With less than four hours until the major league draft, the following provides a quickly-written overview of some things I’ve read over the past day.
#2 and #3 switch—The majority of mocks show the Pittsburgh Pirates will select Jameson Taillon, meaning Manny Machado will fall to Baltimore. Baltimore should be happy about the switch, as another infielder should bolster their team in the future.
Late Profiles—the following are two more players who could be going in the first round I missed in the mock draft. Outfielder Jake Skole has been quickly rising up the draft boards. Skole is an athletic outfielder from Georgia who several teams have become interested in because of signability. I think these teams have received better first hand information, because if I were them, I would be concerned about Skole’s football commitment to Georgia Tech. Also keep an eye on University of Minnesota catcher Mike Kvasnicka. Many teams have shown a quiet interest in Kvasnicka, who projects as a solid all-around player who can effectively manage their pitching staff.
Late Risers—three other players moving up the draft board are Barrett Loux, Yasmani Grandal, and Justin O’Connor. While I like each player, I do not see any of these players as top 10 picks. I generally avoid much criticism considering my lack of first hand knowledge, but here is my reasoning. Loux has been spectacular this year and scores highly in makeup. But stuff-wise, I think there are about five college pitchers (McGuire, Pomeranz, Ranaudo, Wimmers, and Sale) who have potentially elite stuff. I rank Loux among a large group of second tier collegiate pitchers (Workman, Harvey, Bettis, Hahn, Blair, Solis, etc). I like Grandal, but only if he can be signed for a reasonable price. I would be reluctant to pay him substantially more than Micah Gibbs. Justin O’Connor is also an intriguing prospect. He shows incredible baseball IQ, succeeding at multiple positions. Very few people could make an almost-seemless transition to catcher their senior year. Nevertheless, I don’t see an overwhelming quality which would convince me to select him top 10. Then again, this comes from a person with very limited knowledge.
The ‘stros—Look for the Astros to focus on high-upside prep players, contrary to my draft showing a mix of college and high school players. With the 8th pick, it’s looking like either Josh Sale or Delino Deshields, Jr. I love DeShields’ combination of speed/athleticism, but I think he will be around at #18. This is a huge night for Astros baseball, as we could use our three first rounders to rebuild our long-depleted farm system. If we finish the night with Sale and DeShields, I will go to sleep a happy Astros fan.
Ranaudo to Boston—it seems likely Anthony Ranaudo is headed to the Red Sox. The combination of Ranaudo’s bonus demands and this season’s injury have dropped him down boards, but indications are Boston will take a high-upside college pitcher….either Ranaudo or Harvey.
Dickie Thon, Jr.—Astros legend Dickie Thon has a son playing in Puerto Rico currently committed to Rice. Along with Alan Ashby, Thon was one of my favorite players when I was about 4 years old, so I did some research about him last night and he seems like a decent player projected to be taken in a single-digit round. I am not sure about the Astros selecting Thon, but if a “Kevin Bass Jr.” (or Glenn Davis) exists, I demand the Astros select him regardless of whether he baseball with a contract provision requiring him to grow an awesome mustache.