while Braun is under contract through 2020.

Minnesota Twins: There were those who questioned the pick of hometown boy Joe Mauer with the first pick in the 2001 draft instead of Prior. Not anymore.

New York Mets: Fred Wilpon may not think he's a franchise player, but David Wright is the team's best first-round pick in the last decade, taken with the 38th overall pick in 2001.

New York Yankees: The Yankees have plenty of first-round picks on their roster, although few were their picks. Two key pitchers, starter Phil Hughes (23rd overall in 2004) and reliever Joba Chamberlain (41st overall in 2006), were Yankee picks. The pick here is Chamberlain, who has allowed fewer runs in a similar number of innings and is currently pitching.

Oakland Athletics: A chapter of the book Moneyball focuses on the 2002 MLB Draft and Billy Beane's distaste of drafting high school players. In the book, the team is excited the Brewers take a player they won't touch (Fielder), and the team also doesn't want Zack Greinke, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels or Matt Cain -- all high school player. But they get the man they want the most, Nick Swisher at No. 16. It's a good pick, as is Joe Blanton at 24 -- but it's hardly Greinke, Fielder, Hamels or Cain. The team also picked Jeremy Brown, a catcher out of Alabama, and Mark Teahen in the supplemental round. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Another pick from the Moneyball draft, the pick after the A's took Swisher, the Phillies snatched up Hamels, the left-hander from a California high school with the 17th pick.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 2005 draft featured six players listed as center fielders taken in the first round -- and all six have made the big leagues. The second one taken was the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen with the 11th overall pick. The others were Cameron Maybin (10), Bruce (12), Trevor Crowe (14), Ellsbury (23) and Colby Rasmus (28).

San Diego Padres: The Padres may have had one of the biggest busts of the last decade in Matt Bush, the first overall pick in 2004 draft, but he's not been their only bad pick. The best of the lot was Khalil Greene, taken No. 13 in 2002, who had a promising start of his career, but his troubles with social anxiety disorder drove him from the game. Still, he's the Padres' career leader in homers by a shortstop with 84.

San Francisco Giants: Nine teams passed on the right-hander out of Washington, some scared off by his funky motion and small stature. Tim Lincecum proved them wrong.

Evan LongoriaSeattle Mariners: Adam Jones (37th pick in 2003) played in just 73 games for the Mariners, but was named an All-Star and won a Gold Glove with the Orioles in 2009.

St. Louis Cardinals: With a compensation pick for the Red Sox signing Edgar Renteria, the Cardinals used the 28th pick of the 2005 draft to take Rasmus out of an Alabama High School.

Tampa Bay Rays: Were Luke Hochevar and Greg Reynolds better than Evan Longoria? The Royals and Rockies took those two right-handers with the first two picks of the 2006 draft, leaving Longoria (left) for the Rays.

Texas Rangers: Funny story here -- in 2001 I was working at the Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia and was covering the NCAA Regional in Athens when a Teixeira-led Georgia Tech squad was bounced from the tournament. After his last game, a kid from the student radio station asked Teixeira if he thought his poor showing in the regional would hurt his draft status. The Georgia Tech coach, Danny Hall, took the microphone before Teixeira could answer and said, "No." So did the Rangers, who took him fifth overall.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays took lefty Ricky Romero out of Cal State Fullerton with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft.

Washington Nationals: Another pick that could change with the emergence of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but that's still several years away because of the fourth pick of the 2005 draft,  Ryan Zimmerman.

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: June 4, 2011 7:15 pm

Report: Pirates to take Cole No. 1

Gerrit ColeBy C. Trent Rosecrans 

It looks as if the Pirates will take UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 pick in Monday's first round of the MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dejan Kovacevic reports.

Cole had been seen by many as the top prospect available, but it wasn't as clear-cut as it had been the last two seasons when the Nationals took Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg.

Cole is 6-8 with a 3.31 ERA for the Bruins this season, striking out 119 in 114 1/3 innings, walking 24. Despite his good, but not great numbers, he throws 100 mph and stands 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and has no injury history.

The Yankees took Cole with their first-round pick in 2008, 28th overall. Instead, he chose to go to UCLA.

Friday, I took a look at nine other names you should know for Monday's first round of the draft.

Most expect the Mariners, with the No. 2 pick, to take a position player. That will likely be Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon -- or they could surprise and take Kansas high school outfielder Bubba Starling.

The Diamondbacks pick third and seventh, in what may be their most important draft in years.

More MLB Draft coverage.  

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 6:29 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 10:44 pm

10 names to know for MLB draft

Gerrit Cole

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The baseball draft is certainly a different animal than its football or basketball counterparts. There's not a lot of hype leading up to the draft. It's being televised for just the fifth time this season, and chances are you've never seen any of the top prospects play.

There are plenty of negatives to the way the baseball draft goes, but there are plenty of positives, too. While in three of the past four televised drafts, the No. 1 pick has been a slam-dunk, sure thing, three days out from this year's first round (Monday, 7 p.m. ET on MLB Network), the question of who the Pirates will take is still just that -- a question.

The last two seasons, the Nationals took Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper -- two no-doubt, easy picks. In 2007, the first year the draft was on TV, there was little to no doubt that David Price would be selected by the Rays. In 2008, Tampa took high school shortstop Tim Beckham over the likes of Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer and Gordon Beckham.

This year is more like 2008 than the others in the TV era, and not just because Gerrit Cole will be selected in the first round of both drafts.

Cole, taken No. 28 overall by the Yankees in 2008, is considered the most likely choice of the Pirates on Monday, but others could be considered.

So, starting with Cole, here are the 10 names you need to know leading up to this year's draft, which starts Monday:

Cole, RHP, UCLA -- Cole throws 100 mph, which is something that's pretty special and tough to pass up. 

Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn -- Barnes dominated in the Cape Cod League last year. At 6-foot-4, he has an ideal build to go with a mid-90s fastball and a hammer of a curve. 

Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA -- UCLA's other starter has drawn comparisons to Tim Lincecum because of his unorthodox motion. He's a devotee of long-toss, which could scare off some teams.

Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS -- Bradley has signed a scholarship to play quarterback at Oklahoma, but a top-10 signing bonus can certainly change that.

Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS -- The top high school pitcher in the draft has what some are already calling a major-league ready fastball and curveball. His 6-foot frame is about the only knock against him.

Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia -- The Diamondbacks drafted the lefty three years ago out of high school in the 10th round and most expect them to do so again on Monday with the third overall pick.

Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas -- A 6-foot-6 right-hander who went 13-0 for the Longhorns this season. He had a 0.95 ERA in 15 starts, striking out 116 in 122 2/3 innings.

Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy -- The top high school infielder doesn't have the great power that others have, but he's a very good defender at shortstop and is a switch hitter.

Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice -- If the Pirates don't take Cole with the top pick, they could take Rendon, who was relegated to DHing this season because of a shoulder strain. Still, when healthy, he has a plus arm to go along with plus power and a plus hit tool. A solid defender at third base, he played just eight games in the field this season.

Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) HS -- Starling may have as much potential as anyone in the draft, but he may be the biggest risk. Like Bradley, he's also a quarterback and there are reports that he will go to Nebraska in July regardless of where he's drafted. 

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