Below are Deep Leagues’ profiles of the players projected to be selected in the first round on the 2010 MLB Draft. The profiles are also posted in our “mock draft” section, which we will continue to update based upon new information. At this point, the picks are based more upon “best available talent” than who each team will actually pick. For example, the Astros selecting Austin Wilson would be a potential disaster because of the team’s thriftiness and Wilson’s scholarship to Stanford. But as the draft draws closer, we will update to make better projections regarding who the teams will actually pick.
Since Deep Leagues generally covers professional players (the draft is a side interest), I posted as many links as possible to give an interested reader more extensive information about the particular player. The links include scouting reports, videos, and articles discussing the players from their local papers. Andy Seiler, Baseball Beginnings, and PNR Scouting all do a terrific job covering these players. I watch lots of college baseball, but a great deal of our information, especially regarding high school players, is second hand. Conversely, their reports come from people with personal knowledge, so where are opinions conflict, there is no question which source is better. Nevertheless, without further introduction, here is Deep Leagues’ expanded mock draft….
#1: Washington Nationals Bryce Harper C, College of Southern Nevada
Harper is a 17-year old phenom who has already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. Along with Stephen Strasburg, he is the most widely-discussed draft prospect in recent memory. After a dominating prep career, Harper earned his GED to enroll a year early at the College of Southern Nevada, and has posted amazing numbers for a player his age. Bonus demands are the only thing possibly preventing Harper from being the first pick.
#2: Pittsburgh Pirates Anthony Ranaudo P, LSU
Ranaudo is one of the best collegiate pitchers in this year’s draft. A 6’7 right-hander with a mid-90’s fastball and an excellent curve, scouts think Ranaudo will develop the changeup needed to turn him into a potential #1 starter. Ranaudo missed time earlier this season due to injury, and while the team is bringing him back slowly, there appears to be no long-term concerns.
#3: Baltimore Orioles Jameson Taillon P, The Woodlands, Texas
Taillon established himself as the best high school pitcher in this year’s draft. Like Ranaudo, scouting reports list Taillon as a 6’7, 230 pound starting pitcher who throws a mid-90’s fastball along with an impressive curveball. Scouts see him developing an effective changeup and slider. He is the clear choice to be the first high school player taken this year.
#4: Kansas City Royals Drew Pomeranz P, Ole Miss
Pomeranz is the best left-handed starter in the draft, and has arguably been the most impressive pitcher in college baseball this season. Reports show Pomeranz commands his fastball in the low-90’s with good life and throws a solid changeup. His best pitch, however, is arguably a knuckle-curve he has been using to devastate SEC hitters this season.
#5: Cleveland Indians Deck McGuire P, Georgia Tech
No collegiate prospect was more impressive early this season than Virginia-native Deck McGuire. He is the leader of a Georgia Tech squad which has been one of the nation’s best. He cooled off slightly in his most recent performances, however. Reports show McGuire throws around 93-94, and offers three secondary pitches (curveball, slider, changeup). He shows incredible poise on the mound and should develop into an excellent major league pitcher.
#6: Arizona Diamondbacks A.J. Cole P, Winter Springs, FL
Cole is a right-hander whose fastball, depending on what you read, tops out between 94 and 97. Often discussed in scouting reports is Cole’s upside, as many see him possessing the athleticism to one-day easily throw in the high-90’s. Cole also offers an impressive curveball, and he should have four good pitches by the time he reaches the major leagues.
#7 New York Mets Alex Wimmers P, Ohio State Univ.
The best pitcher in the Big 10 also has the best curveball in this year’s draft. Scouting reports discuss the right-handed Wimmers as not possessing remarkable velocity, and he usually throws between the high-80’s to low 90’s. He is not considered a pitcher with remarkable upside, but there is little reason to believe he cannot be effective in the major leagues.
#8: Houston Astros Austin Wilson OF, Los Angeles, CA
One of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft, Wilson is a character guy who arguablyalso has more upside than any player in the draft besides Bryce Harper. Wilson is exceptional athlete with a great swing. Nevertheless, some have argued he is slower than projected and also needs to work on plate disciple. A scholarship offer to Stanford could also increase his bonus demands.
#9: San Diego Padres Zack Cox 3B, Univ. of Arkansas
Cox is one of the best hitters available in this year’s draft. A third-baseman who, according to reports, will likely play second professionally, Cox has lit up the competition this season, batting .442. He is a left-handed hitter with excellent power and bat speed. The downside is Cox could be an injury risk, and moreover, the bonus demands could be awfully high since he is a “draft-eligible sophomore.”
#10: Oakland Athletics Bryce Brentz OF, Middle Tennessee State
Brentz posted astonishing numbers during his previous two seasons at Middle Tennessee St. He is an outfielder who projects as an excellent power hitter with good plate discipline. The two primary weaknesses are Brentz not faced the quality of pitching as other collegiate prospects, but he performed well against top competition playing for Team USA. Moreover, missing a substantial portion of this season with an injury should have a slight adverse affect on his draft status.
#11 Toronto Blue Jays Chris Sale P, Florida Gulf Coast
Sale was the player of the year in Cape Code League. A left-handed starter, Sale throws a mid-90’s fastball along with an impressive slider. He also offers an impressive changeup. At 6’6 and 190 pounds, Sale has the potential to gain even more velocity as he gets stronger. For example, this report claims Sale has been clocked as high as 99 mph against Wichita State this season. Sale’s weaknesses is he has not faced the same top competition, but he dominated during the Cape Code League. He projects to be an extremely good major league pitcher, and would be a steal with the 11th pick.
#12 Cincinnati Reds Christian Colon SS, Cal. St. Fullerton
Colon is the next in a long-line of collegiate shortstops from Southern California drafted in the first round (Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, Grant Green). Colon is a good hitter, showing solid plate disciple with the potential to develop power. He is not slow, but does not project to steal lots of bases. Colon is an excellent defender in terms of range and hands, but some have questioned his arm strength. However, even if he does not stick at short, he will be a good second baseman defensively.
#13: Chicago White Sox Karsten Whitson P, Chipley, FL
The nephew of former San Diego Padre Ed Whitson, Karsten Whitson (along with Jameson Taillon) is the most developed pitcher in this year’s high school class. He lacks the upside of A.J. Cole to generate Taillon’s velocity, but Whitson throws a solid low-90’s fastball which he locates with excellent command. Whitson has apparently gotten bigger during this season, and now works his fastball into the mid-90’s. He also throws an excellent sinker, and a changeup which should develop into a fine pitch. His excellent performance this season could bump him into the top 10.
#14: Milwaukee Brewers Stetson Allie INF/P, Cleveland, OH
Most reports list Allie as the best two-way player in the draft. He is a big kid, who as a hitter, shows the potential to hit for incredible power. Defensively, he shows impressive arm strength and deceptive quickness, indicating he could be a solid third-baseman. But Allie puts his arm strength to its best use on the pitcher’s mound, where he offers a fastball which some report at 99 mph along with an impressive slider which exceeds 90. Allie will take several years to develop, but he offers remarkable upside.
#15 Texas Rangers (comp) Nick Castenellos 3B, Cooper City, FL
A corner infielder, scouts almost unanimously project Castellanos to go on the first round. The Miami commit has impressed in National showcases throughout his prep career, and he projects to become an extremely solid power-hitting prospect. He can generate power to all fields and also shows impressive strength for a player his size. He is currently a third baseman, but some speculate his future is at first.
#16 Chicago Cubs Micah Gibbs C, LSU
Along with Yasmani Grandal, Gibbs is the top collegiate catcher in this year’s draft behind Bryce Harper. The rave reviews from teammates and coaches discussing Gibbs’ abilities epitomizes why he will be a top selection in next year’s draft. Gibbs’ strong points are his intangibles and defensive abilities, and Gibbs’ impressive performance with the bat this season, hitting .407 this season, should raise his draft stock given the lack of catching prospects offering adequate offense and a surefire ability to handle a major league pitching staff.
#17 Tampa Bay Rays Josh Sale OF, Seattle, WA
The Seattle-native was my biggest snub from in the original mock draft, considering he is among the best hitters available. This video sums up Sale pretty well. Scouting reports show Sale is a left-handed hitter known for his remarkable power and plate instincts. Basically, he is the baseball version of Jake Heaps (the highly recruited Seattle-area QB) because he has a “wow factor” which makes up for any knock on his athletic ability.
#18 Los Angeles Angels (comp) Manny Machado SS, Miami, FL
Machado burst onto the scene as an athletic shortstop with impressive skills. In recent months, however, reports have questioned his defensive abilities, wondering whether he will be able to remain a shortstop as he gets bigger. But Machado remains in the first round because of his bat, which has been more impressive than projected this season. He should be the second shortstop taken after Colon.
#19 Houston Astros (comp) James Paxton P, Univ. of Kentucky
Paxton has been embroiled in a widely-known controversy which has prevented him from playing his senior season, but nobody has improved more throughout his collegiate career than the British Columbia native. His junior season, Paxton was throwing in the mid-90’s to accompany an impressive breaking ball. His statistics, however, were less than impressive despite very good strikeout totals. Plus, missing the opportunity to pitch his senior year will likely deprive him of the opportunity to be a top 10 selection. His stock will be affecting by his upcoming performance in the Independent Leagues.
#20 Boston Red Sox (comp) Brandon Workman P, Univ. of Texas
Workman has every tool a major league scout looks for in that he throws a mid-90’s fastball and an excellent 12/6 curve. He also has other secondary pitches, such as a changeup and cutter. A concern with Workman is his collegiate career has not been particularly distinguishing, as he only worked his way into Texas’ rotation this season and still sits behind Taylor Jungmann as the team’s best effective pitcher. Nevertheless, he is almost unanimously projected to be selected in the first round.
#21 Minnesota Twins Yordy Cabrera SS, Lakeland, FL
The Florida-native is a right-handed hitter who can crush the ball. Cabrera’s power already compares to most college hitters in the first round, and he shows substantial upside. He is also an effective pitcher, but his future is at third base. The problem is Cabrera is exceptionally raw, and some have questioned his plate discipline. Nevertheless, he is a high-upside player who will be taken in the first round.
#22 Texas Rangers Levon Washington OF, Chipola JC
Washington enrolled in a Junior College this season after being unable to reach an agreement with the Rays last season. He is the fastest player in this year’s draft, and is capable of being an incredible stolen base threat. He also has quick wrists and plenty of athleticism. Some of been critical of Washington’s junior college performance, which has indicated he is slightly slower than expected, and there are issues with his throwing arising from a shoulder injury. But, on the flip side, he has also shown the ability to hit for a little power, albeit against lesser competition.
#23 Florida Marlins Kaleb Cowart INF/P, Adel, GA
Cowart (along with Cameron Bedrosian and DeAndre Smelter) leads an impressive crop of high school pitchers from Georgia. Cowart is a two-way prospect, also excelling at third base. Nevertheless, he will probably be drafted as a pitcher. Cowart throws multiple pitches, but some have been critical of his curveball. He will likely forego his commitment to Florida State, as he is almost a unanimous first round selection.
#24 San Francisco Giants Dylan Covey P, Pasadena, CA
Scout.com correctly described Covey as being “tailor made for the first round.” He is completely solid offering a 91-94 fastball, plus a good slider and curveball. His changeup is developing. He is one of the most statistically dominating players available in the draft, Cowart was unhittable in the private school league throughout his prep career. If I had to pick the high school player who will arrive in the major leagues first, I might pick Covey, who should be ready in about 3-4 years.
#25 St. Louis Cardinals Jesse Hahn P, Virginia Tech
Ironically a high school teammate of Matt Harvey’s from Groton, Connecticut is also slated to be selected ahead of him. Scouting reports show Hahn throws a fastball which has reached as high as 98 mph along with a decent fastball and curve. Some have questioned his mechanics, and his 6.00 ERA last season is not encouraging. But his ERA currently sits at 2.28, leading many to believe he is a first-round talent in the upcoming draft.
#26 Colorado Rockies Kevin Gausman P, Denver, Colorado
While the Colorado native has fallen slightly during his senior season, his talent compares with any available prep player besides Taillon. Reports show Gausman offers a fastball which reaches 96 and is developing several secondary pitches. He also shows impressive command. The possible downside is Gausman is older, meaning his bonus demands could be slightly higher since he could leave LSU for the draft after his sophomore season.
#27 Philadelphia Phillies Yasmani Grandal C, Univ. of Miami
Grandal is arguably the second-best catcher in the draft behind Harper, but there is obviously a fairly large dropoff. His biggest strength is his bat. He posted impressive numbers throughout his collegiate career, especially power-wise. Grandal’s weakness is defense. He is currently an adaquete collegiate catcher, but many question whether he can maintain the position in the big leagues for reasons ranging from arm strength to game calling.
#28 Los Angeles Dodgers Justin O’Connor P/SS, Muncie, IN
The Indiana native is one of the most impressive two-way prep players in the draft. He plays shortstop, but this season, he has also been worked out at catcher. His future, however, is likely as a pitcher where consistently works in low/mid-90’s and has been excellent throughout his prep career. He is the type of player who does many things well, and could show substantial improvement upon moving to one position in the minor leagues.
#29 Los Angeles Angels (comp) Kyle Blair P, Univ. of San Diego
Blair pitchers for the University of San Diego, alma matter of current Orioles prospect Brian Matusz. Many viewed him as a low-upside—yet solid—pitcher coming into this season. Blair’s stock, however, dipped somewhat this season after several rough performances which should not be expected from a pitcher with his makeup. Look for Blair to be taken in the supplemental first round with some chance he could fall more.
#30 Los Angeles Angels Kris Bryant 3B, Las Vegas, NV
Bryant is a power-hitting prep third-baseman from Las Vegas, who possesses remarkable power potential. He has been overshadowed by another Las Vegas power hitter by the name of Harper. He is a decent athlete. Scouts differ regarding whether he possesses sufficient defensive abilities to remain at third base, so a move to the outfield could be possible. Bryant is a long-term prospect, but he will likely be taken in the first round.
#31 Tampa Bay Rays DeAndre Smelter P, Macon, GA
Scouts are split on Smelter, whose draft position ranges from the upper levels of the first round to not listed. Smelter is an impressive athlete with a fastball ranging from 92-94. He also offers an extremely good splitter. He plays both ways in high school, but his future is as a pitcher. Interestingly, Smelter has received a great deal of coaching from ex-major league Kevin Brown, who returned to Macon after his retirement.
#32 New York Yankees Justin Grimm P, Univ. of Georgia
Grimm was as a top college pitcher coming into the season, but he has struggled along with the rest of the Georgia team through a rough season. Originally drafted by the Red Sox in 2007, Grimm is known for having a decent fastball/curveball combination. He is a player some see having upside if a team can do several things to “tweak” his mechanics. He could provide a good bargain in the late-first round.
Supplemental First-Round (all comp)
#33 Houston Astros Michael Choice OF, Univ. of Texas—Arlington
Choice is an extremely intriguing prospect. Another small college player from UT-Arlington, Choice has posted dominating numbers. He possesses arguably the best combination of speed and power in the draft. His mechanics are a possible concern, as some have questioned whether his performance would translate against top pitching. Nevertheless, his performance with Team USA indicated his mechanics would succeed at more advanced levels.
#34 Toronto Blue Jays Cameron Bedrosian P, Atlanta, GA
The son of major leaguer Steve Bedrosian is one of the better prep pitching prospects in this year’s draft. Bedrosian has a fastball which reports say can hit 96 mph along with a plus slider which can hit 90. He is smaller than the average top pitching prospect, standing at only 6’0. Some see Bedrosian developing into a closer some day in part due to his delivery, but for now, he will begin as a starter. As this video shows, he was extremely impressive facing Bryce Harper.
#35 Atlanta Braves Chevez Clarke OF, Marietta, GA
This video of Clarke hitting shows why he is drawing first round consideration. Teams have had good luck with five-tool players from Georgia (Domonoc Brown, Jason Heyward) and this year’s version is Chevez Clarke, an outfielder who is drawing a great deal of attention in recent months. Clarke is a long-term prospect with remarkable upside who be a steal if taken in the supplemental round.
#36 Boston Red Sox Matt Harvey P, Univ. of North Carolina
When you asked people two years ago who would be the first player selected in this draft, many would have said Harvey. Coming from high school, he was a prestigious recruit whose signing with North Carolina was heralded on the same level as Rick Porcello and Madison Bumgarner. But command problems have plagued him since his arrival, dropping him progressively down the draft boards. Harvey still has his velocity, which can reach 97-mph and impressive movement on his secondary pitches. Reports have been slightly more favorable this year, indicating Harvey will likely be a high selection.
#37 Los Angeles Angels Sammy Solis P, Univ. of San Diego
Some believe Solis has established himself as the better pitching prospect over his teammate, Kyle Blair, in the upcoming draft. Solis is a left-hander with three solid pitches who some reports have compared him to a lesser-version of former USD standout Brian Matusz. He possesses less upside than fellow players on the list, but he is a solid pitcher who should reach the major leagues quickly.
#38 Toronto Blue Jays Chad Bettis P, Texas Tech Univ.
One of several of the Astros’ 2007 picks who excelled in college, Bettis attended Texas Tech after being unable to reach an agreement as an 8th round pick. Bettis will likely begin his professional career as a starter, but some project him to be a relief pitcher. He is a right-hander with a fastball in the low-to-mid 90’s along with a well-developed changeup.
#39 Boston Red Sox Stefan Sabol C, Aliso Viejo, CA
Sabol was regarded as the best high school catcher in this year’s draft, but his stock has dropped based upon questions arising regarding whether he can stick at catcher. Reports show Sabol has a good bat and impressive athleticism. He has decent—but not great—power potential.
#40 Los Angeles Angels Brett Eibner P/OF, Univ. of Arkansas
The Woodlands High School graduate is another player the Astros failed to sign in their 2007 draft. He is one of the best “dual-threat” players at the collegiate level, being effective as both a pitcher and outfielder. He struggled somewhat offensively last season, but he rebounded this season, hitting .313 with 9 homers. Eibner is a player who is solid—but not speculatular—across the board who should be selected somewhere in the late first round.
#41 Toronto Blue Jays Robbie Aviles P, Suffern, NY
The brother of Kansas City Royals’ infielder Mike Aviles is a two-way player, but reports indicate he shows the greatest upside at pitcher. Aviles combines a low-90’s fastball and a very good slider. He has drawn additional attention this season with his impressive performance, recently throwing a perfect game. His weak spots are his control and the need to develop a change-up, but regardless, he could be a high selection in the upcoming draft depending on bonus demands.
#42 Tampa Bay Rays Austin Wates OF, Virginia Tech
Wates is a centerfielder with upside who performed well in the Cape League. He is a very good athlete with impressive speed, and has the potential to steal 30-40 bases. He also shows great ability to hit for contact, batting.462 thus far in 2010. He has been playing first base this season, but he projects at CF professionally.
#43 Seattle Mariners Gary Brown OF, Cal. State—Fullerton
A teammate of Christian Colon’s, Brown is the best defensive player in the draft. Reports frequent discuss Brown’s defense and excellent speed. It is more questionable whether he can hit. He is an adaquete contact hitter, but questions remain regarding his power. Nevertheless, at a time where teams are valuing defense more, Brown could be a high pick.
#44 Detroit Tigers Jarrett Parker OF, Univ. of Virginia
Parker has excellent tools for a player taken this low, but at this point, his collegiate performance has not been impressive. He struggled in the Cape League, and despite this season’s numbers being slightly improved, he has not had the outstanding season needed to take him into the first round. Reports show Parker is a multi-tool talent and he is a possible bargain in the supplemental round depending upon bonus demands.
#45 Texas Rangers Tony Wolters INF, Vista, CA
Wolters is one of the best offensive prep prospects in California. He is small, standing at only 5’10 and 165 lbs, but he is extremely developed for a prep player. His size leads some to question his upside, especially regarding whether he can hit for power. He projects to be a good defensive middle infielder. What moves him into the supplemental round is his production, as despite his size, he continually produces good numbers.
#46 St. Louis Cardinals Jedd Gyorko INF, Univ. of West Virginia
Gyorko posted extremely impressive numbers throughout his career at West Virginia. He is a solid player across the board who projects to arrive in the major leagues quickly. Moreover, he increased his stock with an impressive performance thus far this season. The knock on Gyorko is he lacks remarkable upside to take with a high pick. Nevertheless, he seems like a steal in the supplemental round.
#47 Colorado Rockies Todd Cunningham OF, Jacksonville State Univ.
Cunningham is a small-college player who is flying under the radar. He established himself in the Cape Cod League, being named the league’s best pro prospect in 2009. Depending on who you ask, Cunningham is either a “4 or 5 tool” player, as there is debate regarding whether he will develop power. Nevertheless, he is known for an excellent plate approach and will be a bargain in the supplemental round.
#48 Tampa Bay Rays Kevin Jacob P, Georgia Tech Univ.
I would argue Jacob is the best “pure relief” pitcher available in this year’s draft. He consistently works his fastball from 97 to 99 mph, mixing it with a slider that has been effective at the collegiate level. The knock on Jacob is he needs to refine his secondary pitches to become a major league pitcher, and more recently, he missed time with shoulder tendinitis.
#49 Detroit Tigers Christian Yelich 1B, Thousand Oaks, CA
One of the top prep corner infielder’s in this year’s draft, Yelich is an excellent hitter who posted dominating numbers in high school. At 6’4, he offers remarkable upside in terms of hitting for power. Scouts debate whether he can remain at 3B, as some see him as a prototypical left-handed first baseman. To the extent that “makeup” plays a role, there are many articles giving Yelich tremendously high praise in this area
#50 Texas Rangers Leon Landry OF, LSU
“Neon Leon” is a well-known player who is being underrated in the upcoming draft. He is an exceptional athlete who performed well during the Cape League and excelled on the biggest stage during the CWS (I love this catch). The knock is he lacks advanced mechanics, andhas a below average-arm. Nevertheless, Landry seems like a well-known player with upside who will slip under the radar in the draft.
#51 St. Louis Cardinals Griffin Murphy P, Redlands, CA
Murphy burst onto the scene recently as one of the best left-handed prospects in this year’s draft. A baseball America article referred to him as the “yo-yo master” because of his ability to move his fastball in various directions. Murphy also throws an impressive sweeping curveball which has been impressing scouts. He should be an early selection.
Derek Dietrich (INF, Georgia Tech)
Dietrich is the 3rd Astros 2007 signee to appear on this list. One of the leaders of an excellent Georgia Tech team, Dietrich is a player who has increased his draft status this season. He is a shortstop in college, but would likely move to either second or third base professionally. He does not have any exceptional tool and struggled in the Cape League, but he could increase his draft status if Georgia Tech makes a post-season run.
Tyler Holt (OF, Florida State)
Another well-known college player who seems to be slipping under the radar. Holt has no incredible weakness, and seems to have very good upside with excellent speed and power potential. He is having an excellent senior season, batting .362 and recently hitting for the cycle. Therefore, Holt would be an excellent selection in the supplemental round.
Delino DeShields (INF, Atlanta, GA)
Hearing the name “Delino DeShields, Jr.” makes me feel as old at age 28, but I couldn’t resist writing about him. I don’t have enough information to offer a prediction about whether he would be worth drafting beyond knowing he is an excellent athlete (great HS running back) from a baseball family. He recently accepted a scholarship to LSU, but depending upon how raw his baseball skills are, he could be an excellent long-term pick if he would sign for slot money in the supplemental round.